Besides quarterback, where Matt Ryan has absorbed way more abuse than any top-shelf quarterback ever should, cornerback is the position on the Falcons roster that appears to draw the most fan scrutiny. With fan scrutiny comes—and let’s just say it—terrible ideas.
One of those ideas that has cropped up repeatedly over the last few months is the idea that Desmond Trufant, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, should be traded or allowed to walk. This is, you’ll recall, a player who is indisputably one of the best young cornerbacks in the league, an acknowledged team leader, and the player who makes a very good group of cornerbacks into perhaps the best grouping in the league by his presence.
The theory goes something like this, in its rough parameters:
- Desmond Trufant is going to cost a ton of money the Falcons could spend elsewhere;
- Robert Alford and Jalen Collins are here for years now, and Brian Poole came on strong;
- Hey, is Trufant even that great?
This is absurd on its face and part of a weird preoccupation with the Falcons trading away their best players to chase nebulous draft bounties. It was brought up repeatedly with regards to Matt Ryan in recent years and has more or less always come up with Julio Jones, and it’s never made sense to consider either possibility as more than a remote, pie-in-the-sky idea. Trading your best players—and I know this seems WEIRD—tends to make your team worse, not better. Had the Falcons taken you up on your most harebrained suggestions, this team would probably not be where it is today, and we’d be talking more about Dan Quinn’s chances of surviving the offseason than seriously debating a return trip to Super Bowl 52.
Ditto with Trufant, who might have been enough to tip the Super Bowl into Atlanta’s outstretched arms had he not been on injured reserve. You could probably get a quality haul of draft picks for Trufant, but your chances of turning over a player at any position who is as good as he is seems slim at best.
The Falcons should lock up Trufant, giving them two top-flight starting corners and allowing themselves the luxury of figuring out how to get Jalen Collins, Brian Poole, and their other corners the playing time they deserve. With a Super Bowl window that seems tantalizingly open, they’d be foolish to do anything else, and they won’t.