We’re in a bit of a lull of the offseason. Big name transactions are hard to come by this far into the offseason, but there are still some closed door talks that will result in some huge trades coming up before Week 1. The draft is quickly becoming an afterthought and all focus is shifting toward the regular season. As regular season rosters become clearer, team’s will push to get rid of certain talent to bring in a better fit.
Although so much focus is placed on the acquisitions leading up to and on draft day, the next few months are where certain trades can be the eventual cause of a playoff run. The front-office moves that will happen over the next few months are the ones meant to solidify an offensive or defensive attack. No longer are teams trying to fill numerous holes in their game plan. Now, organizations are looking for the final piece to that puzzle. Front offices are trying to find the difference maker on what should be an already well-balanced attack.
Let’s face it … any team that still has to fill multiple holes will not likely reach the postseason. Some of those teams appear on this list, but you’ll also see a couple powerhouses make a move that will shake up the structure of their division. A couple trades that lie ahead will solidify an upcoming winning season, while others will just make people wonder ‘why?’ With this list, here are 15 huge trades that still could shake up this offseason.
15 JIMMY GAROPPOLO TRADED TO THE JETS
The longer the Jets go on without grabbing a quarterback the more likely this trade is becoming. Although Jimmy Garoppolo may not be the veteran quarterback that the Jets would like, he’s a much better option than risking next season on any one of the guys remaining on the roster. Garoppolo has dealt with this media storm for the past year, and now he’s ready to start in a media epicenter like New York.
It seems like New England is planning on holding on to Jimmy Garoppolo since he’s still on the roster, but the backup quarterback will eventually be traded because he deserves a shot as a starting quarterback. And there are teams out there willing to shell out quite a bit to secure that option. The team that’s most willing and in need of this type of quarterback is the New York Jets. The Jets have been floundering for years and mostly because of a lack of consistency at their quarterback position.
14 BROCK OSWEILER TRADED TO THE RAMS
Did you think Brock Osweiler found his next home when he got to Cleveland. Well, think again. Cleveland is obviously using Osweiler as some part of tricky maneuver because there’s no way the team wants to pay top dollar for a quarterback that will be replaced by next season, and the Rams are susceptible enough to fall into this trap because they’re still worried the Jared Goff experiment isn’t going to work out. The Browns will be trading off Osweiler well before he ever suits up in a Browns jersey for the regular season. Although the Browns are in desperate need of a new quarterback, they are well aware that Osweiler isn’t going to be the guy who will change things up. Cleveland saw Osweiler’s dismal play in Houston and there’s no reason to think he’ll do better on a team with more issues.
Part of the reason that the Browns acquired Osweiler was because he came with a second-round draft pick. The Browns are stockpiling for the future, and getting rid of Osweiler for some draft picks and maybe some veteran talent to implement this year would be a huge win for Cleveland.
13 MALCOLM BUTLER TRADED TO THE EAGLES
Malcolm Butler is not making the money he wants to be with the Patriots. That really sucks for the young defensive stud because the Patriots have benefited from Butler’s play so much. At the very least, the Patriots should realize that Butler is not going to perform the way we’ve been accustomed to because at some subconscious level he’ll be pissed at the organization signing his checks.
The Eagles will be able to part ways with one of their aging running backs in that three-man rotation along with some future late-round draft picks to acquire Butler. This will be a huge win for a team that still hasn’t fully addressed its needs at the cornerback position. It’s a shame that the Patriots won’t step up and give Butler the money he deserves, but he’ll be much more appreciated and respected once he starts locking receivers down while playing for the Eagles.
12 MYCHAL KENDRICKS TRADED TO THE GIANTS
In February it began seeming like the Eagles were going to part ways with Mychal Kendricks. Well, that actually might have been seeming that way throughout most of last season. Under Jim Schwartz, Kendricks lost a lot of playing time and it would suit both of these sides best to part ways. Even if this relationship hasn’t hit it’s boiling point yet, it will at some point and the Eagles should get something out of it before it’s too late.
Over in New York, the Giants could really use some help from a linebacker like Kendricks. Though he’s got a high salary, this could be the fit that can justify that big payday. The Giants won’t have to give up much (other than money to Kendricks) to make this happen, and it’s something that can likely happen before the start of the regular season and it will immensely benefit both of these teams even if it doesn’t quite seem like it at first.
