5 NFL players likely to be traded during 2021 NFL Draft

The 2021 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away. While most of the talk has surrounded what could be an historical class at quarterback, trades have also been the name of the game.

The San Francisco 49ers moving up to three changed the entire landscape of the annual event. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers making a move for Sam Darnold also impacted things.

We can expect multiple player trades during the NFL Draft, as well. From a former Defensive Player of the Year to a quarterback attempting to rebound from a down 2020 season, here’s a look at five players likely to be traded during the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Carolina Panthers

NFL trades: Teddy Bridgewater
Nov 29, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) drops back to pass in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The acquisition of Sam Darnold in a blockbuster trade with the New York Jets changes the dynamics here in a big way. Carolina has now given Teddy Bridgewater permission to seek a trade and he’s willing to help facilitate a move from the team after one substandard season.

The expectation is that Bridgewater, 28, will land on a team that values a high-end backup quarterback after he threw just 15 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 2020. While the quarterback’s contract is not ideal, a restructure would entice multiple teams. Expect Bridgewater to be moved during Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft for a late-round pick.

Read More: 2021 NFL mock draft: QBs dominate top-10 picks, surprise trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft

C.J. Mosley, linebacker, New York Jets

NFL trades: New York Jets could look to trade C.J. Mosley
Sep 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (57) celebrates after a fumble recovery during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, reports have indicated that this four-time Pro Bowl linebacker could be traded after he opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Signed to a five-year, $85 million contract back in March of 2019, Mosley has played all of two games with the Jets in two seasons. Remember, he suffered a groin injury that limited him to those two games during the 2019 campaign.

Even then, there’s every reason to believe that the Jets can get a mid-to-late round pick for Mosley. He’s still only 28 years old and was among the best middle linebackers during a five-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately, the former Alabama star just doesn’t fit into new head coach Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme. Look for a team like the Green Bay Packers to come calling.

Read More: 5 shocking NFL trades we could still see this offseason

Michael Gallup, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys

Underrated NFL trade options: Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Dec 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) catches a touchdown pass against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

As with everything else, the NFL is all about finances. The Dallas Cowboys are paying Amari Cooper $100 million over five seasons. They signed Dak Prescott to a record-breaking contract and opted to give Ezekiel Elliott a trendsetting deal for a running back. With the NFL existing under a hard cap, it’s hard to imagine Dallas being able to retain Gallup long-term. After all, the 25-year-old pass catcher is slated to become a free agent next March.

Trading someone who has put up nearly 2,000 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons might be a bitter pill for the Cowboys to swallow. Even then, they selected fellow receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and don’t need to pay Gallup starter money. There’s a darn good chance that the former Colorado State star could be moved for a Day 2 selection when the draft comes calling.

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Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, New England Patriots

NFL trades: Stephon Gilmore
Aug 17, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) before the preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Set to count $16.24 million against the cap in 2021, it’s a tell that Gilmore has not restructured his contract thus far this offseason. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is firmly on the trade block with the Patriots looking to find a trade partner during the draft.

Gilmore, 30, saw his game regress a tad during the 2020 season. Even then, Pro Football Focus grades him out as the third-best boundary cornerback in the NFL since the start of the 2018 campaign. If the 30-year-old defensive back takes a pay cut, there’s absolutely no reason to believe he won’t be dealt later this month.

Read More: 3 Jimmy Garoppolo trade scenarios to the New England Patriots

Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback, San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo trade, San Francisco 49ers
Dec 8, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) reacts after a touchdown in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco’s reported interest in Sam Darnold ahead of the team trading up for the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft changes the dynamics in a big way. That’s magnified by the fact that general manager John Lynch and Co. showed interest in the likes of Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton. Despite what the 49ers’ brass might want us to believe, Jimmy Garoppolo is firmly on the trade block.

The Darnold trade is an interesting backstory here. New York received a second, fourth and sixth-round selection for the struggling quarterback. The 49ers’ asking price of a first-round pick for Garoppolo now doesn’t seem to be too far-fetched. After all, he’s just one season removed from leading the team to a Super Bowl appearance. Don’t be surprised if Garoppolo is moved for the equivalent of a first-round selection at some point during the 2021 NFL Draft.