Field Yates of ESPN reported yesterday that the Atlanta Falcons had agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent safety Charles Godfrey, re-signing the veteran for the fourth time in 375 days. That first re-signing came at the outset of free agency last March when the team opted to retain him after he finished the 2014 season on the roster. He was then cut twice during the 2015 regular season but brought back shortly thereafter each time.
Godfrey, 30, first joined the Falcons in October 2014 as an in-season pickup following his release from the Carolina Panthers. He spent the previous six seasons with the Panthers after originally being drafted by them in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Iowa. Godfrey started 72 games over the next five seasons at both free and strong safety for the Panthers before being sidelined two games into the 2013 season with a torn Achilles tendon. He returned in 2014 to play nickel cornerback for the Panthers, a position he played during his collegiate days. However after several poor performances to start that season, Godfrey was released by the Panthers after seven games. He signed with the Falcons a week later.
Since joining the Falcons, Godfrey has performed mostly as a reserve safety. He’s appeared in 13 games and logged 12 tackles. He was amidst the competition to win the vacant free safety position last spring, but quickly lost that battle to second-year player Ricardo Allen. He was cut in September to make room for veteran offensive tackle Jake Long before being re-signed a few weeks later when return specialist Devin Hester went on short-term injured reserve. Then he was cut once again in late October to allow the Falcons to sign linebacker Phillip Wheeler, only to be re-signed again a week later when the team parted ways with linebacker Allen Bradford.
Godfrey provides depth for the Falcons at safety where the team is looking to replace strong safety William Moore, who was cut in February. Right now, Kemal Ishmael is atop the depth chart at that position. Ishmael has started 15 games over the past two seasons mostly as a replacement for an injured Moore, but the Falcons could presumably be looking for more.
The team showed interest in both Cincinnati Bengals safeties George Iloka and Reggie Nelson at the outset of free agency last week. Iloka re-signed with the Bengals, but Nelson still remains unsigned.
Godfrey’s one-year deal is worth $965,000, including a base salary of $885,000 and a signing bonus of $80,000 according to reports. Due to the minimum-salary benefit, Godfrey’s cap hit in 2016 will only be $680,000.