Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. It’s just a question of whether that fire was set on purpose or not.
That’s always the question with the Falcons front office, which feints and fakes and obscures its intentions as a rule, but is also perfectly capable of being earnestly interested in something that seems outlandish on its face. We’re left to contemplate what’s going on at the moment after Ian Rapoport linked them to a trade up for a quarterback yesterday on a podcast. Today, Albert Breer at Sports Illustrated just added more fuel to the fire.
O.K., so who is looking at trading up? Three teams that seem to be investigating it pretty pointedly: Tampa, Denver and Atlanta. The Bucs and Broncos, I’ve heard, could be going up for one of the top four linemen (Becton, Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas), making Jacksonville’s slot, at No. 9, a potential hotspot, given the needs the Browns and Jets have at 10 and 11. It’s not as clear what the Falcons would be pursuing, though GM Thomas Dimitroff has always, in the past, been more proactive than most in looking at the option of moving up.
Breer and Rapoport are two of the more well-connected insiders out there, so there’s little question that they have someone attached to the Falcons in some capacity (and perhaps other teams around the league) telling them trades are on the table. The problem is that we don’t really know how interested the Falcons are in moving up, who they’re after (we still doubt it’s a QB), and whether they’ll ultimately have any luck doing so. Last year they evidently tried to move from #14 to #10, likely in pursuit of an impact defender, but struck out in the attempt.
Again, though, there’s rarely this much smoke without at least a spark. The Falcons feel like they wrapped up a solid chunk of their needs in free agency—we don’t entirely agree, but that’s neither here nor there—and are down to a handful of truly pressing needs. If they have the opportunity to move up in pursuit of a player they love, whether that be Javon Kinlaw or god forbid Jordan Love, Thomas Dimitroff’s long history suggests he won’t be shy about doing so.
Rich McKay has more clout in this front office than he did before, but the fact that this is a make or break year for the Falcons in so many ways doesn’t exactly make them more likely to stand pat or move down. We just have to hope that if a move up is in the offing, it’s at a sensible price point and for a player that will actually make the Falcons better now and in the future.