And one player position that they’ll need to focus on if they have hopes of getting to the postseason is at running back.
The Falcons’ lead back Cordarrelle Patterson becomes available to the open market on March 16 and if Atlanta and CP can’t reach a deal, then they will need to look elsewhere.
Looking “elsewhere” could mean in free agency or via trade.
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Falcons Pegged As Trade Partner for Saquon Barkley
But why would the Giants want to give up their Pro Bowl running back? Well, similar to Atlanta, New York will need to create some cap space, and putting Barkley on the trade block allows them to do that.
In fact, the Giants’ new GM Joe Schoen made it clear that he’s “open to everything,” meaning trade negotiations, which leads us to Benjamins’ latest article that features “11 potential landing spots for Giants RB.”
The Falcons come in at No. 8 on Benjamin’s list:
By keeping QB Matt Ryan, they’re indicating they still plan to compete rather than undergo a total rebuild. With Cordarrelle Patterson hitting free agency, they need more than Mike Davis in the backfield. Coach Arthur Smith knows the value of a physically freakish ball-carrier from his days with Derrick Henry.
Benjamin notes earlier in his article that “the return, of course, wouldn’t be extravagant” and that the Giants could use “extra draft-pick compensation” for a rebuild.
Per over the cap, Barkley would come with a $7.2 million price tag, but as Atlanta begins to make trade, cuts, and restructure contracts to create cap space, then that price might just be manageable and worth it for a “future MVP-caliber.”
What About Cordarrelle Patterson?
The Falcons have “been in discussions” with Patterson and front what it sounds like, he is one of their main priorities.
“From our standpoint, we’d love to have [Cordarrelle Patterson] back,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said, per the team’s official website. “We saw the same thing that you saw on the field. I think this is a very talented player, a very talented athlete. This is a good example of when a coach understands the scheme – which he does, Coach Smith – and he takes an athlete like this and can use him in a variety of ways I think you see the kind of production that he can have. He’s a terrific young man. He’s great with the fans. He’s great in the locker room. He’s a real competitor… I hope that he’ll be a Falcon this time [next] year.”
Patterson has also reiterated that he has a strong desire to retire in Atlanta.
“I’ve been around five teams, eight offensive coordinators; being here, I feel like I’m at home. Why not just finish my career here?” Patterson said, via the team’s official website. “I’m comfortable with all the guys in the locker room, the coaches, you know, and everybody so why not finish my career here?”
The ball is ultimately in Atlanta’s court and how much they’re willing to put on the table to retain their All-Star.
As for Barkley, there’s no sign (yet) that the Falcons are eyeing him.