3 Atlanta Falcons who could end up on the trading block before Week 1

Keep an eye on these Atlanta Falcons players possibly be traded before the start of the season.
Taylor Heinicke, Atlanta Falcons
Taylor Heinicke, Atlanta Falcons / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons had anything but a quiet NFL offseason. Not only did they fire their former head coach Arthur Smith after going 7-10 for the third consecutive season, but they traded away a quarterback (Desmond Ridder), signed another one in free agency (Kirk Cousins), and then picked another one up for good measure in the 2024 NFL Draft (Michael Penix Jr.). Yeah, it was a lot, man...

However, for the first time since 2017, I feel pretty confident about my hometown team's chances of making the postseason. It has been a while, to be honest. While it remains to be seen how the team will respond to new head coach Raheem Morris, general manager Terry Fontenot has done more right than wrong in his four years on the job, even though half of the city wants to run him out of town now.

So what I am going to do today is take a look at a handful of Falcons players that I think could be traded before the end of the summer. These three players are on the roster bubble for various reasons. Whether that is due to poor performance, not enough space to crack the rotation or probably never going to see the field now, all of which have contributed to this. So who is moving?

If any Falcons are traded this offseason before the start of NFL season, keep an eye on these three.

3. Atlanta Falcons SS Richie Grant

The 2021 NFL Draft class for the Falcons is not as good as the following two were, that's for sure. While Kyle Pitts is an all-world talent at tight end, the next two picks were not great to say the least. Third-round guard Jalen Mayfield couldn't cut it, and he is no longer on the team. We are at point now where strong safety Richie Grant may be on the trading block. He may have run out of time, honestly.

With the ascension of DeMarcco Hellams in the defensive backfield and on special teams, Grant is about to lose his job, bro. Atlanta cannot have a weakness in the secondary, especially when free safety Jessie Bates III is the best in the business, cornerback A.J. Terrell is an outstanding No. 1 and Clark Phillips III offers a ton of promise as a second-year pro coming out of Utah at the other spot.

I don't think he will be cut or traded, but I have a hard time seeing Grant on the roster beyond 2024.

2. Atlanta Falcons DT Ta'Quon Graham

If there is one thing I learned from the Falcons' 2024 NFL Draft class, it is that Raheem Morris and defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake wanted Terry Fontenot to get them more dudes in the trenches. Five of the eight players Atlanta drafted starred along defensive front-sevens in college, including three at defensive tackle. To me, that means former fifth-round pick Ta'Quon Graham is good as gone.

Again, outside of Pitts, that 2021 draft class is looking worse by the day for the Falcons. The good news is Atlanta seems to have finally made it a point to get better at where it has routinely struggled the most. Yes, I wanted a pass-rusher more than anything in the world during the draft, but what the Falcons did indicated to me that the feel pretty good about the cast of characters who can do that.

Unfortunately, this probably means it is the end of the line for Graham in Atlanta, and he has to go...

1. Atlanta Falcons QB Taylor Heinicke

This one kind of stinks, but I get it. There is very little I like more than to see someone play for their hometown team. Although Taylor Heinicke grew up a massive Brett Favre and Green Bay Packers fan, he played his high school ball over in Collins Hill in Gwinnett County. The former Old Dominion star lives in Flowery Branch now and looked good at times last season backing up Desmond Ridder.

Well, a lot has changed since last season. Arthur Smith and former offensive coordinator Dave Ragone are gone. In come Raheem Morris and Zac Robinson. Ridder was traded to Arizona for Rondale Moore. Now that Atlanta signed Kirk Cousins in free agency and then drafted Michael Penix Jr. No. 8 overall out of Washington, will Atlanta want to keep paying Heinicke to be a third-stringer?

Simply put, Heinicke is too good to be a third-stringer. He should be a stop-gap starter or a No. 2.

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