Canadian DL David Onyemata agrees to terms with Atlanta Falcons

Photo: AP/Matt Rourke

Canadian defensive lineman David Onyemata has agreed to terms on a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons, according to Mike Garafolo. The deal will reportedly pay him $35 million over three years with $24.5 million guaranteed in the first two years.

The 30-year-old was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints out of the University of Manitoba. He played 106 games over seven seasons with the team, recording 244 total tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 23 sacks, six knockdowns, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, and one interception. He was a full-time starter for the Saints in each of the past four seasons.

The six-foot-three, 300-pound defender was born in Lagos, Nigeria and immigrated to Winnipeg in 2011 to pursue postsecondary studies. He was recruited to play football for the Bisons despite having never previously done so and became one of the top players in U Sports, winning the prestigious J. P. Metras Trophy in 2015.

The Saints traded up on draft day to select Onyemata at 120th overall, dealing fifth-round picks in 2016 and 2017 to Washington in order to acquire the necessary selection. He earned $2.9 million on his four-year rookie deal with New Orleans and became a free agent on Monday following the expiration of the three-year, $26 million deal he signed ahead of the 2020 season.

Ryan Nielsen, Atlanta’s new defensive coordinator, spent the past six seasons with New Orleans where he served as their defensive line coach, assistant head coach, and co-defensive coordinator.