Signing Cordarrelle Patterson has been one of Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot’s best decisions the last three years. Although Patterson hasn’t made All-Pro in Atlanta, he’s experienced great success as an offensive weapon for the Falcons.
But Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox argued that — because the Falcons drafted Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allegier the past two years — Fontenot should consider shopping Patterson on the trade market before the start of the 2023 season.
In addition to Robinson and Allegier, the Falcons also have 24-year-old running back Caleb Huntley on the roster.
“While it’s fun to think about all the different ways Atlanta could use these four, the reality is that there may not be room for everyone,” Knox wrote. “Of the group, Patterson is the most logical trade candidate for Atlanta.
“The 32-year-old is entering the final year of his contract, and the Falcons could save $4.3 million in cap space by trading him. While the return for Patterson wouldn’t be massive, Atlanta should be able to get a pick or player back from a team with less backfield depth.
“With Algeier now a proven runner and Robinson able to do a lot of the things as a runner and receiver that Patterson does, the four-time All-Pro may simply be more valuable as a trade piece than a third-string option to Atlanta.”
Knox brought up a couple good points. But there seem to be more reasons for the Falcons to keep Patterson than trade him.
As Knox noted, Patterson and Robinson do a lot of the same things as a versatile running back. But will give Arthur Smith options. He can deploy Patterson and Robinson at the same time — one as a back and the other as a receiver. The two runners could rotate which one lines up in the backfield.
Given Atlanta’s depth at receiver, running backs with the ability to line up wide could be a very valuable commodity for the Falcons this fall. The team’s depth at wideout is improving. But the Falcons still only have two receivers who had at least 250 receiving yards last season.
Furthermore, trading Patterson for cap space shouldn’t be a priority for the Falcons. Atlanta still possesses $10.4 million in cap space with 90 players signed to the roster.
Patterson is more valuable to the Falcons as a weapon than trade piece. He doesn’t have to receive running back snaps to be effective. Not to mention, even at 32, he’s a force as a returner and gunner on special teams.
If the Falcons are going to compete for the NFC South title in 2023, Patterson must remain on the roster.