Chicago Bears: Leonard Floyd OLB
Leonard Floyd’s future looked bright after an impressive rookie season where he had 7.5 sacks. However, stats don’t always tell the full story. I went back and really dove into his 2016 tape. I noticed that the majority of his sacks came off stunts where he was schemed open as a free rusher, or hustle plays where the Quarterback held onto the ball too long and ran into a sack. He very rarely won one on one battles, and that’s very alarming for a top 10 pick. At the time I wouldn’t be worried. Realizing that he was just a rookie and is learning under Vic Fangio, one of the best defensive teachers in the league. Well 2 years have gone by, and contrary to popular to belief. Floyd is still the same player he was as a rookie
I know this is going to be hard for Bears fans to hear, but he has been a borderline bust so far. He still struggles with winning those one on one battles, and plays with poor technique. For example, he still false steps out of his stance, and hasn’t diversified his pass rush arsenal. The worst part about his game, is his inability to win the corner. Almost all of the elite edge rushers can bend the edge, especially speed rushers. Floyd’s flexibility and understanding of angles to take to the QB are inadequate. I know that might sound really football nerdy, but my underlying point is that he hasn’t improved (and bending the edge is something that you have or you don’t, and he doesn’t have it).
Now he has been okay as a run defender, and does well in zone coverage. Yet, Chicago took him 9th overall to get after the Quarterback, and he just hasn’t been able to do that consistently. I know that they probably won’t trade him, given that it has only been 3 seasons. However, I don’t think it should be off the table, considering that Floyd’s value will only decrease if he continues to struggle. The Bears need be a head of the curb here, and move him for the right price.
Potential Landing Spots: NYJ, NO, LAR, SF, IND, BUF, NYG, CLE
Detroit Lions: LeGarrette Blount RB and Golden Tate WR.
LeGarrette Blount is the odd man out in Detroit’s backfield as far as I am concerned. I am going to be honest with all of you. I loved Kerryon Johnson coming out of Auburn, but I did not think he would look this good. The guy is running like a different person, looking a lot more explosive and elusive than he ever did in college. The more I see of Johnson, the more I believe that he is going to be one of the better backs in the NFL.
Don’t get me wrong Blount is still solid, but Johnson is becoming a star before our very eyes. Meaning he is going to demand (based off his play, not actually demand) more carries, and eventually take over the the 1st and 2nd down duties completely. They also have Theo Riddick as their 3rd down back, and Ameer Abdullah and Zach Zenner who are viable back ups. I just don’t see the need to keep Blount on the roster. Especially, if he is going to be free agent after this year. They might as well get something for him while they can, because it seems like his role will continue to diminish as the season goes on.
Potential Landing Spots: PHI, NE, IND, NYJ, WAS
Golden Tate has exceeded expectations in Detroit. He went from being in a solid Receiver in Seattle. To one of the best Slot Receivers in the league with the Lions. However, he is a free agent after this season, and at age 31. I can’t see Detroit giving him the extension that he may want. Plus, I have seen reports about contract negotiations not going well.
The biggest question the Lions should ask themselves is, are they good enough to compete for a Super Bowl. If they believe that they are, than they should keep him. If they have any doubts. They should trade him, so they could get something in return. This trading practice has been religiously practiced by the Patriots, and Lions’ Head Coach Matt Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn are both from New England. Which is why I think this trade possibility is a very real one.
Potential Landing Spots: NYJ, IND, DAL, ARZ, BUF, CLE, PHI
Green Bay Packers: No One
This team is competing for Super Bowl, and doesn’t really have a lot of pieces to trade. If anything they could add some talent.
Minnesota Vikings: No One
I would’ve said Trae Waynes because he is a free agent after this season. However, this team is losing Corner Backs left and right. They lost their first round pick Mike Hughes to a torn ACL, and Xavier Rhodes supposedly has a sprained ankle. Yet, it looked more severe than a sprain. My point is, this team is in a Super Bowl Window, and they need all of their depth. So I just can’t see them getting rid of anybody.
Cleveland Browns: I really don’t know.
I originally had Carlos Hyde here, but the Browns beat me to the punch when they traded him to the Jaguars. So at this point, I really don’t know who they could be looking to trade. John Dorsey has made a lot of moves that I didn’t see coming, and I would not be surprised if he made another one.
Cincinnati Bengals: No One
Contrary to popular belief, the Bengals have one of the most talented rosters in the league. Their record doesn’t reflect this because they are handicapped by a bad head coach, and a Quarterback that has reached his ceiling. But that’s a different topic for another article. Anyway, all of their most talented pieces are signed long term, and this team usually doesn’t make big trades. Which is why I don’t think they will have a part in the trade market this year.
Baltimore Ravens: No One
With the AFC as wide open as it is, it seems like the Ravens believe that they are good enough to compete. Which honestly isn’t even that crazy. This defense is for real, and Joe Flacco looks a lot better this season. So I can’t see them moving on from anyone prematurely. They need everyone that they have if they there are going to be an actual competitor.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Le’Veon Bell RB
I understand why the Steelers aren’t aggressively looking to trade Bell (because than they lose leverage). However, if I were them. I would make it very clear that he is available to other teams. James Conner has been one of the best Running Backs in the league this year in Bell’s absence. Now I am not saying that Conner is better than Bell, but he is more than capable of getting the job done.
It’s clear that Bell is not in the Steelers’ long term plans, so they should not hesitate to pull the trigger on trade for the right price. Especially with all of the help that Pittsburgh needs on the defensive side of the ball. I know that they are in a Super Bowl window, and have had some issues this season. Bell’s absence has not been one of them, so if they aren’t willing to give him a long term extension. They should feel comfortable moving forward with Conner as the guy sooner than they thought they would.
Potential Landing Spots: PHI, IND, NYJ, TB, GB, HOU