Former Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard Reportedly Agrees to Contract with Falcons

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 30, 2020

Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Darqueze Dennard (21) runs, during the second half at an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons have reportedly agreed to a contract with ex-Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

Dennard, 28, played six seasons with the Bengals after Cincinnati drafted him 24th in 2014.

In Cincinnati, the former Michigan State cornerback played 77 games (24 starts) and had three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), three sacks, 22 passes defended and 274 tackles.

Per Pro Football Reference, Dennard allowed just 17 completions off 35 targets in pass coverage last season. Pro Football Focus ranked Dennard as the 22nd-highest-graded cornerback in the NFL in 2019.

"He was limited to only 290 coverage snaps in 2019 but put up a career-high and 15th-best coverage grade on those snaps," Anthony Treash of PFF wrote in January. "He allowed only four catches of 10-plus yards, as well."

Injuries limited Dennard to nine games last year. He started the season on the Bengals' PUP (physically unable to perform) list because of a knee ailment but was activated Oct. 18.

Dennard became a free agent after the season, and the Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly signed him, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

However, the deal broke down in the final hour, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union: "Wow category: Jaguars say CB Darqueze Dennard will not be signing with the franchise because the two sides could not come to an agreement on the final contract terms."

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Dennard now has a home in Atlanta, however. He joins a secondary that includes ex-Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell, who was the 16th pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Cornerback Isaiah Oliver, the team's second-round selection in 2018, should be back in a starting role. Safeties Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal round out the secondary's starters.

Adding Dennard, who PFF credited with allowing just 6.7 yards per reception since 2017 (sixth-best in the NFL among cornerbacks) should only behoove the Falcons as they look to improve a defense that finished No. 23 in scoring last season.

Dennard and the Falcons will open their campaign against the visiting Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Sept. 13.

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