Analysis  

 

2018 NFL Untradeables: Aaron Donald, Antonio Brown and more

Print

Hey. Hey! HEY!!! The Giants are NOT trading Odell Beckham Jr. You got that? Please ignore the "For Sale" sign slapped on the windshield, as Big Blue leaves that proverbial car in the swap meet parking lot next to all of the other rides available for purchase. He's definitely, totally, 100 percent not being traded. Capiche?

Did you catch the sarcasm font there? Italics. They're versatile.

So, while the Giants try to convince us that Odell is not being traded with the same sincerity of Cody telling everyone Bullet Club is fine, it got me thinking about who the NFL's truly untradeable players are in today's game. You know, now that Sebastian Janikowski's in semi-retirement.

One important thing about this exercise, though: You have to completely remove quarterback from consideration. Because it seems like every team -- outside of the Redskins, apparently -- values the position above all others.

So, here it is -- my list of The Untradeables, presented in the order they popped into my head yesterday:

Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams

My good friend/co-worker/Danger Zone co-pilot James Koh recently asked, "Aaron Donald for Odell straight up -- who says no?" How about anybody with discernable taste? Donald has been one of the best defenders in the NFL, is the face of the Rams' defense and plays some mean ping-pong. And the Rams just paired him with Ndamukong Suh to form a defensive line so formidable, you thought it would only be possible on Madden Ultimate Team. Like I said earlier this month, the Rams are the team to beat in the NFC (don't @ me). They are not going to move Donald. Not even for OBJ.

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

The face of the Rams' offense. And I know, running back has been devalued for a few years now, though some have screamed "REVIVAL!" enough to make you think that's not the case. But the point here is that nobody's going to give you fair market value for a 23-year-old back who just scored 19 touchdowns and earned Offensive Player of the Year honors. Plus, if you traded the best L.A.-based RB in generations, you'd trigger the Rams fans from the 1980s who had to live through the Eric Dickerson trade. They'd get all nervous and howl "This is the end!" -- anticipating the team's move to San Antonio or something.

Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers

Oh, yeah -- the other team in Los Angeles probably wants to protect its franchise player, as well. And look, he's clearly one of the best defensive linemen in the game. Nearly impossible to replace on the field. Blah, blah, blah. He gives the Chargers something they don't have a lot of: charm and charisma. He's got a quirky sense of humor that should land him some sort of walk-on roll in "New Girl" or whatnot. I know this seems weird, but I live out here in Los Angeles and the Chargers desperately need that kind presence to win the Battle for L.A. Bosa is it.

Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars

When you boast the Deion Sanders of his generation, you have to keep him. I know: It's unfair to compare Ramsey to Deion. Even though they both attended Florida State, both starred in multiple sports for the Seminoles, both went No. 5 overall in the NFL draft ... Wait a second -- are we sure we can't compare them? Anyway, Ramsey, is clearly a difference maker for the Jags. Now, it's fair to point out A.J. Bouye ranked higher last season in passer rating (he was first), catch rate and yards per game, according to Next Gen stats. But Ramsey is entering his third season, and he's still playing off that rookie contract, having just logged a first-team All-Pro nod in Year 2. So, he's amazing, he's cheap and he's only getting better for a team that is climbing the ranks.

Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints

The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year also landed ahead of Ramsey, according to our Next Gen stats. And he's also one of those travel corners, who has to take on the best players in his division: superstars like Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Devin Funchess. All right, two out of three ain't bad. Lattimore's the superstar defender the Saints have longed for since, what, the Dome Patrol? As much as everyone raves about Drew Brees, Sean Payton and Alvin Kamara, I would suggest Lattimore was the MVP of the team last year. Although, I don't think that's a hot take at all.

Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Part of me is all, The Steelers have let receivers like Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes walk in the past and been just fine. But dude, Brown is the best receiver of the last 20 years. (We've had this discussion previously.) He's just so productive. AB's eclipsed 100 catches in each of the last five seasons, averaging 1,570 yards and 10 touchdowns per. The Steelers don't look the same without him. And yes, I truly believe it would be far easier to replace Le'Veon Bell than Brown.

J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

Two years ago, this was a no-brainer. Trading a generational force of nature was unthinkable. But now, it looks like the Texans could be productive without him. On the field, that is. But all things considered, he means way too much to the Texans and the city of Houston. He raised tens of millions for the recovery effort following Hurricane Harvey. And while the Astros might be the world champs (still seems weird to say), Watt is easily the most beloved sports figure in the city. I don't want to put him up there with Jordan in Chicago, Lemieux in Pittsburgh or Kobe in Los Angeles. Actually, I do. He's there with all of them. And there is nothing the Texans could get right now in exchange for Watt that would be equitable for the franchise and the city. A city that would likely revolt and start rooting for the San Antonio Rams or something.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Here's another player who means too much to his team and community to ever hit the trade block. Especially considering the rogues gallery of quarterbacks he's been forced to endure during his career. Larry Fitz needs to go out on his own terms. So, you can't trade him. Well, unless he wants to make one last run at a Super Bowl. In that case, you send him to one of the top teams in the AFC -- like the Patriots, Jags or Titans -- and let him give it one last go. He's earned it.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @AdamRank.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop