The NFL’s trade deadline grows nearer and nearer, and I, your humble nerd who enjoys making pretend trades happen, will do just that with my Spendiferous 2018 Trade Machine.
Fair warning, this is not a guess of what will happen. This is more along the lines of what I would be curious to see happen before the Oct. 30 deadline.
Not that I’m in on seeing people get traded, mind you, but ever since the team stood pat on not moving Tony Gonzalez to a contender in 2013, I learned something tough about this business; sometimes, trading the ones you love shows that you love them the most. So all of these trades try to take the player in mind and imagine the best path forward for both them and the team.
So without any further ado...
TRADE #1: The Falcons send DE Vic Beasley to the Los Angeles Rams for a 2019 third
Unless the team feels he’s close to getting back to where he needs to be, Vic Beasley will probably not be an Atlanta Falcon in 2019.
As much as it pains me to argue that, when you look at the cap hit he’s got coming his way and the production post-2016, you can imagine a scenario where the Falcons just decide not to go forth with keeping Beasley around at such a cost.
It’s not because he’s a bad pass rusher, but it’s becoming evident he’s probably not going to reach his full potential with the Falcons organization. He’s a speed rusher without any other moves in his wheelhouse, and that 2016 sack-leading season just looks like a further and further destination each and every day for Beasley and the Falcons, even if he’s turned in a couple of stronger efforts in a row.
A change of venue might do Beasley some good, and what better coach to pair him with than Wade Phillips? The former Broncos DC oversaw some of Von Miller’s best days as a Bronco, and he could probably be the coach to help Beasley unlock more of his potential and deepen his understanding of how to get leverage against tackles who don’t fall for speed on the edge. Plus, the Rams need edge help as they make a Super Bowl push.
The Falcons could get the highest-possible comp pick a season early as opposed to if they let Beasley walk in 2020 after paying him in 2019. Again, it’s not a slam on Vic, who is a guy of great character and charity, but it is a speculation as to how long he’s got in this part of his career. Guys flourish by changing teams all the time. Perhaps Beasley could, too. He’s deserving of a chance to get it going somewhere.
TRADE #2: The Falcons trade DE Derrick Shelby to Kansas City for a sixth
The Kansas City Chiefs might be the best team in the NFL right now with that offense what it is, though you’ve got to take into account how that defense has problems.
Particularly when they get to the playoffs, the team is going to need to really focus on stopping the run. As they are now, they could use a little help. Why not Falcons DE Derrick Shelby?
Shelby, one of Atlanta’s marquee free agents in 2016, has been a quality run-stopping edge during his time in Atlanta. Though, he’s not quite provided the push in the rush the team needs, and that might’ve been why they chose to cut him and then re-sign him this past March. He’s probably not going to be back in Atlanta after this season, considering the likelihood the team is in for a bit of a revamp at edge.
The Chiefs could flip a sixth-rounder Atlanta’s way to add Shelby as a rental piece to that edge group and help maintain a decent-enough run defense once the team gets into January.
Atlanta gets a draft pick to bolster the depth on the roster next spring (a story we’re going to hear plenty about once the time comes), and the Chiefs get a good player to make their big Super Bowl push.
TRADE #3: The Falcons send DT Terrell McClain to Miami for a sixth
The Miami Dolphins have been one of the surprise good team in the NFL this season, though they’re dealing with some injuries at edge right now and a group of defensive tackles that night need some veteran depth going into a potential January run.
DT Terrell McClain, like Shelby, is a solid player who does his best work in a 4-3 defense as a run stopper. He’s not had the best season with Atlanta, and like Shelby, probably won’t be back once the season is over.
This would be a good move for both sides. The Falcons could grab a sixth-rounder for 2019 to, again, get this depth in order for the team and give DT Michael Bennett some additional snaps to see how he develops, and the Dolphins could add a proven veteran to the group that would make them feel much better going ahead. That would help them make a decision about how high of a pick they need to invest next year to round up the defensive tackle group.
TRADE #4: The Falcons trade DE Brooks Reed to Philadelphia for a sixth
Second verse, same as the first.
The Philadelphia Eagles have taken a bit of a hit on the defensive line with losing DE Derek Barnett for the year, and they’re probably hoping to add a rotational rusher to keep that unit as one of the league’s intimidating faces. DE Brooks Reed of Atlanta has been a steady presence throughout his tenure, and could help Philadelphia keep that edge (puns) as they try to win a faulty NFC East.
Atlanta gets depth for later, Philly gets a rusher for now. The Falcons could also get about $5 million additional on the cap for 2019, which could go toward the extensions down the road and in adding new faces to help out at other places on the roster.
TRADE #5: The Falcons trade CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson to New England for a seventh
The Falcons do have plenty of cornerbacks on the roster at the moment, with solid reserve Blidi Wreh-Wilson having been inactive of late and deserving of a chance to contribute elsewhere.
New England is reportedly looking for secondary help, and though Wreh-Wilson isn’t quite Patrick Peterson, he is a guy the Patriots could filter into the game plan as needed. He’s grown dramatically as a corner in Atlanta and could take that and etch a new future with the Pats. He’s on a one-year deal with the Falcons now, and like a few of the guys above, is no lock to return.
Atlanta gets a later-round draft pick to do with what they will and could promote Deante Burton to the active roster as Wreh-Wilson goes to a contender to contribute immediately.
CB Justin Bethel to a contender looking for ST help for a seventh
OLB Kemal Ishmael to Detroit for a seventh
K Giorgio Tavecchio to Cincinnati or Dallas for a seventh (if the team is planning to waive him, which I don’t think they should, fwiw)