The Atlanta Falcons are negotiating with the #1 pick for the Houston Texans, but the prices those with sources in Houston are floating seem to be too expensive. Jason La Canfora believes a deal will get done, potentially for much less than the Texans are asking, and that the Falcons can use the specter of a trade up to #2 to get Khalil Mack as potent leverage against the Texans.
I still believe the asking price for the 1st overall pick will drop closer we get. ATL want to keep '14 2nd rnd pick but plenty of options..— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 7, 2014
Also, the Rams at 2nd overall open for business. ATL could go to 2nd pick for Mack. Further hurts HOU leverage. I still smell a trade— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 7, 2014
Would not be surprised at all if ultimately a 2015 1st round pick and a 2014 3rd is enough to go from 6th to 1st. Stay tuned— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 7, 2014
Bottom line is no one is buying Texans are locked in on a guy at 1, know they could get QB at 6 or lower. Asking price will drop I reckon— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 7, 2014
Why this makes sense
We know, at this point, that the Falcons are actively negotiating for the top pick in the draft in hopes of getting Jadeveon Clowney. We don't know if the Texans are actually locked in on Clowney at #1, but there's reason to suspect they are not, judging by the swirling reports out there. If Houston wants out of the first, it makes a tremendous amount of sense that their price will drop the closer we get to the start of the first round. If Atlanta budges even slightly—say they throw in a fourth rounder to whatever their current offer is—Houston may jump. Hell, they may jump if Atlanta doesn't alter the offer.
It's never been clear that the Texans were going to get the price they were asking for, and I've long thought the "three firsts, two seconds, etc." train of thought was laughable at best. We know the Falcons want Clowney, we have a strong inkling the Texans aren't married to him the way you'd expect them to be to a #1 pick and that talks aren't dead. That alone makes me believe this rumor makes sense.
Why this doesn't make sense
The Texans can just take the damn player they want at #1, giving them considerable leverage. They can take Clowney and know they have a potentially deadly pass rush with him in the fold and punt quarterback for a year, or they can just sink that first overall pick into Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles. The fanbase may get a little riled up, but they need a quarterback, and they can't really go wrong either way.
This also doesn't make sense if La Canfora's source is with the Falcons, because then you're looking at more posturing designed to apply pressure and drive the price down. In that case, the Texans will likely see it for what it is and refuse to back off their asking price.
We know there's negotiations, we know there's interest in Clowney from the Falcons and Houston is sending out some bizarre signals. I think there's a better-than-decent chance La Canfora's right and the price drops for the Falcons, and in that case, they'll likely take it. The question is how far the price would need to drop, and what the final price will be.