NFL GMs weigh in on the cost of a Justin Fields trade for Falcons

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I’ve been quite outspoken that the Falcons should be in the market for a quarterback this offseason.

Barring some unforeseen dramatic development in Desmond Ridder’s game, Atlanta should be welcoming a new signal caller in a few months. Where that new guy comes from is up for debate.

If you’re asking me, and since you’re reading this, I prefer Jayden Daniels. As an LSU alumni, it might seem biased and maybe it is, but the Heisman winner is electric with his feet and also throws the best deep ball in this draft class, which is something this Falcons offense has been missing.

On the pro personnel side of things, my preference would be Kirk Cousins, Kyler Murray or Justin Fields — the last of which is the most realistic. Cousins is a free agent and will be highly sought after. Murray isn’t likely to be moved or even interest Atlanta’s brass, but Fields seems to fit the billing of what Arthur Smith wants in a quarterback.

The Georgia native could be on the move this offseason if the Bears choose to hit the reset button by drafting Caleb Williams. Chicago would then auction off Fields, but what would the price be?

According to Daniel Jeremiah, the price would start at the Sam Darnold trade, which cost the Panthers a second-rounder, a fourth-rounder, and a sixth-round pick. The guys tasked with negotiating a potential trade somewhat agree. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports asked seven current GMs what it would potentially cost, and their responses are encouraging if you’re a Justin Fields to the Falcons dreamer.

  • “GM one: A second-round and fourth-round pick, pending a “good finish” to the season.”
  • “GM two: A second-round pick, pending a “strong finish” to the season.”
  • “GM three: A third-round pick, plus another late-round pick that could escalate one round based on performance.”
  • “GM four: One third-round pick in the 2024 draft, one fourth-round pick in the 2025 draft.”
  • “GM five: A third-round pick or a second-round draft pick for Fields, plus a late-round pick back from the Bears.”
  • “GMs six and seven had the same proposal: A third-round pick, pending the finish of this season.”

Robinson added that none of the GMs put his value “in the realm of a first-round pick.”

What makes a trade like this complicated for the Falcons or any team for that matter is Fields’ contract. He’ll only cost an acquiring team $1.61 million in base salary and a $1.61 million roster bonus. However, it becomes complicated after that.

Said acquiring team would have to make a decision on whether to exercise Fields’ fifth-year option in the spring of 2024, which would be a considerable gamble.

If I were the Falcons, I would pull the trigger on a trade that cost a Day 2 draft pick and wouldn’t pick up the fifth-year option. If the 2024 campaign worked out or showed promise, I’d go back to the negotiating table to try and work out a deal like Jordan Love and the Packers agreed to this past offseason.

If Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith are sold on just one season, extending him a four-year offer could be a cost-effective strategy.

Photographer: Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

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