Every NFL team knows its weaknesses by this point of the season. Maybe it’s because of an offseason move that didn’t pan out, or perhaps a starter has been lost to injury. With the NFL trade deadline set for Tuesday, some teams might be looking to make a deal to fill those holes.
The Eagles look like a contender, and to stay that way, they need a solid left tackle now that Jason Peters is out for the season. They still have a few days to call another team — the Buffalo Bills, perhaps — and bring in someone who can fill in on that side of the line for the rest of the season.
Teams that are in rebuilding mode — hey there, Ravens — can scour their rosters and see which players they can afford to part with as they stockpile capital to build for the future. Maybe Baltimore could find a trade partner that wants cornerback Brandon Carr in exchange for a draft pick or two.
Here at SB Nation, we pose a question each week to the people who know these teams best: the fans who run our team sites. This week, we asked them for one trade their favorite team should make before the deadline. Then we graded every single potential trade.
Arizona Cardinals: Send Drew Stanton to the Browns for DeShone Kizer
This is a win-win for both teams, and for good reason. Drew Stanton going to a young Browns team that needs vet leadership makes sense to me, and that was before the injury to Carson Palmer.
I know there is some skepticism to acquiring Kizer, but that’s a jumpstart to something that was bound to happen. A rebuild. Maybe Kizer is the future, or maybe a bridge QB, either way, he’s not even needed for this season. You could realistically start Blaine Gabbert, and there would be maybe two crickets going off.
Both of these teams need an answer at quarterback long term. Kizer has been up and down in Cleveland this season, but having Larry Fitzgerald to throw to might help him even out in Arizona. Still, this is swapping one subpar quarterback for another. We can’t endorse that.
Atlanta Falcons: Swap with the Saints for Hau’oli Kikaha
The Saints are reportedly looking to deal Kikaha, a situational pass rusher with quality athleticism who could slot right in on the weak side for the Falcons and play some defensive end as needed. Kikaha has dealt with injuries that have limited him to just 20 career games since he was drafted in the second round back in 2015, but he’s got six sacks in that span, appears to be healthy now, and probably isn’t going to cost you more than a fifth round pick to add. If you can get over your distaste for making trades with the Saints, I think it’s a sensible move with some real upside. Kikaha is only 25, after all, and could be a part of the team’s defensive end and linebacker corps in a year when the likes of Adrian Clayborn, LaRoy Reynolds, and Kemal Ishmael will be free agents.
Kikaha has the versatility Dan Quinn prizes and could help the Falcons get after opposing quarterbacks for a very low price.
Baltimore Ravens: Trade Brandon Carr and stock up assets for the future
The editing staff here at Baltimore Beatdown were discussing trades—Who to trade for, or trade away, and no doubt, Vasilis Lericos’ idea made the most sense. Not because Brandon is a bad player, but because he’s too good.
In seven weeks, this playmaker tied his last three years interception total with the Dallas Cowboys, at three interceptions. He’s clearly not slowing down; he’s reliable, good in coverage, capable of creating turnovers, and any team looking for a cornerback needs to call Ozzie Newsome about a trade.
The Ravens are most certainly missing the postseason, and they have plenty of weaknesses to address this offseason. Acquiring more capital to do that is a solid approach, and at least a few teams would love a cornerback like Carr.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills have more offensive tackles than they need
While most teams have three or four, Buffalo has five tackles on the roster and four of them are tradeable assets at this point in the season. (Sorry, Conor McDermott.) Big-time left tackle Cordy Glenn, right tackle Jordan Mills, and backup tackles Dion Dawkins and Seantrel Henderson could all have value to the right team, though it’s highly unlikely Buffalo would trade Dawkins, who was one of their second round picks a few months ago.
Sure, the Bills have four potential starters. But they’re also in the mix for the playoffs, and injuries along the line could derail the season.
Carolina Panthers: Bring in Martavis Bryant
The Panthers are struggling on offense because they don’t have a deep threat at wide receiver. Defenses can crowd the box with eight (and sometimes nine) players because they know that Cam Newton doesn’t have a deep option capable of taking the top off the defense. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess are big targets for the Panthers’ quarterback and are useful when the chains need to be moved 11-15 yards, but neither one of them is designed for the ‘run the 9 route and let me throw it deep to you’ play the Panthers desperately need.
Bryant would be a difference maker for a Panthers offense that needs one. Maybe he could even help Cam Newton with those chunk plays.
Chicago Bears: Get a wide receiver (which they did!)
Before the Bears worked out a trade with the Chargers for Dontrelle Inman, Windy City Gridiron laid out why the team should go out and get a wide receiver (and most likely, one who wasn’t Martavis Bryant).
