Yesterday, the Tennessee Titans cut ties with Kalif Raymond, choosing not to offer a tender to the restricted free agent. It’s now possible that the wide receiver and punt returner could join his former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith in Atlanta.
It was just the other day that I compared Olamide Zaccheaus to Raymond, noting that Smith has had some success with speedy, 5’8” wide receivers in his passing game. Raymond has just 18 catches over the past two seasons, but turned those into 357 yards and a touchdown, averaging nearly 20 yards per catch. In addition to that speed, Raymond was a productive returner, averaging 9 yards per punt return.
That combination could make him attractive in Atlanta, which currently has only a couple of returner options under contract—Chris Rowland, Zaccheaus, and probably exclusive rights free agent Tyler Hall soon—and is likely to be in the market for receiver depth. Raymond’s intriguing ability in the open field makes him worth exploring for a team stacked with receiving options that can get him favorable coverage.
What’s working against a Raymond signing? For starters, the presence of Zaccheaus, who based on his limited opportunities over the last two years offers intriguing upside as a receiving option. There’s also the specter of a Jamal Agnew signing, given that Agnew was an extremely successful returner with Detroit under now-special teams coordinator Marquice Williams and is also a free agent, and the fact that Raymond probably doesn’t warrant a signing if he’s coming aboard solely to compete with a capable receiver in Zaccheaus.
Still, given his Tennessee ties, Raymond should join the likes of soon-to-be former Titans like Adam Humphries, D’Onta Foreman, and Geoff Swaim as affordable signings Arthur Smith is familiar with already. If we ever get clarity on the NFL’s salary cap picture, his is a name worth remembering.