The NFL trade deadline is a week away, and for the first time since 2017, the Falcons are in a position to buy.
However, it might not be wise considering a few circumstances. The Falcons are not Super Bowl contenders. No trade will change that either, so parting ways with valuable draft capital would be a poor use of resources unless there was a plan to extend that acquired player.
The Falcons also don’t have an obvious hole that needs filling. The most common position that fans and analysts suggest is an edge defender. The only problem with that is the current state of that unit.
Bud Dupree has improved over the last several weeks and is contributing valuable reps, and Arnold Ebiketie doesn’t need less playing time. A second-round pick developing should be at the forefront of Atlanta’s to-do list. Though a few trade targets would be an upgrade over Dupree and/or Ebiketie, at what cost?
There’s a very short list of available players that would be an upgrade over Dupree, and those players would cost considerable draft capital, which brings me back to my original point.
Unless the Falcons are planning on extending whoever they acquire, there’s no point in giving up draft capital for a rental in a season when the club has no hopes of winning a Super Bowl.
A scenario that I hadn’t thought of that might be more likely than acquiring a Danielle Hunter or Josh Uche is the Falcons trading a player away. Michael Rothstein of ESPN suggested Scotty Miller as a candidate.
It would be surprising to see Miller get moved, but he hasn’t had much production this season, and Atlanta traded for Van Jefferson earlier this month. Miller has four catches for 60 yards this season and has played just 21.9% of the offensive snaps, averaging 15 snaps per game this season. It appears he’s fourth on the receiver depth chart. Another name to watch here could be defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham, who was inactive for two games before playing Sunday. — Michael Rothstein
I think that Rothstein brought up the two players who are most likely to be traded in Miller and Graham, though neither is likely to actually be moved. Van Jefferson provides a lot of what Miller does as a pass catcher, and Graham has effectively been phased out of the defensive line rotation.
One name that wasn’t mentioned is DeAngelo Malone. The second-year edge defender hasn’t taken a single snap on defense this year, and there’s not a clear plan for the third-round pick. Malone was even reportedly going with the off-ball linebackers during individual practice drills. Selling low on a Day 2 pick halfway through his second season would be jarring, though.
I don’t expect anyone to be traded, and I also don’t expect the Falcons to acquire any big name player.