Falcons get a windfall for player who had fallen out of favor

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It’s been a bad year for the Falcons. The best thing that happened to the 1-6 franchise arrived earlier today, when Atlanta finagled a second-round pick for receiver Mohamed Sanu.

With Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley the top two options in the passing game both now and in the future, Sanu became expendable. To unload him for a second-round pick (even a very low one, which it surely will be) is a coup for the organization.

It’s unclear whether other teams were chasing Sanu. He signed with the Falcons when Kyle Shanahan served as offensive coordinator, and it’s long been believed that the third-year 49ers coach would like to get Sanu to San Francisco. Regardless, the Falcons got a second-round pick, dumped the balanace of Sanu’s $6 million salary, and avoided his $6.5 million pay for 2020, the last year of his deal.

Sanu’s highest output from a yardage standpoint came in 2018, with 838. He was on pace for 715 in 2019. In his last game with the Falcons, Sanu caught one pass for three yards.

With one week to go until the trade window closes, Sanu may be far from the last player to get a one-way ticket out of Atlanta. Given the Falcons’ current struggles, plenty of others may be hoping that they end up with a contending team, too.

91 responses to “Falcons get a windfall for player who had fallen out of favor

  1. Nobody got as big a “windfall” as Sanu….. Can you imagine waking up a hapless Falcon and being told you are heading to NE to play for BB? It must be like winning the lottery

  2. Doesn’t matter, they’ve already got a roster stacked with talent and can’t do squat with it. Another second rounder is just more noise in the system.

  3. Pats got a good deal too – they are very banged up on offense (even started using linebackers last night), and don’t forget Belichick already had a full bag of picks for next year anyway.

  4. If Pats make it to the Super Bowl it is a tiny price to pay.

    Some teams like the Pats that are in a position to win try to win it ALL that year. And some teams are like the Packers.

  5. I TOLD YA.

    Sanu is a smart, high character, hard working, good blocking,
    slow guy with minimal route strengths who doesn’t get separation enough.

    The patriots 22nd ranked RUSH Offense will improve 15-20 yards with Sanu.
    (Maybe… more because nfl officiating doesn’t call holding on new england)

    His receiving ability is a low #3 or #4 quality receiver.

    Atlanta lucked out.
    A 2nd is better than nothing (after his impending off-season cut).

  6. If your goal is to acquire draft picks then this is a good deal for Atlanta the but if your goal is to win the Super Bowl this year then it’s a great deal for the Patriots . Picking up a receiver who can become your number one guy for a second round pick is well worth it for the Patriots and it’s clear that Atlanta is going to fire their coach so giving the new guy as many picks to put his stamp on the team is a good move for them too . Seems like a deal that is good for both sides .

  7. Just curious, but how is a late 2nd rd pick from NE with NE having so many picks, a “windfall”?

    If they got more than the late 2nd rder, sure I can see it. It’s a bit steep, but if NE reels off a couple more SBs out of it, how is it a “windfall”? Atlanta is still reeling from the SB loss from 3 years ago!

    It’s certainly really good value, but if Dimitrioff doesn’t actually hit on that pick at his point, there is no windfall in Atlanta. They’re in cap hell and will be rebuilding with a new staff with a very expensive QB and WR named Julio Jones.

    This analysis is horrible.

  8. I mean they could have also “dumped the balance of Sanu’s 6 million dollar salary and avoided the 6.5 million pay for 2020” by simply cutting him, had they wanted. It’s his base salary and non-guaranteed.

    The late second round pick is a good get for them, but he’s being underrated as a player. The Falcons are a dumpster fire in general, Sanu will get some visibility and have success in New England. And the bust ratio for late second rounders is something like 60%.

  9. As a Falcons fan (embarrassingly) this trade is bittersweet. I love me some Mo and he’s been a solid WR for us, but a late second round pick is too juicy an offer for what was a WR3 on our offense. Now he gets to go win a super bowl this year in NE. I’ll be happy to not have him bobble anymore passes into the air for INT’s, but will miss his nasty tough catches in tight coverage that make you wonder how the hell he caught it. Thanks for all of your contributions over the years, Mo. Go get it!

  10. A 2nd is a lot, but the Pats had to do something. Obviously they are on win now mode. I’m thinking more and more this may be Brady’s last year. Don’t think he’s having a lot of fun.

