The NFL's trade deadline is almost here, and as always, the buzz is outstripping the actual trade possibilities. The deadline is at 4 p.m on Tuesday. We'll see if the Falcons view any of their personnel shortcomings as so dire that they need to address them via trades, but for the record, I doubt they'll do much of anything. (But never count out Trader Thomas. -Matt)
The most intriguing rumors involve the Cleveland Browns, who are reportedly open to moving several legitimately gifted players, including offensive linemen Alex Mack and Joe Thomas. Another player that could interest the Falcons is OLB Paul Kruger. Despite having 11 sacks last year, Kruger is being misused and has only .5 sacks through eight games. Barkevious Mingo is reportedly also on the trading block, but has only seven sacks in 38 career games, and remains a developmental project despite being selected in the top 10 of the draft.
Potential interest in some of these players makes sense. The Falcons have no centers that can snap the ball, and Alex Mack is a two time Pro Bowler. Kyle Shanahan worked with Mack last year, and a mid-round pick may solidify Atlanta's biggest offensive problem. Additionally, any pass rusher should probably be connected to Atlanta.
Speaking of pass rushers, DE Willie Young signed with the Chicago Bears to play across from Jared Allen in the team's 4-3 defense. He produced an impressive 10 sacks last year, but he has barely seen the field this year after a scheme change. He "badly" wants to be traded a 4-3 defense, and could help boost Atlanta's anemic pass rush.
With Chicago already out of contention, there are rumors that the Bears would be willing to deal Alshon Jeffrey, who is in the last year of his deal. The Falcons would be pushed up pretty tight to the cap if they were to try fitting the 25 year-old onto the roster.
You can set your clocks to trade rumors surrounding Eagles DE Vinny Curry. After sacking the quarterback 9 times last year, Curry's playing time has been limited and so has his production. Philadelphia seems always interested in getting rid of their players, so Curry may be cheap.
The Lions, 49ers, and Texans are effectively dead in the water, and are reportedly open to moving some of their veterans. Players that would make some sense are
J.J. Watt, Jadaveon Clowney, Vernon Davis and Golden Tate.
If you're wondering whether the Atlanta Falcons will make a trade, I'd have to throw some cold water on your hopes and dreams. This is an aggressive team that wants to upgrade its personnel wherever possible, but they're down a couple of picks next year and don't have a ton of pieces I'd expect them to move. The Falcons only have five 2016 draft picks at the moment, and will likely again need to be most aggressive in free agency to improve personnel.
Unless teams are interested in some of the Falcons' veterans on one year deals, and those teams are willing to swap something of use to Atlanta, there's not a lot of natural fits out there.
Use this as your open thread, and we'll update you on anything major the Falcons cook up.