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Evaluating the best NFL trade candidates before the Nov. 1 deadline

Matt Johnson
NFL trade candidates
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Who will be traded at the NFL trade deadline? In advance of the Nov. 1 deadline in the NFL, there are rumors flying about potential moves, positional needs and so much more. There are plenty of big names either drawing interest or being floated in the rumor mill, with a lot of recognized faces among the NFL trade candidates.

Unlike Major League Baseball, a majority of the NFL trade candidates won’t be moved at the NFL deadline. While we’ve seen a few blockbuster moves – notably the Christian McCaffrey and Robert Quinn trades – these instances are pretty rare. NFL teams prefer not to sell, especially in a season when the NFL standings are so close. With that acknowledged, we should see a few marquee names moved in the days ahead.

Related: NFL trade rumors

Let’s examine the best NFL trade candidates available and players at each position who could move before the Nov. 1 trade deadline.

  • NFL trade deadline: Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. ET

NFL trade candidates 2022: Ranking the best players potentially available

NFL: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
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Our NFL trade candidates rankings take into consideration the potential cost to acquire each player, positional value, their contract and the likelihood of them being moved.

10. Jerry Hughes, edge rusher, Houston Texans

One of the oldest NFL trade candidates, Jerry Hughes might also be one of the most underrated nationally. He’s eight years older than Bradley Chubb and doesn’t offer the upside of some others, but teams know what they’ll get with Hughes. The former 2010 first-round pick remains a highly-effective pass rusher who is suited to play a situational role. With the Houston Texans rebuilding, anticipate Hughes to be among those moved at the NFL trade deadline and he will provide a notable boost for a playoff contender.

  • Jerry Hughes stats (2022): 17 pressures, 13 QB hurries, four sacks

9. William Jackson III, cornerback, Washington Commanders

Signing with the Washington Commanders backfired for both the franchise and William Jackson III. Now on the trade block and firmly on Washington’s bench, Jackson is a low-cost solution for NFL clubs who need a press-man corner they can depend on. He is just two years removed from allowing an average 86.4 quarterback rating (PFF) when targeted in coverage and he might be best suited as a No. 2 cornerback on the outside.

  • William Jackson contract: $13.8 million cap hit (2022), $6.75M savings if cut in 2023

8. Brandin Cooks, wide receiver, Houston Texans

NFL: Mandatory Minicamp Houston Texans
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Brandin Cooks is a regular among the NFL trade candidates. On the verge of making history as the most traded player ever. The 5-foot-10 receiver is doing a lot of his work underneath (8.4 yards aDOT) this season), but his history proves he can be a vertical threat that quarterbacks trust to create separation downfield. The $26.6 million cap hit next season diminishes his trade value, but there are enough contenders in desperate need of help (Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams) that the financial hit won’t matter as much when they are in win-now mode.

  • Brandin Cooks contract: $9.749 million cap hit (2022), $26.6 million cap hit (2023)

7. Daron Payne, defensive tackle, Washington Commanders

After turning down trade offers during the offseason, it now seems like the Washington Commanders are open to moving Daron Payne. The 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive tackle is excellent at generating interior pressure (21 pressures, 10 hurries) on quarterbacks, this coming off a season with 47 pressures. Interior pass rushers are an integral part of every defense, which should boost the potential return for Payne.

Related: NFL games today

6. Sidney Jones, cornerback, Seattle Seahawks

Selected with the 43rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it all came together for Sidney Jones in 2021. The 6-foot cornerback registered a 69.2 coverage from (Pro Football Focus), becoming a quality No. 2 outside corner. He lost his starting job after suffering a concussion in training camp and the emergence of young defenders in the Seahawks’ secondary kept him on the sideline. While scheme fit is important, Jones could be a nice addition for a defense that needs to plug some holes against the pass.

  • Potential Fits: Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals

5. Chase Claypool, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins
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There’s a reason the Pittsburgh Steelers are placing a premium price on Chase Claypool. There have been some minor transgressions in the past, largely from immaturity, and his production over the past two seasons – 1,126 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 22 games – is disappointing. With that said, this is a 6-foot-4 wideout with 4.4 speed and the physical tools to be an outstanding weapon. A change of scenery could unlock Claypool, bringing back the breakout rookie from 2020 (873 yards, nine touchdowns).

  • Chase Claypool contract: $1.8 million cap hit (2022), $2.105 million cap hit (2023)

4. Kareem Hunt, running back, Cleveland Browns

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
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We don’t often see high-end running backs moved before the NFL trade deadline. Part of the reason is tied to the declining value of the position, but it can also be tied to where some of the top talent is playing. Kareem Hunt has been stuck in a committee for the Cleveland Browns. However, he is still averaging 4.4 yards per carry (1,490 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns on 342 carries) since 2020 and he is a dependable receiving option out of the backfield. Scheduled to hit the open market this spring, Hunt is perfect for a Super Bowl-caliber team seeking the final piece for its offense.

  • Teams to Watch: Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams

3. Roquan Smith, linebacker, Chicago Bears

NFL: Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
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Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith already requested a trade once this year after contracts talks with the franchise went south. After sticking things out for a few months, the All-Pro linebacker is ready to move on and Chicago is clearly selling. He’s not playing his best football right now – 57.9 PFF grade – but he boasts an excellent track record as a coverage linebacker who can also be deployed as a blitzer. Headed for free agency, the Bears have more than enough incentive to trade him to a team that needs some athleticism in the heart of its defense.

