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Dan Quinn: Eric Saubert traded because of tight end depth and other roster battles

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Two years and five catches after selected in the fifth round, Saubert leaves the team for a better opportunity.

NFL: SEP 06 Falcons at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Falcons have never been aggressive with getting rid of their own players. Thomas Dimitroff has put a strong focus on keeping their drafted players, as seen by recent extensions for Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones. Even underperforming players get extended stays with the team, as seen by recent resignings Ra’Shede Hageman and Sean Harlow.

One thing we don’t se is the Falcons trading away players. Let alone a young, cheap player. Eric Saubert had never found his spot after two seasons with the Falcons but to see him traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 7th round pick was a little surprising.

Why Saubert?

He finished last week’s preseason game with bad drops that hit him directly in the hands and chest. He improved as a blocker but never turned into the tough-to-cover, wide receiver-esque pass catcher his measurables suggested he could be. With Austin Hooper the unquestioned starter, and Logan Paulsen and Luke Stocker splitting blocking and possibly fullback duties, it was unclear where Saubert would fit.

Was he outplayed by Jaeden Graham or Alex Gray? Was Saubert a likely candidate to get cut? Or were other tough position battles, specifically at running back, wide receiver, and linebacker going to cost a tight end spot?

Dan Quinn luckily gave some insight into the Saubert trade.

The Falcons were clearly pretty happy with their tight end situation. Saubert has failed to see much playing time in two seasons and he appeared even farther down the depth chart in 2019.

The most interesting part is the battles elsewhere on the roster. The wide receivers were already stacked before Russell Gage stepped up. Now young players like Olamide Zaccheaus and Christian Blake may push Marcus Green and Justin Hardy for a roster spot.

The Falcons are still looking for returners. Part of the bottle nose is at running back. Kenton Barner has looked solid on special teams and on offense, but needs to battle with Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison for the third or fourth running back spot.

After two preseason games it is clear there will be some tough cuts and some legitimately good players unemployed by the end of August. Things are a lot easier if the team keeps only three tight ends. The Falcons have luckily gotten ahead of the curve and found a trade partner for a player without a 53-man roster spot.