The Falcons‘ roster is in a better state this year than ever before under the new regime’s tenure. Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have done an excellent job this offseason bolstering the club’s depth chart with starting and rotational caliber talent.
Still, the pair have been adamant Atlanta isn’t afraid to add to a strength. Look no further than the selections of Bijan Robinson and Matthew Bergeron. Running back and offensive line were two of the most robust position groups on the roster, but the Falcons chose to spend a first and second-round pick to bolster those units.
Now, they might have a chance to do the same with the defensive line. It’s been completely overhauled and gone from the worst unit last year to arguably the best in 2023, with a potential opportunity to add an All-Pro pass rusher.
According to Ian Rapoport, the Vikings are receiving trade calls centered around star defender Danielle Hunter, and as Rapoport notes, the interest is real. The former LSU Tiger is severely underpaid, which is the reason for the inquiries, but Minnesota has been unable to hammer out a new deal with Hunter.
Insert the Falcons. If there is one type of player the Falcons don’t have, it’s a premier pass rusher. Arnold Ebiketie could prove to develop into that role, but Lorenzo Carter and Bud Dupree aren’t those guys. And even if Ebiketie turns into a star, defenses can never have enough pass rushers. The Falcons should absolutely pick up the phone.
Not only is Hunter worth the trade compensation, but he’s also worth the subsequent contract extension he’ll garner. It would pair the Falcons young pass rush with a proven commodity and turn this 2023 defensive front into one of the most menacing in the league.
He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and has logged 12.5, 14.5 (twice), and 10.5 sacks across seven seasons. Danielle Hunter is one of the elite edge defenders in this league, and they don’t become available often.
Chase Young has also been rumored to be available, but he’s not even in the same conversation as Hunter. The Vikings are likely expecting a haul of draft picks, and the Falcons have the assets to acquiesce Minnesota’s demands, as well as the cap space to ink Hunter to a new contract.
It makes a lot of sense for Atlanta if he becomes available.