11 PHILIP RIVERS TRADED TO THE CHIEFS
Although the Chargers have been led by Philip Rivers for a while now, it’s time the two sides part ways. This has been a toxic relationship masked by spurts of greatness from Philip Rivers. Plus, it’s best the Chargers get rid of the aging quarterback while he still has value … that might not last much longer.
Kansas City will need to give up quite a bit to get this trade through (find out who goes in the next entry). But that won’t be an issue for the team as it’s becoming obvious that Alex Smith isn’t the quarterback leading this team to a postseason run. Rivers throws a lot of interceptions, but he scores a lot too, and Kansas City’s defense is much more equipped than the Chargers to stump the opposition’s offense. Let’s face it, Kansas City becomes a scary team with Rivers.
10 ALEX SMITH, JEREMY MACLIN TRADED TO THE CHARGERS
Both Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin will fit much better with the Chargers than they ever did on the Chiefs. Similar to how Philip Rivers was toxic to the Chargers, the Chiefs were toxic to both Smith and Maclin, who will both thrive on this new team. Maclin has proved to be a great wide receiver, he’s just often stumped on the Chiefs lackluster offense. It will be a challenge working to learn a new offense, but running routes beside Keenan Allen (when he’s healthy) will prove to be a tough combo to defend.
Smith will have an even tougher time acclimating, but the talent around him will be just too much to expect anything other than great things. Smith has been an average (at best) quarterback while in Kansas City. After this trade goes down, Smith will lead the Chargers to the postseason and gain the image of an elite quarterback.
9 BLAKE BORTLES TRADED TO THE 49ERS
Without a reliable starting quarterback, the 49ers shot at winning is stumped from the beginning. The 49ers drafted C.J. Beathard, but that’s not filling any gaps, so, the 49ers continue filling unnecessary holes because they’re just be at the bottom of the league again next year at this rate. Although Blake Bortles isn’t one of the best at his position, he’s had brief flashes of greatness.
Currently, the 49ers roster lists either Matt Barkley or Brian Hoyer as potential options for the team’s quarterback. Although neither of these guys should be expected to start Week 1, that’s becoming more and more likely, which is why a guy like Bortles is perfect here. The guys left on free agency wouldn’t truly address the issue, and using Beathard would be throwing a young star into an unwinnable scenario.
8 EMMANUEL SANDERS TRADED TO THE TEXANS
Denver is probably itching to gain some more defensive strength after recent additions to its offense. But the Broncos are in the early stages of building around a young quarterback, and that’s why it’s a perfect time to deal out one of their top two receivers. Sure, Emmanuel Sanders has proven his worth in Denver, but he will be phased out if not moved to a different team like Houston, a team that could really use some more help for their incoming franchise face, DeShaun Watson.
Of course, Denver is also grooming Paxton Lynch to take over. But with Trevor Siemian still around, Sanders is being wasted as either one of these quarterbacks aren’t good enough (yet) to work with two high-octane receivers like Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. We’re betting Watson can handle receiving talent a bit better.
7 SHELDON RICHARDSON TRADED TO THE COLTS
This is a trade the Colts desperately needed, and they’ll likely give up some great future draft picks for this one. Since Andrew Luck was drafted, the Colts haven’t seemingly had to place much focus on their offense. They got the face of the franchise, so everything else should fall in place. Right? Well, it hasn’t quite worked out that way for Luck and Indianapolis. While their offense has been relatively stable, their defense has been awful for most of the time Luck has been on the roster.
The Colts have added talent to their defense from free agency and the draft. But this trade will further their effort and make a compelling case that their defense may compete quite well this year. Sheldon Richardson will, without a doubt, be a huge asset for the Colts and propel them to a potential playoff team.
6 JONATHAN STEWART TRADED TO THE REDSKINS
This one will be a one-for-one straight up trade with the Redskins. The Panthers can fill their running back spot without issue as Cam Newton runs that offense, but they need help in their defensive secondary (that’s why they traded for the guy we’ll be talking about next). Jonathan Stewart has had a good career in Carolina, but he’s just too expensive for what he brings to the Panthers offense … he’ll be much more utilized and appreciated in Washington.
