Earlier this month, the Seahawks elected not to exercise their fifth-year option on Bruce Irvin for 2016, spurring a series of rumors about the possibility of a trade to Atlanta for the pass rusher. As it turns out, Irvin himself appears to be thinking about joining the Falcons at some point. Asked by Samuel Logan of Black Sports Online about where he’ll be playing once his deal with the Seahawks expires, Irvin referenced his hometown.
“I’m going to be in Atlanta next season. I’m ready,” Irvin said. When Logan asked whether the 27-year-old would remain in Seattle if the Seahawks made a substantial extension offer, Irvin doubled down: “Atlanta is where I want to be. Believe that.”
The Falcons make plenty of sense as an eventual destination for Irvin, an Atlanta native. Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is now the head coach in Atlanta, and the team has been desperately seeking pass-rushing help for the last couple years. While the Falcons used their eighth overall pick this year on Vic Beasley, he has yet to play in an NFL game, and a team can never have too many pass rushers.
Interestingly, Michael Bennett, arguably the Seahawks’ best pass rusher, has been linked to the Falcons this offseason as well — while Bennett has denied wanting to be traded, he has essentially admitted that he wouldn’t mind negotiating a new contract, as he enters year two of a four-year deal with the Seahawks.
Although the Seahawks turned down Irvin’s fifth-year option for ’16, that doesn’t necessarily mean the club is already planning to part ways with him. Still, Seattle has invested in long-term extensions for many of its key contributors over the last couple years, and must work something out at some point with Russell Wilson. The defending NFC champions will likely have to make some difficult roster decisions going forward, without the cap flexibility to keep all their productive players.