- Another season's roster cuts loom, and again offensive lineman are in high demand. Who could we see moved ahead of the NFL's roster cut-down deadline?
I wrote this column last year about the NFL’s offensive line crisis. I’ll this column this year about the NFL’s offensive line crisis.
Ahead of roster cut-down day, the league is still desperate for more big men to protect its passers and pave the way for its runners. Many teams are in a position now, a week before the start of the season, where much of their 2019 may hinge on what becomes of their offensive line.
The much-hyped Browns, who traded for a lineman (Buffalo’s Wyatt Teller) already, are like that. The Bengals, Lions and Chargers are too. The Falcons invested heavily in fixing theirs. The Texans are contemplating just how far they’d be willing to go to pry franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil away from the Dolphins, and the Redskins can continue to be in a holding pattern with holdout left tackle Trent Williams.
So if there’s one position where trades could happen ahead of Saturday’s cutdown, or where teams would like it to happen, it’s there, for the same reason that a free-agent tackle (Trent Brown) and center (Mitch Morse) set new financial high-water marks at those positions for the second consecutive offseason.
The other position to watch would be at corner—there are plenty of contenders looking to bolster that spot, but the problem at both is the lack of supply. There just aren’t enough players there to go around, and if a team has good ones, it tends to hang onto them.
We’ll let that serve as the backdrop to our annual list of pre-cutdown day trade targets. Now, here are some names …
LB Kiko Alonso, Miami: The Dolphins will listen on anyone, and the linebacker spot is one that could undergo significant turnover, with Alonso and perhaps Raekwon McMillan available. GM Chris Grier has done a really nice job building assets for 2020 and beyond, and that effort should continue this weekend.
DE Taco Charlton, Dallas: One of the few recent swing-and-misses draft-wise by the Cowboys, Charlton’s got a for-sale sign around his neck. Dallas has depth and quality at his position, and he knows that with the team’s financials about to look significantly different (given all the big-name veterans coming up for deals or that just got paid), having draft picks to fill out its roster will be key in the coming years.
DE Jadeveon Clowney, Houston: Part of this has become personal—Clowney was involved in trade talks before the draft, and after that had come to piece with playing on his $15.9 tender for 2019. Then, the Texans started shopping him again, and now it’s hard to see them going back to him. Obviously, Miami has been in the mix. Seattle’s monitoring the situation. It’ll be hard to get value for the former first overall pick, since any team trading for him can’t extend him until January. But it feels like it just time for a divorce here.
TE Seth Devalve, Cleveland: The emergence of David Njoku and acquisition of Demetrius Harris, a John Dorsey guy from Kansas City, has DeValve marginalized within the Browns’ offensive equation. He’s been available for the balance of the summer, and could be a decent option as a two-way tight end for someone.
WR Josh Doctson, Washington: The 2015 first-rounder hasn’t been a bad player for the Redskins (79 catches the last two years), but hasn’t come close to living up to expectations. Still, it’s not impossible to see where a team that might’ve been high on him coming out four years ago sees his $1.82 million base, and figures it’s worth taking a shot.
S Rashaan Gaulden, Carolina: A third-round pick last year, Gaulden is clearly behind Eric Reid and Tre Boston at safety. The Panthers have toyed with roles for him in their nickel and dime defenses. But if someone came with a decent offer, they’d certainly listen.
RB Carlos Hyde, Kansas City: The emergence of rookie Darwin Thompson has turned Hyde from reliable backup to Damien Williams to trade bait. Hyde does have 3300 career rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, and could be a nice piece for some team to pair with a lead back, as the Chiefs had initially intended to.
C Brett Jones, Minnesota: He’s just 28, and has starting experience, but probably won’t see much time in Minnesota, given the arrival of Garrett Bradbury. So there could be an opportunity for the Vikings to capitalize on the aforementioned dearth of line talent across the NFL.
C Joe Looney, Dallas: Looney proved a competent replacement for Travis Frederick in a pinch, and the Cowboys are one of just a few teams out there with any semblance of line depth. As we mentioned with Charlton, it makes sense, given where the Cowboys are logistically, to consider adding draft capital for next spring.
DE Noah Spence, Tampa Bay: Given his athletic potential, it’s fair to say things just haven’t worked out for Spence—he had 5.5 sacks as a rookie, one in 2017 and zero in 12 games last year. This is another situation in which someone out there who loved him coming out of college (fun fact: Titans coach Mike Vrabel recruited him to Ohio State in 2012) might want to take a swing.
WR Taywan Taylor, Tennessee: Taylor had a nice Year 2 last fall (37 catches), but has fallen down the depth chart this summer. He could bring Vrabel and GM Jon Robinson something decent in return.
WR Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota: Was available pre-draft, and became more available when Chad Beebe showed he could play. And now, he’s in danger of not making the team, which would make him more available than ever.
DL Eddie Vanderdoes, Oakland: A 2017 third-round pick, he’s been shopped pretty much all summer, as one of the remaining draft picks of ex-GM Reggie McKenzie. He actually started 13 games as a rookie before missing last year with a torn ACL.
G/C Stefen Wisniewski, Philadelphia: Philly will be one team that will be getting calls from line-needy teams, based on their depth. And Wisniewski, who has over 100 career starts, is a logical piece for those teams to pursue. Big V—Halapoulivaati Vaitai—is another potential trade target, as the Eagles start to shift their strategy towards building draft capital in the Carson-Wentz-on-a-second-contract era.
Question or comment? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.