The start of training camp is just around the corner and before the first major step of the 2021 season is taken, we’re examining five NFL trades that would shake things up before the season even began.
NFL trade rumors come to a stop early in the summer as general managers enjoy some time off before a grueling season. While it also means disgruntled players keep their issues private for a short time, that always changes when training camp rolls around.
With quite a few marquee players frustrated with their current situations and others looking for a new opportunity, let’s examine five blockbuster NFL trades that would spice things up in the AFC and NFC.
Chandler Jones traded to Baltimore Ravens
It’s hard to blame Chandler Jones for holding out. Not only is he the best player on the Arizona Cardinals defense, he is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. From 2017-’19, he tallied 77 quarterback hits, 52 tackles for loss, 49 sacks and 13 forced fumbles. But, thanks to a down 2020 season ruined by a biceps injury, Arizona opted to sign J.J. Watt over extending its star edge rusher.
Jones has been the better player since the 2017 season and he might make a bigger impact if healthy. But it seems Arizona isn’t interested in extending him or including any new guaranteed money in his current contract. As a result, this situation could end in Jones forcing a trade.
- Baltimore Ravens acquire: Chandler Jones
- Arizona Cardinals acquire: 2022 third-round pick (compensatory), 2022 fourth-round pick (ARZ) and CB Tavon Young
Jones will want to play somewhere that can give him a new contract or put him in the best position to succeed and Baltimore fits that. As for the Cardinals, getting depth at cornerback along with two Day-2 picks might be worth more than Jones holding out into the season and reducing the team’s leverage.
Gardner Minshew heads to Tennessee Titans
While predicting NFL trades is difficult, it’s not hard to imagine Gardner Minshew being moved. Trevor Lawrence is the face of the Jacksonville Jaguars and there are dependable options behind him. With this team still rebuilding, now is the perfect time to flip Minshew for future draft capital.
- Jacksonville Jaguars trade: Gardner Minshew
- Tennessee Titans trade: 2022 conditional fifth-round pick
The Tennessee Titans are taking an all-in approach this offseason, determined to make a run at the Super Bowl. There’s a lot to love about the roster, but this team is sunk if Ryan Tannehill misses even a few games. The 2022 pick can become a fourth-round selection if Minshew starts multiple games and Tennessee makes the NFL Playoffs.
Buffalo Bills acquire Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz is never playing for the Philadelphia Eagles again. The asking price has been the sticking point all spring, with Philadelphia constantly pushing for a third-round pick. Given where the situation is at between player and organization, it’s time for the Eagles to lower their expectations on a deal.
- Buffalo Bills acquire: Zach Ertz, 2022 seventh-round pick
- Philadelphia Eagles acquire: 2022 fifth-round pick
The Buffalo Bills are looking for one more weapon on offense and Ertz is the guy. He’ll provide a nice secondary target for Josh Allen when the Bills just need a first down. This is also a situation where Ertz would really thrive in Buffalo, with his competitive fire and willingness to play through pain something fans will rally around. As for Philadelphia, this is probably the best return it can hope for at this point.
Aaron Rodgers traded to Denver Broncos
The Green Bay Packers are determined to keep Aaron Rodgers and he is just as dug in on playing elsewhere. Green Bay certainly doesn’t have to move its future Hall of Fame quarterback, but it’s not like his value will increase if they keep him into 2022. Besides, there isn’t a team more desperate for a star than the Denver Broncos.
- Green Bay Packers receive: 2022 first- and second-round picks, 2023 first- and second-round picks, 2024 second-round pick, WR Tim Patrick and QB Drew Lock
- Denver Broncos receive: Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers makes Denver an instant Super Bowl contender. He would join one of the deepest rosters in the NFL and be supported by an elite defense. If he is suiting up for the Broncos, this becomes a team that can beat the Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As for the Packers, three years of draft capital will help build a foundation around Jordan Love. It’s not the outcome the franchise wanted and they could have received more value by trading him when Denver had a top-10 pick, but this is making the best of a bad situation.