The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Edwards went over the 80-yard receiving barrier three times last season. He played an integral role in the Raiders’ playoff-clinching win over the Chargers in Week 18, as he caught four of five targets for 63 yards.
Edwards joins a Falcons offense that includes rookie first-round pick Drake London, former Bengals receivers Auden Tate, veteran wideout Damiere Byrd and running back/receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Edwards will reunite with quarterback Marcus Mariota, who served as Derek Carr’s backup in Las Vegas over the past two seasons.
Edwards isn’t a star, but he is a young (he turns 24 in November) yet experienced player who should be entering his most productive seasons. He also adds depth to a Falcons receiving corps that is devoid of a big-name veteran wideout. Edwards’ experience with Mariota, along with the fact that he is still playing under a team-friendly rookie contract, led to the high trade grade.
Here’s our initial grades for the trade that sent Edwards to Atlanta.
During his two seasons in Las Vegas, Edwards, a third-round choice in the 2020 NFL Draft, caught 45 catches for 764 yards and four touchdowns. Edwards collected 34 of 59 targets for 571 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games last season, averaging 16.8 yards per reception. In the Raiders’ wild-card playoff defeat to the Bengals, he caught three catches for 41 yards.
Edwards played collegiately at South Carolina, where over four seasons he caught 234 passes for 3,045 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also returned 12 punts while averaging 11.6 yards per return.
The timing of this trade is somewhat odd, with free agency season largely over and minicamp just around the corner. Las Vegas also didn’t get much in return for a player who should be entering his prime. The Raiders certainly have receiver depth, however, with Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Demarcus Robinson and Keelan Cole in tow, so losing Edwards won’t hurt them unless there are multiple injuries to their receiving corps during the season. The Raiders shed roughly $2.7 million in cap space over the next two years by moving Edwards to Atlanta.