  11. shurmanblog says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:07 am
    If your goal is to acquire draft picks then this is a good deal for Atlanta the but if your goal is to win the Super Bowl this year then it’s a great deal for the Patriots . Picking up a receiver who can become your number one guy for a second round pick is well worth it for the Patriots and it’s clear that Atlanta is going to fire their coach so giving the new guy as many picks to put his stamp on the team is a good move for them too . Seems like a deal that is good for both sides .

    3 0 Rate This

    ———————–

    Exactly. Good deal for both sides. BB helps out Dimitrioff and Tom helps out the Pats, his former employer.

    If Dimitrioff whiffs on another draft pick, this 2nd rder, it’s not a “windfall” at all.

    I love how the professors here at PFT try to take shots at BB and then completely fall on their face trying to do so. It’s very good value for Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean NE got hosed in the deal. They’re trying to fortify a solid, but need for improvement position to try to win a SB.

  12. A Fan: I’d do ANYTHING to win a Super Bowl.

    an hour later

    A Fan: Trade a second round pick for a shot at winning the Super Bowl? What are you nuts?!?!?! I’ll keep my second round pick thank you.

    Besides, how many open roster spots will be available for the 2020 Patriots? The team is pretty well stocked. They get Sanu for two years.

  13. streetyson says:
    October 22, 2019 at 9:59 am
    Pats got a good deal too – they are very banged up on offense (even started using linebackers last night), and don’t forget Belichick already had a full bag of picks for next year anyway.

    5 2 Rate This

    —————–

    Who cares if they used an extra LB as a FB? Develin played D Line at Brown and then converted to FB. With Develin in the building everyday, why not use a position of strength at Linebacker into another role?

    Classic BB.

    Some of these players on D, like Cowart, Michael Bennett, JoJuan Williams, Bentley, etc, etc, can’t even get on the field.

    Why not use Roberts that way? He’s a plugger as a LB, so use him on offense instead.

  14. Atlanta… Enjoy pick # 64. Sanu will be wearing a ring and you owner, Arthur, will just have a Blank expression on his face again!!!

  15. Well, looking at the incompetent results the coaches are getting using players who are “in favor”, their judgment of someone as “out of favor” doesn’t hold a lot of water.

  16. shurmanblog says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:07 am
    If your goal is to acquire draft picks then this is a good deal for Atlanta the but if your goal is to win the Super Bowl this year then it’s a great deal for the Patriots . Picking up a receiver who can become your number one guy for a second round pick is well worth it for the Patriots and it’s clear that Atlanta is going to fire their coach so giving the new guy as many picks to put his stamp on the team is a good move for them too . Seems like a deal that is good for both sides.

    Sanu never has been and never will be the number one receiver on any team.

  17. “Picking up a receiver who can become your number one guy
    for a second round pick is well worth it for the Patriots”
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Sanu IS NOT a “#1 guy”.

    Tom Brady has only three more touchdowns
    than A.J Green-less/john ross-less/o-line-less Andy Dalton).

    So… good luck.

    Sanu’s strength is blocking when weather gets cold/ugly.

    The patriots 22nd ranked RUSH Offense
    would have gotten worse in November/December.

    NOT a “#1 guy”.

  18. tylawspick6 says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:08 am
    Just curious, but how is a late 2nd rd pick from NE with NE having so many picks, a “windfall”?

    If they got more than the late 2nd rder, sure I can see it. It’s a bit steep, but if NE reels off a couple more SBs out of it, how is it a “windfall”? Atlanta is still reeling from the SB loss from 3 years ago!

    It’s certainly really good value, but if Dimitrioff doesn’t actually hit on that pick at his point, there is no windfall in Atlanta. They’re in cap hell and will be rebuilding with a new staff with a very expensive QB and WR named Julio Jones.

    This analysis is horrible.

    NE is certain to get several comp picks in next year’s draft anyway so the loss of the 2nd Round pick will not be much of a loss at all.

  19. What’s with the claim in this article that the Falcons avoided Sanu’s 2020 salary? Said salary was 100% not guaranteed, and thus the Falcons didn’t have to do anything by cut him to save that money.

  20. Enoughofthatalreadysays???? How do you figure Sanu as a #1 WR. ? At one time he was a good #2 but that was years ago. At this point I’d say he’s at best a #3 . Not a falcons fan but I’d say they got the better of this deal.

  21. A Pats 2nd rounder is the equivalent of a high 3rd. Given where Atlanta and New England are respectively this actually looks like a good trade for both teams. Belichick tried to trade for Sanu at draft time but couldn’t pry him loose. Complacency is devastating. That Atlanta is willing to wake up and smell the 1-6 coffee is good news for their fans.