One factor that the Bears could perhaps elect to remedy in the next few days is seeking an upgrade at wide receiver through a trade, before the deadline expires on Tuesday next week. Outside of Kendall Wright, the Bears' best receiver and who for whatever reason has played extremely limited snaps of late, the competence you'd seek at the position is well, lacking to be kind.
For a mid-late round pick or perhaps a player asset from a place of strength, the Bears could be well-served to acquire more than a rental at receiver. That's in addition to setting themselves up for better short term success down the stretch of this season.
Yeah, nailed that one.
Cincinnati Bengals: Bring back Kevin Zeitler
My first call would be to a friend who lives just up the road off I-71: Former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. I would call the Cleveland Browns and propose this trade: AJ McCarron for Kevin Zeitler.
You remember Kevin, don’t you? Or is he dead to you?
Zeitler was one of the key linemen that earned the Bengals the seventh-ranked offensive line in 2015. The former first-round draft pick helped Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron win a franchise record-tying 12 games and the AFC North Crown.
While the Browns are winless yet again, we know it is not because of Zeitler. So why not bring him back down and send them a quarterback we’re not using?
This could be a win-win. AJ McCarron is probably not worse than any of the quarterbacks taking snaps for Cleveland this year, and the Bengals — especially Dalton — definitely miss Zeitler.
Cleveland Browns: Wide receiver is a disaster
The Browns, bless them, need a lot of help. Dawgs By Nature ran down the list of possibilities by position, but we don’t think Bill Belichick will ever trade Jimmy Garoppolo, so we’re singling out wide receiver.
I’m sure the Browns would love to dump Kenny Britt, but I can’t fathom any team wanting to take him on unless there is a strong tie to a previous coach...and even then, it’s probably not worth it.
The more likely scenario is for the Browns to acquire wide receiver talent. Martavis Bryant of the Steelers has been very vocal about his displeasure in Pittsburgh, but I’m staying as far away from that situation as possible. Possible trade candidates mentioned by NFL pundits include Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry, Washington WR Terrelle Pryor, Colts WR Donte Moncrief, and Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell.
We’re totally down for Pryor, who has struggled in the Washington offense, going back to Cleveland. Pryor was a 1,000-yard receiver for the Browns last year when they had, I dunno, a dozen QBs or so take snaps. Their leading receiver this year is running back Duke Johnson. Someone please help DeShone Kizer/Kevin Hogan/Cody Kessler out.
Dallas Cowboys: Upgrade secondary with Vontae Davis
The Colts are done for this year, and they need a rebuild. Vontae Davis is 29 years old and in the final year of his contract. It’s unlikely the Colts will re-sign him. They could at least get something for him on the way out, the only issue is to take a sure-thing in a trade, or wait to see what they would get through a compensatory pick. The Colts would likely be able to get a fifth-round pick if they wait, that would be a contract for Davis by another team in the $5-7 million per year range. A fourth-round pick would mean a $7-9 million per year contract.
If not for the Cowboys’ banged up secondary, they’re probably 5-1, not 3-3. Not a bad deal for either side.
Denver Broncos: Do whatever it takes to get a capable right tackle
On the season, Menelik Watson has barely been serviceable posting a 38.7 overall PFF grade this season. His backup, Donald Stephenson, hasn’t fared much better with a 54.8 grade.
And since the Broncos won’t be trading for Andrew Luck any time soon, the only trade this week that makes sense is to bring in some fresh blood at right tackle.
It’s a huge need for the Broncos, and the Bills and Cowboys have guys they could move.
Detroit Lions: Send Eric Ebron to the Patriots
Though it was just over five months ago that the Lions decided to exercise Ebron’s fifth-year option, the young tight end may have fallen out of favor completely. Expected to take over Anquan Boldin’s role as a third down fiend and a red zone threat, Ebron has been one of the biggest disappointments of the season, hauling in just 13 catches for 103 yards in six games. The drops have continued and they are clearly starting to get to his head.
Ebron has been outplayed by fellow tight end Darren Fells, and Detroit has a potential long-term replacement in rookie Michael Roberts, who is still developing his skills. In other words, Ebron is replaceable at this point.
The move makes a lot of sense in terms of both teams’ needs and the existing relationships between their respective front offices.
Green Bay Packers: Shore up the secondary with Eric Reid
Now imagine for a moment that there were a player potentially on the trading block who is a terrific athlete, has played both free and strong safety, has a little bit of experience dropping into the slot and lining up at linebacker, and is a former Pro Bowler in his own right. Imagine if that player were on a winless team and had an expiring contract, which could make him available for a day-three draft pick, perhaps a sixth-rounder. And imagine if he had played for years under a scheme similar to Dom Capers’ defense.
