Taylor Gabriel Thanks Falcons, Suggests Free-Agency Exit from Atlanta

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2018

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel #18 of the Atlanta Falcons runs for several yards after avoiding a tackle by middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith #51 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of an NFL football game on December 18, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Taylor Gabriel appears headed for a change of scenery this spring.ย 

On Thursday, the impending free-agent wide receiver thanked the Atlanta Falcons in a message on Twitter and suggested he will be switching teams once the new league year begins:ย 

Gabriel, 27, spent the first two years of his career with the Cleveland Browns, but it wasn't until he landed with the Falcons in 2016 that he emerged as a household name.ย 

In 13 appearances, the speedster posted 35 receptions for 579 yards and six touchdownsโ€”all of which came over the season's final eight games.ย 

Gabriel's production waned in 2017 after former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan accepted a job as the San Francisco 49ers' head coach. As a result, he mustered 33 catches for 378 yards and one score.ย 

"I'm not sure what happened," Gabriel said of the down year, per ESPN.com'sย Vaughn McClure. "Just the offense, in general, we were just trying to get those explosive plays in. I'm not surprised that people were trying to take those deep balls away and take me out the game, as well. It's a lot of different things."

At 5'8'' and 165 pounds, it's unlikely Gabriel will ever emerge as a top-flight receiver.ย 

But with excellent vertical speed and the ability to burn defenders out of the slot or along the boundary, he should garner interest from teams in need of versatile additions to their passing games.ย 

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