Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk shot down rumors from undisclosed sources that the Falcons were on the verge of acquiring Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Limas Sweed. Per the rumor, the Steelers are on the verge of trading Sweed after a disappointing sophomore season and their recent additions of Arnaz Battle and Antwaan Randle El at the position. A league source indicates the Falcons aren’t a possible destination.. The Falcons are content with their current depth chart at receiver, having re-signed Brian Finneran in early February and the return of Harry Douglas to the lineup after missing all of last season with a torn ACL.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the trade involving Falcons cornerback Chris Houston is done. Ledbetter reports that the Falcons swapped fifth round picks with the Detroit Lions and also received a sixth round pick for Houston. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday that the Falcons are in negotiations with the Detroit Lions over a trade involving cornerback Chris Houston. Per Schefter, the deal would involve the Falcons receiving a sixth round pick from the Lions, as well as the two teams swapping picks in the fifth round. The Lions pick second in that round, while the Falcons picked 18th. Schefter indicates the deal should be finalized on Monday. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons have confirmed that the Falcons are involved in negotiations.
NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reports that the deal involves a fourth round pick instead of a sick, but also indicates the fifth round swap.
Houston became expendable once the Falcons added cornerback Dunta Robinson on Saturday. Houston had a disappointing 2009 season. Late in the year, he was sidelined with injury, which prompted Brent Grimes and Chris Owens to have strong finishes to the year, overshadowing him. He started 10 games last year, finishing up with 47 tackles and 1 interception. Houston was a second round pick in 2007.
For the record, I’m someone that has argued on the forums that cornerback is the Falcons biggest need this off-season. I think defensive end is a very high need, but if it came down to addressing one and not the other, I would choose cornerback over pass rush.
But I certainly won’t say that the people that disagree with me and think the pass rush should be first priority are way off base.
So I pose the above question to those folks that think that is the case. I indicated in my defensive end fit analysis, that I do not believe that USC’s Everson Griffen and Florida’s Carlos Dunlap are good fits here in Atlanta. Mainly because of character issues. And I’m not sure the Falcons would necessarily target Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida because he has a questionable football I.Q.
So I think if defensive end is such a priority, and that means the Falcons are going to have to hope that one of the other top-rated pass rushers: Derrick Morgan or Brandon Graham.
In my most recent mock draft, I have Morgan going 10th to the Jaguars and Graham 12th to the Dolphins. It’s still very early in the draft process, so things are far from etched in stone in terms of where players will go and who may become available.
But at this current date, it’s very hard to imagine a player like Morgan or Graham slipping to the Falcons. It’s hard to see Morgan slipping past the Titans at No. 16. And with quite a few 3-4 teams picking before the Falcons, it’s hard to see Graham being available as well.
So I wonder if the Falcons are so keen on one of these pass rushers, should they trade up a few spots in the draft to get one?
Using the standard trade value chart, if the Falcons were to package their 1st (19th) and 3rd (83rd) round picks together, they would be the exact equivalent of the 15th pick, swapping with the Giants to jump ahead of the Titans.
So again I pose the question is it worth it? Is the pass rush that important? And is one of those players I identified worth investing so much in? Or should the Falcons “settle” for a riskier prospect at defensive end, or go in another direction such as linebacker or cornerback in the first round.
For those that have visited the forums, you may be aware that there are some Falcon fans that are skeptical of the so-called genius behind the decision to acquire Tony Gonzalez this off-season.
Gonzalez had a brilliant start to the season, but has come back down to earth a bit over the past month or so. And now there are opinions where Matt Ryan may be pressured to focus on Gonzalez a bit too much, which may be actually hurting the team more than helping. And despite the Ryan-Gonzalez connection essentially leading us on a comeback this past Sunday vs. the Giants, in general I would say that I agree with those opinions.
Another reason why some may cite why the Gonzalez move was a bad move is because it cost the Falcons a second round pick this year. Second round picks because of the relative cheapness yet the relative high quality of the players picked is really the most valuable pick in the draft. The New England people (Belichick, Pioli, and Dimitroff) understand this better than anyone in the league, and thus do their best to hoard these picks. Dimitroff however is much more willing than his former mentors to part with these picks because he’s a bit more aggressive than either.
