NFL teams are trading players at a higher rate than ever before. While trades still don’t happen as often as they do in other professional sports, NFL general managers are starting to warm up to the idea of rebuilding their rosters despite the high risk of “losing” the trade.
This season’s trade deadline is fast approaching. All trades must be submitted by 4 p.m. ET on October 30.
We’ve already seen some trades go down well before the deadline. Some pretty good players like Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Carlos Hyde, and Amari Cooper have already been dealt. Such early action is a good indication that teams have accepted their places as “buyers” or “sellers” this season.
Some really big names have been circulating in the Twitter-sphere of trade gossip as well. Superstars like Patrick Peterson, Le’Veon Bell, and Demaryius Thomas have been heavily rumored to be dealt by next week’s deadline.
Please go find a chair if you are not near one already. I want to make sure you’re sitting for this next part because it truly is shocking: not everything you read on Twitter is true. The Cardinals, Steelers, and Broncos have all shot down these rumors and there is nothing credible to suggest that any Blockbuster trades (are they called Netflix trades now?) will include these three players.
So, what trades might happen?
Here are five trades that my opposite-of-expert scouting brain has come up with that are realistic, fair, and mutually beneficial to both teams involved.
5. Shane Ray, Broncos Edge Rusher, to the L.A. Rams
Broncos edge rushers Von Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb have respectively gotten the 2nd and 6th most sacks in the NFL this season. That leaves their teammate Shane Ray on the bench for most of the game, despite him being a good enough to be a starter for many other teams. Because of the vast depth at the position, the Broncos won’t extend Ray’s contract. It seems like their 2015 1st round pick is playing out his last season with the team.
The Rams defense is loaded with All-Pros like Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh in the trenches and Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib up top. However, their guys in the middle are pretty average. Before he was traded to the Bears, the Rams offered a 1st round pick for Khalil Mack even though they did NOT want to sign him for a long-term deal. Giving up a 1st round pick for ONE SEASON of an elite pass rusher.
So how much would they give up for one season of a good, albeit not elite, pass rusher? Not a ton, but even a late-round draft pick makes sense for both teams. It would be an upgrade in the Rams pass rushing department and the Broncos are going to lose Ray regardless, so they may as well get some value for him.
Ray’s best seasons were with current Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips at the helm of Denver’s defense. Phillips definitely knows how to maximize his talent. How about this 7-0 Rams getting better at rushing the passer? YIKES.
4. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver, to the Philadelphia Eagles
Let’s start with a quick summary of the Devante Parker drama going on in Miami:
Parker didn’t play last week and Dolphins coach Adam Gase blamed Parker’s health as the reason. Parker’s agent disagreed that his client was injured—to say the least. Parker’s agent said “Coach Gase is incompetent—period—and not telling the truth when it comes to DeVante…” in regard to his health.
Parker did say that his agent is his own man and he disagreed with his statement but…sheesh. It has to be quite awkward in that locker room at the moment.
Parker hasn’t really lived up to the billing of a former 1st round pick since being drafted by Miami in 2015. So far, he’s put up average statistics with about 55 catches, 700 yards, and 3-4 touchdowns per year. That’s not bad, he just hasn’t lived up to the elevated expectations of a 1st rounder. He’s still a 25-year-old freak athlete with a 6’3” 209lbs frame, a 36.5 inch vertical, and 4.45 second (!) 40-yard dash.
The Eagles offense hasn’t fully clicked since Carson Wentz came back from his ACL injury. They need some speed and playmakers if they want to repeat as Super Bowl champs and Parker might be a perfect fit. His speed and athleticism with Wentz’s strong arm and Doug Pederson’s creativity seems like a win-win for both parties.
The Eagles offered a 2nd round pick for Amari Cooper so they are staying aggressive enough to give up future pieces for an instant impact play maker.
3. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver, to the Carolina Panthers
Larry frickin’ Legend. The nicest and most likeable guy in football is stuck in the desert playing for the worst team in the NFL. At 35 years young, Fitzgerald might not have much time left to win his first ring before retiring.
