A.J. Green to Falcons rumors heating up again

Just over a month ago, Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote an article suggesting that the Falcons should do everything in their power to move up in order to select dynamic wide receiver prospect A.J. Green. If Peter King’s latest tweet comes to fruition, Schultz’s wish may become a reality.

Just days before the first round of the draft is set to take place on Thursday night, King tweets that Atlanta is seeking an “explosive outside threat” and is trying to “get way up” for either Green or Alabama’s Julio Jones. King does mention, however, that the situation is unlikely.

The reason that it’s unlikely is that the Falcons hold the No. 27th overall pick and there’s a very good chance that both Green and Jones will go in the top 10. If that’s the case, Atlanta has a ton of ground to cover in order to put itself in position to nab either wideout. Seeing as how teams can only trade picks from this year’s draft, a move like that could prove to be difficult. (The reason teams can’t deal picks from future drafts is because without a CBA in place, there is no 2012 draft. No draft = no draft picks to trade.)

That said, Falcons’ GM Thomas Dimitroff has made at least one bold move every offseason since arriving in Atlanta in 2008. He signed free agent Michael Turner in ’08, traded for tight end Tony Gonzalez in ’09 and signed corner Dunta Robinson to a lucrative deal last offseason. He also traded back into the ’08 draft to select offensive tackle Sam Baker, so he does have at least some history of trading up. (Although it’s important to note that he was also armed with multiple second round picks that year because of the DeAngelo Hall trade with Oakland, so he had more to work with in order to move up.)

As King suggests, it seems highly unlikely that the Falcons would be able to pull off a trade in order to get into the top 10. Cleveland, which holds the seventh overall pick, would seemingly make a great trade partner. But with needs at defensive end and along the offensive line (three of the five starters from last year’s O-line are free agents), would Dimitroff sacrifice most, if not all of his draft in order to make a deal like this? He knows he has a Super Bowl-caliber roster on his hands and adding a weapon opposite Roddy White to spread defenses vertically is a must. But at the end of the day, a deal like that may be too rich for Dimitroff and the Falcons’ blood.

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Should the Falcons trade up for A.J. Green?

Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the Falcons should do everything in their power to move up to select Georgia receiver A.J. Green in next month’s draft. He also appears to be confused on the CBA rules.

It would take a lot for the Falcons to move up from 27th in the draft to get Green: at least this year’s and next year’s first-rounder pick. He’s worth it. There were 48 NFL scouts at Georgia’s Pro Day Tuesday. The only time they looked disappointed was when a bizarre league rule forced them to leave the field when Green ran pass routes.

Next year’s “first-rounder pick”? Something that Schultz either fails to mention or fails to realize is that without a CBA, there is no draft next season – let alone draft picks to trade. As it stands today, teams can’t trade their 2012 draft picks because they don’t exist without a CBA. So the Falcons couldn’t include a package with their first rounder next year even if they wanted to. (This rule is also lost upon Schultz’s AJC co-worker D. Orlando Ledbetter, who seems to think that the Falcons might be able to move up by trading away their first two picks this year and their second rounder in 2012. Again, without a CBA in place, the Falcons couldn’t trade their 2012 second round pick.)

Now, maybe Schultz and Ledbetter do know the rule and they’re basing their assumption that there will be a CBA in place by the draft next month. But if that’s the case, then why didn’t they just say they were working under this assumption? Furthermore, what’s transpired over the last month to make either of them believe that the owners and players are getting closer to agreeing to a new deal?

Did these two not do their homework or am I missing something here? One would think that writers at a major newspaper such as the AJC would understand the situation before discussing what it would take for a team selecting at No. 27 to move all the way into the top 10 (where Green will undoubtedly be selected) when the league is in the midst of a labor dispute.

Trading up for Green would seem highly unlikely unless the Falcons were willing to part with their entire draft this year. And considering their needs along the offensive line (three of their five starters are free agents), at defensive end and at nickel back, the Falcons can’t mortgage their draft for one player – even if it is someone as talented as A.J. Green.

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