Last month reports emerged suggesting Michael Bennett wanted a trade to Atlanta. Last night it was the turn of Bruce Irvin.
Mike Florio says “chatter” among league sources pointed to a deal being possible to send Irvin to the Falcons. Danny O’Neil initially backed up the report, then somewhat dismissed it.
So what’s going on?
I understand the Bennett/Falcons stuff had some legitimacy. Ditto the new Irvin reports. I suspect the Falcons want to bring in a veteran, proven pass rusher — freeing up the opportunity to go offensive line in the top ten. Atlanta’s offensive line has been poor for a while. The addition of Jake Matthews did little to improve the situation last year.
Several reports are suggesting the Washington Redskins are preparing to draft Dante Fowler Jr — rather than trade down with a team like Atlanta hoping to take him. The Falcons could turn their attentions to Brandon Scherff at #8 or even Andrus Peat.
Another factor at play — there isn’t a natural LEO in this draft. Nobody who runs a 1.50 10-yard split like Cliff Avril or Bruce Irvin. Nobody with that electric speed and length. Nobody who is an ideal fit for the role.
In my last mock draft I had the Falcons taking Bud Dupree. Not as a LEO — as a flexible linebacker similar to Irvin.
Instead they might be using their second round pick (or later picks) to bring in a veteran rusher. That brings Scherff and Peat into play.
If a deal is going to happen, the Falcons would have to take an O-liner with their first round pick tonight. If this happens, it could make for an interesting Thursday night/Friday morning.
Irvin is 28 this year and if the Seahawks choose not to take up the fifth year option on his contract, he’ll be a free agent in 2016. They drafted Kevin Pierre-Louis a year ago and he could move into a starting role. It could also allow them to target another edge rusher in the early second round (Eli Harold? Shane Ray? Preston Smith?) or Dorial Green-Beckham.
However, such a deal still seems pretty unlikely. It’s also unclear whether the Falcons would even be willing to give up an early second rounder. There are two players in Seattle — Bennett and Irvin — both wanting more money, both sensing an opportunity with Dan Quinn in Atlanta.
I suspect both players will be lining up for the Seahawks next season. But you never know…