This week, NFL GMs will burn up the phone lines to gauge opportunities to move up or down their draft boards in advance of Thursday night's opening round of the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland.
Clubs have already been calling teams in the top 10 to check in on availability if one of their targets slips into an attainable range. The current sweet spot is No. 7 overall with the Detroit Lions, who likely would be open to trading back and acquiring more assets in their rebuild.
The Carolina Panthers at No. 8 and Denver Broncos at No. 9 are both candidates to draft either a quarterback or an offensive lineman. If a club is looking at acquiring one of those positions, they might have to leap into the top seven.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday on Good Morning Football that the New England Patriots are one of those teams testing the waters about a possible move into the top 10, via sources informed of the discussions.
Per Pelissero, teams who have received those calls believe the Patriots' target would be Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, if he began to slip.
With NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reporting that the 49ers have narrowed their focus to Mac Jones and Trey Lance at No. 3 overall, it's possible that Fields could slide into a range where a QB-needy team might leap up the board to snag the OSU QB.
With Cam Newton on a one-year contract, the Patriots continue to search for a long-term solution at the quarterback position. New England has been rumored all draft season as a team that could trade up for a QB. Monday's news that it's making calls about that potential move confirms those suspicions.
It would cost the Pats a pretty penny to move up from No. 15 overall -- Pelissero speculates a second-round compensation -- but as we know, no cost is too great if you strike gold on finding a franchise QB.
With three quarterbacks expected to go off the board with the first three selections, which QBs fall could determine how anxious clubs are to try to trade up.
Pelissero noted a couple of other teams making calls about potentially trading into the top 10:
- The Philadelphia Eagles, who traded out of the No. 6 pick to No. 12 overall, could leap back in the top 10. Pelissero noted that it's Howie Roseman's modus operandi to check in on potential trade options "just to see what it would take" to make a trade if a player he targeted began to fall but might not reach him during the draft.
- The Minnesota Vikings, who pick at No. 14, could try to jump up if one of the top offensive tackles begins to slide into range. In search of a long-term solution at offensive tackle, if Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater slide a tad, GM Rick Spielman could cash in some of his chips to move up.