That player exists: Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers.
Morgan Burnett can’t always stay on the field, and Reid is a better option than Kentrell Brice. He also has experience playing both safety spots and linebacker. That versatility is valuable.
Houston Texans: Trade with the Bills for a tackle
I suggest you turn your attention to Buffalo, home of the Bills. They seem to have a surplus of offensive tackles, which could make them a fine partner for the Texans; even with the return of Duane Brown, things are far from stable on the outer reaches of the offensive line in Houston. As much as Deshaun Watson has done to minimize the impact of the line’s struggles, it’d be sweet not to have to worry about Breno Giacomini or Chris Clark starting.
Watson’s NFL career is off to an impressive start, and the Texans would be wise to protect the franchise quarterback they’ve waited so long for.
Indianapolis Colts: Shop T.Y. Hilton
T.Y. Hilton led the league in receiving yards last year. Apart from Andrew Luck, Hilton has possibly the greatest value in a trade of anyone on the Colts’ roster. Hilton can play out of the slot or out wide and can run any route that’s asked of him. He represents a versatile deep threat that can be tough to stop when he is on. The biggest knock on him is that he is most frequently “on” against inferior talent. Take this year for example. 330 of his 512 yards this season came against the Browns and the 49ers. So, he totaled 182 yards in the other five games.
This is not the first time this has happened. It is a trademark of Hilton’s play. When he plays well, it is some of the most impressive stuff you’ll ever see. When he doesn’t? Well, he is a ghost. To make matters worse, Hilton has infused the wide receiver group with a little of his me-first mentality.
The Colts have a ton of needs to fill this offseason, and they’re not going to be in the mix for the playoffs. If they can grab some draft capital for Hilton, it’s probably worth at least considering. But they’d be giving up one of their best players, who is still under contract for the next few years.
Jacksonville Jaguars: They could trade for Martavis Bryant, but ...
On one side, one could argue it could be worth a risk. Bryant’s value is probably not particularly high right now, as he has not had the season many have expected. Bryant has elite ability, and his ability to stretch the field is something the Jaguars are miss sorely without Allen Robinson. Bryant averages just shy under 17 yards per catch in his career, and has speed to burn. He is obviously talented, and the Jaguars need talented players. If you just plopped Bryant onto this team today, they would be a at least somewhat more dynamic on offense, which could take any help at this point.
Does it matter if the Jaguars bring in Bryant when Blake Bortles is still going to be the one throwing to him?
Kansas City Chiefs: Get Brandon Carr back from the Ravens
The top move that comes to mind is trading for another cornerback. The Chiefs give up a big game to an opposing receiver or tight end basically every week and the defense is the unit struggling right now so I assume most of you are picking cornerback, too. I would trade for CB Brandon Carr from the Ravens. Bring our old friend home for a playoff run.
The Kansas City secondary is struggling right now, and the Ravens are going nowhere. This is pretty much an ideal scenario on both sides.
Los Angeles Chargers: Boost safety position with Eric Reid
49ers Safety Eric Reid is a talented player that is capable of playing as the deep safety or in the box. He has even played some linebacker this season. He is also only 25-years-old. Why would a player like this be available let alone affordable? Well, he missed a few games with injury and when he came back he had lost his job. The 49ers are in the middle of a rebuild and Reid is in the final year of his deal. They will want to spend in free agency this offseason, so if they let him walk they may not even be looking at a compensatory pick anyway.
The Chargers’ biggest weakness on an otherwise fearsome defense is at safety. Eric Reid can play either safety spot and LA has already shown its willingness to deal after sending Dontrelle Inman to the Bears. But Reid’s injury history — and the presence of another safety who can play in the box, Adrian Phillips — gives us a little pause.
Los Angeles Rams: Go big by going after Chandler Jones
I don’t know that there’s a starting unit that needs improvement more than the edge pass rush. The Rams are using the blitz well and we’ve racked up coverage sacks aplenty, but the combination of OLB Robert Quinn and OLB Connor Barwin isn’t doing it for me. I’m going to try to use the bye week time to look at the All-22 and see if we can identify something more poignant, because the baseline sacks just aren’t compelling. And no, sacks aren’t a direct correlation of pass rush, but I’m struggling to defend the quality of the edge rush nonetheless.
How perfect then that the Cardinals are sitting on one hell of an edge rusher: 27-year old OLB Chandler Jones.
