We’ve now seen two blockbuster NFL trades take place around the football world during the young offseason and the new league year is not starting for a few weeks. That now includes the Indianapolis Colts acquiring Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles for two draft picks.
The details of the Wentz trade are interesting. They include the Eagles receiving a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and a conditional second-round pick in 2022, the latter of which could turn into a first-round selection.
It’s now rather clear that quarterbacks are going to be on the move this offseason at a clip we’ve never seen before. Could Deshaun Watson be the next to go? Perhaps, Jimmy Garoppolo is moved here soon. With that in mind, let’s look at five blockbuster NFL trades that could happen after the Wentz deal.
Chandler Jones traded to the Las Vegas Raiders
There’s been some talk that the Arizona Cardinals might be forced to release Jones due to their cap situation. He’s set to count $20.83 million against the cap in 2021 — the final year of his contract. Arizona would save $15.5 million by moving off the 30-year-old Jones after he missed all but five games to injuries last season.
With that said, there’s every reason to believe Arizona can get something for the three-time Pro Bowler should the team decide to move on from him. From 2017-19, he was legitimately the best edge rusher in the game. The former New England Patriots first-round pick recorded 77 quarterback hits, 52 tackles for loss, 49 sacks and 13 forced fumbles during that span. Talk about a dominating performance.
Look for the Raiders to show interest should Jones be placed on the trade block. Jon Gruden has been in the market for pass-rush help since shockingly moving Khalil Mack. Maxx Crosby led the team with a mere seven sacks a season ago. Major struggles getting to the quarterback largely contributed in the Raiders giving up 30 points per game.
New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins pull off surprising trade
With Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford now off the market, options are dwindling for the Patriots at quarterback. They weren’t heavily linked to either quarterback. However, Bill Belichick and Co. need to find a long-term option following the disastrous one-year stint of Cam Newton.
New England is slated to pick 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Unless the team looks in the direction of Alabama’s Mac Jones, a trade-up scenario could make the most sense. That’s where the division-rival Dolphins come into play. They have the third pick stemming from a trade with the Houston Texans. There’s every reason to believe Miami will look to trade down.
This hypothetical blockbuster includes New England moving up for either Justin Fields or Zach Wilson with the latter being the primary target. In return, Miami adds the 15th pick and a second-round pick in 2021, first-round pick in 2022, second-round pick in 2023 and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The Pats don’t go into full-scale rebuild mode. Rather, they exhaust a ton of capital in free agency to build an elite skill-position group around the rookie quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger moved from Pittsburgh Steelers in one of most-shocking NFL trades in history
This would be among the most eye-opening NFL trades in recent memory. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Steelers and Big Ben are at a crossroads. He’s set to count $41 million against the cap in 2021 — a number Pittsburgh is not going to pay out. It’s led to widespread speculation that the two sides could be headed for a divorce after 17 seasons.
If so, the expectation here is that the San Francisco 49ers would show interest in Roethlisberger as a stopgap option. They are looking to upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo under center. At least over the short-term, the 38-year-old Roethlisberger would be that. He threw for north of 3,800 yards with 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions last season. Those would represent the best numbers from a 49ers quarterback since the Jeff Garcia days.
Pittsburgh could simply opt to release Roethlisberger and give him an ability to choose where he goes. With that said, moving him to the 49ers would likely serve Big Ben well as he look to compete for a Super Bowl in the twilight of his career. Perhaps, a third-round pick in 2021 and a conditional pick in 2022 could get this done. In turn, Big Ben signs a short-term extension with San Francisco while the Steelers roll with Mason Rudolph moving forward.
Sam Darnold heads to the nation’s capital
It’s been noted recently that Alex Smith wants to play somewhere in 2021. We’re just not too sure whether that will be with the Washington Football Team. New general manager Martin Mayhew is assessing the quarterback market. Washington was in on Matthew Stafford prior to his trade to the Rams.
In acquiring Darnold from the New York Jets, Washington would be taking a chance that the former No. 3 pick turns it around in a new city. It would be a risk given that there’s a May deadline to pick up the expensive fifth-year option on his rookie contract. But at this point, it beats the alternatives.
As for the Jets, it’s more likely than not that new head coach Robert Saleh is going to want his hand-picked quarterback under center moving forward. That will likely come in the form of either Zach Wilson or Justin Fields with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Moving Darnold for a second-round pick and change could work.
Read More: 5 most realistic Deshaun Watson trade offers
Carolina Panthers acquire Deshaun Watson in on of the biggest NFL trades ever
Panthers owner David Tepper is all in on acquiring Watson. His push to pull off what would be among the three biggest NFL trades in history stems from Tepper’s status as a former minority owner with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He saw first-hand what Ben Roethlisberger did with that organization. He wants a similar type of long-term option in Carolina.
Rumors persist that the Panthers could offer up stud running back Christian McCaffrey and a whopping three first-round picks for Deshaun Watson. That’s pretty much the going rate for the reigning NFL passing champion. It would be a high price to pay, but something the Panthers might be willing to do.
Instead, we go in a different route. Houston is said to want multiple defenders in exchange for Watson. Carolina has the likes of Brian Burns and Jeremy Chinn, two young future Pro Bowlers, to offer up. The team includes those two players as well as a stopgap option in Teddy Bridgewater and three first-round picks for Watson.