2024 NFL Trade Hypotheticals: Cowboys Acquire Khalil Herbert, L’Jarius Sneed Finds a New Home, Zach Wilson Gets Moved, and More Potential Pre-Draft Deals

NFL free agency has gone quiet, while the NFL Draft is still on the horizon. Teams could sneak in a few trades in the meantime, and we have several ideas.

NFL free agency has quieted down after the premier options came off the market, while the 2024 NFL Draft is roughly five weeks away. In prior offseasons, teams have used this interregnum to complete trades before focusing their efforts on prospect evaluation.

In 2023, veterans like QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Brandin Cooks, WR Elijah Moore, and CB Jeff Okudah were moved in between free agency and the draft, while RB D’Andre Swift was traded during Day 3 of last year’s draft.

Who could get traded this spring? Let’s run through 10 deals that make too much sense.

10 Post-Free Agency, Pre-Draft NFL Trade Hypotheticals

Colts Acquire and Extend L’Jarius Sneed

  • Colts acquire: CB L’Jarius Sneed
  • Chiefs acquire: 2024 third-round pick (No. 82)

While ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently shot down rumors that a trade sending franchise-tagged cornerback L’Jarius Sneed from the Chiefs to the Colts was nearing completion, that doesn’t mean that this fit doesn’t make sense.

Sneed has been mentioned as a likely trade candidate since Kansas City assigned him the $19.802 million CB franchise tender earlier this offseason.

The Chiefs have a proven track record of drafting and developing cornerbacks like Sneed, Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams, and Jaylen Watson. With the latter three still on their rookie contracts, Kansas City is willing to roll with youth while picking up draft capital for Sneed.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis’ projected starting outside corners are 2023 second-rounder JuJu Brents and 2022 undrafted free agent Dallis Flowers. Few teams need more cornerback help than the Colts.

Sending a third-round pick to land Sneed, who didn’t give up a receiving touchdown until the Divisional Round, fits with Indy’s roster-building plan. Working out an extension might prove more difficult than designing trade terms, but Sneed is right to ask for $19 or $20 million annually on his next deal.

Khalil Herbert Takes Over Cowboys’ Backfield

  • Cowboys acquire: RB Khalil Herbert
  • Bears acquire: 2024 sixth-round pick (No. 216)

The Dallas Cowboys watched Tony Pollard ink a three-year, $24 million deal with the Tennessee Titans on the first day of free agency but haven’t made a significant move to replace him in their backfield.

Affordable options were available on the open market, but the free agent RB crop has dwindled in the week-plus since the new league year began. If Dallas wants an RB upgrade, it might have to look for a trade partner.

The Bears could be on the other end of a potential move. After handing free agent back D’Andre Swift $15 million last week and selecting Roschon Johnson in the fourth round of last year’s draft, Chicago might be willing to move on from Khalil Herbert as he enters the final season of his rookie contract.

Herbert, 24, remains underrated as a pure runner. The former sixth-round pick finished ninth in attempts per broken tackle (10.2) and 11th in yards after contact per attempt (2.1), suggesting he can generate his own yardage.

Due just $1.055 million in 2024, Herbert could be a realistic addition for the cap-strapped Cowboys. Dallas would still need to find a pass-catching back, but Herbert would represent a solid start.

Chiefs Install Zach Wilson Behind Patrick Mahomes

  • Chiefs acquire: QB Zach Wilson
  • Jets acquire: Conditional 2025 seventh-round pick

The Jets allowed Zach Wilson to seek a trade in late February, but the former No. 2 overall pick remains on Gang Green’s roster. He won’t be Aaron Rodgers’ backup after New York signed veteran QB Tyrod Taylor, so Wilson is searching for a new home.

The Chiefs still need a QB2 behind Patrick Mahomes. While Kansas City could re-sign Blaine Gabbert to fill that void, Andy Reid might be intrigued by adding a prospect like Wilson.

MORE: Zach Wilson Trade Suitors

The Jets probably won’t receive much in return if and when Wilson is traded. Justin Fields only netted the Chicago Bears a sixth-round pick. We’ll send Wilson to K.C. for a conditional 2025 seventh that can increase to a sixth-rounder if Wilson plays 35% of the Chiefs’ snaps this season.

Wilson’s contract remains a problem. He’s owed a fully guaranteed $5.453 million in 2024, a total Kansas City — nor any other team in the league — will feel comfortable paying. New York may need to eat a portion — half? — of Wilson’s salary by converting it to a signing bonus before trading him.

Treylon Burks Traded to Cardinals or Chargers

  • Cardinals or Chargers acquire: WR Treylon Burks, 2024 seventh-round pick (No. 242)
  • Titans acquire: Cardinals’ 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 104) or Chargers’ 2024 fourth-rounder (No. 105)

We’re cheating a bit here by proposing two landing spots for Treylon Burks, but the Cardinals and Chargers both make too much sense for the former first-round WR — depending on how the top of the 2024 draft unfolds.

One of Arizona or Los Angeles figures to land Ohio State wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. Holding the No. 4 pick, the Cardinals should have the first shot at MHJ if three quarterbacks come off the board to begin the draft. But if Arizona trades down, Los Angeles could add Harrison to its Keenan Allen/Mike Williams-less WR corps.

Whichever of those two clubs misses out on Harrison could be intrigued by Burks, whose size-speed combo made him the 18th pick in the 2022 draft. Multiple concussions and knee injuries have hindered his early NFL career, but Burks could still have fans around the league.

