The NFL is undergoing a bit of a makeover in 2020. This offseason, a new collective bargaining agreement and several high-profile quarterbacks hitting free agency could change a lot about how the league looks before we even get to the NFL Draft.
There’s one other way teams can make major moves: trades. In recent years, the NFL has been more active on the trade market around free agency time. Last season, we saw a few surprises. The Browns landed Odell Beckham, Jr., the Dolphins sent Ryan Tannehill to the Titans, and the Steelers offloaded Antonio Brown to the Raiders (the less said about that one, the better).
What could this year bring? There are already some rumors swirling about which players could be dealt. Let’s take a look at the latest talk, what we’d like to see happen, and the trades that have been agreed to at the start of the new league year.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Jets
Latest rumor: Ian Rapoport reported that the Jets “have never slammed the door” on trading Bell, who rushed for a career-low 3.2 yards per carry in his first season with the Jets.
Where we’d like him to end up: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins’ run game was severely lacking in 2019, especially after they traded Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals midway through the season. In fact, 37-year-old quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was Miami’s leading rusher! The Dolphins, who have the most cap space in the NFL, wouldn’t be scared off by Bell’s $13.5 million salary either. The Jets, however, would have to eat some of that.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
Where we’d like him to end up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Raiders already signed Marcus Mariota. But if they move on from Carr, it’s likely because they signed a big-name quarterback — like, say, Tom Brady. That would leave the Bucs without their first choice. Carr is efficient and would flourish under Bruce Arians, especially compared to Jon Gruden, who has never seemed completely sold on him.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams
Latest rumor: The Rams are exploring options to move Cooks, who had a down year last season. Much of that could easily be blamed on Jared Goff regressing and the complete lack of a running game, however.
Where we’d like him to end up: Houston Texans
It’s hard to imagine the Texans being buyers after trading DeAndre Hopkins, but DeShaun Watson desperately needs some help, and Cooks would be a great receiver to pair with the star quarterback.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
Latest rumor: It’s no secret the Bengals will draft quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick, though they are willing to work with Dalton on a trade. Specifically, the Bengals don’t plan to send Dalton somewhere he doesn’t want to go. The Bears, who want a veteran quarterback to push Mitchell Trubisky, are reportedly interested. It could come down to Dalton or Nick Foles for Chicago.
Where we’d like him to end up: Tennessee Titans
Recently, Dalton hasn’t looked like the same quarterback who led the Bengals to the playoff five times in his career. But Tennessee could be the perfect way for Dalton to prove he can be that guy again. The Titans will probably stick with Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback, either with the franchise tag or on a short-term deal. If Tannehill can show his 2019 season wasn’t a fluke, Dalton would be a competent backup for him. And if not, Dalton could have some redemption of his own in Tennessee.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers
Latest rumor: The Niners are dangling Goodwin, who had 962 receiving yards in 2017 but has failed to live up to that standard in the years since, in trade talks this offseason.
Where we’d like him to end up: Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins will count $21 million against the team’s salary cap this season. Demarcus Robinson is a free agent. Kansas City needs a complementary piece to add alongside Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. Goodwin would give the Chiefs one of the few WRs fast enough to challenge Hill in a race and add another vertical target to Patrick Mahomes’ arsenal.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Ravens
Latest rumor: With one year and only $2 million left on his deal, Griffin has a bit of trade value for cash-strapped teams looking for a veteran. Ian Rapoport says there have been trade talks involving the former No. 2 overall pick.
Where we’d like him to end up: Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota is as low on cap space as it gets, but probably doesn’t feel comfortable with Sean Mannion as the team’s backup. He made one start in 2019 and finished with two interceptions and a 35.1 passer rating. Trading for Griffin would give the Vikings a much more reliable option behind Kirk Cousins at an affordable rate.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
Latest rumor: Rapoport said head coach Sean McVay will sit down with Gurley to discuss their options, though any trade would have to come before Gurley is due a roster bonus on March 20. Days before then, Mike Silver said trade talk about Gurley was heating up.
Where we’d like to see him end up: Buffalo Bills
Gurley is coming off of a career-low 857 yards rushing, and there are obvious questions surrounding the health of his left knee. But an experienced back like Gurley could complement Devin Singletary, who had 775 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in Buffalo. A consistent running game under Gurley would also be huge for Josh Allen. It could take the pressure off of the young quarterback to run the ball so often.
Alshon Jeffery WR, Eagles
Where we’d like him to end up: New York Jets
The Jets’ receiving corps could use an upgrade, especially with Robby Anderson set to test free agency. They should still draft a younger wideout, but a healthy Jeffery could still be a reliable target for Sam Darnold — and give the 30-year-old receiver a fresh start away from Carson Wentz.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Latest rumor: The Panthers are looking to trade or release Newton after they signed Teddy Bridgewater.
