The Atlanta Falcons trade deadline approach was perfect for a team that clearly knows they are still a year away from being a real contender. The Falcons acquired Chiefs corner Rashad Fenton for a late-round pick to help Atlanta’s injured secondary.
With A.J. Terrell and Casey Hayward Jr., both dealing with injuries the team’s struggles in the secondary have been understandable. With Fenton, the Falcons acquired a bit of depth that will help them hold onto the division lead with a slate of winnable games over the next four weeks.
Atlanta wasn’t content just adding a piece, however, moving safety Dean Marlowe to the Bills and Calvin Ridley to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Marlowe was traded for a late-round pick while Ridley’s deal will all depend on how long he remains a Jaguar and how much playing time he receives.
While Atlanta could receive as high as a 2nd round pick for Ridley the biggest payoff is freeing up $12-million in cap space next season that will allow the Falcons to add to the already impressive spending total next off-season.
Ridley’s future with Atlanta was always in question since the receiver stepped away from the team due to health concerns and was suspended during the following off-season. Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot quickly are establishing their own culture a season after sticking with Matt Ryan and the majority of Atlanta’s veterans.
This season is about clearing cap space and establishing their own culture and the Falcons continued to do this at the trade deadline. Ridley and Marlowe aren’t a part of the team’s long-term plans and are clearly better off with the Jaguars and Bills respectively.
Atlanta will have over $74-million in cap space heading into the off-season with the bulk of their impact players already locked up on rookie deals or long-term contracts. Atlanta continues to make savvy underrated moves proving Atlanta has the right front office and coaching staff in place.