NFL trade deadline: A logical move for each NFC team

Print
  • By NFL.com
More Columns >

With the trade deadline (Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. ET) rapidly approaching, the Around The NFL crew is proposing a potential move for each team.

Arizona Cardinals: Buy Joe Staley

Chris Wesseling: Would general manager Steve Keim be willing to part with a second-round pick for the second draft in a row? The price is steep to pry a 32-year-old, five-time Pro Bowl tackle away from the Cardinals' division rivals in San Francisco, but this organization is in the ultimate win-now window, with Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald on the back nine of their respective careers. The right side of Arizona's offensive line has been a liability, preventing Bruce Arians from unleashing his patented downfield attack in the passing game. Plugging in Staley, getting John Brown healthy and coaxing Michael Floyd out of his slump would go a long way toward fixing a broken offense.

Potential cost: Second-round draft pick plus conditional fifth-round pick.

Atlanta Falcons: Buy Cameron Wake

Wesseling: The Falcons boast the league's most potent offense, ranking first in points per game (32.7) and yards per play (6.8). The defense, on the other hand, has allowed 26 or more points in six of seven games while surrendering a passer rating of 96.9 to opposing quarterbacks. The pass rush has shown signs of life with 11 sacks in the past three games, but much of that came courtesy of an injury-ravaged Broncos offensive line in Week 5. Dan Quinn's defense could use a stretch-run boost from an impact edge rusher such as the 34-year-old Wake, who is coming off of his best performance of the season in a win over Buffalo.

Potential cost: Fourth-round draft pick.

Carolina Panthers: Buy Tracy Porter

Gregg Rosenthal: The Panthers miscalculated on their need for cornerbacks when they let Josh Norman walk away. They have a great history of getting quality snaps out of well-seasoned veterans like Porter, who is not needed by the Bears as Chicago turns over its roster to young players. Carolina shouldn't punt on any season when Cam Newton is the quarterback.

Potential cost: Fifth-round pick.

Chicago Bears: Sell Alshon Jeffery

Kevin Patra: Jeffery's frustration has been evident this season. He's gone seven games without a touchdown and is averaging just 4.6 receptions per game, the lowest mark since his rookie year. Playing on a $14.599 franchise tag, the 6-foot-3 wideout could be out the door next year. The Bears have the cap space to do a long-term deal, but does Jeffery want to spend his prime on a talent-poor roster? Does he look forward to wallowing away in his best years as Chicago aimlessly searches for answers at quarterback? If the Bears get the sense he won't sign a contract extension, shipping him to a contender now is the smartest play -- using the tag again would come with a 20 percent pay increase ($17.52 million). Getting a mid-round pick or sturdy defensive player under a reasonable contract in return should provide the impetus for cutting ties now and not waiting for a compensation pick down the road. At most, Chicago would get a late third-round pick in return for Jeffery in compensation. If the Bears get offered more, they should take the deal.

Potential compensation: Conditional mid-round pick (i.e., a third that can become a second).

Potential partners: Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills.

Dallas Cowboys: Buy Sen'Derrick Marks

Wesseling: The Cowboys' steamrolling, ball-control offense gets an extra boost this week with the return of Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant. If they want to hold off the competition in a strong NFC East field, though, they will have to upgrade a defense that ranks 23rd in both yards per play (5.9) and opposing passer rating (95.0). The return of Demarcus Lawrence should help a struggling pass rush, but the Cowboys still need a veteran to rotate with rookie Maliek Collins at defensive tackle. Marks is just two years removed from an 8.5-sack season on the interior of Jacksonville's line.

Potential cost: Fifth-round draft pick.

Detroit Lions: Buy cornerbacks

Patra: One reason the NFL should push back the trade deadline: Too many teams are on the fence at this time of year. Are the Lions buyers or sellers? At 4-3, they are certainly in the hunt -- and with Matthew Stafford playing out of his mind, they have a chance to snatch a playoff bid. Yet, they play two straight road games and face the NFC North-leading Vikings twice before December. If the Lions falter, their playoff chances would be forgotten before we open our Advent calendars. If the Lions are out, trading either Larry Warford or Laken Tomlinson to an O-line-needy contender makes sense. For fun, let's call the Lions buyers. Their needs sit on defense, especially corner -- even before Darius Slay's hamstring injury. The 49ers are in sell mode and have several solid cornerbacks. Longtime veteran Tramaine Brock continues to play well and is under contract for 2017 at a reasonable $3.1 million. With San Francisco stripping its ship for spare parts, trading a 28-year-old veteran corner makes sense.

Potential cost: Fourth-round pick.

Green Bay Packers: Buy Buck Allen

Rosenthal: The Packers already traded for Knile Davis, yet the team's running back situation remains dire after the losses of Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Davis and Don Jackson just aren't going to cut it. Allen can provide capable three-down play, is under contract through 2018 and is not particularly needed in Baltimore's backfield.

Potential cost: Fifth-round pick.

Los Angeles Rams: Sell Kenny Britt

Conor Orr: Britt is a big body approaching free agency on pace for a career season. His size alone could be enticing for teams looking for help in the red zone -- ahem, Bengals -- and his relative youth (28) makes him a candidate for a nice bridge deal in the offseason. This is the highest Britt's attractiveness to other teams will ever be. While he's been a nice comfort blanket for Case Keenum, the Rams are going to have to explore all options next year (or next week) when they hand the football to Jared Goff, and it would be nice to start getting some of their picks back.

Potential compensation: Fourth-round pick.

Potential partners: Bengals, Patriots, Texans, Colts.

