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Falcons potential trade partners outside the top 10

Will any of these teams actually be willing to pay the price?

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Falcons pick at number 4 in the upcoming 2021 NFL draft has been the topic of many conversations lately, not just locally but also among the national media. For the first time in a very long time, we may legitimately see 4 straight quarterbacks come off the board on draft night. The only question is whether the Falcons will be the team at 4 to make that pick.

Most of the discussion around trading back has centered around the Denver Broncos at 9, which makes sense on paper as Denver does need a quarterback and the Falcons would not have to move out of the top 10 with a move down. However, there are some teams outside the top 10 that may be angling for that QB of the future, especially if Denver is being sincere about only adding competition for Drew Lock.

Let’s take a look at those teams and assess whether any would be willing to give up the bounty of picks it would likely take to land at 4.

Note: We’re leaving the Eagles off this list since they have already moved around in this draft

Minnesota Vikings (14)

What do you think of Kirk Cousins? That’s the key question here, and the one Vikings fans have been arguing over since he came on board back in 2018. At 32 years old, Cousins still probably has good years ahead of him, and his contract goes through the 2022 season. However, many fans and analysts think the Vikings are already thinking of life beyond Cousins.

This one feels like more of a stretch. Cousins may not be a top-tier starter, but he’s also not a bottom feeder. The move from 14 to 4 would be expensive and would probably be reserved for teams that are out of options or think they are one piece away. While the Vikings could be a potential trade partner, I’d consider them an unlikely one.

New England Patriots (15)

This ideas has been cropping up a bit more in recent weeks. Bill Belichick had a rough season in 2020 in his first year without Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady, who went on to win the Super Bowl with another team and coach. Belichick was unable to generate wins with former MVP Cam Newton and the short-term contracts they’ve given to Newton show they do not think he’s their QB of the future, even though they probably expect a better year from him in 2021.

This one feels like a real possibility, but it does buck history. Belichick has just gone on a free agent spending spree and he probably did not like the taste of having his first losing season in decades. Watching Brady win it had to have been salt on the wound. Would he be willing to part with multiple future first round picks? Possibly. He may be thinking less about the long-term and more about finishing his career out strong and proving that it wasn’t just Brady that made the Patriots, and if the aggressive spending matches his aggressiveness in the draft, landing his next quarterback could be the move.

That said, if I’m the Falcons, I’m a little more hesitant here. Those future 1sts could be in the back half of the first round if New England rebounds. That’s still valuable, but maybe not as valuable as picks from a team with a worse long-term track record and immediate future. I could see this happening, but it would still shock me.

Washington Football Team (19)

So yeah, this option has gotten a lot more interesting. Take it with a grain of salt, but this tweet got this whole conversation going in The Falcoholic super secret underground bunker:

This team has Ryan Fitzpatrick (two years OLDER than Matt Ryan) - and they just said goodbye to former first round pick Dwayne Haskins. It’s clear they need to think long and hard about fixing the QB position and it looks like they might be. Dan Snyder is certainly one to move up in the draft, and while there’s a new front office and coaching staff in town, Snyder’s absolute rule of the franchise and itchiness for a franchise guy likely hasn’t gone down.

Dropping from 4 to 19 would command a ransom and Washington may be willing to pay it. Consider this option really intriguing for now, with the acknowledgement that Atlanta would have to be all the way out on drafting a quarterback and missing some top defenders to drop this far. That’s true of the next two teams as well, only to a greater degree.

Chicago Bears (20)

Unless you think Andy Dalton is the future of this franchise, then you know the Bears are - as always - in desperate need of a starting QB. The Mitch Trubisky train has left town and the same team that once banked on Jay Cutler to fix its woes is back in the same position ... again.

That said, a drop of 16 spots would be massive for the Falcons and one that may anger fans if it doesn’t include the entire Bears 2022 draft class. Chicago needs a QB, but I’ll be shocked if they even think about making this move. Then again, does Ryan Pace have a future if he doesn’t get the team’s next franchise quarterback?

Pittsburgh Steelers (24)

Ben Roethlisberger is clearly a year or two away from retirement, but the Steelers will probably opt to grab one of the QBs in the second tier rather than try to move up. They also need a QB for the future, but this is not an organization known for making aggressive moves up the draft board and I don’t think that will start this year. The price they’d have to pay to move up to #4—and who Atlanta would have to be comfortable passing on to move back this far—makes it unlikely.

What do you think? Which of these teams do you think the Falcons would entertain trading with and which one do you think would really entertain it?