I tend to be leery about in-season NFL acquisitions. In Bruce Irvin, the Atlanta Falcons are getting someone the 1-7 Raiders waived, and if he’d been all that great the Raiders mightn’t be 1-7. But I’m willing, ahem, to waive my usual skepticism for a couple of reasons.
First, the Raiders didn’t have further use for Khalil Mack, either, and he has done OK in Chicago. They also dealt Amari Cooper to Dallas. Don’t look now, but the Silver & Black has become the Miami Marlins.
Second, the Falcons rank 27th among 32 NFL teams in sacks and 28th in yards against. It’s not as if Irvin’s arrival is going to disrupt the Steel Curtain.
In limited Raider duty this season, Irvin had three sacks. That’s three times as many as Vic Beasley, who remains a Falcon, although not so you’d notice. The import worked under Dan Quinn in Seattle, which means he’ll have some feel for the terminology, and he’s from Atlanta, attending high school at both Stockbridge and Stephenson of Stone Mountain. He should be able to find Flowery Branch.
NFL teams are about talent, yes, but they’re also about mesh. Irvin will be new here. Though he was a key Seahawk, he was allowed to leave as a free agent after the 2015 season. (In May of that year, he told a reporter he was bound for the Falcons. He spent one final season in Seattle and then signed with Oakland.) He’s 31. He has never made the Pro Bowl.
That said, he doesn’t have to be a Pro Bowler to help a defense running short on able bodies and pass rushers. I don’t see any way he’ll hurt the Falcons, and there’s a chance he’ll help. This was a move worth making.