The Atlanta Falcons announced that they have re-signed impending free agents in defensive tackle Cliff Matthews and fullback Patrick DiMarco as well as signed free-agent wide receiver Nick Williams, formerly of the Washington Redskins.Matthews was on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent in two weeks, while DiMarco was set to be a restricted free agent this offseason. Terms of their respective deals were undisclosed, but are likely one-year deals. Williams played under new Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in 2013 with the Redskins and also worked out with the Falcons this past October. Williams adds depth at wide receiver and can potentially compete for a role on special teams.
Matthews was a seventh-round pick of the Falcons in 2011 and has appeared in 32 games over the past four seasons with no starts. He has yet to tally his first official NFL sack, but has proven a valuable option in the team’s rotation and on special teams. After being drafted as a defensive end, Matthews bulked up prior to 2013 and moved inside to defensive tackle. He could possibly return to playing on the edge this season in the defensive scheme of new head coach Dan Quinn.
Fullback was potentially a position that the Falcons might look to upgrade this offseason, but by retaining DiMarco it appears they are slated to have him serve as the incumbent fullback for at least another year. DiMarco first joined the Falcons in 2013 to compete with Bradie Ewing for the fullback position, a battle which he lost in training camp. But upon Ewing being sidelined with a season-ending injury in Week 2, DiMarco was brought back and has handled the fullback duties ever since. Over the past two years, DiMarco has started 14 of 30 games, caught 17 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Prior to joining the Falcons, DiMarco played five games with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 after spending a year on injured reserve with the San Diego Chargers. Both Matthews and DiMarco were teammates at the University of South Carolina.
Williams entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Redskins in 2013 out of Connecticut. He landed a spot on the Redskins’ practice squad before being elevated to the active roster for the final games of the season. Williams appeared in five games for the Redskins in 2013, catching a total of three passes for 15 yards. He also served as the Redskins’ primary kickoff returner for the final two games of that season, returning nine kickoffs for 188 yards (20.9 avg). Williams was cut by the Redskins at the end of this past summer’s training camp.
During his days at UConn, Williams set a school record for kickoff return yards (2,045) and ranked second in school history in kickoff return yards per return (25.9). He finished his collegiate career with two kickoff returns for touchdown, as well as two punt returns for touchdown, which he earned during his senior season. That year, he also had a career-high 30 receptions for 334 yards. He finished his career with 43 receptions for 588 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown on 11 career rushing attempts for 43 yards.