  22. Patriots have so many draft choices – it’s not certain Falcons got the one that would be at end of round.

  23. You know things are bad when getting a low second round pick in a trade is the best news your team has had all season.

  24. It’s not a rental as they have him for 2020 as well and it makes sense to maximize Brady’s window, which may only run through 2020. Sanu is a #3 guy and will be behind Edelman and Gordon. Also, Dorsett is still in Brady’s circle of trust. That man is sneaky good.

    The trade allows Edelman to move to the outside and preserving his body a bit more. He’s pretty much beat up right now. Gordon is also hurt. The Patriots filled a pretty big need.

  25. @SWFLPC.INC says:
    October 22, 2019 at 9:58 am
    Nobody got as big a “windfall” as Sanu….. Can you imagine waking up a hapless Falcon and being told you are heading to NE to play for BB? It must be like winning the lottery
    ===============================================
    Until he gets BB’d and sent somewhere else.

  26. TheGuru says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:51 am
    @SWFLPC.INC says:
    October 22, 2019 at 9:58 am
    Nobody got as big a “windfall” as Sanu….. Can you imagine waking up a hapless Falcon and being told you are heading to NE to play for BB? It must be like winning the lottery
    ===============================================
    Until he gets BB’d and sent somewhere else.

    ———

    Somewhere worse than Atlanta?

  27. Pats are due two 2nd rounders next year for lost FAs anyway.
    Bigger question is who goes? A TE to IR, maybe Gordon to IR (that would suck)? When Harry is back in two weeks, if available, someone else has to go as well.

  28. Some teams like the Pats that are in a position to win try to win it ALL that year. And some teams are like the Packers.
    —-
    Weird unnecessary dig. Either you think it’s 2017 or you’re a Viking fan.

  29. Maybe – better deal for Sanu though waking up a winner how. However, seems like they could have gotten a better player for a 2 though. Like Emmanuel Sanders who would be more of a difference maker. Still a solid pickup though

  30. Kris Leggett, what do you mean “he was run out of Cincinnati “? Sanu and Marvin Jones left because they were offered a ton of money in FA. Good for them. Sanu has great hands and will to a good fit with NE. Wanna bet Sanu throws a TD before the end of the year? Great kid. Now I have one reason to root for the Patriots to win it all.

  31. “At one time he was a good #2 but that was years ago.”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RESPECTFULLY… no… he was not.

    In 2014… when Marvin Jones was injured
    and A.J. Green missed 3 games (plus the playoffs)…
    … Sanu was maddeningly useless as the #2 wr
    (… and invisible as #1 wr in the playoffs).

  32. The WR corps is now starting to look like it was constructed using the Pats RB template…. that is to say a bunch of guys who can rotate in and out in about a million situations. 100% not a 1 dimensional attack.

    If you’re a defensive co-ordinator you’re gonna need several different game plans depending on what personnel grouping is in there!

  33. enoughofthatalready , name me one receiver on the Patriots that is better then Sanu ? Don’t stress , it’s a trick question because there isn’t one .

  34. hahaicansezbelicheat says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:09 am
    I mean they could have also “dumped the balance of Sanu’s 6 million dollar salary and avoided the 6.5 million pay for 2020” by simply cutting him, had they wanted. It’s his base salary and non-guaranteed.

    The late second round pick is a good get for them, but he’s being underrated as a player. The Falcons are a dumpster fire in general, Sanu will get some visibility and have success in New England. And the bust ratio for late second rounders is something like 60%.

    20 4 Rate This

    ——————

    6.5 million for a veteran 31 year old WR who can help your team is solid value. It’s a little high, but nothing offensive.

    Nice try.

    They take on about 3 mil the rest of the year here for Sanu. Again, not expensive.

    You’ve got old man Julio Jones at 16 mil per running around down there in cap hell with a rebuild about to start. THAT is expensive.

    The money is short term for NE which is what BB likes.

    Maybe if Atlanta had dealt Julio Jones instead of paying him an ungoldy contract into this 30s, they wouldn’t be in cap hell and failing, huh?

    Oh, I think so. A colossal blunder by Blank. I am convinced that was a Blank, not Dimitrioff move.

    ATL feels heavy pressure for dollars because ATL UNited is so successful in Blank’s new stadium.

    Even if true, the WRONG move by the Falcons.

