12:03pm: The Titans have officially confirmed the trade, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online, who tweets that Tennessee will get a 2016 sixth-round pick and a conditional pick in a future year from the Falcons.
11:31am: The Falcons are acquiring a veteran guard in a trade with the Titans, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who reports (via Twitter) that Andy Levitre is heading to Atlanta. Levitre himself first hinted at the move, tweeting out the message “#RiseUp” from his official account.
Levitre, 29, has started all 16 games for the Titans at left guard in each of the past two seasons, and has never missed a game in his six-year NFL career. However, while his consistency and ability to stay on the field is an asset, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked the veteran lineman as just the 45th-best guard out of 78 qualified players last season, giving him a -5.8 grade.
There had been plenty of speculation that Levitre would be released by the Titans before the season, since his cap charge for 2015, and for each of the following two seasons, is an exorbitant $8.6MM. By trading Levitre, the Titans will still be on the hook for $2.1MM in dead money this year and $4.2MM next year, but it would reduce his cap hit significantly.
As for the Falcons, they’d take on Levitre’s $6.5MM salary, which seems like an awfully steep price to pay for a guard who’s not among the league’s best. Atlanta released another veteran guard, Justin Blalock, earlier this offseason, and Blalock didn’t carry as large a cap number as Levitre does.
Still, we don’t have the full details on the move yet, so it’s possible there are other factors in play here — Levitre may have accepted a pay cut as part of the deal, or the Titans may be paying a portion of his 2015 salary, for instance.