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Will the Falcons be active during the trade deadline?

The team trading Debo kicked things off, but is more ahead?

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons trading longtime linebacker Deion Jones this past Sunday takes away a huge name on the team ahead of the 2022 NFL trade deadline, albeit one who hadn’t even played for the team this year.

Trading Jones adds him to an ever-growing list of guys that have been moved or cut in the Arthur Smith/Terry Fontenot era. The duo took over a Falcons team without enough talent and with zero cap space, and they’ve been methodically fixing both of those issues since.

At the NFL trade deadline, the Falcons aren’t likely to be buyers. Unless an offer they can’t refuse comes along, it’s hard to imagine the team parting ways with draft assets for a player unless there is someone they feel can be a long-term piece to the roster. They’re competitive, but the expectation remains that they’ll be flirting with greatness no sooner than 2023.

Of course, they’re not likely to be active sellers, either, given that they’ve looked like a capable squad and have played in a lot of close games. The most likely scenario is the team trading away a player or two who doesn’t figure into their plans, either right now or over the long haul, in order to pick up a little extra draft capital for next year’s big offseason.

Let’s try to analyze four players who might fit the bill here, and what they might fetch in a trade.

RB Damien Williams

Williams was a 2022 free agent who has only played in one game so far for the Falcons. He didn’t get a chance to show much of anything in limited reps and has been on injured reserve since early September.

With rookie Tyler Allgeier showing real promise, risers like Caleb Huntley and Avery Williams likely entrenched on the roster for the year and Cordarrelle Patterson needing a spot on the roster when he returns from IR, it’s possible Williams will be the odd man out when he’s healthy.

He’s on a one-year rental deal, and it’s possible a contending team with injuries at running back might want to toss Atlanta a late pick for Williams. He’s got postseason experience and won a Super Bowl with Kansas City, and his well-rounded game would make him a nice addition to most backfields in the NFL. He’s a guy to watch if Atlanta winds up feeling that Patterson, Allgeier, Huntley, and Williams is enough of a crowd at the position.

Projected trade value: 2023 seventh-round pick

DT Marlon Davidson

Davidson has struggled to stay healthy during his time in Atlanta, with his third season yet to happen due to an injury. Being that he was drafted by the previous regime, it’s hard to know if the Falcons will want to pop him into the lineup this season in lieu of other candidates already on the roster.

It’s very possible Davidson spends the year on IR and is a cut next spring, but perhaps some team needing defensive line depth would be willing to bring Davidson in? It’s not likely, but it’s worth contemplating. Remember, Davidson was a highly-touted prospect not all that long ago, and there are plenty of NFL teams hurting for depth on the interior.

Projected trade value: 2023 sixth-round pick

WR Bryan Edwards

The Falcons spent a 2023 fifth-round pick on former Las Vegas Raiders receiver Bryan Edwards, but he’s struggled to find a place in Atlanta’s offense so far this year. He’s been inactive for two games already, and it’s hard to know if his lack of success is attributed to struggling in Arthur Smith’s offense or a lack of a connection with Marcus Mariota to this point.

If the team feels like Edwards just isn’t a fit after all and it’s not the circumstances, it’s possible they could move him with Damiere Byrd and Jared Bernhardt on the roster and multiple options including Frank Darby on the practice squad.

Projected trade value: 2023 sixth-round pick

TE Anthony Firkser

Firkser and Smith haven’t quite managed to strike the same success they found in Tennessee, with tight end Parker Hesse playing a bigger role than Firkser this season so far. With Kyle Pitts and Hesse entrenched and the team still clearly keen on Feleipe Franks, plus the presence of block-first tight end MyCole Pruitt and rookie John FitzPatrick potentially returning from injured reserve at some point, Firkser could wind up being the odd man out.

If the Titans, who have struggled to get much from tight ends this year, or another team wants depth at the position, it’s possible Atlanta moves him. This is not a position teams are exactly stocked with depth at.

Projected trade value: 2023 seventh-round pick

Ultimately, the Falcons aren’t usually active at the trade deadline, and this year will probably be no exception. Atlanta’s good enough to want to avoid the fire sale and just far enough away from greatness that they likely won’t spend big to get an impact guy in, so it’ll be all about whether they want to pick up draft capital for players who may not have big roles the rest of the way. If there’s any trade at all, we wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these four players involved in it.

Just don’t count on the trade deadline being too exciting, is what we’re saying.