It seems highly unlikely that an NFC West rival would trade one of its best players, but hey, who wouldn’t like to see a defense with both Aaron Donald and Chandler Jones? Well, besides opposing quarterbacks, that is.
Grade: C (A for dreaming, F for realism)
Miami Dolphins: Get Eric Ebron from the Lions
No trade in the NFL gives a team a perfect player, and Ebron could be damaged goods if he does not solve his drops issues. But, he could also give Miami a big red zone target, something that Julius Thomas does not seem to be providing this year.
Ebron hasn’t done much this season. There’s no guarantee he’d be terribly effective with Jay Cutler or Matt Moore throwing to him, either.
Minnesota Vikings: Bring in Carlos Hyde to fill Dalvin Cook’s shoes
After skidding to an 0-7 start to their 2017 season, the San Francisco 49ers might be looking to move running back Carlos Hyde. Now, the Niners have denied that they have any interest in moving the 26-year-old Hyde, but he is in the final year of his contract, and his contract would be very reasonable for the rest of the season if the Vikings were to take him on.
Obviously, the price for Hyde wouldn’t be that high, absent an extension to his contract or something. The Vikings would only have to pick up a minimal amount of his salary for the remainder of the year, and wouldn’t have to make any sort of long-term commitment to him with Dalvin Cook set to return in 2018.
This would be a logical move and beneficial for both teams.
New England Patriots: Add a tight end in case Gronk gets injured
Lions TE Eric Ebron is an option due to the Patriots familiarity with Detroit general manager Bob Quinn. Ebron racked up 711 yards in 2016, but has underwhelmed in 2017 with just 13 catches for 102 yards. Ebron and Allen could both benefit from a change of scenery, so why not swap the two, with the Patriots also tossing in a 2018 fifth or sixth round pick?
Pats Pulpit also threw out Brent Celek, Jimmy Graham, and bringing home Martellus Bennett as options. Ebron hasn’t been all that great this year, but he hasn’t had Tom Brady throwing to him, either. The Patriots’ trade history with the Lions could actually make this one a viable possibility.
New Orleans Saints: Move linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha
USA Today suggests that the Cardinals should look at the Saints as one of three potential suitors for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, as the team is being labeled a contender (imagine that). Both NFL.com and ESPN believe that third-year player Hau’oli Kikaha could be a player on the trading block for the black and gold, and the New England Patriots have been a popular suitor, but the compensation seems lacking with them being short on 2018 draft picks. Panning over the roster, Kikaha feels like the most realistic player the Saints could move off of.
If the Saints could work out something with the Cardinals, it could be mutually beneficial. It’s just hard to imagine Arizona ever saying goodbye to Larry Fitzgerald, as much as we want to see it.
New York Giants: Might as well get something in return for DRC
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie remains a good player, but his recent suspension, his lack of playing time Sunday when he returned, and the differing explanations for that from Rodgers-Cromartie and coach Ben McAdoo tell you there are probably some lingering issues.
Besides that, Rodgers-Cromartie will be 32 next season. The guaranteed money in his five-year, $35 million deal has been paid. He carries an $8.5 million cap hit for 2018, and the Giants will almost certainly move on from him, saving $6 million they desperately need against the cap in the process.
Big Blue View is not hearing it about Eli Manning. Instead, DRC is their pick for best possible trade bait to a team that needs secondary help — even if he only yields a late-round pick. A change of scenery might be what he needs to bounce back this year.
New York Jets: The trades that would be best for the Jets aren’t realistic
This year, two names who frequently come up are Matt Forte and Muhammad Wilkerson. The reasons Jets fans want to trade these two are obvious. They both have relatively large salaries and aren’t living up to them.
The thing is, trades are a two way street. If you don’t want a player because he makes too much money and doesn’t produce, odds are the other team won’t want to trade for that player for the same reasons. Other teams don’t want overpaid players any more than the Jets do.
It makes sense that fans would want to see them traded. It doesn’t make sense for other teams to take the bait.
Grade: A for honesty
Oakland Raiders: Time to court Jason McCourty
Browns cornerback Jason McCourty is having one of the best seasons of his NFL career, 92 Pro Football Focus player grade in 2017 and already had three interceptions in six games this season. He is also 30 years old, making it unlikely he is in Cleveland’s future plans.
As such, the Raiders could go after McCourty and have a legit No. 1 starting caliber cornerback for the first time since Nnamdi Asomugha left for the Philadelphia Eagles. Since McCourty is in his 30s, he wouldn’t be a long-term fix but would immediately improve the defense.
Not only would this move save McCourty from an 0-7 team, it could finally end the Raiders’ record interception-less drought.