Currently, the Redskins have either Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson or Matt Jones slated at the running back position. Although each of them has potential to be a solid rusher, the Redskins would benefit greatly from having a proven back leading the way. Of course, Stewart can’t handle the entire load, so a couple of the running backs currently on the roster will still be useful.
5 DEANGELO HALL TRADED TO THE PANTHERS
This aged star used to have more of a role in the league, but after a few years plagued with injuries and missed time he’s no longer talked about in most circles. But DeAngelo Hall could be the veteran spark needed for the Panthers secondary. And it’s not a bad idea taking that chance while just having to give up Jonathan Stewart, who was always good but never consistently great.
Hall, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times in his lengthy career that began in 2004 with the Falcons, won’t be returning to his all-star form. But the Panthers should bet on the fact that Hall will return from his most recent injury (a torn ACL) and help give this defense a boost it hasn’t seen in some time.
4 JORDAN MATTHEWS TRADED TO THE GIANTS
Here is another guy that is getting paid less than he’s worth. This has already got to be eating away at Jordan Matthews and soon enough he’ll be calling for a trade as he’ll realize the Eagles just aren’t going to shell out the money that he’s worth. Over the past few seasons, Matthews has been able to make a name for himself despite the lack of consistency from his quarterback. This will have teams drooling at the mouth for an opportunity to snag the young wide receiver.
Although the Eagles could still benefit from his skill this season, they are much better off acquiring draft picks or some type of active talent in a trade … that way they don’t end up losing Matthews to free agency. Realistically, Matthews can fit in about anywhere. But he brings the biggest punch as a No. 2 to an league-leading receiver like Odell Beckham Jr.
3 RICHARD SHERMAN TRADED TO THE COWBOYS
Pete Carroll said that Richard Sherman is not going anywhere. In fact, Carroll said there was a zero percent chance that Sherman would be traded. But for a player that expressed interest in going to the Saints, that’s a toxic combination for the Seahawks. Plus, Carroll just seems to be playing mind games to increase the value of Sherman. No one can be sure in this business whether a player is staying or not, especially if your not in the front office.
Due to the fact that Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne left in free agency, the Cowboys have a strong competition brewing as the search continues to find their starting cornerbacks. Sure, Dallas drafted a couple of guys who will be competing to get on the field. But it would be so much easier figuring out a defensive game plan if you have Sherman to implement on your defense. The Cowboys should even be able to get him at some type of discount, given the fact that he has expressed interest in leaving Seattle.
2 KIRK COUSINS TRADED TO THE BROWNS
The Browns should be able to get Kirk Cousins for relatively cheap since the quarterback had asked Washington owner Dan Snyder to trade him. There were rumors that people brushed off when it was brought up that this could happen. Those same people will be shocked when this trade comes to fruition in the coming months. Cousins could be the quarterback of the future for this growing franchise.
Sure, Cousins just signed with Washington, but the Redskins have got to realize that even if Cousins puts up good numbers like he has in the past couple years, there’s just too many holes on that team to make a postseason run. The thing is, though, that Cousins won’t put up those types of numbers we’ve been seeing in Washington because he’s lost most of the weapons he’s gotten used to throwing too. Washington fans will be upset to see Cousins go, but it will be the right move in the long run
1 MATTHEW STAFFORD TRADED TO THE JAGUARS
The Lions have trapped themselves in this world of needing more talent to make a playoff push but not having the money to acquire anyone who can help. This struggle between those two spectrums will continue to plague the Lions until Matthew Stafford retires. Or, if they’re trying to win in the near future, trading their prized quarterback is the best option. And the Jaguars are the perfectly poised team to take on Stafford, and they’d be willing to give up some prized future draft picks for one of the NFL’s top talents.
This is great for Jacksonville, but even better for Stafford. In all reality, Stafford’s skill has just been wasted in Detroit. He’s been selected to just one Pro Bowl, and that’s largely because his talent is stumped by the Lions constant failures. Of all the toxic relationships mentioned on this list, this one is truly the worst. Expect Jacksonville to be a playoff contender once this trade goes through.