Trades around the football world might not be as prevalent as in other sports, but there’s surely been an uptick in movement in this regard recently.
We can thank the New England Patriots for trading Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins over the past calendar year. The defending champs surely created some buzz on the trade market with those two separate deals. Though, last year also saw both the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the draft moved.
What trades might take place around the NFL when the new league year starts next week? Let’s take a gander at six potential deals that just make too much sense.
1. New England Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Cleveland Browns
Cleveland and New England have worked out multiple trades in the past, most recently one that sent Jamie Collins to the Browns last season. The two front offices seem to have a tremendous working relationship.
Despite reports to the contrary, there’s definitely a train of thought out there that New England will look to move Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. He’s set to become a free agent following the 2017 campaign. And with Tom Brady committed to play at least three more seasons, it simply makes too much sense for the team to trade Garoppolo.
From a Browns’ standpoint, it’s not a secret they will be going hard after quarterbacks. Here’s a team that saw three different signal callers start games during a one-win 2016 campaign. Josh McCown has since been released and the team has not committed to Robert Griffin III for next season. We can do the math from here.
Recent reports suggest Cleveland would be willing to send the 12th pick to the Pats for Garoppolo. If that’s not enough for Bill Belichick and Co. to pull the trigger, maybe the Browns can add in a mid-round pick for good measure. Either way, this is a potential deal that makes too much sense for both sides.
2. New York Jets trade Sheldon Richardson to the San Francisco 49ers
Under the new leadership of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco has already spent more money this offseason than it did last year.
That came in the form of the four-year contract the team agreed to with defensive lineman Earl Mitchell late last month. It’s readily apparent that the team’s initial focus is on shoring up the defensive line. If so, why not make it elite?
Flush with two talented youngsters in the form of Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner at defensive end in the team’s new scheme, adding Richardson to the mix would make this unit one of the best in the game.
San Francisco surely has the assets in terms of draft picks to offer New York a solid capital for Richardson. It also boasts over $90 million in cap room.
And the Jets themselves are seemingly open to trading Richardson. It’s a deal that would make sense for both sides. Maybe San Francisco can offer up its second-round pick (33rd overall) for the Pro Bowl caliber defensive lineman.
3. San Francisco 49ers trade second overall pick to the Buffalo Bills
Continuing with the previous theme, San Francisco could potentially recoup the second-round pick it would yield in the hypothetical Sheldon Richardson trade. That would come in the form of trading down from No. 2 overall with Buffalo for the Bills’ first-round pick (10th overall). Sure the Bills might have to add another pick to make this deal work, but it makes sense for both sides.
For the 49ers, it’s not going to be a short-term rebuilding project. The idea here is to grab as many assets as possible early in the process. This could come in the form of draft picks as well as free agents just coming off their rookie deals. Hence, why moving the second pick for positioning a bit further down in the first round would make sense.
From a Bills standpoint, the primary question heading into free agency is quarterback. What is the team going to do with Tyrod Taylor? Are there other options out there on the free-agent market? Buffalo seems to be high in Deshaun Watson from Clemson. Yielding a pick or two to guarantee the team its guy could make a nice amount of sense for a squad that has not earned a playoff spot since the Bill Clinton Administration.
4. Dallas Cowboys trade Tony Romo to the Denver Broncos
It’s becoming clear that the Broncos are not settled at the quarterback position. Sure first-head head coach Vance Joseph indicated last month that they would have Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian compete for the job in 2017. That claim seemed to be countered with general manager John Elway telling reporters at the combine this week that everything remains on the table (more on that here).
One thing is clear: Romo would prefer to go to Denver over any other team in need of a quarterback. That fulfills one-third of the necessary dots needed to connect Romo to the Broncos. The one primary sticking point here is the quarterback’s near $25 million cap hit for the 2017 season. This has led to speculation that Dallas might be forced to release Romo outright.
There’s two issues with that scenario. If the Cowboys were to release Romo, it would allow another team to open up negotiations with the quarterback. Secondly, Dallas itself wouldn’t get any compensation.
Jenny Vrentas over as MMQB reported just recently that the asking price for Romo in a trade would be a third-round pick. If that’s the case, Dallas would be dumb to release him outright — forcing the team to eat nearly $20 million in dead cap.
Instead, the likeliest scenario remains that Romo will be dealt for a mid-round pick. If so, the Broncos should definitely come calling. It would require the quarterback taking a pay cut on a new deal, something he’s said to be open to doing.
Romo won’t be back in a Cowboys uniform next season. The Broncos need a quarterback. Everything else in between these two major factors should act as nothing more than white noise at this point.
5. New Orleans Saints trade Brandin Cooks to the Philadelphia Eagles
Rumors circulated last season that Cooks was not happy with his role on the Saints. That led to speculation that the team might look to move him on the offseason. While this talk has died down recently, there’s surely still some truth to it.
Coming off their third consecutive season without a playoff appearance, the Saints are in desperate need of help on both sides of the ball. They yielded the second-most points in the NFL last season and finished in the bottom five in yards allowed. Defense will definitely be a focus here. Why not try to get some talent from a receiver-needy Eagles team in a swap for Cooks?
It wouldn’t seem too unreasonable for New Orleans to demand linebacker Mychal Kendricks and a couple picks for Cooks. In return, Philly would nab that capable No. 1 receiving option for Carson Wentz. It also wouldn’t preclude the team from adding another receiver in free agency. That’s how bad this position was for the Eagles in 2016.
On the other hand, New Orleans has a budding star in 2016 second-round pick Michael Thomas, who recorded 92 receptions for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. Add in Willie Snead and his nearly 900 receiving yards, and that’s still a solid tandem for Drew Brees.
6. Philadelphia Eagles trade Jason Peters to the Seattle Seahawks
With Lane Johnson etched in stone as the Eagles’ future left tackle, it makes absolutely no sense for them to keep Peters on at a $11.2 million cap hit for the 2017 season. That’s why Philadelphia’s brass has been attempting to work out a contract restructure with the nine-time Pro Bowler. Should that not come to fruition, the 13-year veteran will likely be traded or released.
Despite his advanced age, Peters still put up a Pro Bowl performance for Philadelphia last season. He has the ability to act as a short-term fix at left tackle.
Enter into the equation a Seahawks team that needs to add at least two starter-caliber offensive linemen to the mix this offseason. Simply put, this unit was an absolute disaster in pass protection in front of Russell Wilson last season.
Peters would solidify the left side of the line and would likely come cheap in terms of draft pick compensation. If the potential future Hall of Famer were then to agree to a pay cut, this could very well work for both sides.