The Atlanta Falcons lost Ricardo Allen to a torn Achilles. The injury is awful with a long recuperation time. Top Falcons defenders are dropping like flies, and like we saw against the New Orleans Saints, our current personnel can’t stop anything or anyone.
We are talking trades, which always come at the cost of draft picks. We don’t want to drop too many picks on one-year rentals, so it may be time to get rid of an underperforming player or two likely in their last year with the team.
So lets start off with that.
Trade Vic Beasley
This may definitely feel extreme, but things are clearly not working with the starting defensive end. Something is a bad fit, and a change of scenery is probably best for both the team and player. The Falcons have to be worried about paying Beasley over $12 million next season. If the Falcons need to rotate their roster, this is a great place to start. Add a draft pick and clear future cap space. Beasley may be in more demand by a 3-4 team, especially one with more cap space going forward. Atlanta could potentially net a day 2 pick they could flip for another player to help with this season.
Trade for Earl Thomas
The Falcons are terribly thin at safety. Thomas will require a day two pick and a contract extension. I would normally say this move is crazy, but Allen has one of the worst injuries for a football player. It may be unlikely he’s ready for the start of next season, and it’s also unlikely he will look like his old self in 2019. It’s the worst case scenario for both Allen and the Falcons. Damontae Kazee is the only thing keeping the Falcons from starting Keith Tandy at safety. If the Falcons can swing a trade for Thomas, Kazee could then rotate with underwhelming Jordan Rodgers and another addition.
Sign Eric Reid
I think it is mostly accepted that Reid has lost a step since his Pro Bowl 2013 season. However, it seems like most teams have been wary to bring in Reid based on his lawsuit against the NFL. It was just two years ago the 49ers exercised his fifth-year option. He has not lost THAT many steps to still be unemployed at this point of the season, and he may be a hard hitting addition to the strong safety spot. He should sign for veteran minimum. Assuming Atlanta brings in Thomas, the Falcons are back to three starter-worthy safeties.
Sign Robert Ayers
Aging, yes, but Ayers is a nice DT/DE that has some versatility and some gas left in the tank. He can better bookend Derrick Shelby and move Brooks Reed to the starting spot across from Takkarist McKinley.
Sign John Simon
Who? Simon is a 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive end who is only 27 and has averaged almost 4 sacks per year the last three seasons with the Colts and Texans. Plug him behind Steven Means on the depth chart at veteran minimum.
Sign Junior Galette
Just kidding, things haven’t gotten that desperate. Even though he did have three sacks last year with Washington.
Trade for Defensive Linemen
This is where things start getting tricky. Could the Falcons go aggressive and try prying away a top pass rusher from a struggling team, like Chandler Jones from the Arizona Cardinals? Maybe an underperforming DE/DT type like Arik Armstead or Mario Edwards? In retrospect, the Falcons are regretting letting Adrian Clayborn leave. No one has stepped up into his spot. The Falcons could even look into a run stuffer like A’Shawn Robinson from the Detroit Lions. We are just guessing who may be available, but a number are either buried on the depth chart, or like Beasley, seem unlikely to stick around on their team for the long-term.
A lot depends on how aggressive Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn want to get. Based on the defense’s performance against the Saints, they should be pretty desperate. With a handful of moves, they can patch up the defense just enough to keep this season going.