The Falcons have a terrific defense this year, one that has proven to be far stingier than we had any right to dream heading into the 2023 season. The one area in which they could clearly use more help? That’d be the pass rush, which is seemingly a need every single year.
Atlanta’s aware of that and apparently willing to make a move to remedy it. Per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Falcons have a third round pick in 2024 on the table for Montez Sweat, the talented Washington Commanders defensive end. The questions now regard whether Washington will consider itself a seller ahead of the Tuesday NFL trade deadline, and whether a third round pick will be enough or the Falcons may need to part with a second.
Either way, Sweat seems worth. The 27-year-old defensive end fits Ryan Nielsen’s wishlist, as he’s a bigger (262 pounds) edge player and a productive one, with eight sacks in 2022 and 5.5 this year en route to what’s likely to be a new career high. He’s also a plus run defender, which fits with Atlanta’s preference and desire to be one of the team’s most formidable run defenses.
Sweat would be an unrestricted free agent in 2024 and would need a new deal; the Falcons shouldn’t do a deal like this for a one-year rental but would likely be confident in their ability to keep him around for the long haul if they part with a second day pick. The fact that Sweat would inarguably be a major upgrade for Atlanta and would turn an already very good defense into a great one by his mere presence makes a trade appealing. It also fits Terry Fontenot’s stated desire to balance the present and future, given that Sweat is still young enough to be an impact player for a few more seasons, so long as you can re-sign him.
Washington is reportedly still deciding if they’ll be sellers at the deadline or not, with a loss this weekend potentially influencing that. We can’t guarantee the Falcons will be able to get a deal done for Sweat because we don’t know if they’ll be out-bid or if Washington even will be willing to deal Sweat away—they probably shouldn’t—but we would absolutely love to see it.
Stay tuned for the trade deadline, I guess!