The biggest name is already out of the NFL’s trade market, with the 49ers landing running back Christian McCaffrey last week. And the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs have each caused a stir this week, with Philadelphia adding Bears passing thrower Robert Quinn to an already impressive defense, and the Chiefs acquiring electric Kadarius Toney from the Giants.
But there’s plenty of intrigue left as Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline approaches.
A number of expected suitors faltered during the first part of the season. These teams could look to the trade market to help get them back on track.
So, while we wait to see how things pan out, we’re working out ideas for deals that may or may not happen – but, in our opinion, should.
AthleticismJeff Howe and Mike Jones made three proposals each. One author details why each deal makes sense, and the other explains why it might not.
Mike Jones’ Three Business Propositions
Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks to Packers for fifth-round pick
Why Jones: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are desperately missing Davante Adams, and no one in the trade market can fully fill those shoes. But right now, Rodgers badly needs a veteran receiver who understands the concepts of offense and where he’s supposed to be at all times. The Cooks — stranded in Houston, where the Texans will likely be in contention for the first draft pick — can help. He played in the same offense for Packers coach Matt LaFleur’s good buddy Sean McVay while a member of the Rams in 2018 and 2019 (LaFleur served as the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2017). At 29, Cooks still has a lot to do in the tank while still coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. In total, Cooks has passed the 1,000 yard mark in six of the last seven seasons in stops at New Orleans, New England, Los Angeles and Houston. While some wide receivers struggle to find comfort with a new team mid-season, Cooks would have a good chance of making a near-instant impact.
Howe is why not: The last time the Packers traded for a wide receiver, it involved Rodgers’ friend Randall Cobb. Part of the Packers’ offensive issues this season has been Rodgers’ lack of confidence in young receivers. So the question is whether Rodgers and Cooks can create enough immediate chemistry to make a tangible difference, with the Packers essentially in win-now mode for the last 10 games. That doesn’t mean Green Bay should wave the white flag and ignore all potential receiver acquisitions, but there should be some skepticism.
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Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn to Rams for mid-round pick
Why Jones: The Rams, defending Super Bowl champions, have struggled a lot this season, and a lot of that has to do with injuries along their offensive line. In six games, Matthew Stafford was sacked 22 times (third-most in the league) and the Rams averaged just 70.5 rushing yards per game (31st in the NFL). After losing left tackle Joe Noteboom to a torn Achilles tendon last week, the Rams’ sense of urgency to fortify the line has grown even more. Wynn, the 23rd pick in the 2018 draft, has spent the past three seasons at left tackle for New England but has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. A trade with the Rams could benefit all parties involved.
Howe is why not: Wynn is having his worst season in New England, though it’s fair to wonder how much the switch to right tackle has put him off. But even with that in mind, the Patriots should be comfortable with Marcus Cannon and Yodny Cadjusted at the right tackle for the final 10 games. They also have to operate under the likelihood of left tackle Trent Brown running out of time, as he hasn’t completed a full season since 2018 (one of only two times in his eight-year career that has happened). With the Patriots’ QB situation off track at the moment, a move that wears down the offensive line — no matter what Patriots fans think of Wynn — may not be in their best interest.
Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to Ravens for two mid-round picks
Why Jones: There’s no way the Ravens will keep pace with the Chiefs and Bills if they don’t provide Lamar Jackson with more consistent and impactful weapons. Jeudy, who has averaged 17 or more yards per catch in two of his three NFL seasons, certainly helps fill that need. Jeudy has been mentioned as a potential target for Green Bay, but the Packers and Rodgers brass might prefer a veteran. The Giants and Rams have also been mentioned as potential destinations for Jeudy, but Baltimore and Jackson need someone like him in the worst possible way.
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Howe is why not: I totally agree with this one. I can’t even say “why not”. The Ravens’ offense places a heavy emphasis on breakthrough plays, whether it’s with Jackson or players of athletic talent, and Jeudy would add to that. It could also be a nice negotiating tactic for general manager Eric DeCosta to show Jackson that they will make moves to improve the offensive talent around him. Jeudy hasn’t taken off in Denver, but who has really since joining in 2020? He made a handful of plays that validated the talent the football world saw from him in Alabama, and he would have a tremendous chance to resurrect that potential in Baltimore.
