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Do any summer trades make sense for the 2018 Falcons?

I mean, it’s a question that’s not not worth asking.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Look, it’s summer, and as you know, summer is speculation season.

We’re going to be doing a lot of prognosticating in the days ahead before training camp gives us something concrete to hang our hats on, so until then, let’s surmise what could be in regard to our Falcons.

Trades are always a thing that can be discussed, so let’s discuss trades!

The Falcons have a very sound roster, but, y’know, Dan Quinn’s known to tinker, and Thomas Dimitroff is literally called “Trader Thomas.” This era of Falcons football has done more trading than the Mike Smith one, so they’re always lies potential for trading with this group.

What positions make sense? I thought of two names I’ve recently seen bubbling up as summer trade targets, and they slot right in with the Falcons.


If the educated guess from ESPN’s Vaughn McClure that guard Andy Levitre’s health hypothetically could put him on the roster bubble comes true, it leaves the Falcons in a bit of a shocking bind at the left guard position going into 2018.

Key reserve Ben Garland would be the assumed starter in this (admittedly low probability) scenario, but though Garland’s a smart, reliable teammate, he didn’t really show the kind of prowess that would make you confident in a 16-game starting stretch.

Again, there’s a 90% chance Levitre will be hot and ready for the 2018 season, like a Little Caesar’s Pizza, but just better, because Little Caesar’s pizzas are cardboard cheese monsters. But, in the event the team suddenly lost Levitre and had to improvise, here’s a good option.

Option: Patriots G Shaq Mason for a 2019 third rounder

Mason has been a popular trade target for some reason in Patriotland, so Bill Belichick must be Belichicking something up there with that offensive line. Mason has been a sturdy starter for the Patriots, and is only 24, so he’s got time to adjust to a switch over to left guard after playing on the right for the Pats. A third-rounder is a steep price for any summer trade, but consider that trading for a guy like Mason would, essentially, lock down the left guard spot for perhaps the next decade. The Patriots are known to toss out these bewildering starter trades, and they know they’re going to need draft picks for the future to leverage to get Tom Brady’s successor. So, the Birds give their rivals a bit of draft ammo in exchange for an emergency Levitre replacement who could serve as the long-term starter at the position.

Also consider: the Titans have a logjam at guard, and could send over Quinton Spann or Xavier Su’a-Filo, both have starting reps and are solid players in their own right. Broncos reserve Billy Turner isn’t a world-breaker, but could fill in for 2018 as a decent-enough starting option for the team. Colts G Jack Mewhort might find himself on the bench, and could probably be had for the right price. Mid-round draft compensation makes sense for all the guys listed.


Right now, it doesn’t seem like the team really needs any additional talent on the defensive line. The edge group has two young, talented pass rushers in Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley leading the way, and sound veteran depth in Brooks Reed and Derrick Shelby. Second-year pass rusher J.T. Jones and rookie Anthony Winbush will figure to compete for a depth spot at the position, likely won in the special teams battle.

Defensive tackle is, believe it or not, booked, with Grady Jarrett, Jack Crawford, Terrell McClain, Deadrin Senat and Garrison Smith cementing the team’s options there. But, edge does make you think, particularly if Quinn wants to take on an interesting reclamation project.

Option: DE Shaq Lawson for a 2019 fifth rounder

So, in this scenario, the Falcons take a flier on former first rounder Shaq Lawson, who played with both Beasley and Jarrett at Clemson. He’s underwhelmed a bit in his two seasons in the league, though he started 10 games last season and had four sacks. Injuries have held him back, but if he’s just destined to be a good rotational piece on a defensive line, Quinn could get him in Flowery Branch and try to help him maximize his potential, as he’s done with so many others.

The Falcons could cut ties with Reed after the 2018 season, and could groom Lawson to take his place as the team’s top reserve edge option. They could also give Hardy a chance to shine elsewhere, whereas now, he figures to only get limited snaps with Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley ahead of him on the depth chart. In this scenario, the Falcons supplant the depth on the DL with a familiar face for a few Dirty Birds. If Michael Bennett can go for a fifth rounder, so can Lawson.

Also consider: The Browns have an influx of talent at edge, and could flip DE Nate Orchard for a sixth or seventh rounder before he inevitably parts in free agency. Pass rusher John Simon has plenty of position mates in Indianapolis, and could carve out more of a permanent role in Atlanta. Also, Jags DE Dante Fowler Jr. would probably cost about a third or fourth rounder, but that is also a player that, y’know, you could consider with his ties to Quinn.

I left linebacker out for a very distinct reason: I’m convinced Duke Riley will man the job in 2018. He must’ve done something right in May to win over the team’s trust in him for them to completely ignore LB Mychal Kendricks when he got released by the Eagles.

Selling low for a new fullback and maybe flipping one of the depth guys in the cornerback group for a 2019 pick are the only other things I can think of.

What about you? List your dream, uh, emergency or depth piece trade below.