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Falcons sign TE David Wells, place TE Ryan Becker on reserve/injured list

Atlanta adds another blocking tight end with Becker’s injury, and he’ll join a competition for the fourth tight end spot.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs-Training Camp Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have lost another player competing for a roster spot to injury, signing someone new to replace him. This time, it’s former Chiefs and Patriots tight end David Wells coming aboard, and tight end Ryan Becker heading to the reserve/injured list.

Becker, who was competing with Parker Hesse and John Raine for fourth tight end duties in 2021, becomes the second tight end reserve to suffer an injury before the season starts. This announcement does not designate Becker as a waived/injured player, meaning he’s presumably not ticketed for injured reserve just yet, but I do struggle a bit with the nuance of those rules in preseason. We’ll see if the team provides a timeline for his return or not, but it’s a bummer for him either way because it would appear to dent his chances of making this roster, if not eliminate them entirely.

Wells will now compete for that role. The 6’6” tight end is primarily a blocker and has spent time on the practice squad for both the Chiefs and the Patriots after beginning his career as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys. He’ll have a couple of weeks to make a big push for a spot, but obviously it’s an uphill battle for him. We wish him well in the upcoming game against Miami.

If there is indeed a fourth spot open on this roster for a tight end, it now seems likely to go to Hesse or Raine. Hesse caught one ball for 8 yards and has had his impressive moments in training camp, while Raine led the team in receptions with 2 for 15 against Tennessee and has dabbled at both tight end and fullback, giving him versatility for a team that prizes it. The duo and Wells figure to dominate playing time the next couple of weeks in games against the Dolphins and Browns, with an eye on pushing for a roster spot and potentially a practice squad spot with final cuts just a short time away.

We’ll hope Becker’s healthy soon and see how this battle shakes out, but it’s a huge bummer that two interesting players competing for roles at tight end have been effectively removed from the competition by injuries.