A third reason why the Gonzalez trade may be a bad one is the belief that Gonzalez’s presence on the roster has forced Mike Mularkey to shrink the playbook, which has hurt Ryan’s development, and is one of the primary culprits why Ryan has been slumping as of late.
And all of the reasons are not wrong. The problem is that these reasons are based purely off the notion of seeing the Gonzalez trade as a one-year move. It’s only a small part of the big picture.
If one is only to look at this move from a first year perspective, you need to change your viewpoint.
At the website Pro-Football-Reference, they have a stat called expected wins and losses. You can read about it here, but briefly it’s a stat that indicates that points scored and allowed is much more accurate way than strictly wins and losses to examine how good a team will be in the following year. Last season the Falcons won 11 games, but based on PFR’s stat, their expected wins was 9.7 wins and 6.3 losses. Which means the Falcons were closer to a 9-win team than an 11-win team as far as expectations entering this season.
Dimitroff understood this, and knew that with a tougher schedule, and the youth movement on defense, that the Falcons would likely take a step back this year. Probably to the point that had they stood pat, they may have only been a 6 or 7-win team this year. And one could certainly say that more often than not this year, we have appeared to be of that caliber.
So what acquiring Gonzalez did was not supposed to take an 11-win team to a whole new plateau. Essentially, it was taking a 7-win to another plateau. What Gonzalez has done is maintained the status quo. Gonzalez is the difference on what may be a 7-9 team that keeps them at 9-7. Dimitroff, like all members of the Falcons organization desperately wants to break the curse of non-consecutive winning seasons. The Falcons needed to make a significant move this off-season to break the curse.
Gonzalez’s addition to the offense was exactly that. Now, it’s up to the individual to decide whether breaking that 43-year streak merits giving up that valuable second round pick. Personally, I think it is. And I think when all is said and done this year, the Falcons will achieve at least 9 wins.
Now looking ahead, Gonzalez has two more years after this one on his contract. And as Ryan continues to develop, Gonzalez can help take a 9-7 team to another plateau. And if/when this team makes a deep playoff run between now and 2011 with Gonzalez helping all the way, those people that spoke ill of this trade will look fairly silly.
The minute I mention the word trade, I’m sure it’s only going to take a few seconds before Glenn Dorsey’s name pops into the head of someone out there. Why? Truth be told, the majority of Falcon fans wanted the team to draft him back in 2008 instead of Matt Ryan, and the notion that the team can still land their “franchise” defensive player along with their franchise quarterback is appealing to many.
There are rumors out there that Dorsey (along with every other Chief not named Matt Cassel) is on the block. This past summer, it looked like the Chiefs would be willing to move to Dorsey for next to nothing in order to get some return on their investment, but I don’t think that is the case anymore. Dorsey is the Chiefs best end as of today and is coming off a strong seven-tackle performance vs. the Redskins. Dorsey has 22 tackles on the season. For comparison, their other starter and first round pick Tyson Jackson has only five. The disparity isn’t that much different between that of John Abraham and Jamaal Anderson on our own roster. And when put in those terms, I don’t believe the Chiefs will simply give Dorsey away for anything less than a second round pick.
The Falcons are probably not in a position to really make any trades. The team has already dealt away next year’s second round pick. And while I think the team will get compensated with some early picks for next year’s draft because of our free agent losses this past off-season, it’s not the same. Even with an extra third and/or fourth rounder, the team has to be weary about falling into the trap that Rich McKay did in 2006 and start dealing all their draft picks away for veteran players to get them over the hump. The crappiness of the ’06 draft is one of the reasons why the team was so bad when Dimitroff took over. Draft picks are precious, particularly those from the first few rounds.
Which is why if the Falcons are looking to make any moves on this trade deadline, they are probably best trying to offer player for player deals instead of player for pick deals. Which then begs the question of which current Falcon players offer the most trade value.
