Sanu was the subject of swirling trade rumors for months, dating back to the summer when the Falcons reportedly mulled and ultimately rejected offers from unnamed teams. With the team sitting at 1-6 and with an attractive offer on the table, the Falcons have changed course, per Adam Schefter.
Another trade: Falcons are sending WR Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots in exchange for a second-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 22, 2019
Sanu was a tremendous addition for the Falcons, especially considering the tempered expectations when he was first added. Through about 3.5 years in Atlanta, he reeled in 225 catches for 2,507 yards and 14 touchdowns, adding 14 rushes for 62 yards and completing 2 of 3 passes for 56 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was also a stellar blocker throughout most of his tenure in Atlanta, something that doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet.
The veteran also became beloved by fans because of a winning personality and his famed versatility, which saw him warming up to punt at one point. His nearly four seasons in Atlanta will be remembered fondly, as they should be, because he was a glue guy for some excellent offenses.
For the struggling Falcons, meanwhile, it’s hard to argue with the return. A 2nd round pick is more than I think just about anyone expected this team to get for Sanu, but it shows you how much the Rutgers alum is valued by the rest of the NFL, especially the Bill Belichick-led Patriots. That second will be late in the round but will be another valuable pick for the war chest as the Falcons try to rebuild in 2020, likely under a brand new regime.
With Sanu gone, the Falcons will now roll out a lot more Justin Hardy and Russell Gage in the coming weeks, and Olamide Zaccheaus ought to actually see the field as well. Hardy is a sturdy blocker, third down option, and underrated red zone target who ought to mix in on early downs and when the team needs his physicality. Gage, meanwhile, has done little but genuinely impress with acrobatic catches when given the opportunity, and he’ll now have a real case to push to be the #3 guy behind Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley going forward. Remember, his rookie contract is super cheap and he’s in just the second year of his career, so there could be a bright future for him in this league.
We’ll miss Sanu, but hopefully this move helps the Falcons get back on their feet in 2020, even if it’s not going to lead to better outcomes in a lost 2019.