From Pretenders to Contenders: Ten Trades That Should Happen Before the NFL Trade Deadline
Phones buzzing, journalists scrambling and players moving. These actions will be commonplace on November 2nd, when the NFL trade deadline hits. Often at the deadline teams who's seasons are pretty much over trade their best players to contending teams in exchange for draft picks. Obviously this week will have big implications on what teams will be selling and buying at the deadline, but some team's fates are predictable and analysts across the country have been predicting who will find a new home after the deadline. So, here's ten trades that Let's Talk Sports thinks SHOULD (doesn't have to be probable) happen by 4 pm on November 2nd.
Allen Robinson to the Packers:
Although the Bears would be very unlikely to trade their best offensive weapon to their biggest rival, the trade does make sense for both teams. The Packers will need another strong receiver to compliment star Davante Adams in order to prevent teams from being able to double cover Adams and shut down their passing game. Also, this will alleviate pressure from other receivers such as Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, as they will face weaker secondary matchups and therefore have more opportunities to get open on routes. Although Robinson has a high value, his recent lack of production might mean that the Packers could nab him for less than a first round pick. But, this seems unlikely and the Pack might have to give up a good chunk of their future in order to get the guy they need to become a legit contender.
Kendall Fuller to the Buccaneers:
Once a team with no weaknesses, the Buccaneers were able to dominate opponents on both sides of the ball. However, their secondary is no longer as strong as it once was, ranking 23rd in the league with 264.7 passing yards allowed per game. The Bucs could use a new piece on this front to lock down the NFC's star wideouts such as Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins and Amari Cooper. On the flip side, Fuller is currently a diamond in the rough on an underperforming Washington defense. With nothing to play for, the Football Team might be willing to let go of one of their more expensive players for a solid pick and look for options to replace in the 2022 draft. Likewise, the Bucs are in "Win Now" mode with an aging quarterback and will do anything to get their second Lombardi Trophy in a row. This deal really fits the needs of both teams, and turns the Buccaneers defense into an even scarier team than before.
Xavien Howard to the Bengals:
Despite criticism for their protection of quarterback Joe Burrow so far, the Bengals have exceeded expectations and are currently on top of the AFC. But, in order to stay there they will likely need help in the secondary. The loss of cornerback William Jackson III in the offseason has taken their secondary down a notch as they have allowed more passing yards per game this season than in 2020. In addition, with their rebuild in an accelerated state the Bengals likely won't need all of their draft picks or veterans in 2022. On the other side of the deal is the Dolphins, who have had a horrendous start to the season after injuries and disappointing losses piled up quickly. This has led to Howard, one of the best cornerbacks in the league, wasting away in Miami. So, the two teams should strike a deal to send Howard to a contending team like Cincinnati for a first round pick plus either another later round pick or a veteran.
Mike Davis to the Ravens:
Although Davis just arrived in the Peach State, his time there will be short if the Falcons were wise. The Ravens have been in running back trouble since before the season started, when tandem JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards both left the team with season ending injuries. Although the team has been fine with perennial backups or washed up options such as Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell, the Ravens might need a real option in order to contend with some of the better teams in the AFC. Davis is on a relatively cheap and short contract that would not impact the long term status of the team. This also means that Baltimore could acquire him for a veteran or two or even an early to mid round draft pick. On the other side, the Falcons have been struggling despite having an explosive offense and are no doubt long overdue for a rebuild (which they have partially started). By adding a veteran locker room presence or a solid draft pick, Atlanta can continue their rebuild and move in a better direction.
Danielle Hunter to the Chargers:
Despite having huge expectations coming into the season, the Chargers defense, which features stars such as Joey Bosa and Derwin James, has been very disappointing. They are last in rushing yards allowed per game and are in the bottom half of the league for points per game. One common factor in these struggles is a weak defensive line, which for the exception of Bosa has been atrocious. Insert Danielle Hunter, a two time pro bowler with six sacks on the season already. Hunter would be an immediate positive impact for the Chargers and would be a great compliment on the other side of Bosa. This will allow the Bolts to put more pressure on other AFC West quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes & Derek Carr, and also stop the run games which will in turn force opponents to throw at their strong secondary. At 26, Hunter is just about at his prime so his value will be relatively high. But, a young team like the Chargers has plenty to give away if they truly believe that Hunter will change their defensive struggles.
