Although we’ve seen plenty of major acquisitions take place in the NFL offseason so far, there’s bound to be more coming down the pike. While many of the big names on the free agent market have found a new team, there are still plenty of quality players who are candidates for a trade. These deals could happen at any time, ranging from the NFL Draft which is set to occur in a few weeks, during training camp in August, all the way down to a few days before the start of the regular season. Many GMs will say that they’re done with new acquisitions except for the draft, but as history has shown, every player has a price.
Make no mistake about it, if a general manager believes that they can improve their roster by moving a player, they will make a push for it, regardless of who the player is. The market value for certain positions demands this kind of thinking, and forces general managers to be creative in how they acquire talent. In turn, perhaps more than any other time in NFL history, no player is safe from being moved. Let’s take a more specific look at who may be on the trade block.
Ranked below are 15 NFL players who could still be traded before the start of the regular season.
15. Malcolm Butler
The Patriots have hinted at trading Butler, as they made a massive upgrade to their secondary by acquiring Stephon Gilmore in free agency. The potential suitor isn’t quite known yet, but if they were to seek out a trade for Richard Sherman, Butler could be on the block to Seattle. He’s proven himself as a two-year starter in the Patriots’ system, and he’s now entering the prime of his career.
Everyone will remember his game-winning interception in the Super Bowl for the 2014 season (ironically beating the Seahawks), and there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank for him to make similar gamebreaking plays. New England may opt to get Sherman in exchange for Butler because they have to win now, and Sherman is only has a few years of peak production left.
14. Dorial Green-Beckham
The Eagles made a last-minute trade for Green-Beckham right before the season started last year, in an effort to upgrade their piss-poor group of receivers. It didn’t really pay the dividends they had hoped, as he ended up having a garden-variety season. With free agency pickups in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith that figure to significantly bolster the Philadelphia receiving corps, it has to be expected that they will at least be looking into trading Green-Beckham.
He’s a former second-round pick, and still has some upside in the right system. A team that may consider such a move would be the Bengals, who have lost Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones the past few seasons, and A.J. Green’s age putting him farther away from his prime. It wouldn’t be a bad pickup for Cincinnati, and probably wouldn’t cost them very much.
13. Mohamed Sanu
Sanu wasn’t bad for the Falcons last season, but after signing a somewhat hefty multi-year deal in the 2016 offseason, it’s fair to say that the end production was questionable to say the least. Not to mention, other receivers on the Falcons roster such as Taylor Gabriel seemed to eclipse him as the season went on. He’s still a relatively solid young player though, so any team needing desperate help at receiver could be in the market for him.
Consider a team like the Browns, who are coming off the loss of Terrelle Pryor, and have only signed Kenny Britt as a significant player to the receiving corps. Cleveland also has a massive surplus of draft picks this year. As such, it wouldn’t cost much to get a player like Sanu, and they easily have the cap space to pick up the rest of his contract.
12. Quincy Enunwa
Not much went right for the Jets last season, but Enunwa proved to be the kind of “diamond in the rough” player that could garner outside interest. After two unproductive seasons in New York, he went off last season in comparison, and turned out to be one of the most reliable targets on the team. It’s no secret that the Jets are in complete rebuild mode now, and with his rookie contract ending soon, it’s unlikely that they would keep Enunwa around just to pay him after the season ends.
This means that they may try to capitalize on his value soon, and send him off to a team who needs receiver help. A team like the Ravens would be a good fit, as they have a quality quarterback in Joe Flacco, but are also coming off losses to the position, including Kamar Aiken and Steve Smith. This one makes a lot of sense for Baltimore.
11. Mychal Kendricks
It’s been no secret that the Eagles have been looking to move Kendricks for a while now, as he doesn’t fit their new defensive system under Jim Schwartz. Still, the 26-year-old linebacker can still be a force in a 3-4 defensive front, and a team that runs such a defense will probably have some interest. Kendricks would be a great fit on the Steelers, who are coming off the loss of Lawrence Timmons, and could use another linebacker in the fold for this season.
With a bevy of quality players around him in Pittsburgh, Kendricks could excel by either rushing the passer, or dropping into coverage. This is a good candidate for a draft day trade, for Philadelphia to either move up or down, depending on the situation.
10. Paxton Lynch
With the sudden announcement of Tony Romo’s retirement, and considering the fact that they traded away Brock Osweiler, the Texans are all of a sudden in a rock and a hard place when it comes to their quarterback situation. Given that this year’s draft class doesn’t have a surefire answer at the position, Houston may be better off just trying to trade for a young thrower with a ton of upside in Lynch. The Broncos have Trevor Siemian, who figures to be the starter in Denver anyway this year, and could feasibly part with Lynch for the right price.
He may be a little raw to be a full-time starter, but with the in-house option for the Texans being Tom Savage, they have no choice but to find a more talented replacement. They would be wise to make a move for Lynch, with little in the way of other options.
9. Phillip Dorsett
After being a first round draft pick several years ago for the Colts, Dorsett hasn’t worked out in Indianapolis for a variety of reasons. One of them is that the Colts have a crowded receiving corps that is filled with playmakers. T.Y. Hilton is an elite, do-it-all receiver, and Donte Moncrief has proven himself to be one of the best possession receivers in the league.
Where does that leave Dorsett? He’s a burner, but a questionable route runner, and hasn’t had the opportunity to be “the” guy yet. The Bears need receiving help after losing Alshon Jeffery this offseason, and a low-risk, high-reward move for Dorsett may be in the cards sometime later in the offseason. Despite the criticism, he still has some upside, and Chicago would do well to get this kind of receiver on the cheap. It wouldn’t cost much, and give their offense another piece to work with for new quarterback Mike Glennon.
