Coming into this season, the wide receiver position was a huge question mark for the Los Angeles Rams.
Even though they had a ton of talent in the room, Cooper Kupp was dealing with a hamstring injury, and outside of him, their wide receiving corps was filled with a lot of inexperienced guys like Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, Puka Nacua and Ben Skowronek.
Jefferson by far had the most experience of that bunch, being a key contributor during the Rams’ Super Bowl run in 2021.
So far this season though, the Rams’ wide receiving corps has been a very pleasant surprise, although Jefferson has not contributed much to that. Kupp returned in Week 5 and looked like his normal dominant self while Nacua has been one of the breakout young stars in the NFL through the first five weeks, setting all kinds of records. Atwell has played his role as well, developing into the speed threat the Rams though he could be when they drafted him in the second round out of Louisville.
With those three getting a majority of the snaps, Jefferson was in for just two plays in Week 5. On the season, he has just eight catches for 108 yards.
Considering Jefferson is fourth on the Rams’ depth chart and doesn’t have much of a role, the organization is reportedly looking to trade the wideout, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN:
#Rams are looking into trading wide receiver Van Jefferson, per source. L.A. has been in contact with Jefferson’s agent, with the player open to a new home.
Jefferson was a big part of the Rams’ 2021 Super Bowl run but hasn’t been featured this year and played 2 snaps Sunday. pic.twitter.com/RC6fQHQLzl
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 10, 2023
It didn’t take long for the Rams to get a deal done as Jefferson is being traded to the Falcons for a late-round draft swap in 2025, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:
Sources: The #Falcons have agreed to trade for #Rams WR Van Jefferson. It’s a 2025 pick swap — 6th and 7th rounders. They hope to recapture his play from 2021. A low-risk, high-reward deal. pic.twitter.com/r5eowZIWjC
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 10, 2023
This makes all the sense in the world for both parties as Jefferson is in the final year of his rookie contract, unlikely to be re-signed by the Rams this offseason. So them being able to get anything back for him will be a huge positive, and from Jefferson’s perspective, he can find another team where he can actually get playing time to showcase his skills before testing free agency.
Jefferson is a very talented player as a former second round pick that had 802 yards and six touchdowns in the 2021 season, and the Falcons are a team that can use some help at the wide receiver position.
While it’s unfortunate to lose a key member of the 2021 Super Bowl team, hopefully Jefferson can reestablish himself as a quality receiver in Atlanta.