Falcons 2023 Offseason Overhaul: Wide Receiver

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Unlike our two previous editions, this position has some movement. Wide receiver is an area that REALLY needs an overhaul, especially after trading Calvin Ridley. Outside of Drake London, there isn’t much here. Will the Falcons consider keeping some of their own impending free agents? I think so, but how many will be the question. There are also some talented wideouts that could be available later in the draft. All estimations are via Over The Cap.

If you want to check out my articles from my previous offseason series — One Free Agent, One Draft Pick, and One Trade — those will be linked below:

Previous editions of this series are listed below:

 

Current Rostered Wide Receivers

WR Drake London

WR Frank Darby

Yep, that’s it. Olamide Zaccheaus, KhaDarel Hodge, and Damiere Byrd are all free agents. Outside of some practice squad guys, this is as barren as Atlanta’s receiver core has been since Julio Jones got to town in 2011. Frank Darby isn’t even a lock to make the roster. Unfortunately for the Falcons, this isn’t a great wide receiver class in free agency. Fortunately for us, we get to play around with a few scenarios.

Re-Sign one of Olamide Zaccheaus, KhaDarel Hodge, or Damiere Byrd

I don’t want to use multiple picks on rookie pass catchers, so Atlanta should consider bringing at least one of these guys back. Byrd or Hodge makes the most sense in terms of scheme, but Zaccheaus is younger and more tenured. I have some free agents in mind, so I say bring Olamide back on a cheap deal similar to his last one. Hodge and Byrd only had 13 catches each last season, so if they are willing to take much less, I can’t be too upset.

Olamide Zaccheaus signs a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

Sign Allen Lazard

I’ve been hot on Allen Lazard to the Falcons for a while. He’s a big bodied receiver who is a fantastic run blocker — you have to think Atlanta will be in on this guy. Lazard has also made it clear he is probably leaving Green Bay. At 27, he finished with 60 catches, 788 yards, and six scores. I think the Falcons can get him at a reasonable price, and now they have their WR2.

Allen Lazard signs a two-year, $18 million deal.

Draft Ronnie Bell

Our first draft pick, Bell is the type of later round guy I like to take shots on. He was a leader for the Wolverines and was extremely productive, which is surprising considering how late he could potentially be available in this draft. Scouts are giving him a fourth round grade. Bell is a technician, and we saw him go off for 135 yards and a touchdown against TCU. I’ll take a gamble on him in the fourth round.

Falcons draft Ronnie Bell with pick 113

Kick the tires on an Elijah Moore trade

I’m not sure if Elijah Moore still wants out of New York, but he publicly requested a trade mid-season, and the Jets did not oblige. The Falcons should try to get him at a bargain; he had some fantastic games when Zach Wilson wasn’t leading the offense and is still a very dynamic weapon.

Consider Drafting Zay Flowers

Here’s what I had to say about Flowers in another piece:

Falcons fans might revolt if Atlanta takes another pass catcher in the first round, so I’ll pass on Quinten Johnson for now. Zay Flowers could be Arthur Smith’s new AJ Brown-lite — he is insanely explosive and made a ton of big plays for a subpar Boston College offense. He has strong hands and would be a fantastic slot option to make life easier on Desmond Ridder (or whoever the quarterback is in 2023).

With a couple of larger receivers, Flowers is a good change of pace guy that can make a couple explosive plays. He would be a strong option in the second or third round if he’s available.

Overhauled Rostered Wide Receivers

WR Drake London

WR Allen Lazard

WR Olamide Zaccheaus

WR Ronnie Bell

WR Frank Darby

With Frank Darby, these are the five guys the Falcons roll with in 2023. I think this is a much-improved wide receiver core for Desmond Ridder, and Atlanta should field a better passing attack in 2023.

Current Roster: 12

QB Desmond Ridder

QB Taylor Heinicke

RB Tyler Allgeier

RB Cordarrelle Patterson

RB Justin Jackson 

RB Avery Williams

RB Caleb Huntley

WR Drake London

WR Allen Lazard

WR Ronnie Bell

WR Olamide Zaccheaus

WR Frank Darby

Draft Picks Remaining

  • Round 1, Pick 8
  • Round 2, Pick 45
  • Round 3, Pick 76
  • Round 4, Pick 110 (from TEN)
  • Round 5, Pick 155 (from JAX)
  • Round 6, Pick 182
  • Round 7, Pick 226 (from LV)
  • Round 7, Pick 249 (from BUF)

2023 Cap Space Allotted: $14.4 Million

Quarterback: -$6 million

Running Back: $900k

Wide Receiver: $19.5 million

 

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