The NFL trade deadline is about 24 hours away, and the Falcons may be in a position to buy for the first time in years, even after dropping their Week 8 contest against the Titans.
With Grady Jarrett officially out for the year, the club could bolster the interior of the defensive line. There’s not a player available who could replace his production, but adding to the depth could be an option.
ESPN Bill Barnwell weighed in on what the Falcons should do at the deadline, saying they should be adding talent and not parting ways with it.
The offense has been Atlanta’s problem, as it ranks 24th in EPA per play. Quarterback Desmond Ridder left Sunday’s game to go through the concussion protocol after taking five sacks on 17 dropbacks in the first half, and while he cleared through the protocol and was eligible to return, coach Arthur Smith chose to keep Ridder on the sideline. Smith suggested after the game he hadn’t kept Ridder on the sideline because of poor performance, but it would have been a defensible move: Ridder has struggled for consistency and been too sloppy with the football.
The Falcons aren’t going to land a major upgrade at quarterback unless Smith can trade for Tannehill, and even that would require the Titans passer to recover from an ankle injury. Drake London left Sunday’s loss with a groin injury, but they already dealt for receiver Van Jefferson and have plenty of playmakers.
Instead, I wonder if the Falcons might look to add a pass-rusher to aid a pass rush that ranks 25th in sack rate this season. No Atlanta player has more than three sacks or 20 pressures, and the defense ranks in the bottom quarter of the league in takeaways. Adding an edge rusher who can help create big plays and end drives on defense might be what the Falcons need to get a leg up on the Saints before their home-and-home later this season.
Reports have already surfaced that the Falcons offered a third-round pick for Commanders’ defender Montez Sweat. Moreover, according to The Athletic, one team has offered the Commanders a third-round pick that would turn into a second-rounder if Sweat agrees to a contract extension.
It wasn’t confirmed that Atlanta was the team, but if we connect the dots, it seems likely that Terry Fontenot offered a conditional second-round pick to Washington for Sweat. It only makes sense because to offer a third-round pick for a rental cannot be warranted for a club like the Falcons, who aren’t one Montez Sweat away from competing for a title.
However, with the uncertainty around the future of the defensive line, adding Sweat at the deadline before he can hit free agency may be wise to avoid a potential bidding war for the Georgia native. I’d expect at least one and maybe more deals to come to fruition this trade deadline for the Falcons.
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