Falcons Sign Ex-Cardinals Tight End

Ryan Becker

Getty Tight end Ryan Becker #80 of the Arizona Cardinals.

After being quiet the past few days during free agency, the Atlanta Falcons signed tight end Ryan Becker on Tuesday afternoon.

Becker joins the Falcons following a stint with the Arizona Cardinals, who signed him as an undrafted free agency after last year’s NFL Draft. He spent the summer with the team but failed to make the final roster cut.

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Becker Joins Lee Smith as a Blocking Tight End

While the Falcons signing another tight end in free agency might come as a concern that they are done with the position, don’t count out Atlanta drafting Kyle Pitts at No. 4 overall just yet.

Becker joins the Falcons’ other tight end signing this offseason, Lee Smith, as more of a blocker at the position than a pass catcher. In four seasons, 46 games, and 15 starts at Southern Methodist University, Smith caught just 16 balls for 198 receiving yards with five touchdowns.

The 6-foot-5 and 250-pound tight end will spend his offseason competing with Jaeden Graham and Smith for a spot on the Falcons depth chart behind Hayden Hurst and possibly (maybe) Pitts.

As for Smith, he adds veteran depth after entering the league in 2011 as a fifth-round pick of the New England Patriots. Over that time span,  Smith has played in 133 games with 73 starts, totaling 64 receptions for 458 yards (7.2 yards per reception) and ten touchdowns.

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Pitts is a Versatile Weapon, Unlike Becker

“A versatile weapon,” “the most dangerous weapon,” “a unicorn,” are all phrases that have been said to describe Pitts this offseason.

The Falcons heavily linked to Pitts isn’t going to go away as he’s considered to be the best player available outside the quarterback position. He’s considered better than LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase or even Alabama wideouts DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle who are also among the top prospects in the 2021 draft class.

“He’s a guy that has the opportunity to be a top-10 pick in the NFL draft, a phenomenal athlete, the premier tight end, I think, in the country,” Gators head coach Dan Mullen told reporters when Pitts declared for the draft. “I give him a lot of credit for working his tail off to try to get healthy enough to go play last night’s game. Had a huge game. We talked that he’s going to go prepare for that next step.”

As an Associated Press First Team All-American, Pitts became the first Florida Gator to be named a first-team All-American since Vernon Hargreaves in 2015. And his 12 touchdowns through just eight games last season are the second-most by a tight end in SEC history.

As you can see, Becker and Pitts are two completely different species, but both would some much-needed help to the Falcons’ offense.



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