Philadelphia Eagles: Get a tackle to fill in for Jason Peters
Our friends over at Buffalo Rumblings think the Bills are a prime trade partner with the Eagles, and not just because the two teams already made a trade this summer: Ronald Darby for Jordan Matthews. (And not just because the Eagles traded with Buffalo to get Peters, either.)
The 28-year-old Glenn would be an immediate replacement for Peters. He has plenty of experience at left tackle thanks to his 75 career starts at the position.
The tackle position is an urgent need now that one of the best in the league is out for the rest of the season. The Eagles would be smart to pursue this one: protecting Carson Wentz should be their No. 1 priority.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Keep Martavis Bryant, but trade for a backup tackle
The main position of need the Steelers should be focused on is offensive tackle. Marcus Gilbert has been hampered by a nagging hamstring injury throughout the season, and it has forced Chris Hubbard into starting duty. Hubbard has done admirably filling in, but it leaves the team with a gaping hole behind Hubbard at offensive tackle. The team had thoughts of Jerald Hawkins filling this role, but he is consistently a game day inactive, has been injured this year, and hasn’t impressed much this season.
If they want a backup tackle, bring in Cyrus Kouandjio off the street. Don’t give up anything via trade to bring someone in.
San Francisco 49ers: They could be ready to move on from Eric Reid
There are arguments to be made for Carlos Hyde, Elvis Dumervil, and even Joe Staley. They are veterans who could offer a contender a serious leg up. But if I had to pick a deal to do right now, it would probably involve safety/linebacker Eric Reid.
I am not thinking of this deal in terms of Reid not being overly pleased with his move to linebacker. That’s worth considering, but I don’t think Reid is one to cause a problem in the locker room because of the position change. If he remains on the team the rest of the season, I think he will be fine with the role. However, given the depth at safety right now, it would make sense to either build some depth elsewhere, or at least get a draft pick for Reid before he hits free agency.
If Reid isn’t happy playing a hybrid role, it’d make sense for a rebuilding team to try to get something in return for a player who can still very much contribute. On the other hand, as Niners Nation pointed out, it could hurt the 49ers come compensation draft pick time.
Seattle Seahawks: Work out a deal with Buffalo for a tackle
The Buffalo Bills have as many as three tradable assets at offensive tackle right now, all of different skill levels, contract figures, and values. The headliner of the three is left tackle Cordy Glenn, the Bills’ franchise tag player in 2016 who signed a five-year, $60 million deal last May with $38 million guaranteed. Crazy? Not according to Jason LaCanfora, who reported recently that Seattle has inquired on Glenn several times now. There’s zero question of skill or if he’ll be a massive upgrade for the Seahawks over Rees Odhiambo, but it’s a move that would be even more surprising than the acquisitions of Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, and Sheldon Richardson.
Every year, the Seahawks need offensive line help. This year is no different. But Glenn is the only one who would really fit with Seattle, and the team just doesn’t have enough cap space to make it work.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Add Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the mix
One player who’d represent an immediate upgrade: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, currently with the New York Giants. Big Blue View suggests the Giants trade him away, as the team has some depth there, and will struggle to afford his contract.
The Bucs have no such problems, and could easily pony up the $4 million or so he’s still owed this season, and the $6.5 million they’d owe him next year. The question is whether they’d want to give up a draft pick for him: at 31, he’s not a long-term solution. And at 2-4, odds are he’s not going to save the Bucs’ season regardless.
The Buccaneers’ defense has been up and down “like a freakin’ yo-yo,” according to defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Rodgers-Cromartie would help, though it might not matter much.
Tennessee Titans: Bolstering the backfield with Ty Montgomery
I took a look at that list of players to see if there was anyone on there that would make sense for the Titans. The guy that immediately jumped out to me (and Terry because we were discussing it before our podcast last night) was Ty Montgomery. He would be an excellent compliment to DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry because he would give them a dynamic receiving threat out of the backfield.
Another weapon for Marcus Mariota seems like a good idea, but it’s very unlikely to happen.
Washington: Forget Martavis Bryant and bring Chris Baker back
Down in Tampa Bay, I am told there is an unhappy defensive lineman by the name of Chris Baker. He recently echoed the displeasure of his teammate T.J. Ward over a lack of playing time. His contract, while technically a three-year deal, is easily maneuvered out of after this season with ZERO cap hit. Perhaps Baker could swaggily re-enter the Washington locker room and contribute some beefy minutes at the front of our defense.
Not only does this fill a need, but the Bucs aren’t likely to do much this season with their inconsistent defense. Still, it wouldn’t be cheap.