We don't often see trades in the NFL, but the Atlanta Falcons were involved in one Wednesday night. The Falcons dealt linebacker Akeem Dent to the Houston Texans for quarterback T.J. Yates.
It was believed Dent was on thin ice with the Falcons, as they drafted four linebackers in May's draft. Plus the move of Kroy Biermann and Jonathan Massoquoi to linebacker seems imminent for a team now moving to more of a hybrid, 3-4 defense.
The addition of Yates confirms the Falcons were not completely comfortable with Dominique Davis as the sole backup option to starter Matt Ryan. Last year's seventh round pick in 2013, Sean Renfree, is also in the battle for the number two quarterback job.
Dent was Atlanta's third round pick in the 2011 draft out of Georgia. Dent has played in all but one game in the last three seasons, with 20 starts. He replaced Curtis Lofton as the starting middle linebacker prior to the 2012 season and started 13 games. His playing time was scaled back this past season to only seven starts.
Dent had practically been replaced by Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow, who seem to be the new middle linebackers. It shows the lack of support the Atlanta front office had in Dent, considering last week's season-ending injury to Sean Weatherspoon.
Tuesday night reports circulated that Houston was set to release Yates, who was replaced by Case Keenum last year as the Texans' primary backup. Houston signed free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year contract in March. He was named as the Texans' starter by head coach Bill O'Brien on Tuesday. The Texans also drafted Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage in the 4th round of the NFL Draft.
Yates was born in Marietta, GA and graduated from Pope High School. He then played his college ball at North Carolina. Yates, who just turned 27 three weeks ago, was a fifth round pick by Houston in the 2011 Draft.
Yates actually made his first pro start for the Texans in a game against Atlanta on December 4, 2011. He completed 12 of 25 passes for 188 yards. Yates started the final five games of the 2011 season for Houston.
Yates played in four games in 2012, all as a backup. Then last season he appeared in only three games, again as a reserve. In his career, Yates has completed 101 of 166 passes, a 60.8 completion percentage, for 1,100 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions.
Yates also has the distinction of being the first quarterback to lead Houston to a playoff victory. He started the game against Cincinnati on January 7, 2012.
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