5 underrated NFL trades that could shape the 2021 offseason

By Vincent Frank

NFL trades will certainly be part of the offseason due to the financial uncertainties brought on by COVID-19. Heck, we already saw a blockbuster that included the Los Angeles Rams acquiring Matthew Stafford for a package including Jared Goff.

While a lot of the focus has been on potential blockbuster NFL trades moving forward, there’s some underrated moves teams can make to shape the next several months.

Underrated NFL trades that could shape 2021 offseason

From a couple former first-round picks at quarterback to a Super Bowl signal caller, there’s some underrated NFL trades that could happen in the next few months. Below, we look at five of them.

Related: Top 40 remaining NFL free agents of 2021

Carolina Panthers trade Teddy Bridgewater to the Indianapolis Colts

NFL trades: Teddy Bridgewater to the Indianapolis Colts.
Jan 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

We already know that the Colts are in the market for a quarterback after the retirement of Philip Rivers. They missed out on the above-mentioned Matthew Stafford and are an unlikely destination for Deshaun Watson from the division-rival Houston Texans.

This leaves an otherwise good Colts team in a bind. They have been linked to Sam Darnold and Jimmy Garoppolo in trades. While both could work, getting someone like Teddy Bridgewater on the cheap could make more sense. Sure he’s slated to count $26 million against the cap in 2021. However, the Colts would only be on the hook for about $17 million of that.

Bridgewater would also likely come cheap in a trade assuming Carolina finds a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. The former first-round pick put up 20 total touchdowns against 11 interceptions in his first full season as a starter since 2015. Indy could also bring in some veteran training camp competition.

Read More: Indianapolis Colts quarterback: 5 best options to replace retired Philip Rivers in 2021

Baltimore Ravens trade Orlando Brown to the Minnesota Vikings

Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. requests trade from Baltimore Ravens
Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown (78) jogs on the field prior to an AFC Divisional Round game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In terms of potential NFL trades this offseason, it’s looking more and more like Brown will be moved. He’s not happy being relegated to right tackle duties in Baltimore and wants to play the blindside moving forward. This is a hard stance to argue against given that the 24-year-old Brown is coming off consecutive Pro Bowl seasons.

Up against the cap and with Riley Reiff likely to be a salary cap casualty, the Vikings could make a ton of sense in a trade for Brown. Specifically, they could entice a wide receiver-needy Ravens team with Adam Thielen. Minnesota could afford to do this after Justin Jefferson showed out big time as a rookie.

Read More: NFL salary cap tracker: Where each team stands in 2021

Cincinnati Bengals trade Giovani Bernard to the Green Bay Packers

Underrated NFL trades options: Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) takes the field as he’s announced before the first quarter of the NFL Week 17 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. The Ravens led 17-3 at half time. Baltimore Ravens At Cincinnati Bengals

Both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are slated to hit free agency. Rookie second-round pick A.J. Dillon did nothing of substance for the Packers in 2020. Even if Green Bay were to re-sign either Jones or Williams, the team would need a third-down back with receiving ability to help out Aaron Rodgers.

That’s where Bernard comes into play. The 30-year-old back put up 771 total yards at a clip of 4.5 yards per touch for Cincinnati last season. He also caught 47-of-59 targets, proving his worth as an elite receiving threat out of the backfield. Acquiring Bernard would cost a mere $3.7 million against the cap in 2021 and a likely late-round pick.

Related: 2021 NFL mock draft – QBs dominate top-10 picks, big trades

San Francisco 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo?
Oct 25, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws a pass against the New England Patriots in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve read the rumors on a near never-ending loop. Bill Belichick potentially wanting to run it back with Garoppolo after he was forced to trade the former Patriots second-round pick back in 2017. From New England’s perspective, this makes sense. The 29-year-old Garoppolo knows Josh McDaniels’ offensive system. He’d be an immediate upgrade over Cam Newton after a disastrous one season with the Patriots.

More high-profile NFL trades would likely have to go down if this were to come to fruition. Primarily, the 49ers being able to acquire Deshaun Watson. Even then, New England would be able to acquire the Super Bowl quarterback on the cheap. Prior to an injury-plagued 2020 season, Garoppolo accounted for nearly 4,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2019. Those numbers are similar to what we saw from Tom Brady in his final season with the Patriots.

Read More: New England Patriots quarterback options: Trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft

New York Jets trade Sam Darnold to the Chicago Bears

Sam Darnold trade to Washington Football Team
Dec 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) talks with teammates during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors have linked the Bears to a potential Carson Wentz trade. However, it’s not yet known just how substantive said rumors are given the Eagles’ reported asking price. We also have no idea whether Mitchell Trubisky will return to the Bears in 2021. He’s slated to hit free agency and was benched at times last season for Nick Foles.

Perhaps, the Bears look to buy low on Darnold as a way to get their quarterback of the future. He might cost less than Wentz in a trade. He also boasts much more upside than his older counterpart in the NFC East. A change of scenery could do this talented former No. 3 pick well.