The NFL trade deadline could be more active in 2023 compared to years past, but the Falcons have already made a deal. Will they make another?
Atlanta acquired speedy Van Jefferson from Los Angeles in exchange for a late-round pick swap. The former Rams second-round pick had effectively been phased out of Sean McVay’s offense with the emergence of Puka Nacua and the return of Cooper Kupp.
Jefferson made his Falcons debut against the Commanders in which he received 22 snaps or about 27%. He was targeted twice, including on a deep route that Desmond Ridder just missed. His role is clear in Atlanta’s offense, though — threaten to take the top off defenses.
Looking at the roster, there are a couple of other areas I could see the Falcons upgrading ahead of the trade deadline, but PFF’s Brad Spielberger thinks they should stand pat.
Atlanta is certainly leaning more toward the “buy” category than “sell,” but it probably doesn’t make a ton of sense to make a splash with uncertainty at the most important position in sports.
Acquiring an edge defender could make some sense, with the Falcons’ edge defender unit currently ranking 30th in pass-rush win rate (14.4%). Otherwise, this is a young roster with key veterans sprinkled in that had a solid offseason and remains squarely in the mix for the NFC South title.
I agree with Spielberger’s assessment to a certain extent. This Falcons team isn’t one player away from getting over the hump unless that player is a star quarterback, which isn’t going to happen.
The only moves I could potentially see Terry Fontenot making are ones like Van Jefferson — ones where the value makes sense and bolsters depth. Though I would love a Danielle Hunter-esque move, the one area that the Falcons desperately need better play, it doesn’t pass the smell test.
This Falcons regime hasn’t swung a blockbuster trade like that yet, and I don’t see them making it now. It will cost considerable draft compensation to acquire an affordable $10 million star pass rusher. The only plausible scenario would be Atlanta trading for and extending Hunter. Even still, the odds are low.
With Desmond Ridder under center, the club’s future is uncertain. Going all-in with that situation is gross mismanagement.
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