The Falcons have remade their receiving corps this offseason out of necessity, not desire. Calvin Ridley is suspended, Russell Gage has departed for Tampa Bay, and the team has had a burning need for veteran additions who have some upside or history of production so Marcus Mariota has some options to throw to this year.
The Falcons aren’t done yet—there may be more signings and there will definitely be at least one draft pick—but that receiving corps is beginning to take shape. Damiere Byrd will almost certainly be a major part of it in 2022.
Speedy WR Damiere Byrd signing with the Falcons on a one-year deal, per source.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 1, 2022
Byrd is now the most experienced player in this group. Where Olamide Zaccheaus and Auden Tate bring a mixed history of production and interesting upside to the table, and where Frank Darby is basically an intriguing unknown after a quiet rookie season, Byrd has been a consistently productive reserve for three different teams over the past three seasons. His speed and quality hands, plus that experience, figure to make him no worse than the third receiver on this depth chart, but regardless of where he settles in, he’ll be a reliable target with the potential to make a few highlight reel plays if he can get away from his man.
Atlanta does not, no matter how hard you squint, have a proven top receiver anywhere on this roster. They’ll add someone they love via the draft and both Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson will get run at receiver, obviating the need for top options to some extent, but in many ways this is a receiving corps filled with guys who can give you a little bit of production but may have higher upside with a larger opportunity. Byrd probably won’t be the guy who breaks out—at 29, he’s also the oldest receiver in this group—but he’s also the most likely to emerge as a reliable option for Mariota and this passing game. That makes him a good signing.
Also, yes, he was a Chicago Bear last season. Ryan Pace’s shopping list must almost be complete at this point.