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NFL Trade Deadline Takeaways: Jets Stand Pat, Rams Deal Talib to Clear Cap Space

Several big-name players were rumored to be dealt before Tuesday's trade deadline, but there was very little movement once it was all said and done.
The Jets failed to work out a deal for Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams before the trade deadline. 

The Jets failed to work out a deal for Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams before the trade deadline. 

So this would be the Tuesday Night Quarterback, I guess … wrapping up what wound up being a dud of a trade deadline day (considering the expectations) …

• The Jets saw the downside of the amount of open dialogue there is now on the NFL’s once-dormant trade market—sometimes talks happen, and nothing materializes, and players’ names get out there, and there are fences to mend. Safety Jamal Adams would be the one to watch closest. His post-deadline tweet got everyone’s attention. Add it to his emotion over dealing with all the losing from postgame Sunday, and the idea that he could become the 2020 version of Jalen Ramsey is on the radar of some teams coming out of this.

• The sticker price on Adams, in Jets GM Joe Douglas’ defense, was sky high—they’d talked conceptually about ideas (one was, indeed, a first-rounder and two second-rounders) that were just a shade behind what the Jaguars got from the Rams for Ramsey. I’m told the Cowboys’ final offer was a first-rounder and a backup-level player. And that was not the best offer the Jets got. At the wire, three teams were involved: Dallas, Baltimore (which was serious about acquiring Adams) and a third team that made that blockbuster bid to get Adams.

• As for the other name out there on Tuesday, the Jets didn’t have much of a market for Le’Veon Bell, which is likely because that a trading team would be on the hook for his $13.5 million for 2020, most of which is fully guaranteed. The Chiefs and Texans, two teams speculated to have interest had absolutely none, I’m told.

• I would be surprised if Redskins LT Trent Williams plays another snap for the team, despite having reported on Tuesday. And there could be another Ramsey parallel here—where Williams finds a reason every week to keep the extra mileage of game action off his body. Then, the question becomes whether the Redskins fight to keep him from accruing the season, which would toll his contract (meaning it would run through 2021, rather than just 2020). Stay tuned here. I don’t know that this one’s gonna get any prettier, and the idea of Williams being dealt certainly isn’t off the table.

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• The Bengals’ benching of Andy Dalton, I’ve been told, was purely about getting a good look at rookie Ryan Finley ahead of 2020. And that makes a ton of sense. The team could be picking high enough to have to make a call between, say, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon QB Justin Herbert and Ohio State DE Chase Young next spring. Having a viable young quarterback could free them up to take a generational position-player talent like Young. Not having one could tighten their focus on Herbert and Tagovailoa. Either way, they’ll have a half-season of information to go off of. And credit to the Bengals for being honest with themselves about where they are (even if they were quiet on the trade front, as they usually are.)

• Two players I was surprised weren’t moved: Broncos CB Chris Harris and Eagles OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Harris could’ve been had for a second-round pick. And given the interest in corners across the NFL, even though Harris isn’t signed past this year, I’d have thought he’d have been worth that. Ditto on Vaitai—I figured the offensive line issues across the NFL would’ve pushed the market for him.

• Another player who prompted phone calls the last couple days: Titans CB Adoree Jackson. Tennessee didn’t actively shop him, but that didn’t stop corner-needy teams from taking their shot at him. And as we said yesterday, Lions CB Darius Slay was available—with a high price tag attached to him. It’d have cost another team at least a first-round pick, or something equivalent, to get him, according to sources, but nothing on the level of what the Jets were asking for in the Adams talks.

• Is it surprising the Eagles didn’t land a corner? Sure, a little, and especially considering that they were in the thick of the Ramsey sweepstakes. But one thing I do know is that their dynamic has changed a little with Carson Wentz off his rookie deal. They’ll value draft picks a little more going forward, knowing that’s where they’ll have to fill their roster out—without as much financial breathing room to spend on veterans.

• Interestingly enough, the template for the Dolphins-Rams trade was really written by ex-Browns exec Sashi Brown (he got a second-round pick in 2017 for taking on Brock Osweiler's outsized contract). And it was wholly an NBA-style salary dump. The Rams gave Miami a 2020 fifth-round pick for taking on the $4.24 million left on Talib’s deal, and got a 2022 seventh-round pick (or something that’s as close to nothing as it gets). L.A. entered the day with $4.38 million in cap space, and in the end, wanted more financial resources to take care of its own, with Ramsey, Cory Littleton, Dante Fowler, Austin Blythe, Cooper Kupp and John Johnson among those who could be taken care of now or later (the Rams can roll the cap space over into 2020). And where they valued the money over a pick, they found a team that valued the pick over money. As for the thought that the Rams were clearing space to make another move, I’m told they had zero talks the last few days with other teams on trading for a player.

• One thing that slowed the market? There’s a feeling out there that some teams dangled big names, saw interest, and had second thoughts over moving them. That’s human nature, of course. But it’s a fascinating piece of this whole dance—while you’re ascertaining a player’s value, you may figure out that you should be valuing him more than you do.

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