The Falcons already swung a deal for Van Jefferson a little less than three weeks away from the NFL trade deadline on October 31st. Some believe this could be a more active deadline than usual, which could benefit someone like Atlanta.
Arthur Smith’s club is finally looking like a playoff-caliber team, and a trade could push them over the hump. However, many fans have delusional ideas of potential deals that could come to fruition.
Now that Terry Fontenot bolstered the receiver room with the acquisition of Van Jefferson; there’s really only one area that could use top end talent. This isn’t about trading for a potential depth piece, which the Falcons could use at multiple positions. This is about acquiring a potential impact player on the EDGE.
The Falcons pass rush is better than it’s been in a long time, but much of that can be attributed to Grady Jarrett and David Onyemata. Bud Dupree had a big impact in the Lions game; however, for the most part, he, Arnold Ebiketie, and Lorenzo Carter haven’t been pulling their weight.
There’s only one scenario that makes sense to me — trading for an expiring contract to bolster that room.
Fans in Atlanta have been clamoring for the former LSU Tiger. The Vikings are 1-4, will be without Justin Jefferson for at least four weeks, and Kirk Cousins is set to test free agency this offseason. Minnesota could be eyeing one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, making Hunter expendable.
He recorded 10.5 sacks in 2022, and the 28-year-old has already recorded six sacks in 2023. That’s more than the Falcons have as a team. With some of these guys, Hunter in particular, I would hope the Falcons wouldn’t give up significant draft compensation without making a considerable effort to keep them past 2023.
Chase Young is in the final year of his rookie deal after not having his fifth-year option picked up. The 2020 second overall pick might not have a future in Washington, given the Commanders’ financial commitments to the defensive line already. The 24-year-old has compiled three sacks and 15 quarterback pressures in only four games this season. He’s in a similar situation as Hunter; the Falcons shouldn’t inquire unless they’re serious about offering him a contract extension.
“Sources say Frank Clark has drawn interest around the league. If the Broncos continue to struggle, he could be dealt, as well,” Ian Rapoport wrote on Sunday.
Clark is in a much different situation than Young or Hunter. He’s on a one-year deal and is more of a mercenary. The 30-year-old projects as a complementary pass-rusher. I don’t know how attractive someone like that is to the Falcons. He’d be much cheaper in terms of compensation, but the difference in production is large.
Lawson was a prized free agent in 2021, but a torn Achilles cost him all of 2021. He recorded seven sacks and 24 quarterback knockdowns last season, but the Jets have bolstered that position group in the past two drafts. The 28-year-old has played just 52 snaps all season and was scratched before Sunday’s win over the Broncos. The former Auburn Tiger might not be the player he was pre-injury, but he’s surely more productive than Carter.
Falcons fans shouldn’t get their hopes up because these aren’t very likely to come to fruition; however, to me, it’s about the only scenario that makes sense for the club.
Photographer: Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire