You'd think that the start of the legal tampering period would kick off more free agent signings than trades, but the NFL has decided to wheel and deal as the start of the new league year is set to officially open up on Wednesday. Falcons and Ravens and has tight end Hayden Hurst landing in Atlanta.on Monday was one struck between the
This seems to be a direct response by the Falcons after the club is Austin Hooper to the Cleveland Browns. Landing a tight end who was a first-round selection just a few years ago isn't too shabby of a consolation prize.
As you'll read below, this transaction is a true win-win for both sides as one club fills a glaring need, while the other continues to collect up premium draft stock.
Ravens trade grade: A
Baltimore is doing what NFL franchises should when they have an MVP caliber quarterback on a rookie deal -- load up. The Ravens were able to ship out Hurst, who was unhappy with his role in the offense and looking for greater opportunity in the passing game, and did so while collecting up even more draft capital for this spring. The 2020 second-round pick they received from the Falcons (formerly acquired from the Patriots in the Mohamed Sanu trade) will be No. 55 overall. That gives the club five picks in the first three rounds along with an additional fifth rounder. Speaking of that fifth rounder (157th overall), it's only 14 picks behind the fourth rounder (143rd overall) they included in the deal for Hurst, so it's not a dramatic free fall.
When you factor in, you could look at these series of deals as essentially: Campbell and a second for Hurst and a fifth. When you look at it that way, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta may be the early favorite for Executive of the Year in 2020.
The Ravens can now use all that capital by surrounding Jackson with young, cheap talent or package some of them together to get one big fish for their club going forward. The team that was the No. 1 seed in the AFC a year ago just got even more flexibility to be even better in 2020 and beyond.
Falcons trade grade: B+
This marriage works for both sides. Atlanta wasted no time in replacing Austin Hooper, who is set to ink a deal with the Cleveland Browns when the league year officially opens on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Hurst will seemingly get his wish in having an opportunity to catch more passes in the NFL. In just 13 games played in 2019, Hooper saw 97 targets, which should largely go Hurst's way as he's the favorite to be TE1 on the depth chart in 2020.
This is also a very appealing contract that the Falcons are getting. Instead of paying Hooper as the highest paid tight end in the league, Hurst is still on his rookie deal and under team control for the next three seasons. His cap hit in 2020 is just under $1.5 million. Chump change.
The only reason this grade doesn't get into the A category yet for the Falcons is because Hurst is unproven. In theory, getting a tight end who was a former first round pick sounds ideal, but Hurst has yet to blossom. Last year he caught just 30 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games played. It was only his second year in the NFL, so there is plenty of room to grow and Hurst certainly has the talent to be a special tight end. We just need to see it a bit more before calling it a slam dunk for the Falcons.