The Falcons have already swung a trade ahead of the 2023 deadline, acquiring Van Jefferson from the Rams in exchange for a measly Day 3 draft pick.
The speedy Jefferson has already been useful in Arthur Smith’s offense, which has recently prioritized speed — Jefferson, Scotty Miller, and KhaDarel Hodge — over size — Mack Hollins.
The deadline is a few days away, and the Falcons are in a position to buy for the first time in a while. Typically, they’d be selling off pieces or acquiring stopgap, depth pieces. Though it’s unlikely, Atlanta could justify making a blockbuster trade.
Sunday’s slate will create a domino effect. Teams will have a better understanding of who is selling and who is buying. So, things should really ramp up on Monday and Tuesday before the 4 p.m. deadline.
Even before that, though, The Athletic revisited the 2022 trade deadline.
Chiefs get: Conditional 2023 seventh-round pick
Verdict: Waste of a deal.
Fenton appeared in just one game for the Falcons last year, recording four tackles, and was inactive in six of the next seven games. He signed with the Cardinals this offseason but is now on injured reserve.
A conditional seventh-round pick is hardly a waste of a deal. They’re practically useless unless packaged with other late-round draft picks to move into the middle rounds. Hindsight is always 20/20. At the time, Atlanta needed cornerback depth, and they took a shot with Fenton.
Falcons get: 2023 seventh-round pick
Verdict: Solid rental.
Marlowe wound up playing in four regular-season games, but he did make two starts in the playoffs, recording a combined seven tackles in the postseason. He also had an interception in Buffalo’s 34-31 win over Miami in the wild-card round.
Dean Marlowe was quietly productive for the Falcons, even if fans would have you believe otherwise. However, once he joined the Bills, he turned into a different caliber of player. I think this verdict is underselling how big of a need Marlowe was for Buffalo, how well he performed, and how cheap he was to acquire. For the Bills, it was a resounding success.
Falcons get: 2024 sixth-round pick
Cleveland got a veteran contributor at a low price. Jones recorded 44 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks in 11 games (five starts) last year. Jones is now with the Panthers.
Deion Jones looked better in Cleveland than Atlanta, but it was still clear that his best football was behind him. It’s a shame too because Debo was one of the most exciting young players in the league during the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. Everyone thought he’d be a staple of the Falcons franchise for years to come. That didn’t come to fruition, though.
Falcons get: 2023 conditional fifth-round pick, 2024 conditional second-round pick
Verdict: Smart move for Jags.
Ridley was suspended all of last season for violating the NFL’s gambling policies, but Jacksonville made a good investment. Ridley is a key contributor, leading the Jaguars with an average of 13.6 yards per reception. He has 27 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns and 17 first downs.
This was by far the most notable trade the Falcons made last year, and though he’s struggled to find consistency with the Jaguars, Jacksonville got the better of Atlanta in this deal. The Falcons shipped a WR1 for less than a first-round pick. Sure, circumstances matter and Atlanta didn’t know whether he’d be reinstated at the beginning of the new league year or not, but in hindsight, the Falcons could’ve garnered more compensation had they gambled and waited for the league to hand down their ruling.