Minnesota Vikings: Buy offensive linemen

Orr: This will shake out in a number of ways. Some teams have somewhat of a surplus (generous word) -- like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the likes of Gosder Cherilus getting a decent amount of snaps as a jumbo tight end. The Vikings already have dealt a first-round pick (for Sam Bradford), but if they're also interested in parting with another high pick, players like Joe Staley and Joe Thomas probably come into play. If we want to get wild, former Dolphins first-round pick Ja'Wuan James could possibly be had. Head coach Adam Gase already benched him once this season and appears ready to do some serious alterations to that offensive line in the offseason. The Bills also have tenured starters like Seantrel Henderson waiting for a crack at the starting lineup.

Potential cost: Second-round pick for Joe Staley or Joe Thomas, fifth-round pick for Ja'Wuan James or Seantrel Henderson, conditional seventh for Gosder Cherilus.

New Orleans Saints: Buy Joe Haden

Rosenthal: The Saints love to hand out big free-agent contracts, so why not go after a guy who is already due more than $30 million over the next three seasons? GM Mickey Loomis always finds a way to push his salary cap pain into the future for short-term gains on defense, so this move would be right up his alley. The Browns cornerback hasn't been healthy or as dominant as Cleveland would like, considering his salary.

Potential cost: Second-round pick.

New York Giants: Buy Jamaal Charles

Dan Hanzus: The Giants have the potential to field one of the game's best offenses, but the absence of an effective running game continues to hold them back. (Let's just say the Rashad Jennings-Orleans Darkwa tandem ain't summoning memories of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen.) Eli Manning is 35 years old, which puts Big Blue in win-now mode. Why not add a win-now running back to solidify the offense? Enter Charles, who has returned to a murky role in Kansas City. The Chiefs are obviously very happy with Spencer Ware, and they likely see him as their back of the future. Charles, 29, has only one more year left on his deal and is not cost-prohibitive. The gamble is obvious on the Giants' side: Is Charles still the same guy after his second major knee surgery? But swapping Charles for a second-round pick seems fair for both sides. Meanwhile, Charles might embrace a change of scenery that reestablishes him as The Man in his own backfield.

Potential cost: Second-round pick.

Philadelphia Eagles: Buy wide receivers

Patra: The Eagles offense needs a bona fide outside receiver to complement Jordan Matthews, who does his best work over the middle and from the slot. Nelson Agholor has proven inconsistent and Dorial Green-Beckham too raw to count on. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Eagles are in discussions with the San Francisco 49ers about acquiring Torrey Smith. The speedy wideout would provide a target to take the top off defenses, which the Eagles have lacked since jettisoning DeSean Jackson. The Eagles are on the cusp of securing a playoff berth; adding another dimension to the offense could put them over the top in a competitive NFC East.

Potential cost: Mid-round draft pick.

San Francisco 49ers: Sell anything anyone is possibly interested in who wasn't a recent first- or second-round pick.

Orr: This team needs leaders, but the 49ers might be able to manufacture them beyond left tackle Joe Staley or veteran wideout Torrey Smith. Their list of impending free agents doesn't really rev the engine, unless your future scheme requires missing pieces from the Jim Tomsula era (although tight end Vance McDonald has had his moments this year). If the 49ers intend on staying with Chip Kelly as coach after this year, keeping Staley on the roster is a reasonable request, given that they are very likely to draft a quarterback high in this coming draft. If they plan to move on from Kelly or are not sure, they need to do the right thing and allow players like Smith and Staley to find a home where they will be useful and potentially in the playoff hunt.

Potential compensation: Second-round pick for Joe Staley, fifth-round pick for Torrey Smith.

Potential partners for Smith: Ravens, Eagles, Panthers, Cowboys.

Potential partners for Staley: Broncos, Vikings.

Seattle Seahawks: Buy Joe Thomas

Wesseling: As a national television audience witnessed last Sunday night, the Seahawks' offensive tackles too often resemble saloon doors in pass protection. A healthy Russell Wilson is elusive enough to compensate for poor blocking, but there's no sign of escapability out of Seattle's quarterback this season. If the Seahawks upgrade the offensive line, they will renew their status as the NFC's superpower. Uncannily successful with late-round gems and undrafted rookies, general manager John Schneider has not been shy about dealing his early-round draft picks for proven veterans. It's time to dial up the Browns' front office with nine-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas as the target for Wilson's blind side.

Potential cost: Second-round pick plus conditional fifth-round pick.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Buy Torrey Smith

Rosenthal: Vincent Jackson is unlikely to be back with the Bucs, and coach Dirk Koetter wants vertical threats for his bombs-away offense. Enter Smith, who has three reasonable years left on a deal he signed with the 49ers. It would be fun to see Smith run down deep passes from Jameis Winston.

Potential cost: Fourth-round pick.

Washington Redskins: Buy Alfred Morris

Hanzus: The Redskins willfully let Morris walk out the door as a free agent, washing their hands of the one-time future of their backfield. It never made total sense to me, and it makes less sense now that Matt Jones' ball-security issues are repeatedly undermining the offense. According to ESPN, Jones has averaged one fumble every 33 carries in 2016. The league average is 100.68 carries per fumble. Morris is currently buried behind Ezekiel Elliott in the Dallas backfield, but he's looked fresh when given the opportunity to spell the Cowboys' star rookie. Morris is a plug-and-play option who knows the Washington offense and would give Jay Gruden peace of mind and a better second option if Jones can't cure himself of fumblitis, pronto.

Potential cost: Fifth-round pick.

CLICK HERE FOR AFC PROPOSALS.

Print