It’s apparent the Falcons are no longer messing around after the Duke Riley trade, and he’s not the only player on thin ice following a dismal 1-3 start. Fans are expecting this team to explore every avenue to improve, and even though the defensive end play has been better at times, it remains a sore spot. Dan Quinn’s new defense still can’t set the edge against the run, and with only two linebackers on the field in most situations, it’s of critical importance. Takk McKinley looks close to being a phenomenal piece, but a trade for a defensive lineman could be considered at this point during the season. So how about the #3 overall pick in the 2017 draft?
Top three picks usually aren’t traded during their 3rd NFL season, but Solomon Thomas has been dealt a tough hand in San Francisco. Thomas joined a defensive line that featured other first-round picks – Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Not to mention, the team spent the #2 overall pick on Nick Bosa and went out and acquired Dee Ford this offseason. Thomas has become the odd man out in this scheme. Over 33 career games, he’s only accrued 62 tackles and five sacks and hasn’t garnered a start this season, so what makes this guy worth trading for?
He possesses a lot of intangibles that you don’t see every day. Thomas was revered at Stanford for his character and thought by many to be the “safest” pick in that draft outside of Myles Garrett. Standing at 6’3″, 280 pounds, he ran a 4.69 40-yard dash and a 6.95 3-cone at the combine. Is there an effort problem? Is it a coaching problem? Is it a scheme fit? Who knows. However, I think with the Falcons dead last in this division, Thomas is worth the gamble as a low risk, high reward piece for now and beyond 2019. Remember, Takk McKinley is the only edge rusher Atlanta has signed past this season. Thomas is only 24-years-old and under contract through 2021.
The biggest obstacle, like in many trades, will be figuring out how to keep it under the cap. The Falcons have less than $3 million in cap space for 2019. Thomas’ cap hit is just below $8 million. The 49ers would need to take on a contract, and they will also want something in return for Thomas. However, Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn should be putting forth a relentless effort towards bettering the Falcons this season, because the way things are going, nothing is guaranteed past that.