The Atlanta Falcons are winning more in 2023 than they have in recent years. But the defense still isn’t sacking the quarterback with much regularity.
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox proposed Atlanta fixing that problem with a trade.
In his weekly trade block big board article, Knox named the Falcons as a potential landing spot for Denver Broncos defensive end Frank Clark.
“Clark is playing on a one-year deal, so he is a logical trade candidate if Denver’s season continues to go south,” wrote Knox.
“The 30-year-old projects as a complementary pass-rusher who could help a contender or playoff hopeful.”
The Falcons are tied for last in the NFL with 5 sacks this season. That’s Knox’s main reason for identifying the Falcons as a potential landing spot for Clark.
In nine NFL seasons, Clark has posted 58.5 sacks. He recorded a career-high 13 sacks with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018. Although he hasn’t reached double-digit sacks again since then, he made the Pro Bowl in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Last season, Clark recorded 5 sacks, helping the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl.
There are a few reasons, though, that Clark isn’t the right fit for the Falcons. For one, Atlanta’s pass rush isn’t as bad as its sack ranking suggests.
The Falcons are fourth in quarterback knockdowns, sixth in hurries, and 11th in pressures. On all opponents’ dropbacks, the Falcons have recorded a 28.2% pressure rate, which is fifth-highest in the league.
Although it hasn’t resulted in sacks, the Falcons are pressuring opposing quarterbacks. The defense has just benefitted in other ways besides sacks early this season.
His health is the other top reason Clark isn’t an ideal fit for Atlanta. Clark has played in only two games this season because of a hip injury. He returned from injury in Week 5 but only played 11 defensive snaps against the New York Jets.
He may be a three-time Pro Bowler, but if not completely healthy, Clark probably isn’t an upgrade over Bud Dupree, Arnold Ebiketie or Lorenzo Carter. Those three edge rushers have combined for 1.5 sacks this season.
If the Falcons could get Clark very cheaply, then maybe he could earn DeAngelo Malone’s roster spot. But other than that, Clark doesn’t seem to be offering much upside.
It’s not out of the realm of possibilities for the Falcons to add an edge rusher before the trade deadline. Atlanta is on track to compete for the NFC South title.
But Clark doesn’t appear to be a big enough improvement for Atlanta to make it worth acquiring him in a trade.