Seven NFL stars that could be traded this offseason

By Matt Johnson
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL playoffs roll on, eliminated teams focus on the offseason and the potential moves they can make to contend for a Super Bowl next season. While the 2020 NFL Draft and free agency will offer plenty of help, the trade market could be especially attractive this offseason.

Rumors from the NFL’s mid-season trade deadline offered a glimpse into potential names that could be available. New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton are among the stars that teams will inquire on, but they aren’t alone.

Whether your team needs a great quarterback, an offensive weapon, or a disruptive force on the defensive side, that talent could be acquired this offseason. Here are the seven NFL stars who could move this offseason.

Odell Beckham Jr, receiver, Cleveland Browns

While he denied wanting out of Cleveland, the numerous reports that contradicted his claims bring his future into question. Of course, trade speculation could intensify once the Browns’ new brass settles in.

While it’s unlikely that the Browns will recoup what they gave up for OBJ, landing something could still be worth it. Other NFL teams recognize he played through a painful sports hernia injury this season and his willingness to compete in a meaningless Week 17 game with food poisoning speaks volumes about his competitiveness. Everyone would benefit from a change of scenery before the 2020 season.

Jamal Adams, safety, New York Jets

The Jets surprised many during the season by shopping Adams, but a deal never came to fruition before the deadline. While the front office has made efforts to repair the relationship between Adams and general manager Joe Douglas, the damage might already be done.

New York will enter the offseason with numerous needs on both sides of the ball, so this isn’t a team that is one piece away from contention. The Jets could benefit from trading Adams for a package of picks, perhaps exploring if the Dallas Cowboys would expand on their original offer.

Trent Williams, offensive tackle, Washington Redskins

New head coach Ron Rivera is making an effort to keep Williams in Washington and convince him that this organization has changed. Given all of the drama that unfolded between Williams and the Redskins, including the organization’s decision to withhold his pay, a separation is likely.

The 31-year-old tackle already took a season off of his career. He can’t afford to waste his remaining years on a team in transition. Williams would greatly benefit from a trade and there are plenty of contenders around the NFL that need a Pro Bowl left tackle. Ultimately, the Redskins should accommodate Williams’ wishes this offseason.

Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers

Newton’s recovery from Lisfranc surgery and his future in Carolina will be one of the biggest storylines this offseason. While head coach Matt Rhule is seemingly the perfect coach for Newton and Rhule hinted the star quarterback will remain in Carolina, the fit seems shaky.

Rhule is building an entirely new culture, which could easily mean finding a long-term quarterback. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears enter this offseason with glaring needs at quarterback and Newton could be the perfect player to put each of them over the top. If the right offer comes, Rhule could easily trade Newton and take advantage of a loaded 2020 draft class to start building a new foundation for this team.

Mike Evans, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Evans is the unlikeliest star on this list to be dealt. However, Chris Godwin emerged as a star in his own right this offseason and he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract. He should be Tampa Bay’s long-term No. 1 receiver and will soon be paid to reflect it. It then opens the door for Tampa Bay to explore moving Evans.

He played well before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury. Evans finished with 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns, giving him six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to begin his NFL career. He is owed $57.5 million over the next four seasons, an affordable cost for his abilities. The Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens desperately need a No. 1 receiver and could view a trade for the 26-year-old receiver as the perfect move to support their franchise quarterback.

Von Miller, outside linebacker, Denver Broncos

Miller’s name floated around before the trade deadline before the Broncos shut down further speculation. The 30-year-old continues to play at a high level, but Denver must at least consider if it could see long-term benefits by trading Miller this offseason.

Bradley Chubb will be ready to return in 2020 after tearing his ACL in September. He can be this team’s defensive force of the future. Meanwhile, trading Miller could allow the front office more resources to attack areas of need along the offensive line and at wide receiver and cornerback. It’s certainly unlikely to happen, but contenders in need of a top pass rusher will certainly call John Elway to ask about Miller’s availability this offseason.

Le’Veon Bell, running back, New York Jets

It will be a surprise if Bell is with the Jets next season. The Jets explored moving him during the season and their intentions reportedly haven’t changed heading into the offseason. While the return for Bell will be minimal, trading him is the best move for the organization.

He could be an attractive addition for multiple teams. While he is owed $13.5 million next season, the structure of his deal could make it less daunting long-term. A new environment with better players around him could unlock his Pro Bowl form. Bell could be of particular interest to the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. The acquisition cost would be low and if he still struggles next season, his new team could cut him next offseason for just a $4 million cap hit. It’s a low-risk, high-reward move for contenders and allows the Jets to start fresh.