The NFL trade deadline is closing with rumors already buzzing about potential players who could be available for contenders. As we look across the league, plenty of teams will have an opportunity to be buyers in the next few weeks.
While the COVID-19 pandemic creates a new hurdle for organizations to overcome before the trade deadline, it shouldn’t stop aggressive general managers from making deals. With the NFL Playoffs expanded this season, even more teams should be active before the Nov. 3 trade deadline.
As trade rumors buzz around the NFL, let’s examine five teams that should be buyers at the trade deadline.
New England Patriots
As detailed by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots have made an in-season trade every year since 2009. While rumors around the trade deadline generally don’t lead to much action, you can count on New England making something happen. In a year where the AFC East is up for grabs, Bill Belichick might have to make some moves.
Cam Newton is playing well, proving the Patriots know where to find value. One area this offense could improve is in the offensive weaponry surrounding QB1. Many will connect the dots to A.J. Green, but he looks done in Cincinnati. Instead, keep an eye on Carolina Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel or Houston Texans receivers Kenny Stills or Will Fuller. Adding speed to Josh McDaniels’ offense would be the missing ingredient and it would help Newton play even better.
The Bears seem to be playing over their heads with a 4-1 record and regression could come at any moment. However, head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace are coaching for their jobs right now. Given everything at stake, it feels like the Bears have to make a move.
Chicago won’t find a better option available at quarterback, so the next target becomes upgrading the offensive line. The Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Football Team could all have upgrades available. Anything to help this running game and protect Foles could make the difference for an offense that desperately needs help.
Buffalo’s defense was supposed to be its greatest strength coming into the season. For whatever reason, this unit is falling short of expectations and it’s not particularly close. While there aren’y any big trade rumors coming out of Buffalo, the Bills’ needs are evident.
In the next few weeks, general manager Brandon Beane must find a nickel cornerback. Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Desmond King, an All-Pro selection in 2018, seems like an ideal fit. If the Chargers’ price is too high, which seems unlikely for the pending free agent, New York Jets nickel corner Brian Poole is another solid option. If the Bills reinforce the secondary, this could be a Super Bowl contender.
We know this defense is very good, it even flashes the ability to be elite. However, we’re not seeing a unit capable of stepping up and shutting down great competition. Baltimore sends the blitz at the second-highest rate (44.5%) in the NFL this season, but it’s not even in the top-12 in knockdown rate (8.9%) or quarterback hurries (10.9). Simply put, the Ravens need more edge rushers.
Baltimore can call the Vikings about Yannick Ngakoue, who might become available as an impending free agent on a team at the bottom of the standings. If he isn’t available, Ryan Kerrigan could be an intriguing option as a rotational pass rusher. Heck, Baltimore has the cap space to swing a deal for J.J. Watt. No matter what happens, the Ravens need to be active at the trade deadline.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have to be buyers at the NFL trade deadline. Every move the organization made this offseason was to go all-in with the sole purpose of winning Super Bowl LV. With Drew Brees playing like a shell of his former self and new holes popping up on defense, it’s even more evident moves are necessary.
Right now, the rumor mill is quiet in New Orleans. That’s not a surprise given the team is enjoying its Week 6 bye, but it should change as the NFL trade deadline draws closer. The Saints need more pass rushers and the secondary could stand to improve with more depth at cornerback. Rentals will be the only option, but the Saints need to consider everything in the final year of their Super Bowl window.