Where we’d like him to end up: New England Patriots
Newton missed most of the 2019 season due to a foot injury. Now that the Panthers have a new head coach, it makes sense they’d want a fresh start at quarterback. However, Newton is the winningest quarterback in Panthers franchise history and deserves better than what they did to him. With Tom Brady moving on from New England, what better place for Newton to land on his feet than with Bill Belichick and the Patriots?
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Latest rumor: WDIV in Detroit reported there have been trade talks between Stafford and the Lions; however, Lions general manager Bob Quinn has denied they’re shopping their longtime quarterback. Later, NFL Network’s Mike Silver floated that Stafford is actually the one who wants the Lions to move on from him — which Stafford’s wife, Kelly, quickly shot down.
Where we’d like him to end up: Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers need someone to replace Philip Rivers, and Stafford could step right in. Last season, Stafford became the fastest QB to reach 40,000 career passing yards and was having his best year yet until a back injury sidelined him. At 32 years old, Stafford should have plenty left in the tank. Did we mention Kelly posted on her Instagram stories that she’d be happy to go to California?
Trent Williams, LT, Washington
Latest rumor: After a long, drawn-out process between Williams and Washington, the team has finally given him permission to seek a trade.
Where we’d like him to end up: Los Angeles Chargers
With the move that sent Russell Okung to the Panthers in exchange for Trai Turner, its clear the Chargers are trying to build a more consistent offensive line. Provided they are targeting one of the top available quarterbacks in free agency or the draft, the Chargers need to be able to protect them. They now have a hole at left tackle, and Williams would be an ideal fit.
Trade aren’t official until players can pass physicals, which have been delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak has delayed. These are the deals that have been reported thus far — and that teams have unofficially confirmed on social media.
A.J. Bouye, CB, Jaguars
New team: Broncos
The Jaguars have agreed to a deal with the Broncos in which they send Bouye in exchange for a 2020 fourth-round draft pick.
Calais Campbell, DE, Jaguars
New team: Ravens
Jacksonville’s rebuild continued with Campbell’s departure, netting only a fifth-round pick in return. This deal feels like a definite white flag on the Jags’ 2020 — and a major win for Baltimore.
Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans
New team: Broncos
Denver continues to add to its scary defensive line, this time trading a seventh-round pick for Casey. The longtime Titan had 61 tackles, 30 quarterback pressures, and five sacks in 2019, his fifth straight Pro Bowl season.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
New team: Bills
Diggs has made it clear several times that he wasn’t content in Minnesota. So the Vikings decided to ship him off to Buffalo in exchange for a couple picks, including a first-rounder. Diggs will get a fresh start and give Josh Allen the No. 1 receiver he’s been missing.
Nick Foles, QB, Jaguars
New team: Chicago Bears
It isn’t too surprising that the Jags are moving on from Foles — ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler reported earlier this month that the Jaguars have picked Gardner Minshew as their starter and were looking for a trade partner for Foles. Now, the Bears can find a replacement for Mitch Trubisky, but they gave up a fourth-round pick to Jax to get him. Now, the Jags enter the draft with 12(!) picks this year.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
New team: Cardinals
Deshaun Watson has had to deal with a lot in the first few years of his NFL career. Now he’ll go into 2020 without his No. 1 weapon. The Texans traded Hopkins, their star receiver, to Arizona and didn’t even get a first-round pick out if it. Bill O’Brien, ladies and gentlemen.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Ravens
New team: Falcons
After losing Austin Hooper to free agency, the Falcons traded for former first-rounder Hurst. In two seasons with Baltimore, Hurst recorded 43 catches for 512 yards and three touchdowns while playing alongside Mark Andrews.
Andy Janovich, FB, Broncos
New team: Browns
The fullback position isn’t much of a match in Denver now with Pat Shurmur taking over the Denver offense. In exchange for a seventh-round pick, Janovich will now bring his run-blocking skills to Cleveland.
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
New team: Houston Texans
The Cardinals didn’t want to spend any more time eating the large contract they gave Johnson in 2018. Shortly after tagging Kenyan Drake, Johnson was sent to the Texans in the same trade that shipped Hopkins to Arizona.
Russell Okung, LT, Chargers
New team: Panthers
It’s not often you see two starting-caliber offensive linemen in the same trade, but that’s what happened here. The Chargers will send Okung to the Panthers in exchange for Trai Turner.
Darius Slay, CB, Lions
New team: Eagles
Slay is one of the better starting corners in the league, and he wanted out of Detroit. He got his wish, with the Eagles sending third- and fifth-round picks in the 2020 draft for his services. Slay quickly agreed to a three-year, $50 million contract extension.