It was reported by ESPN on March 29 that the Falcons had hosted Byrd, which ultimately led to an official deal.
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Byrd Also Visited the Las Vegas Raiders
Byrd, a product of the University of South Carolina, originally went undrafted in 2015.
However, a neighboring NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, signed him to their practice squad, which is where he spent his entire rookie season. It was a good year for Carolina as a whole as they made it to the Super Bowl, but Byrd didn’t get a chance to play a part in the team’s success that ultimately ended in a 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos.
The following season, Byrd made the 53-man roster, although he still didn’t see much playing time until 2017. Despite bouncing off and on injured reserve that year, he broke a franchise record by returning a 103-yard kickoff against the Bucs in Week 16, which also resulted in Carolina’s first kickoff-return TD since 2011. The impressive touchdown earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
The 29-year-old entered 2018 as the team’s lead punt returner but his season was, once again, cut short after breaking his arm for the second time. The Cardinals picked him up as a 2019 free agent and he spent a single season, where he recorded a career-high 32 watched for 359 yards and a touchdown.
The next year, Byrd found himself on a one-year deal with New England where he logged an even better season of 47 catches for 609 yards and a touchdown.
He landed another single-season deal with Chicago in 2021 as a reserve, catching 26 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown.
Aside from visiting Atlanta, Byrd also had a chance to visit the Las Vegas Raiders, but it’s likely the Falcons had a better edge to sign him since the former Bears’ general manager, Ryan Pace, is now in the Falcons’ front office.
Byrd is the Third FA Wideout Atlanta Signed
Byrd marks the third free-agent wide receiver that the Falcons have inked so far.
Atlanta also signed KhaDarel Hodge last week to a one-year deal.
Hodge, 27, originally signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Since then, he’s bounced around the league with stops at the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. In fours seasons thus far, he has 30 receptions for 430 yards. He’s coming off a 2021 season that saw a career-high of 13 catches on 27 targets for 157 yards in Detroit.
In addition to Hodge and Byrd, the Falcons signed former Cincinnati Bengals’ wideout Auden Tate to a one-year contract.
Tate, 25, was a seventh-round selection by the Bengals in the 2018 NFL Draft. His NFL career kicked off slowly as he totaled just four receptions for 35 yards as a rookie.
During A.J. Green’s absence in 2019, his production increased and still remains his best season yet where he finished the year as Cincy’s second-leading receiver with 40 catches for 575 yards and a score. Unfortunately for Tate, he didn’t play much of a part in the Bengals’ Super Bowl appearance this past year as he was sidelined with a calf injury for most of the year. In fact, he has spent back-to-back seasons on the injured reserve list since 2019. Through four NFL seasons thus far, Tate has totaled 799 receiving yards on 61 receptions, averaging 13.1 yards a catch and two touchdowns.
The Falcons’ wide receiver depth chart now consists of Auden Tate, Olamide Zaccheaus, Damiere Byrd, KhaDarel Hodge, Frank Darby and Austin Trammell.