Thomas Dimitroff earned the nickname Trader Thomas from fans because he loved a good draft day trade, usually one that had the Falcons leapfrogging other teams. He did not earn it because of his moves at the NFL’s annual trade deadline, because he basically never made any during his decade-plus at the helm. While the Falcons were always interesting in the offseason, then, you could pretty much count on them staying silent around this time of year.
For the first time in a long while, we head into today’s deadline at 4 p.m. with no idea whether the Falcons will actually make a move. Terry Fontenot has a pro personnel background from his tenure in New Orleans and put that savvy to work for the franchise in the spring, adding affordable contributors like Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Davis, Fabian Moreau and Erik Harris. The question is whether he’ll try to do something similar now, potentially by buying low on a player who can help the team now and in the future, or whether he’ll try to flip a player or two who won’t be around next year and might fetch some draft compensation.
The Falcons are unlikely to throw in the towel on the season at this point, given that they’re 3-4 and still technically in it, and while teams have been asking about Hayden Hurst I’d be surprised if the team went forward with that given that there is no timetable for Calvin Ridley’s return. They are in my mind more likely to be buyers, but very obviously not in the way that say the Rams were buyers with Von Miller. While I don’t know that I think a trade like this is very likely, making a move for a player like San Francisco’s Brandon Aiyuk at receiver or Washington’s Tim Settle to help the run defense could pay immediate dividends and long-term ones, as Aiyuk is under contract relatively affordably and Settle could likely be re-signed for a reasonable amount of money and is still quite young.
Cory Woodroof outlined a few sensible, relatively low impact moves for the Falcons as both buyers and sellers, and that’s the kind of move I think we’ll see if Atlanta’s going to do anything at all. In the end I think it’s likely Fontenot follows in Dimitroff’s footsteps and stand pat at the deadline, at least for this year, but a little surprise that improves the team either now or down the line would certainly be welcome.