There were many good reasons to think Jaeden Graham would return to the Falcons in 2021. Atlanta will certainly feature multiple tight ends in the passing game more prominently than Dirk Koetter did, for starters, and there was literally no one behind Hayden Hurst on the depth chart heading into this offseason. Graham is also an affordable exclusive rights free agent, and the new assistant offensive line coach was his college tight ends coach.
The pieces fit, and thankfully Graham is back.
We have re-signed TE Jaeden Graham.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) March 12, 2021
In all likelihood, the Falcons will sign or draft another player who will slot in ahead of Graham on the depth chart, but there should still be a role for him. The 25-year-old fared well in 2019 in limited action, reeling in 9 receptions on 10 targets for 149 yards and a touchdown, but was almost completely mothballed in Koetter’s 2020 offense, seeing just 5 targets and coming away with 3 receptions for 25 yards. He’s an athletic, sure-handed option who at worst should see something along the lines of Geoff Swaim’s production as the third tight end in Tennessee, which was 12 targets, 9 catches, 83 yards and a touchdown.
Graham’s special teams value will keep him on the roster even if Smith doesn’t come up with any kind of real role for him on offense, as he’s been counted on there in each of the past two seasons. We welcome him back and we’ll see what this new-look offense will have in store for him in 2021.