Trades are easily the most exciting part of any NFL offseason because they are usually totally unexpected and surprising. The draft is always fun but you usually have a pretty good idea of who your team is aiming for and whether they will be around by the time of your selection. Free Agency is also cool. There are usually a lot of big, interesting names that that could become available and present the rare chance to acquire an established, high quality player, or even a star without giving anyone up or waiting for them to develop. But then again, then those hopes can be snuffed out quickly when free agent targets take the conservative route and just re-sign with their original team. Trades however, allow your team to get someone who you thought may have been completely unattainable. Sometimes you have to give up something of value, other times you feel like you are jettisoning something you did not need in the first place. But the feeling when a big trade goes down is always exciting. Will this player be as good, or better than they were with their previous team, and more importantly will they be better than what was given up for them. Here are 15 trades that could happen this offseason.
17 Larry Fitzgerald
Everyone wants to see Larry Fitzgerald win a Super Bowl. He is one of the best receivers ever and has stuck with the Arizona Cardinals through good times and bad over 13 seasons. He has come very close to the promised land a few times but probably does not have many more opportunities to get there again. The Cardinals appeared to be a Super Bowl contender at the beginning of the season but never came together. If they end up losing a few of their big names in free agency, their window could suddenly be slammed shut. If it looks like the Cardinals are not going anywhere, might they be willing to attempt to get some assets in exchange for giving Fitzgerald another chance at a Super Bowl? One guy that loves Fitzgerald is Bill Belichick and he always seems willing to get rid of quality players that you would not expect him to. He is also always trading down for extra picks so the Patriots might have the assets to swing a trade.
Trade: Fitzgerald to the Patriots for draft picks and maybe a player.
16 Connor Barwin
The Philadelphia Eagles look like they may be considering moving on from defensive end Connor Barwin. He is a solid talent but his production is not as high as it has been in the past few years. They can cut him with minimal cap repercussions if they choose that route. But if they do plan on getting rid of him they might as well try to get a little value out of him. There are always plenty of teams looking for pass rushing help so there should be someone out there who would be willing to spend a late round pick on Barwin either as a number one option or simply to add a little depth, depending on their needs. The Eagles should take advantage.
Trade: Connor Barwin for fourth round draft pick.
14 Jaguars' Fourth Overall Pick
One of the Jacksonville Jaguars biggest needs is to restock their offensive line. Many folks think that there is not a lineman who is really worth reaching for with the fourth overall pick in the draft. If the Jaguars want to get the most value from their pick, the easy solution would be to trade the pick and move back a few spots, somewhere they can still grab an offensive lineman, and acquire another late round pick in the process. If they do that they can get their lineman and an extra selection along the way. Possible trade partners would include a team that might be looking to get their hands on one of the top QBs, one of the top two running backs, or a big time defensive player.
Trade: Jaguars deal fourth overall pick for first round pick and later round pick.
13 Drew Brees and Sean Payton
The trade of the offseason that we really want to happen is Sean Payton to the Los Angeles Rams. Or even better, Sean Payton AND Drew Brees to the Rams. If the Rams somehow were able to come up with enough assets to send to New Orleans to make it worth it, the Rams would instantly be a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. Their defense has been potentially terrifying for a few years with some great defensive lineman and rushers. It has not performed up to expectations but it would certainly be better than any defense that New Orleans has offered up in the past few years. The big question is, what could the Rams offer. If the Saints have any faith in Jared Goff he could be a big piece of the puzzle and they would probably have to throw one or two of the big name defenders in as well as whatever draft picks are left over after having given them all away for Goff last year.
Trade: Sean Payton AND Drew Brees for Jared Goff and LaMarcus Joyner and late round draft pick.
12 Carson Palmer
If it starts to look like the Cardinals are not going to hold on to some of their key free agents and the team might be coming apart, they may want to consider a quick teardown and try to gather some value from Carson Palmer, who probably only has a season or two left in the tank anyway. He would be another attractive option for teams with solid defenses that think they are one decent QB away from a run at the Super Bowl. Perhaps the Broncos would be willing to exchange one of their up and coming QBs for Palmer. The Broncos get a veteran to lead their offense while the defense wrecks worlds. The move would also take the pressure off their young quarterback who gets to marinate a little bit more behind Palmer before taking over the reins.
