Be weary of misinformation around this time of the year, my friends.
The Chicago Bears are a high-profile team who (1) will likely be used often and loudly for leverage and (2) are in the market for a quarterback, a position for which front offices will do anything to obfuscate the trail that leads to their true target. Between the lead-up to free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft, we’ll see plenty of things tossed out there about quarterbacks who can or will or should go here, there, and everywhere. But with all of that in mind, some recent conversations and revelations have me thinking about the Falcons.
Specifically, this exchange on NFL Total Access on NFL Network. If you have a second, actually give it a watch.
Should the Falcons draft a QB with the 4th overall pick?
“You have to start planning for the future.” 👇
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 24, 2021
On one end of the conversation, the Falcons could trade the fourth pick in the draft to collect a haul of picks later on. Would it really be that difficult to imagine a quarterback-starved franchise putting in an offer Atlanta can’t refuse? Of course not. If Atlanta’s front office believes the Falcons are just a slight re-tooling away from contending in the AFC South in 2021, then they could find unique value in sending the No. 4 pick *in this draft* to a QB-starved team in exchange for a volume of picks later on. Basically, they’d be bulking up on draft capital now to make one last push with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, while also stashing draft picks for a longer-term rebuilding purposes when the time comes. It’s a best-of-both-worlds scenario that could be on the table (as discussed in the video).
And that’s where Chicago comes in.
Maybe a team like the Bears could coax the Falcons into dealing that pick if the Bears’ preferred QB prospect drops out of the top-3. In theory, the Bears could offer draft capital in the 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 NFL Drafts if they swing a deal on draft day – though they’d certainly have some serious competition. Something to chew on.
But on the other end of the discussion is the reality that everything has an expiration date. And when it comes to the Falcons, that means embracing that Matt Ryan, 36 in May, won’t play forever. And because not every QB will be playing into their 40s like Tom Brady, now seems like a logical time to re-boot the system. And if their front office agrees, maybe now is the time for the Falcons to press reset and draft a QB. It’s not all that far-fetched (in fact, Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent mock draft has the Falcons taking Justin Fields).
It would be a storybook tale to draft the Georgia native to play in his home state. And if that’s the route the Falcons take, then maybe Matt Ryan will be more available than previously believed. Shopping Ryan to the highest bidder now, taking a short-term cap hit, then building around a young QB would be a sensible way to usher in a new era. Then again, reports early in the offseason hinted Ryan wouldn’t be going anywhere, so maybe if they did add a QB, the Falcons could have Ryan take the rookie under his wing for a year before making a transition later on.
Either way, I see the Falcons as a team to keep an eye on this offseason. From a Bears perspective, they have two things they are actively seeking: a top-5 pick and an established signal caller on the roster. Maybe the two parties can talk shop this offseason.
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.