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 in the league.
Baltimore Ravens: Sell Steve Smith Sr. to the Patriots
Conor Orr: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady both coveted the Lilliputian wonder during free agency in 2014, though bad weather kept Smith from flying to New England. Belichick has the ultimate respect for the game's tenured warriors; here, he has the perfect chance to supply Brady with a heady target who has nearly as much experience as Brady does in his rearview mirror. Smith is going to retire at the end of the season, and he likely sees his best chance of going out as a champion slipping away with the 3-4 Ravens. While he seems to love Baltimore, would the Ravens respect him enough to grant this sort of trade?
Buffalo Bills: Buy Torrey Smith
Chris Wesseling: Provided LeSean McCoy bounces back quickly from a hamstring strain, the Bills have a strong enough roster to compete for a wild-card spot in the wide-open AFC. With No. 1 receiver Sammy Watkinssidelined by a nagging foot injury, though, the aerial attack has been unreliable. Smith excels outside the numbers and downfield, which meshes with the skill set and tendencies of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who throws a beautiful deep ball. The rebuilding 49ers are already listening to offers for Smith and would likely accept a mid-round draft pick in return for a receiver due to earn more than $7 million in 2017.
Potential cost: Fourth-round draft pick.
Cincinnati Bengals: Buy Alshon Jeffery
Dan Hanzus: The Bengals have learned the hard way this season that the bill comes due. When you send your quarterback into a new season without most of his favorite targets from the year before, your offense is not going to be as proficient as it was. No. 1 receiver A.J. Green remains entrenched, and tight end Tyler Eifert continues to work his way back into the offense following ankle and back injuries. But Cincinnati misses the presence of receivers Marvin Jones (now with the Lions) and Mohamed Sanu (now with the Falcons), and bringing in a talented wideout like the Chicago Bears' Jeffery could be the type of move that finally puts the Bengals over the top -- or, at least, gets them out of the damn Wild Card Round.
Cleveland Browns: Sell Joe Thomas
Marc Sessler: Thomas has been a rock for the Cleveland Browns for nearly a decade. He's never complained about his surroundings, despite the team chewing through a million starting quarterbacks and endless coaching regimes. Trading him never made sense before, but the current front office has made it crystal clear this club is starting over from top to bottom. The rebuilding plan will take years, and Cleveland isn't about to make a Super Bowl run. At 31, Thomas still has major value to playoff-chasing teams. Shipping the offensive lineman to a Super Bowl hopeful would allow one of the finest men in the league to enjoy some much-deserved, latter-career success while the Browns can use next year's draft to rebuild their O-line from tackle to tackle.
Potential compensation: First-round pick.
Denver Broncos: Buy Joe Staley
Orr: John Elway was a few minutes away from acquiring a top-tier offensive tackle before last year's trade deadline, and now one of similar talent, pedigree and toughness is emerging on the market. Staley, maybe even more so than Joe Thomas in Cleveland, is spinning his wheels in San Francisco as the best remaining years of his career slip away. There's always a chance the organization decides to change head coaches for the third time since 2014, leaving the scheme and Staley's responsibilities twisting in the wind. A veteran like this deserves better, and the chance to plug and play along Denver's underperforming -- but still solid -- offensive line might be too difficult to pass up.
Potential cost: Second-round pick.
Houston Texans: Buy Vance McDonald
Potential cost: Sixth-round pick.
Indianapolis Colts: Buy Willie Young
Wesseling: Despite a beleaguered offensive line, the Colts are one of just four teams to score at least 20 points in every game this season. With Andrew Luck recapturing his 2014 form and wideouts Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsetton their way back from injuries, Indianapolis' offense is the AFC South's most reliable unit. The defense has improved of late, with the cornerbacks overcoming early-season injuries, but there's no pass rush to speak of. Young has been a terror off the edge in Chicago this season, notching six sacks in seven games. Now that Pernell McPhee is off the PUP list to join rookie Leonard Floyd for the Bears, the rebuilding team can afford to part with the 31-year-old Young.
Potential cost: Third-round draft pick.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Sell Sen'Derrick Marks
Wesseling: The Jaguars envision themselves as a talented team with breakout potential, but the broken quarterback is holding the organization hostage this season. It's time to concede a lost campaign and unload declining veterans in exchange for draft picks. Going on 30 years old and falling behind younger players in the rotation, Marks is better suited to play for a contender. Jacksonville could also shop leading tackler Paul Posluszny to open playing time for eventual successor Myles Jack, but there aren't many playoff hopefuls with a need for a middle linebacker. Dan Skuta might be a more realistic option for a team in need of depth, such as the Falcons.
