The association between NFL teams and media is a mutually beneficial one that has complex nuances threaded in the fabric of the relationship. The media benefits from NFL teams via inside information, and NFL teams benefit from the media in more ways than one. Sometimes organizations will trade inside information for a positive story on the franchise for publicity purposes, but other times, executives will use the media as a tool for misdirection. Terry Fontenot has run a tight ship since taking over the Falcons, but per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Atlanta has had conversations pertaining to trading down from their fourth overall pick.
The first three picks are spoken for. And that leaves the Falcons as a team to watch—one that’s going to have to make a decision on its pick with some complicated finances at quarterback (due to all Matt Ryan’s restructures), and a team in need of cheaper young talent with which to surround its core. My guess has been that the Falcons will stick at No. 4 and take a quarterback, because I don’t think they want to count on picking that high again and this happens to be a really strong year at the position. But I do know they’re open to the idea of trading the pick and have had exploratory talks with other teams on a deal that would have someone else moving up to No. 4.
We already know the 49ers were interested in the fourth overall pick before they struck a blockbuster deal with the Dolphins, so this report shouldn’t be surprising nor passed off as breaking news; of course, there have been conversations regarding a trade back. Miami received two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft in exchange for the third overall pick. Before that deal came to fruition, John Lynch was inquiring about trading up to picks three, four, and five, which directly points to Terry Fontenot having conversations about exactly what this “report” seems to be breaking.
There is a plural sense to the report, which points to more than just the 49ers as possible suitors for a trade. There’s no real validity to any of what Breer is saying as he offers his “feeling” about what Fontenot will do but does know Atlanta is “open” to the idea of trading the fourth overall pick. This seems to be the exact part of the relationship between teams and media that is so frustrating. It isn’t groundbreaking that this report comes a week after reports surfaced of the possible trade between the Falcons and 49ers.
It does show that Fontenot and the Falcons are “willing” to entertain trade conversations, but that should be expected. Atlanta’s front office should explore every avenue and check every box before the draft. There is still the possibility of drafting someone like Penei Sewell or Kyle Pitts as the best player on the board at four, but a quarterback seems to be more and more likely. Again, what is and isn’t a smokescreen, I don’t know, but Fontenot is surely making it seem he’s interested in taking a quarterback, which could be a diversion as to his true intentions. All I know is how climatic April’s draft will be, regardless of what Fontenot and Arthur Smith decide.
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