The Atlanta Falcons have added another offensive weapon.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday that the Falcons acquired Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson. In the deal for Jefferson, the Falcons and Rams also exchanged late 2025 draft picks.
At one time, Jefferson appeared to be a major part of Los Angeles’ future. In 2021, Jefferson recorded 50 receptions for 802 yards and 6 touchdowns while averaging 16 yards per catch.
But he started the 2022 season on injured reserve. He returned in Week 7 and then never really recaptured a major role in the Rams offense.
Jefferson didn’t surpass 50 receiving yards in a game until Week 17 last season. This year, he hasn’t had more than 46 yards in a single contest.
In five games, Jefferson has 8 receptions for 108 yards this season. He didn’t have a target in Week 5, and his playing time was expected to diminish even more with the return of Cooper Kupp.
With the Falcons, though, Jefferson has a chance to challenge Mack Hollins for the No. 2 receiving role in Atlanta’s offense.
Assuming quarterback Desmond Ridder can continue to hit deep passes as he did at times in Week 5, Jefferson will be able to take the top off defenses. He has averaged 14.8 yards per catch in his career.
During 2021, 12 of his 50 receptions went for at least 20 yards.
Just the mere presence of Jefferson could force opposing safeties to line up farther away from the line of scrimmage. Hopefully for Atlanta, that opens up more running lanes for Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier.
Jefferson could also take away coverage from Atlanta’s other deep threats — Drake London and Kyle Pitts.
Real improvement for the Falcons offense will still come down to Ridder. But Atlanta is surrounding the young quarterback with as many playmakers as possible to give him the best chance to succeed.