Atlanta Falcons edge rusher DeAngelo Malone - Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons News

Struggling Falcons Edge Rusher Named Trade Candidate

In control of first place in the NFC south, the Atlanta Falcons could be buyers at the NFL trade deadline. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t also shed some fat off the roster.

USA Today’s Falcons Wire’s Matt Urben argued the Falcons could trade outside linebacker DeAngelo Malone.

“Atlanta drafted Malone in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft but after replacing defensive coordinator Dean Pees with Ryan Nielsen, Malone has been phased out on defense this season,” Urben wrote. The Falcons simply aren’t a great schematic fit for the speedy edge rusher anymore.

“Malone has been reduced to mostly special teams work and would probably benefit from moving to a team with more of a true 3-4 base defense.”

The phasing out of Malone in the Atlanta defense has included zero defensive snaps for the 24 year old this year. All 131 snaps Malone has played this season have been on special teams.

As Urben explained, rookie Zach Harrison has mostly replaced Malone on Atlanta’s defense. Harrison has lined up for 122 defensive snaps.

Malone played 216 snaps on both defense and special teams last season. He posted 29 combined tackles, including 4 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hits and 1 sack.

Reserved to only a special teams role this season, Malone has 1 tackle in seven games during 2023.

It would make sense for the Falcons to pursue a trade for Malone. He’s been a big disappointment as a third-round pick from the 2022 NFL draft.

However, it’s unclear how much value he actually has in the trade market.