The trade winds have already been rather windy as next Tuesday’s NFL deadline for closing deals is fast approaching.
The biggest name is almost surely off the board after last week’s blockbuster, when Christian McCaffrey switched coasts and returned to the Bay Area after the San Francisco 49ers sent four draft picks to the Panthers. the Carolina for the multi-dimensional All-Pro back. Another trade took place on Monday, when the New York Jets acquired RB James Robinson from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a bid to make up for the loss of budding rookie Breece Hall to an ending knee injury. in season.
And then there are those whispers in the breeze, with some players (disgruntled Jets WR Elijah Moore, for example) trying to show some movement as rumors continue to spiral around teams like the Panthers, who have also dealt disgruntled WR Robbie Anderson last week. (For the record, the Jets said they weren’t trading Moore, and Carolina general manager Scott Fitterer said it would take an “astronomical” offer to release more of the Panthers’ promising youngsters.)
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While the NFL Trade Deadline rarely features the action that happens in the NBA or MLB versions, it stands to reason that more players will be on the move before 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 1. Still, with even more pronounced league-wide parity, it’s worth wondering who’s ready to go into sell mode given that the Houston Texans are the only team more than three games in the win column for one. wildcard spot.
But here are 20 names to watch in the coming days:
Los Angeles RB Cam Akers
A pretty miraculous turn of events for a player who fought back to a torn Achilles in the summer of 2021 to play in the playoffs and Super Bowl 56, Akers now find themselves at philosophical loggerheads with coach Sean McVay. The Rams are willing to keep Akers, who hasn’t played since Week 5, but are openly shopping for him — as tough as that is for a player averaging 3.2 yards per touch. However, Akers’ low-cost rookie contract does not expire until the 2024 offseason.
Denver Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb
On the one hand, why would general manager George Paton call one of the best young passing throwers in the league? On the other hand, the only way to ensure Chubb is a Bronco in 2023 would be a franchise tag. Paton chose a second and third round by dropping Von Miller on a half-season rental in 2021 and could get similar compensation for Chubb — who Denver could still try to recoup in free agency.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool
A huge talent who, like Akers, still has a full season left on his rookie contract. However… Claypool plays much smaller than his 6-foot-4, 238-pound frame, is too often unruly on the court, and has been bypassed by rookie George Pickens. Still, Claypool could be a great weapon for a team more committed to throwing the ball than Pittsburgh at this point.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki
Mystifying that the Fins franchised a player who doesn’t match their offense (Gesicki was never a good blocker). And he’s not even used much as a receiver, starting just once and averaging just 28 yards per game — the lowest production since his rookie year in 2018.
Washington RB Commanders Antonio Gibson
He has been a versatile and productive player in this league. But he was bumped as a starter by rookie Brian Robinson, and Gibson hasn’t even played 40% of the snaps in Washington’s last three outings. He could really help another team that needs a fullback who can catch and get more compensation than a limited player like Akers.
Indianapolis Colts BC Stephon Gilmore
The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year recalled in the Week 5 win over Denver that, even at 32, he can still make a difference. He’s under contract until next season, but the Colts should consider moving on because they won’t be arguing much with Sam Ehlinger (or rookie likely arriving in 2023) at quarterback.
Broncos RB Melvin Gordon
Even with Javonte Williams’ season ending, Gordon is only playing 38% of the snaps for a team that continues to amass bodies for its running room. Fumbles have been a problem this season, but the two-time Pro Bowler, who has an expiring contract, can play on any down and has shouldered at least 200 touches in his seven NFL seasons entering 2022.
Arizona Cardinals WR AJ Green
At 34, he may be cooked. Still, he was receiving a pretty heavy load of snaps ahead of DeAndre Hopkins’ return from suspension in Week 7. Another club might have more use for an experienced 6-4 target than it seems the Cards le do at this point.
Broncos WR KJ Hamler
The little speedster doesn’t see much action for Denver’s disastrous offense — just 11 targets in six games — and isn’t used as a returner at all. Worse still, his frustration with QB Russell Wilson has been apparent. But a contracted speed threat throughout the 2023 season should be an intriguing option for other organizations.
Houston Texans DE Jerry Hughes
It doesn’t make sense for a team like Houston to hang on to a 34-year-old — even if he can still get after quarters. Hughes, in his first season of a two-year, $10 million contract, could be much more valuable to a team that doesn’t have to play him as much as the rebuilding Texans.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt
He’s not quite the price McCaffrey was…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like CMC, Hunt is a dual-purpose fullback, but with an expiring contract and relatively fresh legs considering he was second fiddle to Nick Chubb during his four seasons with the Browns. Hunt tried to force his way out of Cleveland during training camp, and there’s no reason a crater team can’t get something for him now — especially since the reserve D’ Ernest Johnson might be almost as capable.
Commanders CB William Jackson
He’s been a poor fit in Washington, failing to play up to his abilities while eating part of the salary cap. A fresh start would benefit a talented player who has been inactive for the past two weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Ronald Jones II
He hasn’t played any downs this season, falling to the fourth string for his new team. At just 25 years old, “RoJo” had over 1,000 scrimmage yards in 2019 and 2020 at Tampa. Now he just languishes in street clothes.
Seattle Seahawks BC Sidney Jones
A solid player who started a career-high 11 games in 2021, Jones fell in the depth chart behind Seattle’s fleet of young corners. At this point, he would be more useful to another team … and more useful to Seattle if he could fire a draft pick to help a reconstruction that is progressing well.
New York Jets WR Denzel Mims
If the NYJ is going to move a receiver, it should be the one. A 2020 second-round pick, Mims has had nine catches over the past two seasons. A team that has effectively stopped throwing the ball since the return of QB Zach Wilson should be trying to get something for a big athletic target (6-3, 207) that could play out elsewhere.
Chicago Bears DE/OLB Robert Quinn
Despite being 32, he set a franchise single-season record with 18½ sacks in 2021 — all the more impressive considering who played for a century-old franchise. Quinn also has extensive experience with even and odd fronts. But he has just one sack and three QB hits in seven games this season. His five-year, $70 million contract runs through 2024 and could be a stumbling block for a contender — and also for the Bears, who will eat $8.5 million off next year’s salary cap in the future. exchanging…a charge they could afford if the compensation is sufficient.
Steelers QBs Mason Rudolph and/or Mitch Trubisky
Hand-injured quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz (and Russell Wilson last year) remind contenders that it’s better to have a viable backup who can guide you through a month without your starter. Rudolph will be a free agent in 2023, and Trubisky’s contract is negotiable — but there’s no reason Pittsburgh should keep two veteran replacements after handing over to first-round rookie Kenny Pickett. A team like the San Francisco 49ers – rookie Brock Purdy is currently backing up Jimmy Garoppolo – should seriously consider a QB2 upgrade.
Bears LB Roquan Smith
He’s a productive and enduring player if not necessarily elite. Now, in his walking year, it was also apparent that Smith’s self-esteem didn’t match the assessment of new Chicago general manager Ryan Poles after an unpleasant stalemate in training camp that didn’t come to fruition. to a new contract for the veteran. It’s also worth noting that the Poles worked more than a dozen seasons for the Chiefs, an organization that didn’t invest a ton of money in off-ball linebackers. It would make a lot more sense to draft divorce papers with Smith now rather than letting him go for nothing in March.
New England Patriots OT Isaiah Wynn
He was a usable left tackle for most of his five years in New England. But his contract ended after the season, he struggled this year, took too many penalties and was benched for Monday’s loss to Chicago. Another team would definitely need Wynn more than it looks like the Pats do at this point.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
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