Here's the story: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f ... F09D91.DTL
Here's a good write-up on Winborn and one 49er writer's view on the situation: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f ... F0HPH1.DTL
I only mention this because 4 teams have reportedly expressed interest in Winborn, and I truly wouldn't be surprised if the Falcons were one of them.
Does that mean I suspect Winborn will land in a Falcon uniform sometime within the next 2 weeks (trade deadline is October 18)? No. But I would be surprised if the Falcons did not express some level of interest, even if it's minor.
Winborn is arguably one of the fastest LBs in the league. He was "officially" clocked coming into the league at 4.75, but I recall reports from way back when that he is capable of running at 4.5 speed. It shows on the field, IMO.
Winborn however has been plagued by injuries (which has oddly become prevalent amongst 49ers defenders in recent years) throughout his carerer, which has prevented him from blossoming into the quality WLB that he is capable. He's missed 22 games in the past 3 years, but has played pretty well when he managed to get onto the field. In 10 starts last year, he had 61 tackles and 4.5 sacks playing out of position at SLB (replacing Julian Peterson). If you take the numbers of his 3 injured years, combine them, and average them out over a single 16-game season, they would be:
76 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 interception, 6 pass breakups
Not mind-blowing numbers, but pretty good.
What the Falcons have to offer is not much. I'm sure if there were serious negotiations, you'd probably see the 49ers ask for a straight trade: Winborn for Demorrio, who I think are very similar players.
Although I'm not saying I'd make this offer, but I'm saying if the circumstances were different, meaning that it wasn't the middle of a season and Winborn's durability was not a major question, I would contemplate offering Brooking for Winborn straight up. Winborn lacks Brooking's instincts vs. the run (which coupled with his burst to the football are IMO Brooking's only outstanding qualities), but I think athletically speaking is much more the type of WLB we are looking for.
One of the articles linked above mentioned 7th round picks being offered. If the Falcons were to make an offer, I would suspect it would probably be the same. Maybe I'd offer something a little bit better than that (like a 5th).
I know some of you are reading this scratching your head, thinking why should we make a mid-season trade for an oft-injured LB? Well because our run defense isn't doing too well right now, and nobody would confuse Winborn with Earl Holmes or Jeremiah Trotter, but I can't imagine him hurting us in that area. His speed and experience would only help. He, Reese, and Demorrio make a great trio in nickel situations. It boosts depth, because like Ike, Winborn can and has played all 3 LB positions in the 4-3. He has worked with Jim Mora, so picking up the defense is not a major concern. His noted for a positive locker room presence, so it's not like we're taking on a guy with questionable character. If Winborn could be had for any late round pick, it's a potential huge steal like the one writer said. You're getting a guy that I personally rate as being one of the Top 25 OLBs in the league (meaning he could start on virtually every NFL team) for what would normally be a backup caliber player that would be noteworthy if his chances of making the roster were as high as 60%.
The only downside is that WInborn is a free agent after this year, so you're risking giving up a draft pick in exchange for a backup for 10-12 games.
I'm not saying I'd automatically make the trade, because the timing and Winborn's durability makes me weary. But I think he could be a solid replacement for Brooking if the Falcons went in that direction. He's 4 years younger, IMHO a better fit for our style of defense, and even with a contract extension would be significantly a cheaper option. The Falcons could very well have the possibility to get him again in the off-season, but I think if the Falcons were considering making a change at OLB, acquiring Winborn now could maximize the costs/benefits.
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