Dante Fowler Eyes Michael Strahan's Sack Record After $48M Falcons Contract

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 2, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29: Dante Fowler #56 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates while playing the Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
John McCoy/Getty Images

Pass-rusher Dante Fowler has big plans after signing a three-year, $48 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

"In order to be elite, you have to put up double digits (in sacks) every year," Fowler told reporters during a conference call Thursday. "That's my job. The goal is to beat [Michael] Strahan's record."

Strahan is the NFL's all-time leader in single-season sacks with 22.5 in 2001 with the New York Giants.

Fowler added: "My mentality is to be one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL, one of the best linebackers. Last year was my first year. I’m just scratching the surface, to be honest. I'm coming with a different mentality. I'm out here to prove something, and I know the team is trying to prove something, too."

The 25-year-old signed with the Falcons in free agency last month after a career year with the Los Angeles Rams last season.

Fowler recorded 11.5 sacks, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and 58 tackles (40 solo)—all of which were career-best marks—across 16 regular-season games (14 starts) for the Rams in 2019.

The Jacksonville Jaguars originally selected Fowler with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft. The Florida product played for the Jags until they traded him to L.A. in October 2018. Fowler had 14 sacks through 39 games, which included only one start, in Jacksonville compared to 13.5 sacks as a Ram across 24 games (20 starts).

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Fowler's former Rams teammate Aaron Donald, a two-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, notched 20.5 sacks in 2018.

Others to come close to Strahan's record within the last decade are former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (22.0 in 2011), Indianapolis Colts linebacker Justin Houston (22.0 in 2014 with Kansas City) and Houston Texans three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt (20.5 in 2012 and 2014).

Tampa Bay's Shaquil Barrett led the league in sacks last season with 19.5. The Falcons were tied for 29th with only 28 sacks.

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