Though we've seen the conclusion of both the NFL Draft and the free agency period, that doesn't mean that teams are finished making moves in 2017. There have been a plethora of players during the entire offseason that have suspected as potential trade pieces, and that hasn't changed just because we've hit the summer season. Trade talks will still make their way through the league, just like they did several months ago. The difference is that now many front offices will be picking their spots. Will they try to unload a player during training camp, or wait until the start of the season?
It could go either way depending on who the player is. There are still plenty of trade targets for teams in need, and they can be had for the right price. We're talking about some veteran, productive, marquee names in the NFL, and they'll undoubtedly be able to help a contender further bolster its roster, or push a middling team over the hump. Let's take a look at who the cream of the crop for NFL trade bait is right now.
Ranked below are 15 NFL players who will be traded during the 2017 season.
15 Eric Decker
It's no secret that the Jets are in a complete rebuilding stage, and that Decker is one of the best players on their team, after the bevy of roster cuts that they saw over the offseason. During a rebuild, Decker isn't worth as much to them now, as they won't be competitive whether or not he is on the field.
Decker may be coming off of a major injury, but there's no doubt that he'll be healthy in time for the 2017 campaign. He's still a dangerous receiver, and is young enough to have a couple additional productive seasons left in the tank. It would make sense for New York to ship him off for some draft picks, so they can further accommodate the long process of building their roster up into a winner again.
Destination: Minnesota Vikings
14 Tevin Coleman
Coleman was a productive member of the Falcons' backfield last season, and at times performed extremely well. However, he clearly sits as the second-most preferable option behind Devonta Freeman out of the group, and is ultimately expendable to Atlanta. He has the potential to be a lead running back somewhere else, on a team in need of one to shore up their offense.
Consider a team like Detroit, who doesn't really have the kind of runner that can be depended on week after week to carry the rock. He would fit well in their offense, and Matt Stafford would be able to utilize more play-action passing with Coleman in the ranks. Overall, it's a good fit, and a more consistent running game could make the Lions' offense very dangerous.
Destination: Detroit Lions
13 Malcolm Butler
This looked like it was going to happen earlier in the offseason, but so far Butler has stayed put in New England. The Patriots have been more active in the offseason than they typically are, and as such it wouldn't be out of the question to see Butler traded before the season wraps up.
Belichick and the front office are clearly viewing this offseason in a different light, and shipping off Butler would be an interesting move to cap off to it all. They've certainly been presenting him as trade bait, and it wouldn't be surprising to see a team in need of cornerback help make a prime offer for him as we get closer to the season. It's an intriguing option, and Butler has shown that he's one of the best young players in the league.
Destination: Buffalo Bills
12 Sheldon Richardson
Richardson could become another casualty due to the Jets' roster purge this offseason, as he's going into his 5th year in the league, and doesn't seem to fit their long-term plans. He's fallen out of favor in New York without a question, posting the worst season of his career in 2016. Still, there's talent to be had here, and Richardson is young enough to land a fresh start somewhere else.
Defensive line is a premium unit on just about any NFL team. For a couple of draft picks, the Jets wouldn't think twice about selling off Richardson, and he could be a massive gain for a time who employs the correct system for him to excel in. A contending team would be able to work him into a rotation immediately, with the potential to be a full-time starter.
Destination: Seattle Seahawks
11 Joe Haden
The Browns are another team in the midst of a rebuild, and there seems to be a distinct plan going forward to fix the roster. Unfortunately, Haden's age doesn't really cement him into the team's long-term outlook, even though he has been one of the lone bright spots on Cleveland's roster since 2010.
A team in need of cornerback help should be willing to take a look at him and give up a couple of draft picks. Fortunately for any prospective teams, Haden's stock has dropped over the last couple of seasons, and he should come at a cheaper price than one may assume. He may not be a truly elite player anymore, but plenty of teams could use a corner with Haden's skill set.
Destination: Philadelphia Eagles
10 Jordan Matthews
After neglecting the position for the past couple of seasons, the Eagles have bolstered their receiving corps by adding both Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, along with several draft picks in this offseason. Where does Matthews fit into the equation? He's going into the last year of his contract, and Philadelphia may not have the capital necessary to give him a multi-year deal that beats out the rest of the market.
It may be a reasonable idea to trade him while his stock is still high. Matthews is a solid, dependable slot receiver who is an immediate starter in that role for most teams in the league. This should entice plenty of teams to have a look at him, and part with a mid-round draft pick or two. If he goes into an established system, he can contribute some very good production right away.
Destination: Kansas City Chiefs
9 Kirk Cousins
It's been no secret that Cousins and the Redskins' front office (whoever is running it at this point), are having trouble coming to an agreement on a long-term contract. Cousins is presumed to be the future franchise quarterback by most pundits and fans, but the numbers aren't just working out for that to be the case. Cousins signed a second franchise tag during this offseason, making him the only quarterback in league history to do that.
The logical destination for him is the 49ers. With new head coach Kyle Shanahan having experience in coaching Cousins while in Washington, it is assumed that if he were to leave the Redskins in the next year, San Francisco would be his new team. They have no surefire starting quarterback on their roster, and Cousins would have a great opportunity to stay there as the franchise player for a long time.
Destination: San Francisco 49ers
8 Eric Ebron
OK, so Ebron has been a massive bust since he first entered the league in 2013, after being selected with the 10th-overall pick by Detroit. There's little chance he's going to sign an extension, but there does remain a chance that a team would want him on their roster in order to turn his career around.
Receiving tight ends are the order of the day, and Ebron does have the sheer ability to turn into a quality one in the right system. If a contender is willing to drop a draft pick or two on him, it would be a worthy acquisition. Especially if they're a team with a sturdy tight end already in the ranks. Ebron could carve out a niche that works for him. If not, at least he'll come on the cheap, and the team in question will be able to move on from him with ease if need be.
Destination: New England Patriots
7 Carlos Hyde
Hyde has been a bit of an enigma so far in his career, but he's shown enough flashes of brilliance for the future to be bright for him. That doesn't mean the 49ers will want to keep him, though. They're entering a new coaching regime, and Hyde has zero connections with Shanahan or anybody on the new staff. Hyde has his best season yet in 2016, proving that he can carry the load out of the backfield as either a runner, or pass-catcher.
If the 49ers are struggling heavily by mid-season, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Hyde in another uniform. He's coming up on the end of his rookie contract, and a fresh start makes sense as soon as he's able to get it with another roster. A team with a ton of cap space and draft picks to spare makes the most sense, and Hyde could grow with a rebuilding roster.
Destination: Cleveland Browns
6 Mychal Kendricks
Over the past couple of years, Kendricks has fallen out of favor with Philly's coaching staff. He's taken less snaps on defense, and now doesn't even play the majority of the time. Still, he's a solid blitzing linebacker who will be able to contribute in the right system. The Eagles don't happen to have that system right now, but Kendricks is a legitimate player all the same.
A team who needs a specialist blitzer, or a rotational linebacker could be in the market for Kendricks. A team like the Cardinals, who just drafted Hasaan Reddick to perform a similar task, could work. Maybe a team like the Steelers, who also blitz linebackers to a fair degree. Either way, Kendricks should be available for the right price, and he's still young enough to contribute to a new team for a long time.
Destination: Pittsburgh Steelers
5 Brock Osweiler
In what was unquestionably the most convoluted, ridiculous move of the offseason, the Texans traded Osweiler to the Browns just to get his contract off of their books. The Osweiler signing had turned drastically terrible for Houston after the end of last season, where he it became clear that he was nowhere nearly as good as advertised while in Denver.
As we know, quarterback is a premium position around the league. Even though Osweiler hasn't shown that he's a great talent, he's still young enough to the point where he's going to get another shot somewhere. His cost will likely be reduced, and the Browns have made no indication that they think he is the long-term option at the position for them.
Destination: New Orleans Saints
4 Jimmy Garoppolo
It's a similar situation with Garoppolo. In a quarterback market that is desperate for answers and productivity, Garoppolo is an attainable option that could end up being a franchise player. In his limited action backing up Tom Brady, he's looked more than formidable, and if a team is willing to pay up, he could be had for the right price. The question is, how much is it going to take?
That's really impossible to answer, because Belichick and the New England front office aren't going to provide that information outright. If a team like the 49ers aren't able to land Kirk Cousins out of Washington, then Garoppolo is somebody that could conceivably be on their radar. Of course, Garoppolo could just stay in New England, but if Brady is truly intent on playing 3-5 more seasons, it's going to take a lot to get him to wait that long for a starting job.
Destination: San Francisco 49ers
3 Melvin Ingram
Ingram has quietly turned himself into one of the best linebackers in the game over the past few years. The problem is he's on the last year of his contract, and the Chargers haven't been able to lock him up to a long-term deal. Depending on how the season goes for them this year, they could look to ship him off early, to a team willing to pay in the mid-season.
The Chargers defense is improving, but they won't be able to keep everybody. Ingram is a prime candidate for a trade if they aren't in contention this year. He will command a favorable price for Los Angeles, and be able to contribute to a new team in short order. This one is a toss-up, but if they can't extend his contract, the Chargers are better off moving on from him.
Destination: Tennessee Titans
2 Trumaine Johnson
There have already been rumors concerning a trade for Johnson, and they've been persistent for the entire offseason. He did end up signing the franchise tag with the Rams, but that only guarantees him a roster spot for this season. As one of the better young cornerbacks in the game, it wouldn't be surprising to see a contender make a move for him.
Potential targets include anybody who has enough cap space to sign him long-term after the season is over. Really, the Browns would be a target that makes sense. They still have a ton of money to throw around, and if they move on from Joe Haden, then Johnson could easily serve as his replacement, and stay at the starting cornerback spot for a long time.
Destination: Cleveland Browns
1 Richard Sherman
There seems to be a strained relationship between Sherman and the Seahawks right now. After being such an integral piece to some of the greatest defenses of all-time in Seattle, there's a possibility that he could be on the move in 2017. Sherman may not be at the absolute top of his game right now, but he's a good starting cornerback on just about any NFL roster at the moment.
Where he may end up is difficult to say, but it would have to be a team willing to pay out for him. It would likely be a contending team willing to give up multiple draft picks in order to make a run at a Super Bowl right now. While this remains to be seen, if a team throws enough assets at Seattle in exchange for Sherman, they will take the offer. It's not a forgone conclusion, but it's interesting all the same.
Destination: Pittsburgh Steelers
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