The boon market for cornerbacks set the pace for a trade deadline that should still be active over the coming week. The receivers, Mohamed Sanu and Emmanuel Sanders, then carried the day. As we approach the Oct. 29 deadline, we’ve already previewed some potential buyers and sellers (be sure to add L.A. and Baltimore to that list), but some of the more interesting names on the block have yet to be moved.
For your consumption, here’s a primer on some trades we think might happen, followed by some of the trades we’d like to see happen (please note the difference before screaming at me on Twitter. You can find my personal account here). There will probably not be another in-prime talent like Jalen Ramsey changing cities and commanding the type of draft capital that changes the landscape in the 2020 NFL draft. But, with so many teams in contention (17, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections, have at least a 25% chance of reaching the post season), there will be some consequential dealings.
Here’s our best guess at what they might look like:
TRADES WE THINK WE’LL SEE
• Falcons DE Vic Beasley to the Dallas Cowboys
I’d seen a good deal of Raiders faithful pegging Beasley to Oakland. It’s not a bad connection given that Jon Gruden will apparently be active this deadline and is looking for pass rushing help (imagine that). But I would be surprised, however, if Beasley ended up with Gruden. The thing about having a head coach who spent a decade as an everything analyst for ESPN means that he has a take on just about everyone, and before the 2015 draft, Gruden loudly questioned “Beasley’s play-to-play effort.” If nothing else, Gruden is a man of conviction.
Here’s why I like Dallas for Beasley: Like last year, Jerry Jones and the management team will give Jason Garrett every opportunity to stave off the hot seat and Beasley is an able pass rusher who can plug neatly into the rotation and add some push up front. Having played for Dan Quinn, Beasley should at least be familiar with some of the baseline concepts that Kris Richard has sprinkled into Rod Marinelli’s defense. Dallas also has more than $24 million in cap space, and they could still get creative with the “imminent” Dak Prescott deal and slide the remainder of Beasley’s fifth-year option salary onto the books.
• Jets DE Leonard Williams to the Eagles
The former Jets first-round pick has not stood out statistically (17 sacks in four years) despite being part of some good-to-excellent defensive lines over his five seasons. The Eagles, meanwhile, lost Malik Jackson for the season to a Lisfranc injury and just so happened to have a former high-ranking personnel executive now in charge of the Jets’ roster.
I would be stunned if the Jets did not shed some talent heading into the stretch run of the season (head coach Adam Gase wouldn’t have pushed for a clean slate at G.M. had he not felt the roster was deficient in some ways, and probably couldn’t gut it completely before the start of the season). I would also be stunned if Howie Roseman sits on his hands during the deadline given how clumped the NFC East has become. This is an affordable way to improve the team and gives them a look at a high-upside talent for 2020 and beyond.
• Bengals TE Tyler Eifert to the Seahawks
Luke Willson returning to Seattle gives Russell Willson an intermediate option at tight end now that Will Dissly is out for the season, but there is little doubt that Seahawks would move forward without at least trying to upgrade at the position. Eifert maybe isn’t the run blocking thumper that jibes with the soul of Seattle’s offense, but he’s a woefully underutilized asset on a bad football team who still might have something left in the tank. I also wouldn’t rule out Eifert being a New England Patriots target, as they’ve been juggling their tight end depth chart all season and typically feature multiple options at the position.
*A side note: Some tight ends that are set to hit free agency in 2020 on bad teams: Vernon Davis, Nick O’Leary and Austin Hooper.
• Eagles OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai to the Cleveland Browns
The Browns need sturdy offensive line help. The Eagles have some left tackle depth, used their first-round pick on the developmental Andre Dillard and, in turn, created wiggle room to shed someone like Vaitai for the right price. The Browns could offer a player—say Rashard Higgins—from a position of strength that the Eagles would also deem helpful. This would complete a fairly signature Howie Roseman deadline, making a clean sweep on two positions of need without spending much capital. Cornerback is still a concern, but the market has already settled on Gareon Conley being a third-round pick, which is far from an undervalued asset.
TRADES WE’D LIKE TO SEE
• Bengals WR A.J. Green to the Patriots
It is always enjoyable to see a high-production player in a middling system break free, and pairing Green up with the best player in NFL history could help us get the best of the wide receiver. We miraculously saw more than a few good years in Cincinnati, but we probably never fully realized his potential given the circumstances under which he played.
To me, this move is a no brainer for a new head coach supposedly riding this wave of next-gen offensive coordinators to deal a luxury asset that could end up perfectly fitting whatever system he decides to run in 2020.
• Washington OT Trent Williams to the Browns
We also deserve to see Baker Mayfield wandering frantically in the backfield for minutes at a time until his two talented wide receivers break open, which is something he has not been able to do in 2019 thus far. While we’re all on record suggesting the Browns need to make this offense more functional for a second-year quarterback, Williams is the kind of franchise-altering stalwart who can turn Cleveland from tremendous let down to still-legitimate playoff contender in 2019.
• Giants QB Eli Manning to the Chiefs
Should Kansas City require more time for Patrick Mahomes’s knee to heal, why not do the incredibly irresponsible thing and light a ton of cap space on fire for a soon-to-be-retired Manning. The reason I’d like this deal to happen is purely selfish, having lived in an area where fans, for the better part of a decade, have been suggesting that Manning is just one competent offensive coordinator away from getting a Roethlisberger-esque late career surge. Here, paired with Andy Reid, would be the proof one way or another.
• Chargers RB Melvin Gordon to the Ravens
I know Melvin Gordon has been bad this year. I also know that the Chargers could very well hold onto their former first-round pick since they’re not going to get the return that would make the compensatory formula irrelevant. Still, I love the idea of Baltimore doubling down on their punishing run game by adding a back who, in the past, has been a relatively efficient north-south runner with the potential to break games open. Running back is such a fickle position and layering eager superstars in an advantageous statistical situation only makes sense.
• Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap to the Raiders
I want to see Gruden pull the trigger in a relatively irresponsible fashion on a veteran player one more time this season and believing that Oakland is in the thick of a playoff hunt, this might be it. The Paul Guenther connection gives this fictional scenario some grease, although I would imagine Oakland looking at more of a splash. It will be fascinating to see what the Bengals are willing to part with in the coming days.
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