The NFL’s November 2 trade deadline approaches quickly, and all eyes around the league are locked on Nick Caserio, Deshaun Watson, and the Texans. Dealing Watson, one of the few elite quarterbacks in the league, will make waves. Still, plenty of lesser-profile trades will come to fruition between now and then. Nevertheless, the Falcons seem satisfied with their current roster.
In his Sports Illustrated GamePlan, Albert Breer reveals the Falcons have taken calls on a prominent player, but Atlanta won’t be dealing him without being handsomely compensated.
• The Falcons haven’t put TE Hayden Hurst on the block, but calls have come in on him, based largely on the fact that he’ll be a free agent after the year. Atlanta probably won’t deal him, barring an unexpectedly rich offer.
Earlier in the offseason, Terry Fontenot elected not to exercise Hurst’ fifth-year option, making him a free agent after this season. Hurst would’ve accounted for $5,428,000 against next year’s cap if the front office exercised his fifth-year option. He’s the first player at his position to see his fifth-year option declined since 2011. Hurst’s ‘basic’ designation is the lowest tiered fifth-year option, but Fontenot sees him as expendable.
The Falcons traded for him, sending one of their second-round picks to the Ravens two offseasons ago; however, that was the old regime. Hurst has improved his run blocking, though Arthur Smith rarely depends on him in those situations.
Hurst has recorded 16 receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown through six games. A combination of subpar blocking, minimal impact as a receiver, and Kyle Pitts’ emergence definitely would make me think the Falcons would deal him, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Falcons either haven’t received an offer they deem fair, or they genuinely believe they can compete for a playoff spot.
Hurst is unlikely to return on a new deal next year, which makes most people believe they should trade him. From the Falcons’ perspective, the compensation isn’t enough, and they have their eyes set on one of the Wild Card spots.