NFL Draft trades have become a major part of the lexicon around the gridiron world over the past several years. The two most-notable recent deals took place back in 2016 when the then-St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles traded up for Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, respectively.
Interestingly enough, both were dealt in blockbuster trades earlier this offseason. With NFL free agency set to get going here soon and the 2021 NFL Draft not far behind, we’re hearing a ton of rumors around the football world.
Specifically, the quarterback position is going to be something talked about a lot leading up to the annual event. As many as four signal callers could go in the top 10, headed by consensus No. 1 prospect Trevor Lawrence.
This means that there could be a bidding war for ascending talent, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, at two. It’s under this guise that we’re going to look at five NFL Draft trades we’d love to see this April.
NFL Draft trades: Carolina Panthers move up to No. 3 with the Miami Dolphins
- Panthers get: Third pick
- Dolphins get: Eighth pick, second-round pick in 2021 and first-round pick in 2022
The idea for Carolina would be to finally add that quarterback of the future for young head coach Matt Rhule. Owner David Tepper has been pushing a Deshaun Watson trade for some time now. While that could still happen, it’s clear that the Panthers are not sold on Teddy Bridgewater after a disappointing first season with the team.
By moving up from the eighth selection to third overall, the Panthers target Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Of course, that’s dependent on the New York Jets nabbing Zach Wilson with the second pick. In this scenario, Bridgewater could act as a bridge to Fields in 2021 before the elite young signal caller takes over in 2022.
From the Dolphins perspective, adding another top-50 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft would give them five within that span. General manager Chris Grier would build more draft capital with Carolina’s first-rounder in 2022. This would give Miami the flexibility to pull off a certain blockbuster trade.
NFL Draft trades: Miami Dolphins make a move for Deshaun Watson
- Dolphins get: Deshaun Watson
- Texans get: Eighth pick in 2021, two second-round picks in 2021, first-round pick in 2022, first-round pick in 2023, Tua Tagovailoa
Speaking of the Dolphins and blockbuster trades, the hypothetical deal with Carolina mentioned above would set this team up well to add Watson to the mix. Miami sends the eighth pick and two more first-round picks as well as former No. 5 selection Tua Tagovailoa to a Texans team in need of all the draft capital it can get.
Houston makes out like bandits here. We’re talking about five valuable selections, including three in the first two rounds next month. The Texans are able to add a potential quarterback of the future in Tua Tagovailoa to replace Watson. It would expedite their rebuild in a big way.
The good news for fans in South Beach is that Miami would still have a first-round pick (18th overall) to address needs on either side of the ball. Heck, the Dolphins could potentially trade down from that selection and acquire more assets. Getting Watson would make this team a legit conference title contender moving forward, too.
NFL Draft trades: New England Patriots move up for quarterback, add veteran
- Patriots get: Sixth pick, Jimmy Garoppolo
- Eagles get: 15th pick, 2021 second-round pick, 2022 first-round pick, N’Keal Harry
- 49ers get: 2021 fourth-round pick, Stephon Gilmore
There’s been a lot of talk about the Patriots adding a veteran quarterback to the mix after Cam Newton’s struggles in replacing Tom Brady a season ago. Very little talk has consisted of them actually pulling off a trade for a young signal caller during the 2021 NFL Draft. Why can’t the team do both?
In this scenario, New England exhausts three picks as well as two players in N’Keal Harry and Stephon Gilmore who are firmly on the trade block. In turn, Bill Belichick reunites with Super Bowl quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as a short-term fix. Patriots rumors have pointed in this direction for some time. Meanwhile, New England picks up a quarterback of the future in Mac Jones. He’s ascending the pre-draft rankings and could end up being a top-10 pick. It’s the best of both worlds for New England.
The Eagles’ inclusion in what would be among the biggest NFL Draft trades in recent memory involves them picking up a talented former first-round pick in N’Keal Harry. A change of scenery could be good for the former Arizona State standout. It also must be noted that the Eagles have major needs at wide receiver after releasing both DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery. Add in a first and second-round pick to move down just nine spots, and this would be a boon for Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, San Francisco opts to move off Garoppolo. The idea here would be to move a mid-round pick and change to the New York Jets for Sam Darnold, saving a ton of cap room in the process. The 49ers also pick up 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore to replace the soon-to-be departed Richard Sherman. It’s a win-win.
NFL Draft trades: Tampa Bay Buccaneers add Odell Beckham Jr.
- Buccaneers get: Odell Beckham Jr.
- Browns get: Second-round pick in 2021, third-round pick in 2022, Carlton Davis
It’s no secret that Tom Brady is interested in the defending champions adding Odell Beckham Jr. to the mix. Whether this is even a remote possibility depends heavily on if Tampa Bay can fit him in under the cap. That will likely have to include the Buccaneers signing franchise-tagged wide receiver Chris Godwin to an extension.
In terms of this hypothetical trade, Cleveland has made it clear publicly that Beckham Jr. is not available. Personally, I am not buying that. Baker Mayfield performed better last season when OBJ went down to a torn ACL. The Browns could also free up cap room to chase after a better fit in an NFL free agent market that’s stacked at wide receiver. Adding two valuable picks and a starter-caliber cornerback would also help here.
NFL Draft trades: Chicago Bears pull off blockbuster for Russell Wilson
- Bears get: Russell Wilson
- Seahawks get: 2021 first-round pick, 2021 second-round pick, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, Khalil Mack, Nick Foles
This would represent one of the biggest NFL Draft trades in the history of the league. It’s also not as unlikely as you might want to believe. By now, it’s known that things are not going well between Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Things are spiraling out of control in the Pacific Northwest, leading to widespread rumors suggesting a trade could happen ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
As for the Bears, it seems like they are valuing Wilson over Deshaun Watson on the trade block. More than anything, head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace seem to be in desperation mode. Both are firmly on the hot seat. Perhaps, Seattle looks to take advantage of this.
Read More: 5 most ideal Russell Wilson trade scenarios
The above-mentioned Russell Wilson trade scenario would set Chicago up for short-term contention. Meanwhile, the Seahawks would retool on the fly. They add two first-round picks and two second-round picks to the mix. Seattle also picks up former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack to help improve a pass rush that was non-existent a season ago. For his part, Nick Foles could be a potential stopgap option under center.