NFL personnel speculate that Falcons could trade Matt Ryan or Julio Jones
The Atlanta Falcons got in the win column this past weekend in their first game without Dan Quinn as head coach.
However, there are those around the league who wonder whether Atlanta might still shop some of its top players before the Nov. 3 trade deadline.
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported insiders believe the Falcons could tear it down and shop both quarterback Matt Ryan and star wideout Julio Jones:
Atlanta is not the appealing job it was two years ago, however. This has the makings of a near-complete teardown, with some people around the league openly wondering whether quarterback Matt Ryan or even wide receiver Julio Jones will be shopped at the Nov. 3 trade deadline (their contracts would make that extremely difficult).
As Fowler noted, however, the contracts make both Ryan and Jones especially difficult to move, and could result in a lesser return for teams possibly taking on a lot of money.
Ryan has a cap hit over $40 million next season, per Spotrac. His contract has a potential out in 2022, but the dead cap hit is over $26 million.
Jones has a combined cap hit of over $42 million over the course of the next two seasons, which is fairly hefty for a wide receiver, even of his caliber.
Perhaps the Falcons will actually ride it out with this group. They have a friendly upcoming schedule, with matchups against the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos in the next three weeks. Those are all winnable games, and Atlanta might even head into its bye week at 4-5.
But things get much harder after the bye, and it is possible the Falcons have dug themselves too deep a hole.
Even if Atlanta does not end up trading Ryan or Jones, it seems likely they will take overtures and gauge the value of their stars.