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NFL free agency: Atlanta Falcons sign former Lions safety Duron Harmon

The veteran leader will takes his talents down south.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Michael Chow-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Atlanta Falcons announced on Thursday they have signed free agent safety Duron Harmon to an undisclosed deal.

Harmon, of course, played for the Detroit Lions in 2020 after the team sent a fifth-round pick to the New England Patriots to acquire him and a seventh-round pick. Harmon immediately became a locker room leader for Detroit, earning a captain spot in his only season with the team.

Harmon’s play on the field was mostly reliable on an otherwise unreliable defense. Early in the season, the veteran safety was actually among the top safeties in the league per PFF. However, in the last two months of the season, his play dipped and he finished with a pedestrian 65.3 grade. Still, his play was above average for Detroit’s defense, and he finished with a respectable 73 tackles, 5 passes defended and two interceptions.

The Lions appear to desire getting younger at the safety position. They are currently in a spot to start two safeties still on their rookie contracts: Will Harris and Tracy Walker. They also recently signed 28-year-old free agent Dean Marlowe to add some depth and competition to the position. That being said, safety remains a thin position that could use a serious upgrade over the next few months. Many project the Lions to target a safety in the NFL draft coming up later this month.

At this point, only four of the Lions original 18 unrestricted free agents remain unsigned: running back Adrian Peterson, wide receiver Danny Amendola, defensive end Everson Griffen and cornerback Tony McRae.