ESPN NFL analyst Bill Barnwell suggest the Los Angeles Chargers should propose a trade for the Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo, but should the Falcons listen?
The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching on November 2, and teams will be looking to either strengthen their current squad or build for the future.
Despite winning two of the last three games, the Falcons appear to be in the latter group, but would trading a popular, local, Pro Bowl kicker be the right move?
Barnwell suggests the Chargers send offensive tackle Trey Pipkins and a fifth-round pick to Atlanta for Koo.
The biggest problem for the Chargers right now might be at kicker, where Tristan Vizcaino has missed five extra points in six games. Coach Brandon Staley might want to go for it all the time on fourth down, but can the Chargers really feel good about trying to make a deep playoff run with a kicker they don't trust? They can afford to re-sign Koo, so a deal could make sense for both sides. Pipkins, who wasn't able to win a starting job over the past two years, would be an option for the Falcons as they consider 2019 first-rounder Kaleb McGary's future at right tackle - Bill Barnwell, ESPN
Koo went to Georgia Southern, but he began his career with the Chargers. He only played four games with them before being cut, and he has become one of the best kickers in football since joining the Falcons.
He's 67 of 72 on field-goal attempts as a Falcon, including a remarkable 10 of 10 from 50 yards or more.
Koo went to the Pro Bowl after last season and signed a one-year $920,000 plus incentives deal with Atlanta prior to this year, making him the 20th highest paid kicker according to Spotrac.
Barnwell rightly points out Atlanta's salary cap problems, and the Falcons might not be able to afford paying him like one of the league's best kickers. The top 15 kickers in the NFL all make more than $2.5 million this season.
But would Trey Pipkins be the answer at tackle for Atlanta?
Pipkins was drafted by the Chargers in the third-round out of Sioux Falls in the 2019 NFL Draft.
He has been unable to win a starting job in his three seasons (if he had, he likely wouldn't be used as trade bait). He has a profile similar to journeyman Jason Spriggs, who is scheduled to start at right tackle for the Falcons this week.
Spriggs is an athletic former second-round pick who has been unable to translate his athleticism into a starting job over his five years in the NFL.
Still on his rookie contract, Pipkins makes similar money as Koo and would be under contract for the 2022 season.
If the Falcons thought he would be an upgrade over Kaleb McGary, who is on the injured/COVID list this week, this deal might make sense.
On the surface, Pipkins doesn't look like an upgrade over the options Atlanta already has at tackle including McGary and Spriggs.
Atlanta, we’d suggest, should try and find the money to bring Koo's salary in line with the top kickers in the league next year and then go hunting in the draft for an offensive tackle.
The Falcons are in desperate need of an upgrade at offensive tackle, but Pipkins and a fifth-round pick for Koo doesn't look like the right deal.
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