This past week saw a ton of action around the league. It was not about free agency, as we saw earlier in the offseason. Rather, NFL trades were the name of the game. That included the San Francisco 49ers moving up from the 12th pick to third overall in an attempt to find a quarterback of the future.
As teams jockey for position leading up to the draft and look at their rosters with offseason programs getting started here soon, there’s no reason to believe that we’ve seen the last of big-time trades.
Could another team move up for a quarterback atop the 2021 NFL Draft? Perhaps, star veterans are traded for one another. Heck, the reigning NFL MVP could be part of a blockbuster trade. Here’s a look at five such moves we could still see this offseason.
Cleveland Browns trade Odell Beckham Jr. to the Indianapolis Colts
Even after re-signing T.Y. Hilton in free agency, the Colts must find more pass-catchers for newly-acquired quarterback Carson Wentz. The idea has to be to build talent around a high-priced signal caller who tied for the league-lead in interceptions a season ago with 15. Working under former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, the Colts have gone all in with Wentz. That seems to suggest something could be in the cards.
As for the Browns, they continue to push back against suggestions that Beckham Jr. could be moved. I just don’t see why they would keep him on the roster at his high price tag and with the star receiver coming off a torn ACL. Add in the success Baker Mayfield had after OBJ went down to injury a season ago, and this is magnified further. Perhaps, Indianapolis offers up its second-round pick (54th overall) to the Browns for Beckham Jr. It would be one of the biggest NFL trades of the offseason.
New York Jets trade Sam Darnold to the Denver Broncos
Recent NFL rumors suggest that it’s a 90% certainty that the Jets will move off their former No. 3 pick after three mediocre seasons. Given Sam Darnold stats and his lack of success during this span in Jersey, it makes sense. And with the Jets looking to add BYU quarterback Zach Wilson to the mix with the second pick, that’s magnified further.
With the market limited for Darnold’s services following the 49ers’ blockbuster trade, it’s possible new Broncos general manager George Paton could get Darnold on the cheap to compete with struggling incumbent quarterback Drew Lock. Everyone knows New York is looking to trade its young quarterback. That will limit the team’s return. Perhaps, Denver offers up its third-round pick (71st overall) and a conditional mid-round pick in 2022 to get this done.
Baltimore Ravens trade Orlando Brown Jr. to the Minnesota Vikings
We already know that Brown Jr. has requested a trade from the Ravens. The 24-year-old former third-round pick from Oklahoma wants to play left tackle. He’s more than earned that role after making the Pro Bowl each of the past two seasons. This year alone, Brown was absolutely dominant as former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson’s blindside protector with Ronnie Stanley sidelined. It just makes too much sense.
As it relates to this hypothetical trade, it would be a win-win for both sides. Minnesota moved off Riley Reiff earlier in NFL free agency due to his high cap number. It needs a left tackle. Meanwhile, Danielle Hunter could force his way from the Vikings due to contractual issues. In turn, the Ravens need pass-rush help after losing Pro Bowlers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency.
Atlanta Falcons trade Julio Jones to the Las Vegas Raiders
The Falcons would take on a ridiculous dead cap hit if they were to trade Jones ahead of June 1. It’s one of the primary reasons this has not been bandied about. The team’s brass also wants to keep the battery mate of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones alive as the Falcons transition to a new era under its first-year leadership group.
In no way does this change the obvious. Jones is 32 years old and doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans. It’s much different than Ryan under center. If the Raiders were to offer the house for Jones later in the offseason, it could make sense from Atlanta’s perspective. A move after June 1 would actually save the team $15.3 million against the cap.
However unlikely this might be, the Raiders are always looking for that star receiver. Look no further than the Antonio Brown disaster from a couple years back. Jon Gruden offers up multiple picks to Atlanta for Jones. In turn, the Falcons can move forward with the impressive Calvin Ridley as their top receiver as the team expedites its rebuild.
Green Bay Packers trade Aaron Rodgers to the San Francisco 49ers
If you thought the 49ers moving up to the third selection in the draft shocked the football world, get a load of this. In what would be one of the biggest blockbuster NFL trades in history, San Francisco offers up that third pick and Jimmy Garoppolo to Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers. Whoa!
In reality, this is not as much of an unrealistic scenario as we might think. Rodgers and the Packers are engaged in a game of cat and mouse. Their decision to select Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft will expedite the future Hall of Famer’s exit from Green Bay after he earned the NFL MVP award last season. Rodgers wants a commitment beyond the 2021 season. Based on failing to restructure his contract, the Packers are making it clear Love will likely be the starter in 2022. Things could spiral out of control here soon.
As for the 49ers, this would be a major risk. Essentially, general manager John Lynch and Co. would be dealing three first-round picks, a third-round selection and a former Super Bowl quarterback for a 37-year-old signal caller. Even then, the 49ers’ Super Bowl window is wide open. Acquiring one of the game’s best quarterbacks rather than taking a chance on an unproven rookie makes sense. Oh, and Rodgers returns home after the 49ers notoriously passed up on him in the 2005 NFL Draft.