  35. Is this the easiest schedule a defending super bowl champ has ever faced? They hold the record for highest point differential thru 7 games since 1920. Their offense is not great, BB sees the schedule getting a little tougher over the next 6 games and knows the offense needs help. The Defense is good, but how good? They have played nothing but terrible offenses. Gilmore is a stud, (gets no headlines like Ramsey/Sherman but is silently the best CB in the game), but you can’t play the Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Giants, Redskins every week. Looking forward to seeing what they really are against the Chiefs and Ravens. We all know its coming down to Chiefs vs Pats in the AFC title game.

  36. I agree this is a deal that should work out for both teams – Pats have a need for a tall smart receiver and Falcons don’t need Sanu. That said, if you had told me this morning that the Pats traded for Sanu I would not have guessed they gave up a second rounder. I would have guessed a 3rd or 4th. So, good job Falcons.

  37. gronkhof – No, they aren’t. You can’t receive a second round pick as a compensatory pick. Those are third rounders.

  38. doctorrustbelt says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:24 am
    “Picking up a receiver who can become your number one guy
    for a second round pick is well worth it for the Patriots”
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Sanu IS NOT a “#1 guy”.

    Tom Brady has only three more touchdowns
    than A.J Green-less/john ross-less/o-line-less Andy Dalton).

    So… good luck.

    Sanu’s strength is blocking when weather gets cold/ugly.

    The patriots 22nd ranked RUSH Offense
    would have gotten worse in November/December.

    NOT a “#1 guy”.

    ——————————————-

    Ok, Brady has ‘only’ 3 more TDs then Dalton but NE has 12 rushing TDs compared to Bengal’s 3. That’s telling me Brady doesn’t need to throw TDs. They’re punching it in at the goal line. Bengals RBs have ZERO TDs. Dalton has all of the team’s rushing TDs. So yea, NE is a more rounded team. Sure, Dalton stats looks “better” but he’s 0-7, Brady is 7-0. That’s all that matters.

  39. milkcan44 says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:47 am
    Patriots have so many draft choices – it’s not certain Falcons got the one that would be at end of round.
    ————–

    Pats had 1 2nd round pick. So yeah, it’s certain which pick ATL gets. Seriously dude…get a clue.

  40. Not really a windfall unless you know what to do with the picks. Patriots have picked the end of the rounds for years and years yet still know what to do with the picks and continue to win. Their first round pick has been out all year with an injury, dump AB, but go out and get Sanu since Gordon is also hurt. That defense is the best its ever been and yet they can still get better as a team by getting Sanu. Good for them, that’s what good teams do. They strive to get better no matter how good they are.

  41. Belechik is not perfect. However if given a choice between his judgement and anyone elses’s in the NFL-i’ll go with Belechick.

    I have no idea how good or bad this trade is.

  42. The rich get richer. Sanu is a valuable piece for any team. What is it about the Pats & former QBs. Now at least 3 WRs were college QBs: Meyers, Edleman and Sanu.

    I hate the Pats for what they’ve been caught doing(and ref bias). They’ve been punished by the league for cheating, but they are always in the improvement business(legally or illegally) and that has to be respected.

  43. *Windfall* seems a bit OTT but a 2 seems a bit rich for Sanu. Eye test would say a 3 makes more sense but this simply shows you what BB really thinks of Sanu. Great character and work ethic fit, versatile, great catch radius and BLOCKS…makes me think if Denver turned down a 2 for Sanders they were nuts but I still think BB preferred Sanu. Also means ATL turned down a 2 for Hooper prob asking for a 1 which would be WAY too rich,,,

  44. Good move for both teams. Sanu is solid WR3 and even WR2 depending on how he will be used. In Atlanta, he got the tough 3rd down catches and was an outstanding blocker. Just look at the only game ATL has won so far and see how Sanu (and Mathews) setup the blocks to free Julio for a TD. Additionally, Sanu’s experience at QB provides an X Factor for the Pats in the right situation. The Falcons were not going to keep him in 2020 and they get a 2nd rounder in return. Atlanta needs as many picks as they can get in the early rounds, regardless if it’s #60-64. As a Falcons fan, I like all that Sanu brought to the team on and off. However, I’m happy for him and I’m looking forward to changes in ATL.

  45. Who cares? Nobody respects the Patriots. The Falcons should’ve asked for the second rounder for nothing considering they already gave NE a Super Bowl win with terrible game and clock management a few years ago.

  46. A 2nd for Sanu?? I’d be a little ticked if my team gave up a 3rd for him and we also need a wr. Guess BB threw the failcons a bone since their franchise has been in a tailspin since 28-3 lol.