Jeff Howe’s Three Business Propositions
Lions tight end TJ Hockenson to Bucs for 2023 first-round pick and 2024 fourth-round pick
Here’s why : OK, so there’s no reason to believe Hockenson is on the trade block, but that would be a tough offer for the Lions to ignore. They already have the inside lane on a top-five pick with their own draft pick, which is expected to be used on a quarterback, and another Rams first-rounder. Throw in a third first-round pick and the Lions will control the draft board. Maybe they’d even be lucky enough to get a quarterback and — perhaps through another trade — Alabama passer Will Anderson to team up with Aidan Hutchinson. For the Bucs, their offensive issues can’t be traced to any singular location, but the absence of a star-caliber tight end certainly didn’t help. Hockenson is under contract through his fifth-year option in 2023, so that’s important too. In addition to launching their attack as soon as possible, the Bucs must also think about the future of Tom Brady. Brady, an impending free agent who can’t be tagged, might just choose to retire, or maybe he’ll worry that the offense can’t be fixed in his current state and look to play elsewhere. It’s conceivable that the addition of Hockenson could play a role in influencing this decision.
Jones why not: That’s a steep price tag, and considering they may have to use a first-rounder on a quarterback next season, I don’t see the Bucs doing that much. Yes, a tight end of Hockenson’s caliber would help. But not at this price.
Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb to Cowboys for 2023 and 2024 third-round pick
Here’s why : The Cowboys have the most tenacious defense in the league, and Chubb might be the most dangerous defender in the trading block. Dallas will remain as dangerous as Micah Parsons allows, but the addition of Chubb would create another headache for opposing offenses. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could build the rush on DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong and Chubb, then give Parsons even more freedom to move. As for the Broncos, Chubb is still worth building on, but their defense will remain solid no matter what and they need to salvage draft assets after the Russell Wilson trade. If they don’t believe Chubb will sign an extension after the season — or if they think he’ll go over budget — it makes sense to move him now.
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Jones why not: Man, an already beastly Cowboys defense just got more dangerous, huh? I like that, but there could be even more desperate teams chasing Chubb. A? The Rams, who are still sorely missing Von Miller and would like to add a pass-rusher at the deadline. They don’t have a first-round pick, but they do have a second and third round in 2023.
Falcons center Matt Hennessy, Ravens guard Ben Cleveland, Bengals guard Jackson Carman, Patriots right tackle Isaiah Wynn, Eagles left tackle Andre Dillard at the Rams
Falcons receive: 2023 sixth-round pick
Ravens receive: 2023 sixth-round pick
The Bengals receive: 2023 seventh-round pick
Patriots receive: 2024 fourth-round pick
The Eagles receive: 2024 third-round pick
Here’s why : We had to search through some old storage closets to find some of the Rams’ spare draft picks, and they have additional late-round assets due to prior trades. Granted, they may never fish again, but Southern California is a nice place to explore in late April anyway. Back on track, no, it’s unrealistic to believe the Rams will overhaul their entire offensive line midway through the season, but that option is there if they’re willing to go the wildly unconventional route. Their line let them down in their 3-3 start, and that’s an area that hasn’t received enough attention in recent drafts, so they can borrow from future drafts to head in a better direction. AthleticismBeat reporters stored a list of trade candidates last week, and they coincidentally included two tackles, two guards and a centre. Everything fell into place.
Jones why not: Hold on! You just ridiculed my Wynn to the Rams idea, so I say absolutely not. Your deal isn’t working! Haha, seriously, I like the aggressive mindset in the complete overhaul of the entire offensive line, but I don’t see that happening. I think the Rams would like to go to both sides of the ball, and they only have a limited number of draft picks to build talent. So an offensive lineman, yes. And then a pass-rusher, which may require multiple picks to secure.
(Brandin Cooks top photo: Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
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