Brandin Cooks to the Raiders:
The Raiders have shocked everyone this season by holding a lead in the immensely talented AFC West despite a relatively tough schedule. On the other hand, the Texans have shocked nobody by starting 1-6 and only scoring a measly 13.8 points per game. The real victim in Houston's mess is Cooks, who has had a great season (45 receptions for 502 yards) despite the chaos. However, Cooks' numbers would be amplified if he had a real quarterback like Raiders QB Derek Carr. The Texans are deep into a rebuild right now, and a 28 year old wideout isn't a good fit for a situation like that. Plus, his recent success has driven his trade value up, which means that the Texans will likely be given more than fair compensation for a piece that they didn't even need for their puzzle. In return, the Raiders will get another wideout to complement tight end Darren Waller and receivers Henry Ruggs III & Hunter Renfrow. This should help Las Vegas continue their offensive success (10th in yards and points per game) and make their first deep playoff run in a long time.
Marcus Mariota to the Cowboys:
Although at first glance a trade for a backup quarterback isn't super impactful, there have been plenty of situations where a team has required a backup quarterback to step up during the playoffs. Take last year for example, when both the Rams and the Washington Football Team started backups in the playoffs due to injury issues. With Dak Prescott coming off of an injury last year, it would be a wise idea for the Cowboys to have a better plan B than Cooper Rush or Will Grier. The former second overall pick has plenty of starting experience in the past, including one playoff appearance in the 2017-18 season. Plus, with Derek Carr's recent success the Cowboys could get Mariota for much less now (around a mid round pick). In fact, the Cowboys could even include Grier in that trade, seeing as the young quarterback has some developing to do and might benefit in a new system.
James Bradberry to the Chiefs:
Similar to the Buccaneers, the Chiefs' secondary has been exposed and is now a lot weaker than once thought. 26th in the league in passing yards per game, the Chiefs will need some more help in the secondary to compete with the rest of their tough division and the rest of the AFC. There are high expectations of Kansas City, and for the most part they haven't been met. But, getting a lockdown cornerback like Bradberry would change a ton. Strong AFC West wideouts like Courtland Sutton, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen will have a much tougher time getting open with Bradberry in the mix. Conversely, the Giants haven't even used Bradberry right as they are still in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed per game. But, his impact on a contender like the Chiefs would be immense. It also helps the rebuilding Giants, as they could use a draft pick or two to aid them in their rebuild.
Myles Jack to the Rams:
Seeing Jack reunite with former teammate Jalen Ramsey would be so entertaining for a number of reasons. First off, it would give the Rams front seven a much needed boost (although they are relatively strong there). Additionally, it would strengthen the Rams chemistry, which has looked lacking at times on the defensive front. Jack has been a high impact player this season for the Jaguars, who are way beyond out of the playoffs at this point. It'd be wise for Jacksonville, who is in the earlier stages of a rebuild, to trade Jack and start fresh on the defense with new picks. Plus, the Rams might be willing to overpay if they truly feel like Jack is worth it, so the Jags might be able to come away with a high round pick. This is likely because the Rams are desperate to get back to their Super Bowl form from a few years ago, and are just a few pieces away from doing so.
Marcus Maye to the Titans:
Any good player on the Jets is currently being wasted, especially a 28 year old at the peak of their career. So, it only makes sense for the Jets to dish out Maye while his trade value is at its highest. The Titans are in the bottom ten of passing yards per game, and it is no doubt due to a lack of support around safety Kevin Byard. Young cornerback Cristian Fulton has stepped up, but the rest of the secondary has been slacking this season. With Maye, the Titans would have the best pair of safeties in the league that would be able to aid Tennessee's weak cornerbacks. As said earlier, the Jets are wasting Maye's talent right now and desperately could use some draft picks and would also benefit from some more cap space. So, they could dish Maye to the Titans for a mid round pick or a few late rounders and solve their problems. The Titans can afford this too, as they are currently trying to win and can afford to lose some future draft picks if it means a higher chance at success.