Related: Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2023 winner

2. Jerry Jeudy, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

One of the most beloved wide receiver prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jerry Jeudy hasn’t met expectations with the Denver Broncos. He’s combined for just 853 receiving yards on 103 targets over the last 17 games, only showing flashes of the savvy route runner many expected to thrive in the NFL. On a team-friendly contract through 2023, though, he is a buy-low target for teams who need a wideout that can make plays in the middle of the field (12.7 yards after target distance). Denver would likely push for a 2023 second-round pick in exchange for Jeudy.

  • Jerry Jeudy contract: $4.143 million cap hit (2022), $4.834 million cap hit (2023)

1. Bradley Chubb, edge rusher, Denver Broncos

NFL: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
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There are few players more valuable in the NFL than an edge rusher and it’s one of the positions a team feels most comfortable plugging a player in without concerns of a slow transition period. Bradley Chubb, the No. 5 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, is thriving in a contract year. The 6-foot-4 edge rusher has earned an outstanding 82.9 PFF pass-rush grade this season and it’s paired with an equally impressive 80.9 run-defense grade. He also boasts the third-highest ESPN pass rush win rate (28%) among edge rushers and boasts the seventh-best run-stop win rate (35%). Eligible for free agency in 2023, interested teams will likely seek a long-term extension before a trade is made.

  • Bradley Chubb stats (2022): 24 pressures, 13 hurries, eight QB hits, 5.5 sacks

NFL trade candidates by position

NFL: Houston Texans at Las Vegas Raiders
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Here are the potential NFL trade candidates at each position. While very few of these players will be moved by the Nov. 1 trade deadline, each of these players has been mentioned in NFL trade rumors or could conceivably be moved if the right offer comes along.

Related: NFL mock draft 2023 – CJ Stroud, Bryce Young headline outstanding 2023 NFL Draft class

Quarterbacks

  1. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
  2. Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts
  3. Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons
  4. Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
  6. Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers

In-season quarterback trades are rare and it would be stunning to see any signal-caller moved by the NFL trade deadline. Mac Jones might want to be dealt if he is benched by the New England Patriots, but it’s highly unlikely it’s even considered until 2023. Gardner Minshew and Sam Darnold might be the most realistic options, behind Mason Rudolph, but the return would be minimal.

Running Backs

  1. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints – 3 realistic trade scenarios
  2. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns – 3 ideal trade scenarios
  3. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears – 3 potential landing spots
  4. Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos
  5. Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders – 3 realistic trade destinations
  6. D’Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns
  7. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

There are quite a few NFL teams seeking to improve their depth at running back and add offensive weaponry. The likelihood of either Alvin Kamara or Antonio Gibson being moved is remote, but clubs have called the New Orleans Saints and Washington Commanders. Kunt is the strongest candidate to be dealt, with a fourth-round pick the likely return.

Wide Receivers

  1. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
  2. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos – 4 best landing spots
  3. Elijah Moore, New York Jets
  4. Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers – 4 best landing spots for Chase Claypool trade
  5. Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans –3 ideal trade destinations
  6. K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos
  7. Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots
  8. Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots
  9. Denzel Mims, New York Jets
  10. Terrace Marshall Jr, Carolina Panthers
  11. Kenny Golladay, New York Giants
  12. A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals

In a pass-heavy league with a number of contenders seeking to add pieces to their offense, plenty of wide receivers are available. Kenny Golladay and A.J. Green require the smallest return – a 7th round pick – but each comes with their own issues. KJ Hamler is intriguing on his rookie contract and would provide a vertical pass-catcher, making him more affordable than Brandin Cooks or Elijah Moore. In the case of both D.J. Moore and Jerry Jeudy, the expectation is that neither is dealt by the Nov. 1 trade deadline.

Edge Rushers

  1. Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers – Ideal Brian Burns trade destinations
  2. Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos – Best Bradley Chubb trade landing spots
  3. Dre’Mont Jones, Denver Broncos
  4. Jerry Hughes, Houston Texans
  5. Arden Key, Jacksonville Jaguars
  6. Larry Ogunjobi, Pittsburgh Steelers
  7. Yannick Ngakoue, Indianapolis Colts
  8. Clelin Ferrell, Las Vegas Raiders

The Carolina Panthers have made it pretty clear that Brian Burns isn’t moving, barring a massive offer and one was already rejected. Realistically, Chubb is the best defensive player available among the 2022 NFL trade candidates. Yannick Ngakoue and Jerry Hughes could likely be acquired for Day 3 compensation, providing additional pass-rushing depth for a contender.

Defensive Tackles

  1. Daron Payne, Washington Commanders – Best landing spots for Daron Payne
  2. Matt Ioannidis, Carolina Panthers
  3. Tyson Alualu, Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Maliek Collins, Houston Texans

Linebackers

  1. Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears
  2. Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers
  3. Myles Jack, Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Alex Singleton, Denver Broncos
  5. Christian Kirksey, Houston Texans

Cornerbacks

  1. Desmond King, Houston Texans
  2. Sidney Jones, Seattle Seahawks
  3. William Jackson III, Washington Commanders
  4. K’Waun Williams, Denver Broncos
  5. Levi Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. Donte Jackson, Carolina Panthers
  7. Bryce Hall, New York Jets