Despite improved performances this year and especially the past two games, the Falcons could still look to deal Jamaal Anderson if they think they can get good value for him.
The only other players on the roster that the Falcons could afford to move and get something in return is either of the two reserve backs: Norwood and Snelling. They might try to flip one of the reserve corners: Jackson or Hill, but with Brian Williams injury status from last night up in the air, that probably isn’t a smart move.
I think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that we make a deal before tomorrow night’s trade deadline. And if the Falcons were, I think the best move might be to move Norwood for a cornerback, particularly if the early prognosis on Brian Williams injury isn’t too promising. If we get lucky, maybe the Texans GM Rick Smith gets drunk tonight and decides to deal us Dunta Robinson for Norwood straight up. A deal that packages Anderson and Norwood for Dorsey is a popular one on the forums is probably the most realistic (if you can use that term when speculating on Falcon trades). Dorsey is a heck of a talent, but is he really as promising as he looked a year and a half ago? Are we sure that latent Top 5 potential is still there and will emerge once he arrives in Atlanta? Or are we simply ignoring the facts that Dorsey has been a fairly average player since he’s entered the league under some false hope that Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff can turn everything to gold. Maybe we were just simply all wrong that Dorsey was as good a talent as we thought he was in April 2008.
Who knows? I’m sure Thomas Dimitroff has an idea. And it’s why he gets paid millions of dollars (at least I hope he does because if he doesn’t, he deserves a raise), and I just run a website.
The Falcons announced today that they have acquired cornerback Tye Hill via trade from the St. Louis Rams. FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reports that the Falcons sent a seventh round pick to the Rams in exchange for Hill.
Hill was a first round pick for the Rams in 2006. He started 21 games over the past three years, recording 4 interceptions and 105 tackles. Last season, Hill only started and played in 4 games due to injury, also missing 8 games in 2007. Reports indicate that HIll was on the verge of losing his starting job in St. Louis to Jonathan Wade.
The Falcons are looking for help at cornerback. The corners gave up some big plays on Saturday night’s preseason contest against the San Diego Chargers, causing the team to potentially look for more help. Rookie corner Chris Owens also injured his ankle in the contest.
Updating previous reports, Pro Football Talk.com reports that the Falcons had been shopping imprisoned quarterback Michael Vick for a seventh round pick. The team has gotten no interest in trade talks concerning Vick when they first put him on the market in February. Lack of interest in the former three-time Pro Bowl likely is due to the fact that he has yet to be reinstated into the league and that any team acquiring him would take on the remainder of his contract. There is roughly $45 million remaining on Vick’s contract that runs through 2013.
Vick is set to be released from federal prison to home confinement next month until the end of his sentence in July. After which, he will seek reinstatement into the league. He is currently under indefinite suspension stemming from August 2007.
The Falcons traded with the Dallas Cowboys, moving down from their second fifth round pick. The Falcons, originally set to pick at No. 143, moved down in the fifth round to No. 156. They also picked up a seventh rounder from the Cowboys (which they themselves acquired from the Lions). That seventh round pick is No. 210.
The Atlanta Falcons announced that they have acquired Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez via trade from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a second round pick in 2010.
Gonzalez, a 12-year veteran has made 10 straight Pro Bowls with Chiefs averaging 76 catches and more than 6 touchdowns since entering the league as a first round pick in the 1997 NFL Draft.
The Falcons attempted to acquire Gonzalez last year before the trade deadline, but the deal fell through because Gonzalez didn’t want to play for the team. Reports surfaced recently that the Falcons were still interested in Gonzalez, and clearly Gonzalez has decided to change his mind. Likely in part because of the team’s turnaround last season as they went on to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance.
Gonzalez, 33, despite his age has still managed to continue producing at a high level. He caught 96 passes for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, tops among tight ends.
The Falcons have attempted to upgrade their tight end position this off-season, by working out several top prospects at the position as well as showing interest in free agent L.J. Smith. They have done just that with arguably the best possible candidate.