Early Bird Report: ESPN's Bill Barnwell says Falcons should be 'thrilled' with return for Sanu

Mohamed Sanu 3

The Falcons made headlines Tuesday by trading wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots in exchange for a second-round draft pick. ESPN staff writer Bill Barnwell liked the move for both teams, but he especially liked the return for Atlanta.


In grading the move for each franchise, Barnwell gave the Patriots at C+ and the Falcons a B+, saying that Atlanta should be "thrilled" about receiving a second-round pick.

"Instead, the Falcons are getting a second-round pick and saving $3.5 million over the rest of the season," Barnwell writes. "Even given that the Patriots pick could be the final selection of the round, turning a year and a half of Sanu into the 64th pick is good value for general manager Thomas Dimitroff & Co. If the rumors are true and the Patriots offered a second-round pick for Sanu before the draft, it's a bit of a surprise that the Patriots weren't able to drive the price down, given that they'll basically get only 75% of what they would have received before the draft. The Falcons did well to avoid sending a late-round pick in 2021 back to the Patriots as part of the deal."

To read the rest of Barnwell's thoughts on the Falcons-Patriots trade, click here.

Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:

AJC: Pump the brakes on firing Dan Quinn

In the first nugget of his weekly 9@9 blog, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter shared a bit of history that he believes is similar to the situation the Falcons find themselves at this point and time. Namely, the Browns' decision to fire a certain Bill Belichick after five seasons with the team.

"So before everyone runs Quinn out of town, let's get some answers on how this season really fell apart and be sure the franchise isn't set back by making a poor decision not based on the best way to win football games moving forward," Ledbetter writes.

To see what else Ledbetter has to say about Quinn and the rest of his 9@9, click here.

NFL.com: What we learned from Week 7

Sunday's loss for the Falcons came in all three phases of the game, which coach Dan Quinn explained at his post-game press conference. While Atlanta's offense had been moving the ball effectively in the two games leading up to Sunday, it, too, was stifled in the Falcons' 37-10 loss.

The Rams' defense deserves plenty of credit for their role in shutting down the Falcons in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta made a few plays here and there, but in the face of consistent pressure and tight coverage from the Rams' secondary, the Falcons couldn't do too much.

"The Rams' midweek blockbuster trade for Jalen Ramsey pitted the star corner against all-world receiver Julio Jones for the first time," Kevin Patra wrote in his takeaways for NFL.com. "While the Rams suggested they would bring Ramsey along slowly, DC Wade Phillips deployed Ramsey liberally early in the contest against Jones. Jalen Ramsey played 26 of 31 snaps (83.9%) in the first half, per Next Gen Stats. Ramsey lined up against Julio Jones on 17 of his 26 snaps (65%) through two quarters allowing three receptions for 69 yards, per NGS. With the second-half blowout, L.A. was able to rest Ramsey late. He played 36 of 52 snaps on the game -- 30 of the first 36. Julio still made several plays against Ramsey downfield, but it was easy to see how the Rams plan to use the corner to help boost the pass defense. Phillips brought heat on Matt Ryan and rolled coverage elsewhere with Ramsey mostly one-on-one against Jones. Dante Fowler had a monster game, compiling three sacks, three tackles for loss, a pass defended, a forced fumble and wrecking several other plays. Aaron Donald was again in the middle of everything, including a strip-sack of Ryan, during which the QB was injured. Shutting down an Atlanta offense that came in putting up big numbers is exactly what McVay and Co. wanted to see after acquiring Ramsey for a hefty price tag."

To read the rest of Patra's takeaways from Sunday's game, click here.

AJC: Beasley: 'I feel like I've let [Quinn] down'

Following Sunday's game, players were quick to shoulder much of the blame for the outcome. Pass rushers Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley were among those saying they need to step up, with McKinley explaining, "at the end of the day it's on us." The Falcons have not recorded a sack in four straight games, but Quinn put his ends in position to make other plays. Most notably, he dropped Beasley into coverage against Rams running back Todd Gurley. And while Beasley played him pretty tightly, Gurley made a tremendous catch in the corner of the end zone.

"Yeah, I feel like I've let him down," Beasley told The AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter. "He's made some great calls. We just have to execute. He's making good calls. It's up to us to execute them."

To read the rest of Ledbetter's piece, click here.

AJC: Tight salary cap makes future fuzzy for Falcons

The Falcons have made it a point to draft and develop much of the core of their roster, and they've recently invested a lot of money in keeping that core intact. That will limit their flexibility with the salary cap in coming seasons, as Michael Cunningham writes for The AJC.

"The Falcons (1-6) are facing a tight salary cap for 2020," Cunningham writes. "That's not necessarily a problem for a contending team. It is potentially a big problem for the Falcons, who aren't in the running for the NFL's worst team only because the Dolphins are tanking. The core Falcons players will have to be a lot better in 2020 and the team may be forced to depart with some guys who can help."

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