FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons bolstered their thin ranks at receiver by acquiring Bryan Edwards from the Las Vegas Raiders on Friday.
The Falcons are sending a fifth-round pick in 2023 to Las Vegas, while also acquiring a seventh-rounder next year from the Raiders.
In other moves, Atlanta released cornerback Kendall Sheffield, a fourth-round pick in 2019, and tight end Ryan Becker.
Edwards was originally selected by the Raiders in the third round (No. 81 overall) of the 2020 draft out of South Carolina. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver has 45 receptions for 764 yards and four touchdowns in 28 games over two seasons with the Raiders, making 15 starts.
The deal means that Las Vegas’ top five picks from the 2020 draft are no longer with the team. First-rounders Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette were cut last season for off-field issues, and now three third-rounders from that year are gone.
Las Vegas traded Lynn Bowden Jr. to Miami during his first training camp, and Tanner Muse was cut without ever playing a snap for the team.
Edwards joins a rebuilding Falcons team that traded Julio Jones last summer and didn’t have Calvin Ridley for most of last season because of mental issues. Ridley has since been suspended for the entire 2022 season after the NFL found he gambled on league games while away from the Falcons.
The Raiders also finalized a deal for backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, sending a sixth-round pick to the Patriots for Stidham and a seventh-rounder. Stidham reunites with coach Josh McDaniels, who was his offensive coordinator the past three seasons in New England.
Atlanta’s receiving corps is led by rookie Drake London, the No. 8 overall selection from Southern California and the first wideout selected in this year’s draft.
Olamide Zaccheaus has been the only other receiver on the roster who had as many as 31 catches in the NFL last season. Now he’s joined by Edwards, who made 34 catches for 571 yards and scored three TDs in 2021.
Sheffield, who played at Ohio State, started 20 games over his first two seasons with the Falcons. But he began last season on injured reserve and wound up playing only nine games with no starts.
He was cut on the first day of Atlanta’s two-day rookie minicamp.