There’s going to be a lot of speculation about trades with the NFL offseason getting going here in less than a week. While a lot of the focus will be on quarterbacks, a number of big-name wide receivers could be moved.
Will the Seattle Seahawks trade D.K. Metcalf rather than ponying up a huge extension for the pass-catcher? A lot of that will depend on Russell Wilson’s status. Meanwhile, a former record-breaking receiver in Michael Thomas could be moved.
Below, we look at four ideal wide receiver trades around the NFL world for the offseason.
Related: Updated NFL trade rumors
Calvin Ridley trade to the New York Jets
- Jets get: Calvin Ridley
- Falcons get: 2022 second-round pick, future mid-round pick
New York had hoped free-agent signing Corey Davis would be a top-end target for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson this past season. It did not happen. Davis missed seven games to injury — accumulating just 34 receptions for 492 yards in the process. To say New York needs more outside help would be an understatement. Ridley makes perfect sense next to stud young slot guy Elijah Moore, too.
Calvin Ridley stats (2020): 90 receptions, 1,374 yards, nine touchdowns, 62.9% catch rate
In this scenario, Atlanta acquires an early second-round pick to help in its rebuild. Given Ridley’s situation, the team likely can’t demand much more than that. It’s also a valuable pick in that teams tend to pay a high priority for early Day 2 selections — meaning Atlanta could turn this into multiple future picks.
Related: Top 2022 NFL free agents
Brandin Cooks trade to the Philadelphia Eagles
- Eagles get: Brandin Cooks
- Texans get: Jalen Reagor, 2022 second-round pick
One of the most-underrated receivers in the game, Brandin Cooks has compiled six 1,000-yard seasons since 2015. That includes two consecutive campaigns reaching this plateau despite playing for a really bad Houston Texans team. Still only 28 and with a $16.21 million cap hit for the 2022 season, there’s plenty of teams who will have interest in him.
- Brandin Cooks stats (2021): 90 receptions, 1,037 yards, 6 TD, 67% catch rate
It makes sense for a rebuilding Texans team under Lovie Smith (that’s a real thing) to move off veteran components. Acquiring a 2020 first-ound pick in Reagor who could use a change of scenery as well as a valuable 2022 second-round selection would be a win. For Philadelphia, it finds a way to get Jalen Hurts another top-end target to team up with DeVonta Smith moving forward. It’s a win-win.
Related: Highest-paid NFL players of 2022
Michael Thomas trade to the Las Vegas Raiders
- Raiders get: Michael Thomas
- Saints get: Clelin Ferrell, 2022 third-round pick, future mid-round pick
The New Orleans Saints are not going to get fair-market value for Thomas in a trade. He sat out the entire 2021 season due to issues with the organization and a nagging injury. Thomas is also set to count a whopping $74-plus million against the cap over the next three seasons.
- Michael Thomas contract: 5 years, $92.25 million
What we do know is that the three-time Pro Bowler will likely be moved during the NFL offseason. He’s just not a long-term fit with a Saints team that is set to retool on the fly and boasts the worst cap situation in the league. Acquiring a third-round pick and a former top-four selection in Ferrell for Thomas would be seen as a win.
There’s absolutely no reason to believe that the Raiders’ new brass wouldn’t look into this possibility. Josh McDaniels and Co. have cap room. They would also likely restructure Thomas’ contract. Given the Henry Ruggs tragedy and with few options outside of Hunter Renfrow, wide receiver is a major need in Vegas. Why not buy low on a former record-breaking wide receiver and see if a change of scenery will help?
Related: Updated 2022 NFL mock draft
D.K. Metcalf trade to the New England Patriots
- Patriots get: D.K. Metcalf
- Seahawks get: Yodny Cajuste, 2022 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick
New England added a couple nice wide receivers during the 2021 NFL offseason, picking up the likes of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor in free agency. In particular, Bourne had a nice amount of success working with rookie Mac Jones (55 receptions, 800 yards, 79% catch rate).
However, the team is missing a true No. 1 wide receiver. It goes without saying that the 24-year-old Metcalf would provide that while giving New England a long-term option for Jones at wide receiver.
- D.K. Metcalf stats (three-year averages): 72 receptions, 1,057 yards, 10 touchdowns, 60% catch rate
From Seattle’s perspective, there’s a decent chance this team looks to rebuild on the fly if it is forced to trade Russell Wilson. Metcalf is entering the final season of his rookie deal and would be expensive retain. He’s also coming off a down 2021 season (967 yards, 58% catch rate). Adding two valuable second-round picks as well as a guard in Cajuste who fills a need would be a win here. Finally, Seattle starts to address its offensive line issues — one thing that has been a point of contention for Wilson over the years.