Trade: Carson Palmer to Broncos.
11 Jimmy Garoppolo
If there is one thing that Bill Belichick is known for it is getting rid of good players who you were pretty sure were a key part of the Patriots team and would be there for years. Wes Welker, Mike Vrabel, and Chandler Jones come to mind, among many others. Jimmy Garoppolo looks like he could be the man who could ultimately take over for Tom Brady in a couple of years. Based on his quality performance in his games during Tom Brady’s suspension, as well as his backup work over the years, his value is relatively high at the moment. Unless Belichick is absolutely certain that Garoppolo will be the heir to Tom Brady, it would not be surprising to see him cash in his value at its highest point. Maybe he could be the piece that nets them Larry Fitzgerald, or perhaps the Bears will look at him and decide he is a better choice to use their use their first round draft pick on than the unknown potential of Mitch Trubisky or Deshuan Watson.
Trade: Garappolo and another asset for a top 10 draft pick.
10 Raiders Pick Swap
After seeing how the Cowboys great line, combined with Ezekiel Elliot, produced a fantastic offense and made life easy for Dak Prescott, the Raiders might want to make Derek Carr’s return next year as comfortable as possible by doing something similar. Trading up in the draft to grab one of Dalvin Cook or Leonard Fournette would give their offense more weapons than a ninja gun-runner while also hedging against another injury to Carr by adding a great running game. The question is, how high up in the draft would they want, or need, to go. Tennessee has the LA Rams fifth pick which would be a good place to take either of the backs while getting in front of other teams who might also be considering them. The Titans would still have two first rounders and could add another late round pick in the process.
Trade: Raiders swap picks with Titans to get Dalvin Cook, Titans get extra pick in swap.
9 La’el Collins
Originally considered a top 10 draft pick, La'el Collins went undrafted when it looked like he might have been involved in a shooting before the 2015 draft. The Cowboys ended up taking a flyer on him and signed him as an undrafted free agent. It turned out he was innocent so they suddenly had another high-potential lineman for cheap. He was good last year but has not played this year because of injury and the Cowboys line is obviously fine without him. Since he is a solid talent, and the Cowboys do not have an urgent need for him, perhaps Dallas could trade him away for something they need more. The Cowboys can certainly use more talent on defense so perhaps they could grab a linebacker or cornerback in exchange.
Trade: La’el Collins and draft pick for veteran cornerback.
8 Sheldon Richardson
Sheldon Richardson is a very good talent but over this season with the Jets there have been signs that he is frustrated with his situation. If it seems like he might not be a good fit in NY, as the Jets could probably get a decent return for him in a trade if they want. As a former defensive Rookie of the Year, Richardson obviously has the talent to help a lot of teams if they are willing to look past the frustrations he expressed with the Jets. If he lives up to his potential, Richardson could be a solid pass rusher for a team that needs extra help at defensive end. Perhaps the Ravens would consider him as a potential heir to Terrell Suggs.
Trade: Sheldon Richardson to the Ravens.
7 Blake Bortles
We looked at a possible Jaguars trade, we looked at a possible Garoppolo trade, but what if they were combined with the ultimate goal of completing another trade later on? Bill Belichick is a master at extracting value from his backup quarterbacks as we have seen with Matt Cassell, Ryan Mallett and probably Jimmy Garoppolo soon. Now this potential trade would be some serious Belichickian seventh dimensional chess but here it goes... Garoppolo and one or two big name Patriots (who Belichick is probably planning on cutting anyway) for the number four pick AND Blake Bortles. It upgrades the Jags at QB while giving them some legit NFL players. But the real twist is when Bortles gets coached up a bit in New England. He has a few decent spot starts, does a bunch of garbage time stat padding, and before you know it other teams are looking at Bortles and the success he had in New England (just like countless other Patriots backups) and thinking, maybe he could be OUR answer. With a little luck Belichick can rebuild Bortles’ value and trade him again next year for more of his precious draft picks, essentially getting twice as many assets for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Trade: Multi-player Patriots-Jaguars trade.
