The Atlanta Falcons have already dealt wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots for a second-round pick. With that nice of a return, the Falcons should seriously consider dealing as many players before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline as possible.
With a 1-7 record, the 2019 season is a lost one for Atlanta. It's time for the Falcons to add future draft picks and shed salary from next year's payroll.
Here are the top three trade candidates for the Falcons:
OLB Vic Beasley
In a perfect world, the Falcons trade Beasley for just about anything resembling a draft pick, but as reported last week, the market for Beasley is very cold at the moment. The 2016 All-Pro led the league in sacks three years ago with 15.5, but since then he only has 11.5 in 37 games.
Maybe the Falcons can convince a team to take a flier on him and receive a seventh-round selection. At least that would end the ugly Beasley tenure in Atlanta.
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CB Desmond Trufant
The fact Trufant has missed the last three games could make dealing him before Tuesday difficult. So could his contract. Trufant is under contract for three more seasons and will count upwards of $14 million against the cap through 2022.
That contract probably lowers his value on the trade market, and I'm not exactly wild about the Falcons starting who they have the last three weeks without Trufant the rest of the year and next season. It's hard to imagine the Atlanta secondary improving in 2020 without Trufant on the roster.
But with the current salary cap situation in Atlanta, tough decisions have to be made. If there's a quality trade offer for Trufant before Tuesday, the team should seriously consider it.
C Alex Mack
The last spot on our list almost went to running back Devonta Freeman. The veteran running back has stayed healthy this season, but he isn't performing up to his contract, and Freeman will count more than $9 million against the cap in 2020 and 2021.
Dumping that salary and going with the younger group of backs on the roster isn't a bad idea, but it's highly unlikely anyone bites at paying Freeman top dollar at his position when he's averaging a career-worst 3.4 yards per carry.
The more likely move is for the Falcons to deal their veteran center. Giving up Mack would foil the team's plan of starting five former first-round picks on the offensive line in front of Matt Ryan, but Mack turns 34 before next season and will count as $10.5 million against the cap in 2020.
He may be a cap casualty next spring in order for the Falcons to get under the salary cap. If Atlanta's thinking that far ahead, and they should be with a 1-7 record, dealing Mack before Tuesday is the ideal move.
Mack could bring back a third-round selection from an offensive-line needy team. Like Sanu, his value is higher on the market because he's not a rental.