Atlanta Falcons Acquire Wide Receiver Van Jefferson in Trade with the LA Rams

Posted on: October 11, 2023, 10:06h. 

Last updated on: October 11, 2023, 12:04h.

The Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons have agreed on a trade for wide receiver Van Jefferson. The Rams will send Jefferson and a seventh-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Van Jefferson Rams
Indianapolis Colts defensive back JuJu Brents tackles Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson during an overtime victory in Week 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Image: Getty)

The NFL trade deadline is on October 31, and the Rams were one of the first teams to make headlines with the Jefferson trade.

The addition of Jefferson provides the Falcons with much-needed depth in their wide receiver room.

During his four-year tenure with the Rams, Jefferson contributed 101 receptions for 1,499 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was a part of the squad that won Super Bowl LVI.

The Rams (2-3) are in third place in the NFC West, which is led by the undefeated San Francisco 49ers (5-0). The 49ers are a huge favorite to win the division at -800 odds, while the Rams are a long shot to win the NC West at +2000.

Falcons Upgrade Offense With Jefferson

The Falcons are the sixth-lowest scoring team in the NFL, averaging 16.6 points per game. Their passing offense generates 195 air yards per game, which is ranked #23 in the league. The Falcons are ranked #21 in Offensive DVOA, according to advanced analytics.

The Falcons are 3-2 this season, with a clear-cut home/away split. All three of their victories were at home, and both their losses were on the road.

The Falcons average 23.3 points per game at home, yet only average 6.5 points per game on the road. Quarterback Desmond Ridder plays better at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is a dome.

The Falcons’ run-heavy offense relies on the rushing tandem of rookie Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. Their passing game needs a boost, but the wide receivers aren’t playing a primary role in the overall game plan. Two tight ends lead the team in receiving yards. Meanwhile, a tight end and running back are tied for the team lead in receptions.

Tight end Jonnu Smith leads the Falcons in receiving yards (246), and he’s tied with Robinson for the team lead in receptions (21). Tight end Kyle Pitts is ranked second on the Falcons with 208 receiving yards.

Ridder connected on only four touchdown passes this season. London and Robinson are both tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions with two each.

The Falcons selected London with the #8 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He caught 17 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns this season. His numbers are low for a WR #1, but the Falcons aren’t getting him the ball.

Jefferson should slide into the WR #2 spot behind London, and ahead of sparsely used veterans Mack Hollins and KhaDarel Hodge. Hollins and Hodge combined for 13 catches this season.

Jefferson Odd Man Out in LA

All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp returned to the Rams after starting the season on the IR with a hamstring injury. During his absence, rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua took the league by storm by posting record-setting numbers in his first three games.

Jefferson was the odd man out on the Rams with Kupp back in the lineup and Nacua establishing himself as Matthew Stafford’s favorite target. Nacua is currently one of the top three betting favorites to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. In five games with the Rams, Nacua caught 46 passes for 572 yards and two touchdowns.

Tight end Tyler Higbee is ranked third on the Rams in receptions (18), targets (29), and yards (216). Higbee was another teammate who Jefferson was in fierce competition with for targets.

Jefferson caught eight passes for 108 yards in four games. He was a healthy scratch in Week 5 and didn’t play against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tutu Atwell is now the WR #3 on the Rams, and the third-year player has 24 catches for 279 yards and two touchdowns.

The Rams also have veteran wide receivers Demarcus Robinson, Ben Skowronek, and Austin Trammell on the roster.

Falcons Eye Playoffs in NFC South

After the first five weeks of the season, three teams in the NFC South have three wins. The division winner will earn an automatic playoff berth, and the Falcons see a clear path to the postseason if they can win the NFC South.

The Falcons have a win total of 9.5 over/under and a favorable schedule for the remainder of the season. The Falcons are -130 odds to make the playoffs, according to a prop bet by DraftKings. You can fade them at +110 odds to miss the postseason.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers occupy first place in the NFC South with a 3-1 record, and they had an early bye in Week 5. The Falcons (3-2) and New Orleans Saints (3-2) are tied for second place. The last place Carolina Panthers (0-5) are the only team in the NFL who have yet to win a game.

The Falcons and Saints are co-favorites to win the NFC South at +175 odds. The Bucs are right behind them at +200 odds.