With the NFL season come and gone, teams will need to free up cap space to maneuver Free Agency or just trade players that have demanded out in the last two years (Deshaun Watson). There has been a good amount of players that have been rumored to be on the trade market by their respective teams. Let’s take a look at five possible NFL trade candidates going into Free Agency:
1. Deshaun Watson-
Watson has been the subject of trade talks for the past two off-seasons now, and the Miami Dolphins being at the forefront of those rumors each time. Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio has done a great job with holding off on a trade until he can get what he wants for Watson, and there wouldn’t be a better time to trade him than now. With multiple contending teams looking for a QB, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last weekend, along with some desperate teams such as the Carolina Panthers. The Texans will have a bigger market for Watson than they did at the trade deadline, which would make a trade a real possibility.
2. Carson Wentz
On Super Bowl Sunday, ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported that the Indianapolis Colts could look to either trade or release Carson Wentz before March 19th when his $15M salary becomes guaranteed. Mortenson also reported that the situation between the two sides looks “bleak”. If that’s the case, Wentz could look to join his third team in two years. This all comes just a year after the Colts spent a first-round pick, and a third-round pick to land him from the Philadelphia Eagles.
3. Christian McCaffrey
A couple months ago, The Athletic’s Joe Person mentioned Christian McCaffrey as a possible trade candidate this off-season. Trading McCaffrey would put the Panthers in the hole about $18M with a pre-June first trade, seeing as he still has $44M left on his deal, with cap hits of $17M and $13M over the next three years. CMC’s fall from stardom has been glaring over the past few seasons, playing in only 23 of the past 33 games.
4. Calvin Ridley
Ridley’s situation has been interesting to follow since midway through the season. After taking some time off from football in October due to “mental health reasons”, it’s caused many to assume a trade would be beneficial for both sides. An NFC scout told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the Falcons are cash strapped and could use the draft capital to build their OL. If that’s the case, Atlanta won’t have trouble finding teams who are willing to trade for Ridley, with a good amount of playoff-ready teams needing help to bolster their receiver core.
5. Saquon Barkley
Barkley hasn’t been relatively healthy and dominant like we’ve seen in years past when he was one of the best RBs in the NFL. With a new HC & GM in New Jersey, the Giants could look to save some cap by moving on from Barkley & find a replacement elsewhere. Barkley is currently in the final year of his rookie contract, and trading him pre-June 1st would save the team $7M in cap space.