Falcons extend LIndstrom, to add DT Onyemata

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The Atlanta Falcons are giving Pro Bowl right guard Chris Lindstrom a five-year extension, the franchise announced Monday.

The deal is for five years and $105 million, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler, making him the NFL’s highest-paid guard, and it will now keep him with the club through the 2028 season.

The Falcons also made a move to bolster their defensive line, agreeing to a three-year, $35 million deal with New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal includes $24.5 fully guaranteed.

His average of $21 million per year surpasses Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson‘s $20.2 million average annual value as the highest for a guard in NFL history. Only Lindstrom’s and Nelson’s AAV have been over $20 million.

Lindstrom, 26, was Atlanta’s first-round draft pick in 2019 out of Boston College and one of multiple family members to to play in the NFL, including his father, Chris.

After starting five games his rookie year, he’s been in the lineup for every game for the Falcons over the past three seasons, a mainstay on Atlanta’s offensive line. Lindstrom is a clear technician, as he’s been called for one holding penalty in his four-year career — and that came in 2022.

In going to Atlanta, Onyemata reunites with his former defensive line coach, Ryan Nielsen, who became Atlanta’s defensive coordinator in January. The defensive line was one of the Falcons’ biggest needs heading into free agency. Atlanta now has a potential front three of Onyemata, Grady Jarrett and Ta’Quon Graham.

Onyemata, who turned 30 in November, has been a fulltime starter for the Saints since the 2019 season and played all 17 games in 2023, setting a career-high with 25 solo tackles as he put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He also tallied five sacks for a defense that gave up just 314.8 yards per game (fifth in the NFL) but ranked 24th against the run (130.5 yards allowed per game).

Onyemata, who is from Lagos, Nigeria, has spent his entire career with the Saints after they selected him in the fourth-round of the 2016 draft. He had never seen a football game before enrolling and playing at the University of Manitoba. In his seven seasons in New Orleans, Onyemata has 244 tackles, 23 sacks, a forced fumble, two recoveries and an interception.

Lindstrom had a 92.7 pass block win rate last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, and a run block win rate of 73%.

In extending Lindstrom, Atlanta locks up two of its centerpieces of the offensive line — left tackle Jake Matthews and Lindstrom — until potentially 2026.

Lindstrom said after the season he wanted to remain in Atlanta — he was going into his fifth-year option year — and that he hoped the franchise and his agents would be able to get something done.

“I want to be here,” Lindstrom said in January. “I want to be a Falcon for my whole career.”

ESPN’s Katherine Terrell contributed to this report.

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