The Titans might not be willing to move on from Burks just yet. However, neither GM Ran Carthon nor head coach Brian Callahan drafted Burks, while Tennessee has added veteran WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley over the past two offseasons.

Panthers Buy Low on Broncos TE Greg Dulcich

  • Panthers acquire: TE Greg Dulcich, 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 121)
  • Broncos acquire: G Chander Zavala, 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 101)

Although Greg Dulcich has flashed nearly every time he’s been on the field for the Broncos over the past two years, repeated hamstring injuries have impeded his NFL outlook. The 23-year-old TE missed the first five and last two games of his 2022 rookie campaign with hamstring problems before the same issue knocked him out for almost all of 2023.

Dulcich came out hot in 2023, posting at least four catches or 35 yards in seven of his first 10 games. The Panthers have a need at tight end after releasing Hayden Hurst, and Dulcich would be an immediate upgrade over incumbent Carolina options like Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas.

In exchange for trading Dulcich, Denver moves up 20 spots in Round 4 and acquires 2023 fourth-round guard Chandler Zavala, who no longer has a role in Carolina after the Panthers spent heavily on free agent guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis.

Patriots Fill Left Tackle Void

  • Patriots acquire: OT Joe Noteboom
  • Rams acquire: 2024 sixth-round pick (No. 193)

Mike Onwenu will play right tackle after re-signing with the Patriots last week, but New England still needs someone to play the blindside. First-year Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo will be hard-pressed to send journeyman Conor McDermott out to left tackle to play in front of a presumptive rookie QB like Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels.

Let’s send New England Joe Noteboom, who’s — at times — been the Rams’ starting left tackle but has also lined up at right guard and right tackle. He’ll give the Patriots a decent option at LT but certainly wouldn’t prevent them from drafting a long-term prospect as early as Round 2.

Los Angeles would lose $3.4 million in cap space by trading Noteboom before June 1, so this deal may have to wait until the summer. The Rams would clear $6.6 million by moving Noteboom on June 2 or later.

Bengals, Saints Make Player-For-Player Deal

  • Bengals acquire: DT Khalen Saunders
  • Saints acquire: OL Jackson Carman

While the Bengals signed DT Sheldon Rankins last week, they haven’t found a true replacement for nose tackle D.J. Reader, who signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Khalen Saunders is a little smaller than Reader but is still 6’0″ and 324 pounds. He played 523 defensive snaps for the Saints in 2023, spending roughly 31% of that time in the A-gap.

New Orleans used a first-round pick on defensive tackle Bryan Bresee last year and may want to get him in the starting lineup. The Saints would take on $2.8 million in dead money by trading Saunders, but his base salaries — $3.1 million in 2024 and $3.4 million in 2025 — would transfer to the Bengals.

In exchange, New Orleans picks up Jackson Carman, who’s struggled to prove himself since entering the NFL as a second-round pick in 2021. He can nominally play any offensive line position except for center and could give the Saints options up front.

Dolphins Add Pass Rusher From Giants

  • Dolphins acquire: EDGE Azeez Ojulari
  • Giants acquire: Conditional 2025 fifth-round pick

Although Ojulari posted eight sacks in a promising 2021 rookie campaign, injuries have forced him to miss 16 of a possible 34 games in the two years since. The Giants acquired Brian Burns last week, teaming the former Panthers pass rusher with 2023 No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux on the edge.

Ojulari may still make sense as a third New York pass rusher, but GM Joe Schoen might want to get something for him before he hits free agency next offseason.

MORE: Is Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill Running Out of Strikes?

The Dolphins need one more edge threat behind Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, and Shaquil Barrett, all of whom suffered severe injuries over the past two years. Miami sends a 2025 fifth to the Giants that will become a fourth-rounder if Ojulari puts up at least eight sacks in 2024.

Texans Bolster CB Depth

  • Texans acquire: CB Benjamin St-Juste, 2024 fifth-round pick (No. 139)
  • Commanders acquire: 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 127), 2024 seventh-round pick (No. 238)

The Texans signed CB Jeff Okudah to play opposite Derek Stingley Jr., but injuries and ineffectiveness have defined the former’s career. While Okudah has occasionally flashed, Houston may need to add more options as they consider a Super Bowl run.

Benjamin St-Juste started 28 games for the Commanders over the past two seasons, spending time on the perimeter and in the slot. While he’s been a contributor, Washington’s new regime had no hand in drafting him. The Commanders have younger CBs like Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin under contract and signed free agent Michael Davis this week.

St-Juste will be 27 in September and is entering his contract year. He wouldn’t become an immediate lockdown corner for the Texans, who could still consider a CB early in next month’s draft. But getting a versatile defender for pennies on the dollar could be a shrewd move for Houston’s front office.

Giants Find Potential Xavier McKinney Replacement

  • Giants acquire: S Richie Grant
  • Falcons acquire: Conditional 2025 seventh-round pick

Richie Grant’s role as a starting Falcons safety was in peril at the end of last season, when the veteran defender was briefly benched for seventh-round rookie DeMarcco Hellams. Grant reclaimed his role by the end of the year, and Atlanta has a new coaching staff that may want to hold onto him.

KEEP READING: NFL Free Agency Best, Worst Contracts

But if the Falcons roll with Hellams or find another safety, Grant could be on the Giants’ radar. New York lost free agent safety Xavier McKinney to the Green Bay Packers. Although Big Blue signed Jalen Mills to play alongside incumbent safety Jason Pinnock, Grant could give the Giants optionality.

Every move. Every team. Don’t miss a thing with PFN’s NFL Free Agency Tracker.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles