Allen Robinson, Damien Harris are 2 players teams should trade at the NFL trade deadline

With the NFL trade deadline approaching, let's take a look at five players teams should ship out, including Allen Robinson and Damien Harris.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to face reality. Teams like the Chicago Bears or the New England Patriots, for example, might feel as though they’re on the fringes of playoff contention. But as postseason hopes dwindle, it makes sense for those clubs to evaluate what they could get for players like Allen Robinson and Damien Harris, respectively. Let’s look at five players that should be traded before the NFL trade deadline hits on November 2.

NFC Players NFL teams should trade at the deadline

Which NFC players should be on the block as the NFL’s trade deadline approaches?

Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears

Stop me if you’ve heard this before — Robinson has never gotten to catch passes from an elite quarterback. Dating back to college, Robinson’s QBs have been Matt McGloin, Christian Hackenberg, Blake Bortles, Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and rookie Justin Fields. Simply put, the man deserves better.

Even if the Bears don’t feel a moral obligation to get Robinson to greener pastures, they should be willing to trade him for their own benefit. The 28-year-old is currently playing on a $17.88 million franchise tag.

If Chicago franchises him again in 2021, Robinson will earn nearly $21.5 million for the season. That’s a hefty total for a Bears franchise that should be focused on finding younger options to play alongside Fields.

There’s no denying that Robinson’s production is down this year. Compared to his career averages, his per-game reception and yards figures have been sliced in half. But the play of Dalton and Fields — especially as the latter adjusts to life in the NFL — is certainly more to blame for Robinson’s statistical dip than Robinson himself. Get Robinson to a contending team with an above-average quarterback, and I’d expect his numbers to regress towards the mean.

Potential fits: Browns, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, Saints

Trey Flowers, DE, Detroit Lions

Trey Flowers looked like a smart signing for the Lions when they inked him to a five-year, $90 million contract before the 2019 season. He’d always been a pass rusher who generated pressure at a consistent rate even if the sacks weren’t always there — and that’s typically the kind of player you want to bet on.

In his first campaign with Detroit, Flowers was his usual self, producing 35 pressures (tied for 14th in the NFL) but posting only 7 sacks.

Injuries have hampered Flowers since that 2019 season. Shoulder, knee, and ankle ailments have limited his availability and production. Since the start of 2020, he’s only suited up for 12 total games. Now, he’s a fish out of water playing on a winless Lions team. It makes sense for Detroit to move on — if they can find a suitor.

Edge rushers are always in demand, but Flowers’ expensive contract could present a problem. He’s due nearly $9 million for the rest of 2021, plus non-guaranteed salaries of $16 million in both 2022 and 2023. For a trade to work, I think either the Lions would need to eat some of Flowers’ salary, or Flowers would need to agree to a pay cut in advance of a deal.

Potential fits: Chiefs, Ravens, Panthers, Seahawks, Packers

AFC Players NFL teams should trade at the deadline

Which AFC players should be on the move before November 2?

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots

Harris isn’t a bad player by any means, but there’s only so much value any running back can bring to an offense — let alone a two-down plodder who lacks receiving skills. Bill Belichick is never afraid to get rid of players. Given the number of running back injuries around the NFL, I wonder if the Patriots might try to shop Harris to a few teams needing backfield help.

Any team that acquires Harris would have him through the 2022 season at a cost just north of $1 million. That’s a solid price, especially for a contending club that will be playing with leads and attempting to drain the clock late in games. Harris can definitely contribute to a certain type of team — I’m just not sure that team is the Patriots.

Trading Harris would allow New England to install rookie Rhamondre Stevenson as their lead back for the remainder of the season. While Stevenson didn’t post the most impressive athletic testing numbers coming out of Oklahoma, he’s already shown some receiving chops in the NFL, particularly in the Patriots’ Week 6 loss to the Cowboys. At 3-4, New England is still in the playoff hunt — but barely. They should cut bait on Harris and trade him now.

Potential fits: Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, Ravens

Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets

Was there any player that generated more training camp hype than Jets rookie wideout Elijah Moore? Despite all the offseason plaudits, Moore has posted a paltry 9 receptions for 79 scoreless yards in four games (he did score a rushing TD against the Patriots in Week 7). Sure, he’s had to deal with a concussion and hasn’t exactly played like a world-beater. But there are two true culprits for Moore’s lack of production: the Jets’ coaching staff and Jamison Crowder.

In Moore’s final college season at Ole Miss, he played more than three-quarters of his snaps in the slot. The alignment clearly worked, as he put up 86 receptions for 1,193 yards and 8 touchdowns in only eight games.

But thanks to Crowder’s presence, Moore has lined up in the slot just 25% of the time in New York. Both Moore’s size (5’9″, 178 pounds) and his skill set scream out “slot weapon,” but the Jets’ coaches haven’t budged off their approach.

Gang Green clearly isn’t in the playoff hunt. Therefore, there’s little reason for them to be paying a 28-year-old receiver the remainder of his $5 million base salary. Crowder is a player who could appeal to quite a few WR-needy teams. He just doesn’t make sense on the Jets’ roster.

Potential fits: Ravens, Steelers, Colts, Titans, Chiefs, Packers, Saints, Seahawks

Damon Arnette, CB, Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders are 5-2 and in line for a playoff berth despite playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Las Vegas’ defense is surpassing most preseason expectations. They rank 11th in EPA/play (Expected Points Added) and 17th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). But almost none of that surprising success is due to 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette, who has played just 60 defensive snaps for the Raiders this season.

Despite being largely viewed as a Day 2 pick, Arnette was selected 19th overall by Las Vegas. He played 343 snaps during his rookie campaign, but he performed poorly, allowing a 78.1% completion rate, 12.4 yards per completion, and a 106.9 passer rating. This year, Arnette is buried on the Raiders’ depth chart behind Casey Hayward, Nate Hobbs, Trayvon Mullen, Amik Robertson, and Brandon Facyson.

Arnette is not in Las Vegas’ long-term plans. Luckily, almost every NFL team could use an additional corner. There’s likely a team out there who liked Arnette during the pre-draft process and is willing to give up a Day 2 pick to get him. And given Arnette’s youth, the list of suitors doesn’t have to be limited to contending clubs.

Potential fits: Bills, Bengals, Titans, Jets, Jaguars, Vikings, Packers, Buccaneers

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