The leaves are changing color, hoodies and sweaters are being unretired, children are carving out jack-o-lanterns, and teams are jockeying for draft position. You know what that means: The NFL regular season is about halfway over. Welcome back! Another year, another trade deadline.
This year’s deadline could see a plethora of moves due to the injuries around the league. Several contenders may surf the market in hopes of improving. Teams like the Buffalo Bills and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be active in searching the market at the deadline for final additions ahead of pursuing a playoff push.
The Arizona Cardinals already made a splash a couple of weeks ago by trading rookie cornerback Tay Gowan and a fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for veteran tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz, a player who had been linked to the trade block since last season’s deadline, is a prime example of an affordable veteran who fits as the final puzzle piece to a contending team.
With the 4:00 p.m. ET deadline on November 2nd about a week away, I assembled seven trade proposals with the goal of making them as realistic as possible, as well as a few honorable mentions. Let’s dive into those first, shall we?
Green Bay Gets Secondary Help
Packers trade: 2022 seventh-round pick
Texans trade: CB Desmond King
With injuries to Kevin King and Jaire Alexander (season-ending), the Packers should be in the market for reinforcements. Luckily for Green Bay, the Texans are in the midst of a lost season and may look to flip one-year contracts for draft picks at this year’s deadline. Houston has multiple players on expiring contracts who could draw interest – one being Desmond King. This is an easy, cheap deal for the Packers.
Miami Shakes up the League
Dolphins trade: 2022 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick
Texans trade: Deshaun Watson
The Watson drama has resurrected and teams are seemingly making pushes to get this done ahead of the deadline. Miami makes sense considering how often the two sides have been linked as of late and due to the amount of assets it holds. Let’s say it happens. The compensation: Three first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fourth-round pick.
Buffalo Trades for a Tight End
Bills trade: Conditional 2022 fifth-round pick (can become a fourth-round pick)
Giants trade: TE Evan Engram, 2023 seventh-round pick
The Giants reportedly turned down multiple trade offers for Engram at last year’s deadline as hopes remained high for the team’s 2017 first-round pick. But a year later, here we are again. Have those views changed? If New York plans to let Engram walk, it would make sense to move him now. Buffalo could use the help of a speedy threat at the position in the absence of Dawson Knox and have a healthy Knox return to form a fairly appealing tight end room.
Now, the fun stuff. Seven trades I think should be made at this year’s NFL trade deadline:
- Arizona Acquires a Cornerback
Cardinals trade: 2022 fifth-round pick
Broncos trade: CB Kyle Fuller
Byron Murphy Jr. has been playing good football so far. Rookie Marco Wilson and veteran Robert Alford have made their flashes; though, Alford has injury concerns as he missed the entirety of the 2019 and 2020 seasons. As a contending team like Arizona, you want more. The Cardinals would be wise to add a veteran like Fuller – a physical zone corner who, at worst, provides depth as a one-year rental.
- Baltimore Finds Tackle Insurance
Texans trade: RT Marcus Cannon
Ravens trade: 2022 fifth-round pick
Another trade out of Houston. Assuming Laremy Tunsil returns to his role as the team’s starting left tackle, the Texans roster both Cannon and Tytus Howard. With Houston in fire sale mode and Baltimore left with a depleted tackle room, it would make sense for these two worlds to collide and get this done. Reasonable compensation to reinforce the right side of Baltimore’s line.
- Kansas City Lands its Running Back
Chiefs trade: Conditional 2022 sixth-round pick (can become a fifth-round pick)
Colts trade: RB Marlon Mack
After Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s injury, the Chiefs were reported to have “looked into” Mack. With Mack requesting a trade from Indianapolis and Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s injury with the Chiefs, this deal just makes too much sense.
- Kansas City Adds a Much-Needed Edge Presence
Kansas City trades: 2022 fourth-round pick
Steelers trade: EDGE Melvin Ingram, 2022 sixth-round pick
Another trade from the Chiefs; this time on the defensive side. Reports surfaced that Pittsburgh have been receiving calls on Ingram and showed a willingness to move him. Obviously, Kansas City is desperate for help on the edge. This move gets the Chiefs a seasoned veteran and the reinforcement that Kansas City desperately needed.
- New Orleans Brings Back a Former Draft Pick
Saints trade: 2022 third-round pick
Texans trade: WR Brandin Cooks
Another team that would make sense for Cooks is the Packers, but ultimately, I think the Saints need him more. New Orleans’ receiving corps is nearly non-existent. Cooks has only two out of his seven full professional seasons in which he recorded below 1,000 yards. He’s one of the best downfield threats in football and is among the more underrated receivers in the league. Acquiring Cooks for this price seems like stealing, but for a rebuilding team like Houston, it would make sense to move him and get value for him now before his contract gets in the way of negotiations.
- More Vets for Todd Bowles
Bucs trade: Conditional 2022 fifth-round pick (can become a fourth-round pick)
Steelers trade: CB Joe Haden
Haden is on an expiring contract. While the move would likely cause Pittsburgh to eat some dead cap, it would be wise to move him for his current value as opposed to potentially letting him walk this summer for free. With the injuries to Sean Murphy-Bunting, Carlton Davis III, and Richard Sherman, Haden could serve as a solid reinforcement to Tampa Bay’s depleted secondary.
- Buffalo Upgrades at Guard
Bills trade: 2022 fourth-round pick
Jaguars trade: G Andrew Norwell, 2022 seventh-round pick
Cody Ford was benched after three games in which he allowed 17 pressures. That, clearly, is not good. A contending team like Buffalo needs more stability. Considering the situation from both sides, this deal makes too much sense. Jacksonville lands a higher pick for an aging veteran and Buffalo upgrades significantly in pass protection.