The Falcons didn't make a deal at the NFL trade deadline. Not big surprise there.
Most teams stay out of the market leading up to the deadline, which came and went on Tuesday without Falcons activity. It's a generally anticlimactic, especially compared to trade deadlines in other leagues.
The Rams made a big move for Von Miller, but that was an exception to a relatively quiet period.
There are several reasons why it made sense the Falcons would stay out of the trade market at the deadline, though general manager Terry Fontenot certainly did his due diligence on several possibilities leading up to the deadline.
We'll examine that topic and several others in Wednesday's mailbag:
Charlie C from Boulder, Colo.
You were right about Terry Fontenot standing pat at today's NFL trade deadline. [Thoughts]?
Bair: I don't think that was a difficult, or even bold prediction to make, Charlie. And thanks, as always, for the question. I think it was an odds-on declaration that the Falcons wouldn't get active in the trade market at the deadline, definitely not cause to take a victory lap.
While the Falcons have several veterans on expiring contracts that could be a short-term rental for another team, plucking that player off the Falcons roster would most always make them woefully deficient in a certain area. They don't have an extreme amount of depth anywhere.
They also value the draft assets required to build the team back up the right way while dealing with well-chronicled salary-cap issues, so being a buyer didn't fit that philosophy.
Here's what you must examine as a seller in the market. What can you get for a player versus what you could receive as a compensatory pick down the road by letting that player (and others) walk in the offseason. The Falcons can play the long game in that regard. It's fair to expect the Falcons won't be making many (if any) splash signings this offseason while getting right with the cap, so the NFL distribution on compensatory picks could work out down the line. That's at least something to consider before making a deal.
Also, getting rid of a player for a later selection just to stockpile picks also doesn't fit where the Falcons are a 3-4 team, still hoping to get back in the playoff mix this winter. They aren't in a spot or of a mindset to tear the roster down to the studs and play out the string.
That's the general stuff. Regarding a specific player, tight end Hayden Hurst showed up several times in national reports regarding the trade deadline. That included one from Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, who wrote that the Falcons got calls on Hurst, even though he wasn't on the trading block. A deal wasn't expected unless for a strong offer Fontenot couldn't refuse. That didn't come for the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, which keeps the team's strongest offensive position group intact. I'm also a believer that Hurst can be a dynamic weapon, someone who can be more productive than he has to this point.
Michael Mitchell from Baltimore
Being that Calvin Ridley is out, do u think they should move Cordarrelle Patterson to wide out and have Mike Davis and the other running back spilt carries?
Bair: Cordarrelle Patterson is going to stay where he is, as a hybrid player working primarily out of the offensive backfield. They have a good thing going with Patterson. Why mess it up? Patterson moves all over the formation, include some work at the receiver position. Making up for Ridley's absence doesn't mean slotting someone prominent into his position. It just means keeping the passing game productive and dynamic.
I would expect Patterson to remain in his role, with Tajae Sharpe seeing a lot more snaps. They'll also examine what they have in new signing Marvin Hall and determine if he can contribute in the near future.
I also have received some questions about Calvin Ridley's absence impacting the salary cap. Like five, actually, so I'll address that here. Ridley's salary is essentially locked at this point, and him missing a few games won't change that. Him missing some games in 2021 has no bearing on the cap. Think of it like more of a standard injury situation. That doesn't change the cap situation. Neither does this.
Kerry Miller from Centerville, Ga.
I do have a question on the O-line. While I know there's some youth and first year starters are going to take their lumps along with the offense. Do you think there could be a shuffling of the line in the future? The run game has been hit or miss (mostly miss) and pass protection has been questionable. Just wondering if there is any talk of making adjustments to the line?
Bair: Thanks for the question, Kerry. That's my brother-in-law's name. Won't forget that one anytime soon. Regarding the offensive line, I believe the Falcons would like to see this unit grow together. It features Jake Matthews and four guys with less than three seasons experience at this point. The team would like that group to develop and continue playing to gain an evaluation of how many can be part of a foundation up front.
There's no doubt the line lost to the Panthers on Sunday, but they were pretty good in pass protection in previous games. The run game needs more consistency, but that could come with time. I spoke with offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford last week, and he’s optimistic this group can continue to progress. If that's the case, you stick with your guys and let them grow together.
Call for questions
We've got one more Bair Mail before the Saints game. Let's focus in on that game and what it'll take to compete/beat with a solid New Orleans squad. Submit your questions right here for inclusion in Friday's mailbag.
Falcons Final Whistle | A Postgame Podcast
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Welcome to Falcons Final Whistle – an Atlanta Falcons football postgame podcast during the season that shifts gears in the offseason to answer a pressing question about the team's future each week through free agency, the NFL Draft and the offseason program.