Vaughn McClure of ESPN cites a league source indicating that Atlanta Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder has signed his restricted free agent tender, bringing him officially back into the fold for another season. Schraeder signs his tender little more than two weeks before the deadline for when restricted free agents are allowed to sign offer sheets with new teams. Schraeder will work off a one-year deal worth $2.553 million this year and become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
Schraeder, who turns 28 next month, first came to the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2013 out of Valdosta State. He has had an interesting path to the NFL, not playing football during his high-school career at Maize High, just outside Wichita, Kansas. After a growth spurt during his senior year of high school, he enrolled at nearby Butler Community College and joined the football team during his sophomore year after being discovered playing a pickup basketball game.
While playing left tackle for the first time in his life at Butler, he was named a JUCO All-American and All-Conference honoree. The next year he transferred to Valdosta, where he was immediately plugged in at left tackle, starting 24 games over the next two seasons and being a two-time All-Gulf South Conference honoree and Division II All-American. He was named a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award as a senior, an honor that goes to Division II’s top offensive lineman.
He quickly made a mark during training camp with the Falcons in 2013, working at both left and right tackle. The Falcons were reluctant to turn to Schraeder during his rookie season, starting Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle for 10 games before finally turning the keys over to Schraeder for the final four weeks of the season. Schraeder handled himself well, but was relegated to a reserve role once again to start 2014.
However a season-ending injury to starting right tackle Lamar Holmes and the up and down play of Gabe Carimi allowed Schraeder to once more get another opportunity as a starter by midseason. He finished the year with 10 starts, including the last nine games at right tackle earning praise from premium website Pro Football Focus for his strong play.
Schraeder continued his solid play into 2015, starting every game at right tackle and earning a spot on PFF’s All-pro team.