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NFL trade deadline: 5 moves we’d love to see before Tuesday afternoon

Vincent Frank

The NFL trade deadline is quickly approaching as the 2021 season nears its midway mark. There’s going to be several moves made before the deadline passes Tuesday afternoon. Whether there’s any blockbusters remains to be seen.

Putting on our thinking caps, we’ve decided to check in on five moves we’d love to see ahead of the NFL trade deadline in the matter of days.

Related: Updated NFL trade rumors

Dallas Cowboys land Xavien Howard

NFL trade deadline: Xavien Howard to the Dallas Cowboys
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  • Cowboys get: Xavien Howard
  • Dolphins get: Michael Gallup, 2022 second-round pick, conditional 2023 pick

Trevon Diggs has been an opportunistic play-maker for Dallas this season with seven interceptions. However, the sophomore corner has also yielded the most yards in coverage among NFL players. Something will have to give on that front.

If Dallas really wants to be considered a top-end Super Bowl contender, addressing the secondary is a major need ahead of the NFL trade deadline. With games coming up against the likes of Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr, that’s magnified further. Why not use some draft capital to bring in a dude who has led the NFL in interceptions two of the past three seasons?

As for Miami, it has now lost seven consecutive games and is going nowhere fast. There’s absolutely no reason for general manager Chris Grier and Co. to keep two expensive corners in Howard and Byron Jones. Adding a young receiver and a couple picks makes a ton of sense.

Related: New Orleans Saints QB options

New Orleans Saints replace Jameis Winston

NFL trade deadline: New Orleans Saints add Jimmy Garoppolo
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
  • Saints get: Jimmy Garoppolo
  • 49ers get: Conditional third-round pick in 2022

News that Winston could very well miss the remainder of the season to an ACL injury clouded New Orleans’ brilliant Week 8 win over the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s now back to the drawing board for a team that’s 5-2 and fancies itself as a top-end title contender in the NFC.

Taysom Hill is slated to return from a concussion here soon. But there’s no evidence that he can be a capable starting quarterback in the NFL. Enter into the equation a signal caller in Jimmy Garoppolo who has a proven track record of winning while relying on a dominant defense. Despite his shortcomings, Garoppolo boasts a career 27-11 record as a starter.

The question here is whether San Francisco would even consider moving off Garoppolo and inserting rookie No. 3 pick Trey Lance as the starter. The 49ers snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday and still boast playoff aspirations. Either way, we can envision something happening on this front.

Related: Updated NFL power rankings

Odell Beckham Jr. to the San Francisco 49ers

nfl trade deadline: odell beckham jr. trade to the san francisco 49ers
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
  • 49ers get: Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Browns get: 2022 third-round pick, conditional 2023 pick

Speaking of the 49ers, they attempted to acquire Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants prior to him being dealt to Cleveland ahead of the 2019 season. Even if San Francisco were to move off a veteran or two, the team still fancies itself as a contender. As has been the case over the past several years, wide receiver remains a major issue in Northern California. Why not see if a change of scenery will do OBJ good?

Sitting at a disappointing 4-4 on the season, things just haven’t worked out for the Browns and Beckham Jr. It’s led to speculation that he could be moved ahead of the NFL trade deadline. That might now be the case given his struggles to get involved. During Cleveland’s Week 8 loss to Pittsburgh, the veteran caught just one pass for six yards on one target. Ouch!

Related: 2022 NFL mock draft

Pittsburgh Steelers land quarterback of the future

nfl trade deadline: pittsburgh steelers land tua tagovailoa
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t all about whether the Miami Dolphins land Deshaun Watson ahead of the NFL trade deadline. Regardless of that situation, it seems rather clear that Miami’s brass is not sold on this 2020 top-five pick being its franchise cornerstone.

In the midst of a seven-game losing streak, it might now make sense for Miami to move off Tua and go with a stopgap option in Jacoby Brissett for the remainder of the season. It would enable the Fins to reset at the quarterback position next March.

It’s also obvious in Pittsburgh that Ben Roethlisberger is on his last legs. The Steelers have also pushed back against exhausting high-end draft capital on a quarterback of the future. This could come back to bite general manager Kevin Colbert in the back end given just how weak the 2022 NFL Draft class is seen at quarterback. Why not take a chance that Tua could be that guy to eventually replace Big Ben?

Philadelphia Eagles acquire Deshaun Watson

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
  • Eagles get: Deshaun Watson, Brandin Cooks
  • Texans get: Two 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, Jalen Hurts

How about this for a blockbuster NFL trade deadline deal? Philadelphia continues to be linked to Watson on a near never-ending loop due to continued struggles from Hurts. The team will also have three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, including Miami’s selection (which will likely be top five).

Using some of that capital to acquire a legit franchise quarterback just makes too much sense. Adding to the bounty, Philadelphia also picks up a five-time 1,000-yard receiver who just recently put his Texans team on blast over the trade of Mark Ingram.

There’s obviously some complications here. As you likely already know, Watson is facing sexual assault and/or misconduct allegations from north of 20 women. The cases are tied up in civil court with potential criminal charges pending. If Watson were to be moved ahead of these issues being resolved, conditional picks would have to be the name of the game heading back to Houston.