Falcons trade for Bryan Edwards, release Kendall Sheffield

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Falcons coach Arthur Smith on acquiring wide receiver Bryan Edwards from the Raiders.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons on Friday afternoon made three roster moves, including the acquisition of a wide receiver and the release of defensive back Kendall Sheffield.

The Falcons acquired wide receiver Bryan Edwards from the Raiders, along with a seventh-round pick in next year’s draft. The Falcons sent a 2023 fifth-round pick to Las Vegas.

“We agreed to the trade for Bryan Edwards,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said Saturday. “We’re excited. We’ll get him in for a physical here soon and it will be complete.”

In a corresponding move, the Falcons released Sheffield and tight end Ryan Becker.

For the Raiders last season, Edwards, who’s 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, started 12 of the 16 games in which he played and caught 34 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns. In 28 games over two seasons, Edwards averaged 17.0 yards per reception. The Raiders drafted him in the third round (81st overall) of the 2020 NFL draft out of South Carolina.

“He is a guy who we think fits,” Smith said. “He’ll be in that receiver room, compete and help us. He’s a guy who can win outside one-on-one. He certainly knows how to play in traffic inside the numbers.”

The Falcons drafted Sheffield in the fourth round in 2019 out of Ohio State.

In 2021, Sheffield began the season on injured reserve after missing most of training camp with a foot injury. He remained on IR until October and then played sparingly in nine games, with no starts. In three seasons with the Falcons, Sheffield played in 38 games, making 20 starts. He recorded no interceptions for the team.

The Falcons signed Becker to the active roster in February.

The Falcons are stockpiling bigger receivers. In addition to Edwards, they drafted rookie Drake London (6-4, 220) and signed KhaDarel Hodge (6-2, 205) Auden Tate (6-5, 205) to go along with Cordarrelle Patterson (6-2, 227) and have second-year tight end Kyle Pitts (6-6, 245).

“CP is a unique player,” Smith said. “Drake, the reason we took him is he’s a guy certainly who can make contested catches and win one-on-ones. A guy who plays inside the numbers. Bryan is the same way. This guy has made big plays.”

Smith has been watching Edwards since he was with the offensive coordinator with the Titans.

“We’re excited,” Smith said. “He’s not even 23 years old yet. We really liked him he was coming out. ... The trade makes sense for us, makes sense for both sides.”

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