8. Sam Bradford
We already covered the issues that the Texans are having at quarterback, so why not throw another oft-traded name into the mix? Bradford was acquired by the Vikings just before the start of last season in a trade with Philadelphia, after the catastrophic injury to Teddy Bridgewater occurred. He was decent in the Minnesota offense, but definitely not enough to be considered untouchable.
Now, the Vikings have the opportunity to sell him off for a good draft pick, for exactly the same reason they acquired him for. The Texans have a good defense, and need a starting quarterback desperately. Bradford, despite well-documented flaws, is a league veteran, and has the arm talent to fill in right away. It depends on how desperate Houston is to make this kind of a move, and what the Vikings may be willing to do as far as a replacement, but it’s worth considering nonetheless.
7. Jonathan Stewart
There’s no doubt that Stewart can still be productive in the right system. The Panthers are likely going to opt for a young option at running back in the draft. If they’re able to land a player like Leonard Fournette in that scenario, there really is little reason to keep Stewart on the roster, as they have such similar skill sets. Enter the Patriots as a potential suitor for Stewart.
New England has a penchant for making deals like this for aging players who still have some gas left in the tank. They’ve gotten rid of LeGarrette Blount, leaving a void for another power-runner to come in and take his place. Indeed, Stewart would fit perfectly in the Patriots’ system, and Carolina would be willing to part with him for the right price. With how much New England has already upgraded this offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them give up a draft pick or two.
6. Travis Benjamin
Benjamin signed a multi-year deal with the Chargers before the start of last season, and his production was hot and cold throughout the season. There’s question to where he fits with the Los Angeles offense, despite having the presence a quality quarterback in Philip Rivers. Would the Chargers be willing to part with him for say, a mid-round pick? The answer is likely yes, all things considered.
As mentioned previously, the Ravens are a suitor for any middling receiver that has some upside to their game. With Flacco’s age increasing, and John Harbaugh quite a few years into his tenure, there’s reason to believe that they’re close to “win now” mode. Losing Aiken and Smith didn’t help their receiving corps one bit, and they’ll be looking to add someone at the position for the season begins. Benjamin is a realistic target, and could most likely be had for a reasonable price.
5. Brock Osweiler
The Browns acquired Osweiler in what was a ridiculous trade of epic proportions, and it’s unlikely that they see him as the long-term franchise quarterback. This gives them the flexibility to seek out a trade for even more draft assets. The Saints may not have interest in Osweiler in terms of having him start for the 2017 season, but the reality is that Drew Brees is really getting up there in age, and it’s only a matter of time before he begins to regress, get hurt, or retire from the game.
Osweiler may not be the player that many thought he could have been while with the Broncos, but he’s too young to have nobody willing to take a shot on him. With the quarterback market the way it is right now, he’s going to get picked up by someone. New Orleans desperately needs an insurance policy for Brees and his eventual downfall. Osweiler could be a placeholder at worst, or at best develop into the quarterback everyone thought he could be.
4. Trumaine Johnson
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has a penchant for making trades that seem impossible on the surface, and Johnson may be the next player on his radar for this kind of a deal. Philly desperately needs help at cornerback, and while they’re expected to address it partially in the draft, that won’t completely solve the problem.
Adding a player like Johnson would go a long way in doing so, however. He’s only on the franchise tag with the Rams, indicating that there is no long-term commitment. Philly has the assets necessary to make such a trade, if they can fit him under the salary cap. This may be a stretch, but Roseman is the one GM in the league that would be crazy enough to try and make it happen.
3. Kirk Cousins
It wasn’t a forgone conclusion that Cousins would be returning to the Redskins at the end of the year, before he signed his second franchise tag with the team, which has never happened for a quarterback in the NFL. Given that Kyle Shanahan is the new coach for the 49ers, there’s a possibility that he has a target on a Cousins acquisition. They have history in Washington together, dating back to before Cousins was the starter, and he would ostensibly fit in Shanahan’s system.
It would take a lot to get this done, but the Redskins and Cousins have been unable to come to a long-term agreement for the last several years. This indicates that they would be willing to move him for the right price. San Francisco has played a heavy hand in free agency, and there’s little reason to suspect that they won’t be trying to further bolster their roster. This is one to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses.
2. Richard Sherman
The Sherman trade rumors coming out of Seattle are very real right now. At 29-years-old, the team may be trying to move him to a contender while they can still get some decent value for him. There’s no doubt that Sherman can still play, and he’d be a good fit on most teams who figure to win a playoff game in 2017. Given that he doesn’t rely solely on athleticism, Sherman will still be a force in the upcoming season, even though he’s getting older.
Consider the Patriots a top suitor for Sherman, when it comes down to it. They’ve already upgraded at cornerback by getting Stephon Gilmore, and combined with Sherman on the outside, their secondary could be one of the top ones in the league. Seattle may be interested in a trade for Malcolm Butler straight up, or demand a single draft pick to get it done. It’s just speculation at this point, but it has a decent chance of happening.
1. Marshawn Lynch
One of the major storylines revolving around the offseason is the potential return of Lynch, who had retired prior to the 2016 season. After just one year off from football, it appears as though he’s set to make a return to the Raiders. He’s an Oakland native, and actually checks off most of the boxes that the team will need for a running back, after losing Latavious Murray earlier in the offseason.
The catch is that he’s still technically under contract with the Seahawks, and they’d probably be looking for draft pick compensation in return. But with the Raiders established as a team that’s set to win right now, it’s unlikely they’d have a problem giving up a pick or two to get a powerful runner like Lynch, who’s still relatively young at 30-years-old. The Raiders may be moving to Vegas soon, but Lynch will likely try and help them win a Super Bowl for the next year or two in Oakland, as a service to his hometown.
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