Southward, from Wisconsin, adds depth to the defensive secondary with his ability to play either free or strong safety. The terms of his contract were not immediately available, but it will be a four-year deal with somewhere in the neighborhood of $700,000 guaranteed. Southward will have base salaries of $420,000 in 2014, $510,000 in 2015, $600,000 in 2016, and $690,000 in 2017.
Southward didn't really stand out during rookie minicamp or organized team activities, but he has potential and showed a willingness to learn. Veteran newcomer Dwight Lowery is expected to be the starting free safety, although Southward has a chance to compete.
The Falcons also announced the signing of kicker Sergio Castillo out of West Texas A&M. He once hit a 56-yard field goal in college.
There is chance the Falcons could add a linebacker by the end of the day. Veteran Tim Dobbins is scheduled to visit the team Thursday with fellow vet Jonathan Vilma also on the Falcons' radar. The need for an inside linebacker with experience arose when Sean Weatherspoon suffered a season-ending Achilles tear while rehabbing on Tuesday.