Grading the Falcons trade for Van Jefferson

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Even though the NFL trade deadline is just about three weeks away, Terry Fontenot isn’t sitting on his hands. Ian Rapoport reported yesterday of the Falcons trade for Van Jefferson.

The former second-round pick fell out of favor in Sean McVay’s offense with the emergence of rookie star Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp returning from injured reserve. Over five games, Jefferson has recorded just 108 yards on eight catches, clearly being phased out of Los Angeles’ offense.

Seth Walder graded the trade, and I will give my own grade and a reaction to his.

Grade for the Falcons: B

I’m pretty pessimistic about the idea that Jefferson will thrive in a new environment given all the negative numbers above. But at the same time, who is he replacing? After Drake London, the Falcons wide receivers are Mack Hollins (I like Hollins, though, and think he’s a better player than Jefferson), KhaDarel Hodge and Scott Miller. Can Jefferson add something to that room? Sure, the Falcons could probably use some depth help beyond London and Hollins.

It’s a low-risk and potentially high-reward move. Jefferson’s speed brings an element to the offense that has been missing through five games — a deep threat.

In theory, his presence should provide more explosive plays, while simultaneously opening up the underneath for Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Jonnu Smith because of the threat he brings to take the top off the defense.

Now, that is the best-case scenario. Falcons fans shouldn’t get their hopes up that Van Jefferson reverts to his 2021 production. What’s more likely is that he mimics Bryan Edwards’ stint in Atlanta, brief and forgettable. In reality, the most likely scenario is always somewhere in the middle.

My guess? This Falcons trade will end up as one that is somewhat impactful but nothing earth-shattering.

This one isn’t hard to grade at all, though. For the Falcons, they gave up minimal draft capital for a particular skill set that Arthur Smith’s offense was missing. I think Walder nailed it — B. That grade could potentially turn into an A, depending on Jefferson’s integration into the offense.

Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

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