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Bair Mail: On Calvin Ridley, Rashad Fenton and Terry Fontenot's activity at the NFL trade deadline

We also discuss the Falcons' recent uptick in explosive plays allowed

Well, that was one crazy NFL trade deadline. The Falcons were as active as anyone, making three deals on Tuesday. They were both buyers and sellers in an afternoon frenzy highlighted by the trade of Calvin Ridley to Jacksonville.

They also moved safety Dean Marlowe to Buffalo and acquired cornerback Rashad Fenton from Kansas City.

GM Terry Fontenot was working hard on Tuesday and the days leading up to these deals.


They got some future draft capital, which could be pretty high based upon certain conditions. They also added some cornerback help for this season, which will be beneficial to the defensive product at an injury-depleted area.

Let's get to those topics and a few more in this Wednesday Bair Mail:

Stacy Dawn from Suwanee, Ga.

Thoughts on the Calvin Ridley trade?

b Straight and to the point, Stacy. I like it. It's definitely a complex situation that be easier to just let Ian Rapoport explain the details.

This has the potential to be a big score for the Falcons, especially if Ridley and Jacksonville come to terms on a long-term deal. It's a good deal made by GM Terry Fontenot even if they don't but he plays well. Assuming, of course, he's reinstated when eligible.

Ridley hasn't played for the Falcons in a long time, but trading him creates the possibility of adding future young talent to a roster with the beginnings of a solid foundation of drafted players.

Ridley is a quality receiver, but the Falcons have restocked there by drafting Drake London at No. 8 overall, and has tight Kyle Pitts often in the pattern as well. It was a good move, in my mind, that could help the team down the road. They weren't getting returns from him while suspended in 2021, and were able to secure what could be multiple picks for his rights.

Nick M from Chicago, Ill.

What are we getting in Rashad Fenton? Could he end up as a starter?

Bair: It's definitely possible that Rashad Fenton starts, considering his resume. He has 16 starts in 47 career games, including five this season while representing the Chiefs. He was an odd man out in that Chiefs secondary but could be an important part of this one. He could theoretically start if A.J. Terrell remains unavailable, or he might compete with Darren Hall for the outside cornerback spot previously manned by Casey Hayward.

Fenton's a sure tackler and a willing run defender, which will help him fit in with the Falcons. Adding depth here was key, especially with the Falcons down some guys, including Hayward on injured reserve.

David Hicks from Marshalltown, Iowa

It's nice to be in first place - for now. Obviously, our defense is still an issue that hasn't been resolved, particularly defending big "chunk" plays. There is real improvement in run defense, however, we've given up the most passing yards and are near the bottom in sacks, again. The team will need to improve both in the second half of the year. What would you address first -- the secondary or building up the pass rush?

Bair: I agree with you, David, that we've seen an uptick in explosive plays allowed. The Falcons were actually good containing them in previous weeks. What's the key there? Sure, quick tackling to prevent significant yards after the catch.

The Falcons have to be better there, especially against an explosive Chargers offense led by pinpoint accurate quarterback Justin Herbert.

I think improved quarterback pressure is the key to disrupting his rhythm. We've seen Arnold Ebiketie get pressure on the QB, even though he isn't always finishing with sacks. Lorenzo Carter needs to be more of a steady presence off the edge, with Grady Jarrett always difficult on the inside. Limiting explosives, however, starts with tackling. Can't let a five-yard pass through the air turn into a 20-yard play.

Call for questions

Submit your questions right here for inclusion in Friday's Bair Mail installment.

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