Many Falcons fans expected the franchise to make at least some sort of move prior to the NFL Trade Deadline last week, but the team expressed no interest in doing so.
Undoubtedly, Atlanta has been bitten by the injury bug in 2018, specifically on the defensive side of the football. That was the main factor that led many to believe they would make a last-minute move to pick up the slack in the depleted secondary. However, Thomas Dimitroff has yet to ever make a move at the trade deadline, and he decided to stand pat once again, which contrary to popular belief, was the right move.
The only actual deal that would have made some amount of sense was to offer a fourth-round pick to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. This hypothetical trade, which obviously did not happen considering Dix was traded to Washington, makes sense for this season but carries no positive outlook in the long term.
Clinton-Dix is a fantastic young safety in his own right, but the Falcons have already invested in two talented young safeties for the foreseeable future. Keanu Neal was the team’s first-round selection back in 2016. He’s a proven big-time player on the Falcons defense and is already signed for multiple years. They also inked Ricardo Allen to a three-year extension last offseason. Both of which will be major contributors when they return in 2019, and that’s not even mentioning Damontae Kazee, who has stepped in for Neal and shown he deserves to be a starter. A move for Clinton-Dix might have been a slight upgrade this season, but would be a waste of a draft pick if the Falcons didn’t win the Super Bowl.
Without trading anything away, the Falcons showed their main priority was keeping this Super Bowl window open for as long as possible. The defense is still tremendously youthful with all sorts of improvements to be made once they return healthy. Besides that, the entire team played perhaps their best all-around game of the season against the Redskins on Sunday, despite not making any roster moves.
Atlanta is slowly, but surely, finding their identity in 2018, and the inexperienced players thrown into action due to injuries are becoming more comfortable with their roles. Riding a three-game win streak, and playing their best football, the Falcons sticking with what they already had on the roster at the deadline was the smart choice.
And things have gotten even more interesting with the signing of Bruce Irvin who recently became a free agent. Deion Jones also returned to practice earlier this week and can return to the field as early as next week versus the Cowboys. The Falcons are still legitimate contenders, and they did not have to trade a single piece of their future to get there.