Kansas City Chiefs: Buy Brandon Marshall
Kevin Patra: The Chiefs own a solid defense, but the offense has been stuck in the mud -- 214 passing yards against that Saints secondary on Sunday is sad. Marshall is the kind of big-bodied target Andy Reid's offense has been missing. An aerial attack with Jeremy Maclin, Marshall, Travis Kelce and Chris Conley, along with jitterbugs Tyreek Hill and De'Anthony Thomas, would be difficult for opponents to deal with. Marshall is a huge upgrade over Conley and would take pressure off Maclin. Besides, Marshall, who doesn't seem to last long in locker rooms, could become a problem in New York if the Jets' ship keeps sinking. Sending him to a new team every few years seems like the best way to keep Marshall (who was most recently traded from the Bears to the Jetsin March 2015) productive. The Chiefs are a solid team as constructed, but they don't scare the big boys of the AFC. Adding a weapon like Marshall would go a long way to changing that perception.
Potential cost: Second-round pick.
Miami Dolphins: Sell Cameron Wake
Patra: Prior to the Dolphins' recent two-game win streak, Wake admitted it was "frustrating" playing a limited role for a swooning team. Even after the past two games, the Dolphins are a fatally flawed team more likely to flounder than soar. With additional reps in that two-game stretch, Wake has shown he still has gas left in the tank (two sacks, four QB hits) and could play an important role as a situational pass rusher on a team poised to make a run. Miami's brass made it clear this offseason Wake was a face of the franchise, but staring at a lost season, the Dolphins should send him to a team in which he could chase a ring -- as they did previously with Jason Taylor. In exchange for moving a 34-year-old pass rusher, the Dolphins would get needed cap space as well as draft picks to help plug their many holes.
Potential compensation: Fourth- and fifth/sixth-round picks.
New England Patriots: Buy Brian Schwenke
Orr: Bill Belichick is well versed in the second- and third-tier trade market, especially for multi-tooled players who can work across multiple positions. Schwenke, a 2013 fourth-round pick by the Tennessee Titans, has been relegated to being a useful cross-trained lineman in Tennessee's powerful run scheme, but he has not made a start over eight games this season. While the Titans are on the rise, it could still be tempting for the team to continue stockpiling picks for the future. As recently as last week, the Patriots were working out multiple linemen and signing former promising mid-round picks to the practice squad. Schwenke would represent a step above those players.
Potential cost: Conditional fifth- or sixth-round pick.
New York Jets: Sell Ryan Fitzpatrick
Hanzus: I don't consider the Jets to be in buyer or seller mode right now. They exist in a kind of purgatory as things stand, a win-now team that can't win but still retains a flicker of hope in a watered-down AFC. But if a contender were to lose a quarterback this weekend, the Jets should dangle Fitzpatrick as an emergency replacement. It would help matters if Fitzpatrick could make himself more palatable with a big game against the Browns on Sunday, and I imagine a team in need might balk at the money that remains on Fitzpatrick's one-year, $12 million deal. But you never know.
Potential cost: Conditional sixth-round pick.
Oakland Raiders: Buy Brent Celek
Orr: The Eagles have tight end Zach Ertz signed to a deal that theoretically runs through 2021, and they also have Trey Burton on the roster. Relegating a solid veteran like Celek to blocking duties is fine, especially given his knowledge and experience in the system. But Raiders offensive coordinator and former Eagles assistant Bill Musgrave also knows Celek and could get some usage out of the tight end beyond the standard bootleg pass every now and then. Clive Walford only has 16 catches for the Raiders to this point in the season, and opening up the field for Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree should be priority No. 1.
Potential cost: A sixth-round pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Buy Joe Staley
Potential cost: Third-round pick.
San Diego Chargers: Buy Marcus Gilchrist
Potential cost: Fourth-round pick.
Tennessee Titans: Sell DeMarco Murray
Orr: Murray has not followed the standard depreciation guide for running backs and is rolling slightly below his 2014 Dallas Cowboys levels right now in Tennessee. The Titans have a half-decent chance of making a run at the AFC South, given the putrid level of competition, but the value for Murray will never be higher. Trading him now would finally open the door for woefully underused rookie Derrick Henry. Perhaps there is a deeper reason Tennessee is keeping its 2016 second-round pick on the bench, but when he is on the field, Henry is powerful and dynamic. Running backs get hurt, and teams in contention will be looking for solid backups and change-of-pace types heading down the stretch of the season.
Potential compensation: Third or fourth-round pick.