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New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (95) on the field before kickoff against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, December 23, 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.

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Tyeler Davison is staying in the NFC South, but it won't be with the New Orleans Saints.

The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Saturday afternoon that Davison signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans' biggest rival. Davison reportedly visited with the Falcons earlier this week on Monday.

Davison played for the Saints for four seasons, serving as a starter for the past three. In 2018, Davison played in 14 games, starting in 12. He recorded 23 tackles, including two tackles for loss. He also had three quarterback hurries and a pair of sacks.

The Saints selected Davison in the fifth round of the 2015 draft out of Fresno State.

The possible loss of Davison has been a big part of the Saints' thought process in free agency. It's a big reason the team signed Malcom Brown, who spent the past four seasons with the New England Patriots. The team also signed Mario Edwards Jr., who can play defensive tackle and end. Edwards spent last season with the New York Giants.

"We just had to address the defensive line position," Sean Payton said at the NFL owners meetings in March. "Part of that was, Tyeler is a free agent and Sheldon (Rankins) is going to be up against the timeline when we start the year. Put that with Tyeler and it was a must-position. We signed a couple of players there. We just felt like if the season were to start as we came out of last year, Sheldon’s unhealthy, Tyeler’s a free agent and you really had our young player (Stallworth) and Onyemata."

Rankins will miss the first part of the season after suffering a torn Achilles in the playoffs. Onyemata's status for the start of the season is unknown after he was cited for allegedly having marijuana delivered to his home.

The loss of Davison would be the second key piece of the defensive line. Defensive end Alex Okafor signed a three-year deal worth $18 million with the Kansas City Chiefs.


This article originally ran on theadvocate.com.