The NFL trade deadline is a week away, and the Falcons are in the driver’s seat of the NFC South after notching their first road victory with Desmond Ridder as starting quarterback.
There’s certainly a case to be made that Atlanta is in a position to buy at this year’s deadline, which is a new reality for Falcons fans. The club hasn’t been in this situation since 2017, but Terry Fontenot probably shouldn’t be looking to make any blockbuster deals.
Value and depth are two key criteria that must be present for a Falcons trade to come to fruition. With the uncertainty at the quarterback position, it would be gross mismanagement to levy draft capital to win this year.
The only way any hypothetical trade happens is if the Falcons extend the player acquired. In a recent CBS trade hypothetical, Fontenot makes a deal with Joe Douglas to acquire Jets pass rusher Carl Lawson in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
New York paid Lawson big bucks to join the D-line back in 2021, but he’s no longer needed in Robert Saleh’s ferocious front. Atlanta, meanwhile, is perpetually in need of pass-rushing assistance. Call it a classic low-risk, high-reward swap for a former standout veteran with a once-bloated contract.
A sixth-round pick isn’t breaking the bank, so fans shouldn’t get too hung up on the draft capital, but there are a couple of issues I have with this potential Falcons trade.
First off, the edge group isn’t in a position to surrender snaps. Bud Dupree has been more than adequate in his role and has really come along in the last couple of weeks. Arnold Ebiketie also needs all the reps he can get. Secondly, acquiring Carl Lawson for any draft capital at all without a plan to potentially extend him doesn’t make sense to me.
There are multiple layers to this, though. If the Falcons believe Lawson can provide a different skill set than what’s currently in the building, it makes sense to pull the trigger. Moreover, the club hasn’t exactly proved that sixth-round picks are useful around here.
I am for any Falcons trade that doesn’t mortgage the future because there’s no reason to go all-in at this juncture with Desmond Ridder.
Photographer: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire