The NFL trade deadline isn’t as highly anticipated as the ones in the other three major sports leagues, but it has been more interesting in the last couple of years. NFL teams have begun to swing more in-season trades as the organizations that fancy themselves contenders load up for a potential Super Bowl run.
We saw it from the Philadelphia Eagles last season when they brought in running back Jay Ajayi. The New England Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second round pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars acquired defensive tackle Marcell Dareus from the Buffalo Bills. The Jags also opened up this year’s trading season by sending a fifth round pick to Cleveland in exchange for running back Carlos Hyde.
With the trade deadline set for Tuesday, October 30th at 4 p.m. we decided to put together a few trades that would make sense over the next week. There is no guarantee these will happen, but they’re built off of rumors about players who could be traded and teams with clear holes to fill.
Buffalo Bills Trade RB LeSean McCoy To Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have been rumored to be in the RB market since the defending champs lost Jay Ajayi to a torn ACL a few weeks ago. GM Howie Roseman said that the Birds have some “viable options” at running back, but their ground attack ranks 21st in the league with just 102.9 yards per game. But, the team has struggled in its last three games on the ground garnering 81, 108, and 58 yards in its last three games. The struggles were particularly noticeable in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers when the Eagles were unable to hold on to a 17-0 lead in the fourth quarter.
McCoy in Philly would be a reunion with his former team and the Bills are clear sellers heading into Tuesday. But, McCoy suffered a concussion in the team’s game against the Colts and that’s a concern. The Eagles do have a bye in Week 9 following their trip to London to face the Jaguars this week, which would allow McCoy time to recover.
As for Le’Veon Bell, the disgruntled back still has not had much communication with the Steelers front office about whether or not he will sign his franchise tender. James Conner has been solid in his absence, but Bell represents a clear upgrade. Nonetheless, he would be a dream acquisition for Eagles fans, though the cap logistics are a little more sticky to figure out. Overall, Bell being moved across Pennsylvania seems less likely than McCoy returning to Philly. There’s also the possibility that the Eagles choose to try to bring back LeGarrette Blount, whose role in Detroit has been usurped by rookie Kerryon Johnson.
Oakland Raiders Trade CB Gareon Conley To New Orleans Saints
After getting rid of Khalil Mack and WR Amari Cooper, it’s clear that Jon Gruden isn’t really happy with or tied to any of the picks made by GM Reggie McKenzie. Conley, who has seen his snap counts decline precipitously since Week 4, is one of those guys. He was a first round pick last year and considered one of the top corners in that draft. Injuries limited him to just two games last season.
The Saints defense, which was good last season, has taken a step back this year. The run defense is still solid, ranking first in the league in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric against the run. But, as good as that has been, is how bad the pass defense is, ranking 30th in the league. Part of that is the pass rush (ranking 22nd in Adj. Sack Rate at 6.2%), but adding some help in the secondary wouldn’t hurt after Patrick Robinson went down with an injury earlier this year. The Saints don’t have a ton of room under the cap, so the financials would be interesting. That all said, Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Conley isn’t among those considered likely to be traded. Still, this would make sense.
Arizona Cardinals Trade CB Patrick Peterson To Houston Texans
The Cardinals star corner made his frustrations known on Monday telling the team that he wants to be traded by the deadline. With two more years and $23 million left on his deal, the Cardinals should be able to get a nice return for him. But, the team remains determined not to trade him.
That said, they probably should. At 28, Peterson is entering the second-half of his career as a corner and the Cardinals problems this year seem to be pretty far-reaching. In that sense, the draft picks picked up in return for Peterson could help to build around Josh Rosen.
The Texans are among the teams with the most cap space in the league this season and moving forward according to Over The Cap. That means taking on Peterson’s contract wouldn’t be too much of a concern and the defense would be helped, considering the team ranks 22nd in pass defense DVOA. Adding Peterson would mean a reunion with the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) and give the Texans a secondary of Peterson, Mathieu, Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson. Yeesh! Good luck opposing quarterbacks. Should be noted that Peterson’s preferred destination is the Saints according to Peterson’s cousin Bryant McFadden.
Cleveland Browns Trade QB Tyrod Taylor To Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars QB situation has become untenable. In Sunday’s loss to the Texans, Blake Bortles was benched in favor of Cody Kessler because Bortles couldn’t stop turning the ball over (2 fumbles, both lost). The Jaguars defense, Jalen Ramsey in particular, expressed their frustrations after the game.
Taylor, while not spectacular, would at least give the Jaguars a less turnover prone option at QB. The offensive struggles aren’t all Bortles’ fault as running back injuries and the loss of a couple of offensive lineman but still, the pass protection hasn’t been terrible. It’s been about league average according to Football Outsiders, checking in at 16th in Adjusted Sack Rate (6.6%). Taylor is clearly not getting his job back in Cleveland with Baker Mayfield running the show and if we’ve learned anything from Browns GM John Dorsey, it’s that he’s willing to trade.
Denver Broncos Trade WR Emmanuel Sanders To Washington Redskins
The Broncos whipped the Cardinals on Thursday night 45-10, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in contention. At 3-4, the Broncos are well behind the Chiefs and Chargers in the race for the division. Sanders, and counterpart Demaryius Thomas, are expensive pieces to keep around in a middling season. Sanders has been productive, with 46 catches for 603 yards and three touchdowns. And, he has multiple years left on his deal at a more reasonable price tag than Thomas, so Denver could get something for him.
Meanwhile, the Redskins, at 4-2 are atop the NFC East despite an offense that ranks 22nd in DVOA and 25th in passing offense DVOA. Currently, RB Chris Thompson and TE Jordan Reed lead the team in targets and receptions. That’s…..not ideal. Sanders would give Alex Smith a top target out wide and free up more space for Reed, Thompson and Paul Richardson to work. With a little over $9.7 million in cap space according to Over the Cap, Washington has the ability to pull off a move like this. It’s whether or not they feel like a true contender in a down NFC East.