The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver room went from strength just 12 months ago to nearly barren today. Last April, the Falcons were heading into the draft with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage. This April, Jones isn’t on an NFL roster, Ridley is suspended for 2022 and likely won’t ever play for the Falcons again, and Gage will be catching passes from Tom Brady in Tampa.
Pro Bowl wide receiver D.K. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks is suddenly available, and the Falcons have interest in bringing him to Atlanta.
ESPN recently did an exercise with their team beat writers to submit a hypothetical trade proposal for Metcalf only IF their team had shown interest in Metcalf AND they’d have the money for a contract extension. Elite wide receivers are going for $20 million plus these days.
Metcalf could be the building block at receiver the Falcons are looking for at just 24-years old, Metcalf is only one year older than Ridley than when Ridley was drafted. Metcalf turns 25 in December and Ridley turned 24 in December of his rookie season.
The Falcons will have plenty of money in 2023 once $55 million of dead cap money from Matt Ryan and Julio Jones clears after this season, and Falcons beat writer Michael Rothstein submitted a hypothetical trade offer for the Falcons.
With just a $4 million base salary in 2022, financially the Falcons could easily make a deal like this work, but what would it cost to get him.
Michael Rothstein’s offer: The Falcons would trade 2022 second- and fifth-round picks (Nos. 58 and 151), along with a 2023 fourth-round pick.
Inside the offer: The Falcons desperately need wide receivers — their current starters are Auden Tate and Olamide Zaccheaus — and young talent as they begin to rebuild after the Matt Ryan era ended in March. This deal would take away some capital for 2022 that could hurt in the short term, but they would still keep the No. 8 overall pick to get another premier starter.
The Falcons offer isn’t the worst of the seven teams, but it’s close.
The Jets, Chiefs, and Packers writers all offered a first-round pick plus an additional pick, with the Jets having the most compelling offer of No. 10 and No. 69 overall in this year’s draft.
None of the offers matched the hypothetical asking price of the Seahawks, and the Seahawks writer Brady Henderson passed on all of them.
“Based on my reporting, I’d guess that they would view something in the neighborhood of two firsts as the minimum for Metcalf,” wrote Henderson. “The Seahawks don’t have to trade him and can drive a hard bargain. The Falcons’ and Eagles’ offers didn’t come close to that starting point. Hard pass on both.”
The Falcons are interested in Metcalf, why wouldn’t they be interested? But they’d have to get much more aggressive than Rothstein’s second and fifth-round picks in order to secure his services.
And the Falcons might not be in a position to make such an offer for any position other than a franchise quarterback.