However, Fitzgerald might be beating father time as well as he’s beaten every NFL cornerback for the past 15 years. His last three seasons—as a 32 through 34-year-old—Fitz has averaged 108 catches, 1,130 yards, 7 touchdowns, and made the Pro Bowl each year. That’s remarkable high-level consistency for any wide receiver, let alone somebody his age.
Panthers are legit contenders when Cam Newton plays as well as he has been this year. Their offense never replaced Kelvin Benjamin (don’t laugh, Bills Mafia, he was good there) and Fitz is the perfect big and reliable target for Cam’s arsenal.
Please, Arizona, Fitz is too nice to ever ask for a trade, but that doesn’t mean you should let him burn in your dumpster fire.
2. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback, to the Jacksonville Jaguars
I defended Blake Bortles and thought he was a franchise quarterback. I was wrong. It takes a big man to admit a mistake and today I am that big man. Credit to me.
However, the Jags can’t just quit. They upgraded at running back by getting Carlos Hyde and now have to upgrade at QB. They have to try their best to capitalize on the most talented defense they’ve ever had.
They have to move on from Bortles. Just because he led the team to the AFC Championship game last year doesn’t excuse his horrible play. Mark Sanchez led the Jets to two AFCCGs and I’m sure every Jets fan wishes they moved on from Mr. Butt Fumble earlier.
It pains me to say this because I’ve always thought of Bortles as the Tom Brady antithesis. He is relaxed, funny, not yelling at everybody, and enjoys being a simple guy who cracks open beers and eats too much pizza. Unfortunately, he also can’t win five Super Bowls.
The Jags need to replace the Tom Brady antithesis with the Tom Brady killer: Nick Foles.
Our good friend Brandon Perna awards a “Big Dick Player of the Week.” That’s probably why Foles’ teammates call him “Big Dick Nick.” Foles won another big award—Super Bowl MVP—just eight months ago by defying the odds as a backup quarterback and leading the Eagles to a shootout victory over some team from Massachusetts.
While his career has had some ups and downs, he’s always played well under the right circumstances. In 2013 he put up a ridiculous 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions in ten starts before getting hurt. That potential plus a Super Bowl MVP is one hell of an upgrade for the Jaguars in their fight for a very winnable AFC South Division.
1. Derek Carr, Raiders QB, in exchange for Eli Manning, New York Giants QB
As you read on Shots with MZE, the excellent @GMFB_MZE broke down Jon Gruden’s strategy of having three 1st round draft picks.
Chucky might be able to get another 1st round pick by trading away quarterback Derek Carr. Carr is a young player who’s made multiple Pro Bowls and led the Raiders to a 12-4 record just two years ago. Naturally, this type of résumé has no place in Gruden’s plans. Like Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack, Gruden is itching to ship off his proven young talent in exchange for the possibility of drafting somebody who might be talented.
Eli Manning is well past his prime and is too slow to play quarterback in the modern NFL. Or, as Gruden (likely) thinks, he’s perfect. Eli could join recent Raiders acquisitions Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin, and Reggie Nelson in a team that would have been really good when Gruden stopped paying attention in the Monday Night Football booth in 2014.
The Giants defied expert opinion (and basic common sense) by drafting running back Saquon Barkley with the 2nd pick in last year’s draft. Their reasoning did make a little bit of sense: if Eli is still a franchise quarterback, surrounding him with elite weapons like Barkley and OBJ is their best chance at winning a ring in what could be Eli’s last season. In hindsight to them, and foresight to everybody else, that reasoning was wrong.
Eli’s decline this season has been pretty sad to watch. The Giants are now forced to replace him and are widely projected to draft a rookie quarterback in next year’s 1st round. Carr may just be the perfect solution for them instead. Even though it would cost a 1st round pick and a franchise legend in Manning, it seems well worth the risk. That 1st round pick would be used on a quarterback regardless.
The Scout is a Broncos fan and a #TeamBlitzed All Pro. You can follow the Scout on Twitter here.