The Atlanta Falcons are bringing back veteran wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus on a one-year deal, the team announced on Tuesday, April 19.
Just one day before the start of free agency on March 16, the Falcons had tendered Zaccheaus at the right-of-first-refusal number of $2.433 million.
This meant that the Falcons would have the right to match any offer Zaccheaus received from another team. There’s no telling if Zaccheaus had other offers outside of Atlanta, but if he did, the Falcons did what they needed to do to keep him.
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Zacchaeus Enters 2022 Fresh Off of His Best Season to Date
Zaccheaus joined the Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia in 2019. He finished his rookie year with three receptions for 115 yards and a score. He also added two tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown on special teams.
With the absence of Julio Jones, Zaccheaus saw his production increase in 2020 when he recorded had his first 100-yard game. Playing in 11 games, he had 20 receptions for 274 yards and one touchdown.
2021 was Zaccheaus’ best season yet as he logged career-highs of 31 receptions for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
In three seasons overall, Zaccheaus has played in 38 games with 10 starts where he has caught 54 of 90 targets for 795 yards and five touchdowns.
With Calvin Ridley suspended for at least a year, Russell Gage headed to Tampa to join the Buccaneers and Tajae Sharpe still a free agent, Zaccaheaus currently sits as a starter on the Falcons’ wide receiver depth chart.
Falcons Add Impactful WRs in Free Agency
The Falcons went shopping in free agency last month and did rather well on the wide receiver front.
First, the team signed KhaDarel Hodge. 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.
Then the team inked Auden Tate. Tate, 25, was a seventh-round selection (253rd overall) by the Bengals in the 2018 draft. In four years, Tate has totaled 799 receiving yards on 61 receptions, averaging 13.1 yards a catch and two touchdowns. His best season came in 2019 where he finished the year as Cincy’s second-leading receiver with 40 catches for 575 yards and a touchdown. 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 season. In fact, he has spent back-to-back seasons on the injured reserve list, but he will have a chance to bounce back in Atlanta.
And most recently, the Falcons signed a speedster in Damiere Byrd. He spent 2021 on a single-season deal with Chicago as a reserve, catching 26 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown. Since joining the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015, he has caught 117 passes for 1,421 yards and five touchdowns. Byrd will have a chance to compete for a larger role this season.
The Falcons’ wide receiver depth chart now consists of Olamide Zaccheaus, Damiere Byrd, KhaDarel Hodge, Auden Tate, Frank Darby and Austin Trammell.
You can expect the list to grow in a week when the 2022 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 28.