Falcons Named ‘Wild Card’ Candidate to Trade for 1,000-Yard WR

Kenny Golladay

Getty The Falcons are a "wild-card candidate" to trade for this unhappy, 1000-yd receiver.

Calvin Ridley’s indefinite suspension was supposed to leave the Atlanta Falcons short at wide receiver, but Arthur Smith’s team has looked anything but through three games. Instead, the Falcons already have a budding star leading the position group, in the form of eighth-overall pick Drake London.

The rookie is getting terrific support from tight end Kyle Pitts, with both playmakers fitting what Smith likes in the passing game. Namely, tall targets who can win physical mismatches and turn errant throws into completions.

Smith’s formula is paying dividends, but the Falcons would still welcome another towering pass-catcher to ease the burden on Pitts and London. Fortunately, there’s a two-time 1,000-yard receiver who is unhappy with his lack of playing time in the NFC East and might be traded.

The Falcons have been named among three “wild card candidates” who could be tempted to strike a deal for this disgruntled former Pro Bowler.

Falcons Put in the Mix for Giants’ WR

Kenny Golladay hasn’t been shy about expressing his unhappiness with the way he’s been used by the New York Giants this season. Golladay’s griping has increased speculation he may be traded before the deadline on Saturday, November 1.

The Falcons could be interested, according to NFL.com’s Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm, who cited Golladay’s physical fit for the Atlanta offense.

“Would the Falcons be interested? They have a basketball-type lineup on offense, with Kyle Pitts and Drake London in the frontcourt, Marcus Mariota at point guard and Cordarrelle Patterson as the … shooting guard? But they still could use another wing with length, which Golladay could provide. It’s an option to consider, which would move Olamide Zaccheaus into more of a ‘sixth man’ role. OK, maybe we didn’t need the full-court press on the hoops metaphor, but you get the idea.”

Trade speculation involving Golladay is on more than a slow burn after he went public with his discontent ahead of Week 3’s 23-16 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, per SNY’s Giants Videos:

Golladay’s confidence surely comes from the mammoth $72 million contract he signed with the Giants in 2021. The deal, as well as his two 1,000-yard seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2018 and 2019, obviously make Golladay believe he belongs on the field.

Unfortunately for the 28-year-old, he saw precious little playing time during the Giants’ 2-0 start under new head coach Brian Daboll. Golladay made just two catches against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 and wasn’t target at all a week later against the Carolina Panthers.

The paltry output fuelled more trade rumors, with NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reporting that “a trade, however, is possible. Simply, the Giants would eat much of the salary, allowing another team to trade for an effectively low-cost Golladay.”

Rapoport’s notion the Giants would absorb part of Golladay’s deal to get rid of him was endorsed by Albert Breer of The MMQB, who revealed the team was “more than willing to take on a significant chunk of his salary to move Kenny Golladay before the roster cutdown, to no avail.”

All signs point toward Golladay being available, particularly after the way things unfolded against the Cowboys. While his recent performances leave a lot to be desired, he remains an intriguing scheme fit for the Falcons.

Golladay’s a Prototype for Smith’s Offense

Golladay may not have many fans left after his call for more targets yielded nothing against the Cowboys, per StatMuse.

Attendance at the Golladay fan club is waning, but Smith could still be an admirer. After all, 6’4″, 214-pound Golladay is an ideal physical match for the coach’s offensive blueprint.

Bigger is better is the philosophy for this season’s passing game, but options dwindle beyond London and Pitts. Bryan Edwards was supposed to be a productive third choice, but the former draft pick of the Las Vegas Raiders the Falcons traded for this offseason was a healthy scratch for Week 3’s 27-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

In Edwards’ absence, KhaDarel Hodge didn’t catch a pass on 11 snaps, while Frank Darby and Jared Bernhardt also drew a blank, despite sharing 14 snaps equally. The picture is clear: there’s room for another viable target in the Falcons’ passing game.

Golladay is seemingly available and possesses a stronger pedigree than Edwards, Hodge, Darby and Bernhardt. The pedigree comes from a Pro-Bowl appearance in 2019, the same year Golladay topped the league with 11 touchdown catches.

Falcons’ general manager Terry Fontenot has created space for a trade, if needed. There’s $8,178,695 worth of room under the salary cap, according to Spotrac.com, so the right deal for a receiver of Golladay’s frame and talent is something the Falcons ought to consider.

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