Soon after firings comes speculation. Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn are gone but their players remain. Rumors circulated that the Falcons may be trading Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, despite the inability to fit those cap hits underneath an already tight 2021 cap. After Sunday’s game, Ryan and Julio likely put those rumors to rest as both players have plenty of juice left that could intrigue a top coach and general manager.
While more tradable players exist, such as Alex Mack or Takkarist McKinley, two players who are unlikely to return in 2021 with interesting levels of skill and potential, respectively. However, there are few other interesting trade candidates. Even more problematic is who is signing off on the trades? Rich McKay likely does not want to jettison talent, especially when it results in even less cap space. What general manager wants a roster devoid of both talent and spending cash?
Per Albert Breer of what’s left of Sports Illustrated, teams don’t expect the Falcons to traders without Trader Thomas. Per Breer, the Falcons were starting to look at unloading players like McKinley before the firings. Things have changed since then.
Atlanta’s plans are less clear, though it is giving off the vibe that it’d like to give Raheem Morris a shot with the current group and leave the big decisions up to whoever the next GM and coach wind up being.
This is similar to what we heard from McKay. Ultimately, it makes the most sense to hold onto Ryan and Jones. Between the escalating cap issues and unclear core, a new braintrust will almost certainly prefer to put together their team while still having some talent to remain competitive.
That may remain the difference between taking over the Falcons and a team like the Bengals or Dolphins in the past few years. Those teams needed full rebuilds while the Falcons still have some building blocks. An offensive-minded head coach could try squeezing whatever juice is left out of this team while preparing and building for the new era.