  47. SWFLPC.INC says:
    October 22, 2019 at 9:58 am
    Nobody got as big a “windfall” as Sanu….. Can you imagine waking up a hapless Falcon and being told you are heading to NE to play for BB? It must be like winning the lottery
    *********************
    At least until Bill decides he can get a better player and cuts him. Think Tiquan Underwood.

  48. dolphinsaredisrespected says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:22 am
    So the Facons get praised for getting a 2nd round pick for Sanu, and the Dolphins get ripped for getting 2 #1s and a #2 for Tunsil. Amazing!
    ===================
    Huh? If anything the Texans got ripped.

  49. How many has been players do the Patriots have to get and squeeze the most out of their skills before thinking a 2nd rounder for a guy like Sanu isn’t a windfall…..
    like the Falcons will do anything good with the last pick in the 2nd round anyway

  50. I guess this means AB won’t be back In NE. Another door closed and the XFL is looking better everyday. Don’t spend that $55K all on one party.

  51. Geez,

    It’s like Pats fans think they get Jerry Rice with every trade.

    I would think AB would have cured that.

    Not a bad deal either way but nothing earth shattering…

  52. A Patriots 2nd rounder, is still a 2nd rounders. It’s not a high 3rd, or it would be a 3rd rounder. It’s a 2nd rounder.
    And fleeced….
    Hey, Antonio Brown says hi…

  53. It amazes me that fans of other teams don’t realize thePatriots expect their receivers to block.

    I don’t know Sunu’s game that well but if Bill traded for him he is versatile and can block. I expect he can play inside and outside as well.

    I suspect the loss of Gronk also has Bill focused on depth at receiver, especially guys that move the chains and can be productive in the red zone.

  54. que the pats fans talking about how Sanu is the next Randy Moss for them.

    lol at BB giving up a 2nd for a guy who probably wont even be on their roster next season.

    oh wait i forgot he plays chess while everybody else plays checkers because of a clock management loophole that we did in highschool.

  55. since when is the 64th pick in the draft a windfall? not exactly the Herschel Walker trade here – Position of need and 1.5 seasons remaining on contract – The 49ers would also be expected to be interested in Sanu – perhaps instead of windfall use the term “current market value”

  56. “The rich get richer. Sanu is a valuable piece for any team. What is it about the Pats & former QBs. Now at least 3 WRs were college QBs: Meyers, Edleman and Sanu.

    I hate the Pats for what they’ve been caught doing(and ref bias). They’ve been punished by the league for cheating, but they are always in the improvement business(legally or illegally) and that has to be respected.”

    Sanu was a WR at Rutgers.

  57. I wonder about their first round draft pick who is a receiver? I thought he was ready to come back this or next week from injury. Perhaps he will be IR’d for the entire year?

  58. “With Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley the top two options in the passing game”

    Really, I’d say Hooper has been the top option over both of these guys so far.

  59. BB said it best…..
    There are a lot of people out there that want to evaluate those-type transactions, and again, we’ve seen a lot of them already this year, some for very high draft choices and a combination of players and so forth. But in the end, the decision, by both teams, is to do what’s best for their team. And so that’s ultimately what the decision comes down to, not how some third party wants to evaluate the exchange.

  60. fordbw says:
    October 22, 2019 at 10:42 am
    Ha ha ha. Pats got fleeced
    ——————————
    No the Super Bowl banners are actually made out of nylon not fleece

  61. Sanu will probably end this season with more TD catches than any receiver, and Atlanta will receive the 64th overall pick. The Patriots are trying for a 19-0 season, so Belichick can retire. Someone else might be running New England’s draft next year.

  62. fireroger Yes the Texans got ripped, as well they should have, but the Fins did too I read lots of articles including PFT blasting them for getting rid of a “good young player”.And by no means did anyone say they got a “windfall” which is exactly what they got!

  63. Windfall? I think not. New England will more than likely be in the Superbowl again so the 2nd Atlanta received will be the last pick in the 2nd . New England gets 1.5 seasons of Sanu and they are also expected to get two third rd comp picks for Flowers and Brown.

  64. The Patriots will be in the Super Bowl with or without Sanu, so I don’t see this trade as any big deal for them. Atlanta, on the other hand, gets a good draft pick for a player that was clearly not in their plans for the future.

  65. I suppose this is one way to look at it. But on a 1-6 team, EVERY player should have fallen out of favor by now. It’s only a windfall if the pick turns into something, hardly a guarantee. And if when they draft this future player the team is still as dysfunctional as it was when Sanu was there, it’s definitely NOT a windfall by any means.

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