Five blockbuster trade targets for the Falcons

NFL: OCT 22 Dolphins at Eagles

NFL free agency kicks off next week, and it’s fair to expect the Falcons to be among the busiest teams. They have plenty of cap space, a lot of holes to fill, and Terry Fontenot didn’t waste any time last year, making several splashes on the first couple of days of free agency.

Most of the Falcons’ holes will be filled via free agency and the draft, but don’t count out a significant move via trade. The Falcons have the draft capital and cap space to facilitate any kind of deal they want, and there are several potentially available stars at positions of need.

Brandon Aiyuk

Brandon Aiyuk may be the most overlooked elite receiver in the game. He’s coming off a season in which he caught for over 1,300 yards on just 75 catches, averaging nearly 18 yards per catch. Yet, when you think about the 49ers offense, he might be the fifth guy that comes to mind, behind Brock Purdy, Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, and George Kittle.

Aiyuk is the #1 receiver in the 49ers offense, and he might put up even better numbers in an offense where he was the focal point. The 49ers have made it known they want to extend him, and they’d be smart to, but they have to pay a lot of people in San Francisco, and Brock Purdy isn’t going to be on a rookie contract forever.

If a situation arises where the two sides can’t strike a deal, the Falcons should be knocking at the 49ers’ doorstep. They have a desperate need for a second wide receiver, and Aiyuk would be an ideal complement to Drake London in Zac Robinson’s offense. The compensation it would take would be significant, and the Falcons would then have to hand Aiyuk a massive extension, but they have the draft picks and cap space to make it work.

Khalil Mack

The Chargers have a mess of a cap sheet and will be looking to unload a slew of their bigger contracts. Khalil Mack could be one of them. The 33-year-old sack artist is coming off a season in which he recorded a career-high 17 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl. He’s entering the final year of his contract, and the Chargers can save over $23 million by moving him. It’s certainly a possibility, and one would think the Falcons would be interested. The draft capital required to acquire Mack shouldn’t be substantial, and this is an organization that hasn’t had a dominant pass rusher in over a decade.

L’Jarius Sneed

The Chiefs franchise tagged L’Jarius Sneed, but the feeling is that he will be traded if a long-term extension is not worked out, and the Falcons have already been linked to him multiple times. 

“The overwhelming feeling is the Chiefs expect to be playing without Sneed in 2024 and rather than lose him in free agency and then receive a compensation pick in the 2025 NFL Draft, they’ll try and get a better pick in return this April,” Tony Pauline reported. “As of Wednesday morning word was the Atlanta Falcons, a team that was hot on Sneed’s trail if he hit free agency, are one franchise interested in potentially trading for the cornerback.”

Tyler Dragon of USA Today said something similar.

“A person with direct knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that the Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars have expressed interest in the Chiefs corner.”

As of now, it looks as if Sneed could be had for a second-round pick, but the Falcons would also have to feel comfortable making him one of the highest-paid corners in the league. With A.J. Terrell up for an extension this offseason, Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris may not feel that comfortable investing that much into one position.

Haason Reddick

At the beginning of the offseason, Ian Rapaport reported that the Eagles have given star pass rusher Haason Reddick permission to seek a trade. 

Reddick would later come out and say he never asked for a trade, and there hasn’t been much talk about it since. However, it makes sense. The Eagles have a lot of difficult decisions to make regarding their future, and it may be time for them to overhaul their roster. If they don’t believe Reddick is part of the plan, dealing him as he enters the final year of his contract very well may be in the cards.

Reddick’s made an All-Pro team and two Pro Bowls over the last two seasons. He hasn’t recorded fewer than 11 sacks since 2019. If that kind of production is available for trade, the Falcons should have no problem parting ways with the draft compensation and handing him an extension.

Tee Higgins

Another player on this list that was recently franchise tagged. Tee Higgins is one of the best #2 wide receivers in the game, and in another offense, he might just explode as the top option. The Bengals want to get a long-term deal done with him, but there’s only so much money to go around. They just signed Joe Burrow to a mega-contract, and Ja’Marr Chase is up next. It’s not easy to pay a quarterback and two wide receivers top dollar and still fill out a competent roster. If the Bengals and Higgins don’t work out a deal, he very well could get traded, which has to entice a receiver-needy team like the Falcons.

Photographer: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire


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