With the Atlanta Falcons veering toward yet another offseason, we’re gearing up toward another round of “will the Falcons make a March trade?”
Offseason trades are more frequent than they used to be, and the Falcons still have a general manager in Thomas Dimitroff who is known to make moves. He’s got an extra 2020 second-round pick to utilize if he’d like.
Why don’t we hop in The Falcoholic Trade Machine and see what we can find?
RB Devonta Freeman to Houston for a fifth-round pick
The Texans are wheeling and dealing like crazy these days with Bill O’Brien at the helm, and perhaps they’ve got one more in them. Carlos Hyde is a free agent, after all, and Lamar Miller is coming off a major injury. Freeman is the most well-rounded veteran the Texans could possibly get their hands on, and you can never rule out Houston making a deal.
Freeman has been an excellent Falcon when healthy, but with some noting Miami’s need to boost its run game, you wonder if they’d take on the running back’s large salary to add a notable player to its offense to help the transition go smoothly.
Freeman still has good football ahead of him if he can stay on the field; maybe it’s in Atlanta. But if this team was willing to sell low on him, they could clear his salary off the books and potentially recoup a mid-round pick in the process. Freeman would get a fresh start for the next stage of his career, and the Falcons would get cap flexibility and a draft pick to boost. It’s better than outright cutting him if they can find a suitor, at the very least.
CB Desmond Trufant to Denver (or someone else) for a 2020 fourth-round pick
Desmond Trufant is a good football player, and the Falcons would be completely justified in keeping him at his current salary. But he’s very expensive, and the team, as you know, is trying to lessen the salary cap so they can help the roster how they can in March.
Denver lacks a true top cornerback right now and could benefit from Trufant’s services. If the price isn’t too steep, the Broncos could part with a mid-round draft pick to help them further solidify their second-year coach Vic Fangio. But insert another cornerback-needy team here if you wish. Clearing Trufant’s salary off the books to go to a team that could use his services could be a reality we’re looking at this spring, and Trufant is well-regarded enough around the league to fetch decent compensation.
He’s absolutely worth keeping around at his salary, though.
Falcons send 2020 third-round pick to Chargers for DL Melvin Ingram
After posting up a 10.5 sack season in 2017, Chargers pass rusher Melvin Ingram hasn’t been quite as prolific in recent seasons. He’s on the last year of a contract extension with Los Angeles and will count more than $16 million against their cap this season, making him the highest-paid player on their roster.
The Chargers have plenty of money to re-sign RB Melvin Gordon and DE Joey Bosa as it is, but they may want to be a major player for one of the free agent quarterbacks or top-dollar talents that may become available as they try to rebound from a tough 2019 season.
The Falcons need a top pass rusher in the worst way, and it’s possible they may wish to take the draft to finally add that elite linebacker they’ve been chasing to pair next to Deion Jones, or to bolster the secondary if they part ways somehow with Trufant. Ingram would be a nice option for the Falcons paired with Takk McKinley, perhaps a re-signed Adrian Clayborn, Allen Bailey and emerging John Cominsky.
The team could send a third-round pick L.A.’s way and take the salary off their books. When he gets here, the Falcons could also renegotiate a contract and backload it (they’d have to at his current salary). This would be a nice way to aid the quest to fix the pass rush.
The Bengals have the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, which obviously does not portend well to their past season. The team looks likely to take QB Joe Burrow and mounting a rebuilding of its team. They need an infusion of fresh talent if they’re to accomplish that.
Dunlap has been a stalwart pass rusher his entire career and is on a surprisingly affordable contract for Cincinnati. He’s their best pass rusher, so it’s not super likely they’d be willing to part with him, but he’s also about to turn 31 and has growing (if not unmanageable) cap hits.
The Falcons could very much use Dunlap’s help fresh off a 9 sack season. He’d instantly become their best pass rusher in a long time. They’ve got two second round picks this season; what if one went to a player of Dunlap’s caliber? Dan Quinn and Dimitroff are both working to keep their jobs this season, so a splash move like this to improve instantly wouldn’t surprise us.
Those are just a few ideas, of course. Could you see any happening, and if not, what are your proposals?