The Atlanta Falcons have taken a step towards re-signing at least one of their free agent receivers.
Olamide Zaccheaus has been tendered by the Falcons according the Adam Schefter. The tender give Atlanta the right of first refusal for a contract offer at $2.433 million.
Zaccheaus (24) enjoyed a solid 2021 season with Atlanta. He had 31 catches for 406 yards and three touchdowns, making him the team’s fourth leading receiver behind Kyle Pitts, Russell Gage and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Gage and Patterson are also free agents.
Frank Darby is the only wide receiver currently under contract with the Falcons, and the second-year pro had just one catch for 14 yards as a rookie in 2021.
The Falcons are in desperate need of wide receivers and are hopeful of bringing back Gage as well as Zaccheaus, but if the early market is any indication, the cash-strapped Falcons will have trouble holding onto their prized free agents.
Linebacker Foye Oluokun signed a massive deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday. Oluokun led the NFL in tackles in 2021 and saw his compensation go from roughly $2 million with the Falcons to $15 million on the open market with the Jaguars.
Patterson was a steal at $3 million in 2021, but he may be able to at least triple his money as a free agent and a breakout season with the Falcons.
Gage is one of the most attractive receivers in free agency. Gage had 66 catches for 770 yards and four touchdowns last year. He’s still just 25 years old and sat back and watched Christian Kirk sign a four-year $84 million contract with the…. Jaguars.
Kirk, also 25-years old, had a career high 77 catches for 982 yards and five touchdowns in 2021.
Half of that deal would likely price Gage out of the Falcons market, prompting the move to secure Zacceaus while he’s still affordable.
The Falcons will need to sit back and wait for the early deals to happen before bargain shopping for several positions including wide receiver. They’ve cleared up considerable cap room over the last week including restructuring Matt Ryan’s contract, but they’re still 16th in the NFL in available cap space at $16 million according to Spotrac.
The Falcons will also look to the draft to address their need at wide receiver. The Falcons have six of the top-151 picks, and it appears to be a deep class of receivers this year. Expect Atlanta to come out of the draft with at least one of the speedy receivers that showed off at the NFL Combine.