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Could the Falcons return to the Michael Bennett sweepstakes?

Could the third time be the charm?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dreaming of former Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett finding his way to Atlanta via a trade has been a Falcons fan pastime since rumors began to bubble up in 2015.

It hasn’t happened yet, obviously, with last March’s Eagles trade for the pass rusher a dagger through the heart of all who wanted Bennett terrorizing the NFC South’s quarterbacks on a regular basis.

Well, could the third news report be the charm?

Okay, so this is pretty interesting.

The terms last year for his trade were a fifth-rounder and a depth receiver, which is quite manageable if duplicated for the Falcons. He’s only on the books for $7 million against the cap, which the Falcons could live with if they released Ryan Schraeder and restructured a deal or two or did some salary-to-bonus conversions.

The team could also renegotiate an extension with Bennett and lessen that cap hit even more and give him some financial security on a backloaded contract for the twilight of his career.

Knowing the Falcons had discussions last year and knowing Bennett and Quinn’s deep ties back to the Seahawks, this has the makings of a great move for a team in cap trouble.

I wrote last winter about why this makes sense, though we’re now in a headspace where Vic Beasley underwhelmed for another season and is still making top-flight pass rusher money. The Falcons need more of a veteran presence on the defensive line, and Bennett could absolutely fill that void.

Bennett will be 34 in November, and a trade would be an investment in an older player with plenty of production but no guarantees as to how far that’ll carry on over time. Though, the Falcons have to be careful with being too patient with their younger pass rushers, too. Investing in a proven veteran might not be the worst idea right now.

They need production now from the edge, and they’ve put themselves in a position without a lot of leverage as to how to add to that spot with a sure bet. Bennett in 2019 is as sure a bet as they're going to find this spring.

If the team just has to cough up a fifth-round pick or so and rework the deal a little to make it happen, they need to be on the phone with Philly yesterday.

Though, life never seems to be that simple in Falconland, so we'll have to see how this goes, and if the Falcons would even be interested.