It’s July, which means it’s hot as hell. It also means that training camp is just around the corner, which means that we’re only a mere 10 Sundays from the first Falcons game of the NFL season. Rejoice with that rationalization, and dive into Monday’s Falcoholinks.
What If Week trades
We round out SB Nation’s “What If Week” with a couple of interesting scenarios that would certainly have altered the franchise’s direction: What if Atlanta didn’t trade up for Julio Jones in 2011, and what if they similarly sat on their hands and didn’t trade up for Michael Vick in 2001?
These two players have left an indelible mark on the Atlanta Falcons, and it’s not hyperbole to say that the franchise would be entirely different had the team not made those two pivotal trades.
Devonta and the running back cliff
Twenty seven seems to be the magic number where running backs suddenly experience a lack of production and offensive impact. Devonta Freeman is entering this season at that precipitous age, and Dave Choate breaks down Atlanta’s history with older running backs and they fared, and what might be in store for Devonta’s upcoming season.
The Falcons brought in running back Jeremy Langford after Ito Smith’s injury, and he was activated for the first time prior to Week 16’s game against the Carolina Panthers. The journeyman’s quest to stick with a team continues, as Atlanta has elected to waive Langford from injured reserve.
A winning (and pricey) trifecta
The Falcons have a solid chunk of their payroll dedicated to their powerful offense, but the bulk of that cash is going to three players: quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones, and running back Devonta Freeman.
In fact, Atlanta has invested the most money in its starting quarterback, top receiver, and primary running back in the league. The Falcons’ triplets are the focal point of their offensive attack, so it’s no surprise that they’ve invested a large amount of money on their on-field difference makers.