The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft included multiple blockbuster trades. Heck, we saw some huge deals take place in the weeks leading up to the annual event.
With that said, the first 32 picks did not include a player trade. We expect this to change once the second and third rounds are conducted on Friday.
From a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year to one of the greatest quarterbacks in modern NFL history, here’s a look at six players who could be traded during Day 2 of the draft.
Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, New England Patriots
Rumors persisted leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft that the Patriots were set to use Gilmore as a trade chip to move into the top 10. That did not happen after New England was able to shockingly land Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th pick. In no way does this mean Gilmore and his $16.24 million cap hit in 2021 are off the hook when it comes to a potential trade.
The Pats are not in a great cap situation. Slated to become a free agent following the 2021 season, Gilmore is also 30-years-old and regressed big time last season after earning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019. Perhaps, Bill Belichick and Co. can get a second-round pick for the star cornerback.
Ryan Ramczyk, offensive tackle, New Orleans Saints
The Saints were looking to use a veteran starter to move into the top-10 Thursday evening. That did not happen. Instead, New Orleans surprisingly reached for Houston edge rusher Payton Turner at 28. This doesn’t change the Saints’ salary cap situation and the fact that their starting right tackle is slated to become a free agent after the 2021 season.
Ramczyk, 27, earned All-Pro honors with the Saints in 2019 and remains one of the best blocking offensive tackles in the game. That type of ability could also net New Orleans an early Round 2 pick and change. The New York Jets at 34 could make perfect sense after they traded up for guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to help protect fellow rookie Zach Wilson.
Xavien Howard, cornerback, Miami Dolphins
After leading the league in interceptions in two of the past three seasons, it makes no real sense for the Dolphins to move off the 27-year-old Howard. With that said, Miami is paying a high price for both Howard and high-priced fellow cornerback Byron Jones. It also selected Noah Igbinoghene in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He could be ready to start opposite Jones.
The issue here is Howard’s $13.5 million cap hit for the 2021 campaign. Very few teams have the necessary cap room to pull off a trade of this ilk. Perhaps, the Los Angeles Chargers could make sense after the released former No. 1 cornerback Casey Hayward. The aforementioned New Orleans Saints could also make sense. They have been targeting another starting corner opposite Marshon Lattimore.
Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons
It seems more likely that the Falcons are going to move Jones following June 1 due to salary cap implications. We broke down this scenario after recent reports broke suggesting that Atlanta will look to move the seven-time Pro Bowl performer. Primarily, trading Jones in June would result in a lower dead cap hit this season.
With that said, there’s a scenario in here that suggests Atlanta could bite the bullet and move Jones. The idea would be to work out a “handshake” of a trade with a team that would then select a player for the Falcons before making the trade official in just over a month. As for compensation, the going rate would likely be a second-round pick and change. Maybe Jones reunites with his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, with the San Francisco 49ers. How great of a fit would that be after Shanny and Co. draft Trey Lance No. 3 overall Thursday night?
Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
Speaking of the 49ers, there was widespread speculation that Jimmy Garoppolo would be moved once they drafted a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. After quarterback-needy teams in that of the Chicago Bears (Justin Fields) and New England Patriots (Mac Jones) added a quarterback, we’re not sure where the market stands for Garoppolo.
Perhaps, the Washington Football Team or Houston Texans come calling. Washington added Ryan Fitzpatrick during NFL free agency, but Garoppolo seems like an upgrade. Meanwhile, the Texans are in a bad situation with Deshaun Watson due to his off-field situation.
Read More: 5 ideal Aaron Rodgers trade scenarios
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Even before the 2021 NFL Draft got going Thursday, drama was the name of the game for the Packers. Reports broke that reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers had requested a trade. He’s not happy about the direction of the Packers, their decision to draft Jordan Love last year and unwillingness to commit to him beyond the 2021 season.
Initially, Rodgers was linked to the aforementioned 49ers. That seems unlikely after they drafted Lance. The Patriots are also likely out on him. Rumors leading up to Round 1 concluded that the Denver Broncos were close to landing Rodgers. Nothing has come to fruition on that end since. Likely set to net the Packers an absolutely massive return, there’s a chance that any trade could start with a second-round pick in 2021 as well as multiple future first-round picks and a couple players.