Bird Moves: Falcons Add To Offense, Part With Ridder

It was an active day at Flowery Branch, to say the least.

A day after the official signing of new quarterback Kirk Cousins broke news, the Atlanta Falcons kept making news, adding new offensive firepower, trading the quarterback Cousins was brought aboard to replace, and facing the possible wrath of the NFL for reportedly breaking “tampering” rules.

The Falcons landed more offensive weapons for Cousins by signing Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore. Moore averaged 6.4 yards per reception since 2022, according to NFL’s Next Generation Stats, putting him in 5th place among wide receivers with the most yards after catch per reception.

Moore has 1,201 receiving yards on 135 receptions to his credit. He played 39 games with the Cardinals, 23 he started.

To get Moore, the Falcons traded last year’s starting quarterback, Desmond Ridder, to the Cardinals. Ridder flustrated Falcons fans by constantly turning over the ball, throwing interceptions at the worst times, and making costly errors that led to Falcons losses.

With Ridder moving on, the Falcons may now need a backup quarterback. It’s not known if the Falcons will acquire one or pick one with this year’s draft.

The Falcons weren’t done making deals. NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported earlier this afternoon that the team is planning to sign another wide receiver, Ray-Ray McCloud. He will have a two-year contract worth up to $6 million. The Falcons did not confirm the deal.

McCloud has experience as a receiver and returner. He had 135 receiving yards on twelve receptions. He also returned 24 punts for 203 yards and 10 kick returns for 225 yards. He previously played for the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, and the Buffalo Bills.

The Falcons also locked down two team veterans, wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge, and offensive lineman Storm Norton. No details were given about their new contracts.

The Falcons’ deal-making for Cousins has apparently attracted unwanted attention from the NFL, who said they would be looking into potential tampering violations regarding negotiations between Cousins and the Falcons, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini. NFL rules say teams are not allowed to have direct contact with players during the “legal tampering” period. The allegations focus on Cousins speaking with the Falcon’s athletic trainer and public relations head before the end of the period on Wendesday.

“There’s great people here,” said Cousins during a live press conference Wendesday evening at Falcons headquarters. “And not just the football team. I mean, I’m looking at the support staff. Meeting, calling, yesterday, calling our head athletic trainer, talking to our head PR. I’m thinking, we got good people here.”

CBS Sports reports such investigations are “standard” for the NFL.