6 Tony Romo
The most obvious trade possibility this offseason is for the Cowboys to unload Tony Romo. There are a lot of teams out there that are solid on the defensive side of the ball and if they just had a high quality quarterback, they could be legitimate contenders. Romo’s only drawback is the injury risk and the fact that he will probably not be around for many more years. But if a team believes that they can get two-thre years of injury free Romo, playing at around the same level as he has for the past decade, they will jump at the opportunity. The question is, what will the Cowboys be looking for and who might be willing to provide it. A lot of people are thinking he could end up with the Broncos but the Texans might be the better choice. The fact is, the Broncos have two decent QBs that could be more valuable in the long term than a couple years with Romo. The Texans do not have any long term options and Romo is better than anyone available in the draft. It would cost a lot for them to have Romo AND Osweiler on the roster, but they could probably renegotiate Romo in such a way to make it work.
Trade: Romo and mid-round pick to Texans for first round pick.
5 A.J. McCarron
Looking a little bit lower on the depth charts for possible trades, it could be possible that A.J. McCarron’s time may be coming to an end in Cincinnati. Having been Andy Dalton’s backup the past few years, which included starting a game for the Bengals in the playoffs, McCarron has good experience and has played decently. If someone is looking for a solid backup, like perhaps the Oakland Raiders, the former National Champion from Alabama could be a player that comes in handy in a pinch. He may also be attractive to a team like the New York Jets or Buffalo Bills who are looking for a potential starter that might be more appealing to them than the QBs who will be available to them in this year’s draft.
Trade: A.J. McCarron for a later round pick.
4 Haloti Ngata
Yet another one of those players who has had a great career but whose production might be on the downswing is Haloti Ngata. He is still a solid contributor however and could help a lot of teams. Ngata was already traded from the Ravens to the Lions when the Ravens felt he was not worth his hefty cap hit a few years ago. He did well with the Lions however and was resigned to a less onerous deal. If Detroit makes the same decision the Ravens recently did and they choose to move on from Ngata as well, they might even be able to get a little more than they acquired him for. Originally the Lions only needed to give up a fourth and fifth round pick as the Ravens priority in the deal was getting some salary cap relief. The Lions do not need to do that so they might be able to squeeze out a bit more from a potential trade partner.
Trade: Haloti Ngata for third round pick.
3 Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson has been one of the best running backs in the league for the much of his career. There have been a few times in the past few years when it looked like Minnesota might move on from him but they have stuck together. He was injured for parts of this year and did not look like his old self during the times he has played. A team looking for help at running back however might still feel he is worth a chance. If the Vikings plan on moving forward at some point without him, they might as well do it now and try to get some value for him. A team with a traditionally good running game like the Ravens or the Panthers could probably do a lot with him, or if one of the teams looking at Dalvin Cook or Leonard Fournette do not want to spend a first round pick on a running back, maybe they could put together a deal for Peterson.
Trade: Adrian Peterson for a lower-round pick and a player.
2 Broncos Trade QB
The Denver Broncos are not necessarily set at the quarterback position but the fact is, they do have two guys who have shown promise and look better than some other QBs out there who are entrenched with their current teams such as Blake Bortles and Jared Goff. If the Broncos can figure out who they really want to run with, they can probably get some value from the other one. The big question though, is who should they keep. Trevor Siemian appeared to be the more consistent and dependable quarterback this year and if he improves he could at least enter the Ryan Tannehill and maybe Andy Dalton rung of the quarterback hierarchy. Paxton Lynch was a bit more raw of a talent but he is assumed to have a higher ceiling than Siemian. Assuming they stick with the potential and deal Siemian, they can probably get a late round draft pick (third or fourth round), or even better, acquire an experienced offensive lineman to help protect the QB they decide is their future.
Trade: Broncos trade Trevor Siemian for veteran offensive lineman.
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