NFL blockbuster trades are becoming more of a common theme in recent years. That was taken to a whole new level on Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons dealt Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans. It’s a move that could shake up the AFC title race.
However, there’s other trades that could take place around the NFL world between now and Week 1 of the 2021 season.
A certain Pro Bowl linebacker in Texas might be on the move. Meanwhile, reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers wants out of dodge. Below, we look at four blockbuster moves that could still happen over the next couple months.
Dallas Cowboys trade Jaylon Smith to the Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas’ decision to select linebackers Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox in the 2021 NFL Draft was a clear message to the team’s current linebacker group. That includes both Smith and the injury-plagued Leighton Vander Esch. Recent reports suggest that Vander Esch is not in the offering, but the Cowboys are fielding calls for Smith.
If that is indeed the case, new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley should pounce. Los Angeles has a need at middle linebacker next two 2020 first-round pick Kenneth Murray. He’s a perfect fit in the defensive-minded head coach’s aggressive scheme. And it likely wouldn’t cost more than a third-round pick to pry the former Pro Bowler away from Big D.
New York Jets trade Jamison Crowder to the Indianapolis Colts
It was somewhat of a surprise to see the receiver-needy Colts wait until the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft in order to add a player at this position. Right now, the recently re-signed T.Y. Hilton will start opposite youngster Michael Pittman Jr. for new quarterback Carson Wentz. Simply put, the Colts must find a way to add a slot guy before Week 1.
That’s where Crowder comes into play. He’s remained away from early offseason activities with the Jets due to a contract stalemate. New York wants Crowder to lower his $11.35 million cap hit for the 2021 season — the final year of his current contract. After averaging nearly 700 receiving yards through his first six NFL seasons, Crowder remains highly underrated. Perhaps, the Colts offer up a mid-round pick and look to extend the smallish, but productive receiver.
Minnesota Vikings trade Danielle Hunter to the Las Vegas Raiders
To say that Hunter is not happy about playing under his current five-year, $72 million contract would be an understatement. For good reason. Still only 26 years old, Hunter has been among the most-productive pass rushers since entering the NFL back in 2015. He recorded 80 quarterback hits and 54.5 sacks from 2015-19 prior to missing last season with a neck injury. Despite this, he’s the 17th highest-paid edge rusher in the NFL in terms of average annual salary.
If the Vikings are unable to get something done with the NFL offseason wrapping up, I would not be surprised if Hunter were traded to the Raiders during training camp. Las Vegas just recently signed fellow Pro Bowler Yannick Ngakoue and still has a need out on the edge. The idea here would be to team the two veterans up. In return, Minnesota takes a chance on former top-four pick Clelin Ferrell and adds a first-round pick from the Raiders. It’s a win-win.
Green Bay Packers trade Aaron Rodgers to the Denver Broncos
The single biggest football story of the 2021 NFL offseason has been Rodgers’ status with the Packers moving forward. On the day the draft started back in late May, it became public record that the reigning league MVP wanted to be traded. Since then, Aaron Rodgers has taken to the media to blast the culture within the Packers’ organization. In return, embattled general manager Brian Gutekunst has pushed back against moving the star quarterback.
What we do know is that Rodgers can pretty much force the Packers’ hands here. He’s been absent from offseason activities and has no intention of ever playing in Green Bay again. The all-time great also listed the Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and these Broncos as his preferred destinations.
After trading up for Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft, the 49ers are out of the Rodgers sweepstakes. Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine Las Vegas being seen as a contender even if its adds Rodgers to the mix. Enter into the equation a Broncos team that might be one top-end quarterback away from contention. In fact, Denver is seen as the odds-on favorite to land the generational quarterback in what would be one of the biggest NFL blockbusters in modern history.