"Sanu was talked about being traded. He makes almost $7 million. I think there was one team that was going to trade for him and I think they wanted a third-round pick for Sanu," Lombardi said, via Dave Choate of the Falcoholic.
Despite the debate, the team chose to keep its player instead of making a move before the NFL draft.
"Within the Falcons organization, the Falcons felt like well we really need Sanu, we're a veteran team. I need, the head coach, I need to win this year. I don't want to trade away the guy," Lombardi explained.
On the surface, a trade involving Sanu would make a lot of sense.
The 29-year-old not only has a $7.7 million cap hit for 2019, but he also has a $7.9 million cap hit for 2020, per Spotrac. However, a trade would have taken him off the books for 2020 and saved $4.9 million toward the cap in this upcoming season, only leaving $2.8 million worth of dead cap room.
Coming off a solid year, he also has a lot of value that could bring back a quality asset in a trade.
As good as he is, the Falcons don't need him. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley emerged with 10 touchdown catches last season and will be the clear-cut No. 2 behind Pro Bowler Julio Jones.
Despite these reasons, Atlanta could also benefit from having him around. He was impressive on the field last year, setting a career high with 838 receiving yards to go with 66 catches and four touchdowns.
He also threw the fourth touchdown pass of his career last season just for good measure.
The Falcons went just 7-9 in 2018, but they still have high expectations for this season and will need all the help they can get to compete in the NFC South. Keeping Sanu shows the squad is still focused on being as good as possible rather than rebuilding.