Nobody in the NFL is untradeable. That's the only logical conclusion you can come to after two of the top receivers in the NFL were cast aside like empty Dunkin' coffee cups that have been rolling around in the back of your car for a few months. Antonio Brownwas traded from the Steelers to the Raiders for third- and fifth-round picks. Odell Beckham Jr. at least landed a first-rounder for the Giants in the deal that sent him to the Browns. Clearly, nearly nobody is safe in the NFL. Well, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning appear safe. But hey, if you have the chance to placate your 38-year-old quarterback who has seen better days, then you really need to go out and do it.
One note: Last year, we eschewed quarterbacks, based on the outsized value that position seems to carry. This is still a tricky spot to weigh here, but, in case you haven't heard, nearly nobody is safe! Even though the reality is most teams are going to keep their quarterbacks most of the time, I wanted to list the three signal-callers who absolutely can't be traded.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes last year. Won the MVP award. And he became the face of the NFL. Like the league's version of Steph Curry. When young NFL fans ask their parents to purchase them a jersey, it's going to be a Mahomes jersey. It's come to the point where I've banned Chiefs games from my house, because I don't want my kids getting any ideas. (Besides, I already purchased my brood matching Jay Cutler jerseys last Christmas.) There is no reasonable offer you could deliver to the Chiefs that would get them to even think about moving Mahomes. So don't try.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Why is Luck on this list and not some other quarterback, like, say, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Mitch Trubisky? You see, the Colts have been scared straight by Luck. They were given the opportunity to see what life would be like without him in 2017, when he missed the entire season with shoulder issues (he also missed nine games in 2015), and let's be perfectly truthful: It does not look good. Luck has played in 15-plus games in five of his seven NFL seasons. In those five seasons, the Colts have averaged 10.2 wins. In 2017, they won four. Luck was obviously not the only reason the Colts reached the postseason last year. But he's never being dealt.
Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts
Let's stick with the Colts here. I wouldn't mind if Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard made all of my life decisions for me. Because this dude had a great 2018 draft. The savviest pick, of course, was snagging Leonard in the second round, at No. 36 overall. (Everyone on Planet Earth had Quenton Nelson as a top-10 talent throughout the pre-draft process -- that was obvious stuff, folks.) Leonard went on to earn All-Pro honors and the Defensive Rookie of the Year award after leading the NFL in tackles (163) and, according to Next Gen Stats, stops (66). I'm not sure what kind of worthwhile compensation you could get for a defensive leader who is going to be cost-controlled for the remaining three years of his rookie deal. I mean, Giants GM Dave Gettleman would find a way to get rid of him, but most mortals would not. (Sorry -- that's my last Gettleman blast.)
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
There are still those out there willing to carry water for Gettleman by trying to rationalize the deal that sent Beckham to Cleveland because of kicking nets or whatever. You would have an extremely difficult time trying to sell your fan base on the idea of moving Barkley. Especially after the Giants used the second overall pick in last year's draft to select him -- instead of one of the top quarterbacks. The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year -- who led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage -- is the only thing Giants fans have to cling to right now. There is no way you could take that away from them. I mean, Gettleman could, but ... You're right! I promised not to pile on any more. Please forgive me.
Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
Donald was the most dominant player in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He led the league in both overall PFF grade (95.2) and quarterback pressures (113, including playoffs). It's funny, because coach Sean McVay and the high-flying Rams offense get the majority of the accolades for what this team has accomplished over the last two years. But it was Donald and the Rams' defense that kept them in Super Bowl LIII. There is no way they'd be able to live without him in Los Angeles.
DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson, WR and QB, Houston Texans
Feel like these two should work as a tandem. Hopkins ranked second in PFF's top 101 list (behind only Donald). According to the site, he did not drop one of the 115 catchable targets that went his way. Not a single drop. That's impossible to do even when you're playing "Madden." I know trading WRs is all the rage right now, and the NFL is famously a copycat league -- but I can't see the Texans jumping on board. I also can't imagine they have any desire to move Watson and his career passer rating of 103.1 after having lived in a world where their playoff hopes hinged on the right arms of guys like T.J. Yates.
Khalil Mack, OLB, Chicago Bears
Mack's inclusion here might be ironic, given that Chicago acquired him from Oakland via a trade last September. And it's not like he single-handedly put the Bears back in the playoffs. The defense has a lot of great parts, with valuable players on all three levels, like Akiem Hicks up front and Eddie Jackson in the back end. But Mack (47 tackles, 12.5 sacks, one pick, six forced fumbles in 14 games) is the face of the unit right now. Yeah, OK, so this organization recently let Matt Forte and Devin Hester play for other squads -- but it's hard to imagine the Bears ever letting Mack go. Or at least, I don't want to imagine it. (I'm still emotionally affected by the way those guys went out -- I realize that both partings were probably the right football decisions, but I still hate the fact that I can find images of Forte in a Jets uniform and Hester as a Falcon. I just don't want to do it.)
Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle Seahawks
This is kind of a tough one. You would think quarterback Russell Wilson would be untouchable, given what he's meant to the franchise. But Wilson trade rumors do exist. I find that to be lunacy, but hey, I thought moving AB and OBJ was nuts, too. One player who should remain safely out of reach in Seattle is Wagner. I know he only has one season left on his current deal. But the Seahawks have moved on from former Legion of Boom anchors Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas in consecutive offseasons, and it's important to at least keep some continuity on this defense. (As evidenced by Seattle's re-upping of K.J. Wright.) Plus, why would you want to get rid of a guy who can do this?