NFL Trade Deadline Winners and Losers: L.A. Rams load up, Deshaun Watson put on ice

The NFL trade deadline passed Tuesday with little fanfare. There were some teams that played it well, and some players who did not.

Yet another NFL trade deadline has come and gone, and the big news we all thought (hoped?) might emerge did not. The cycle’s only blockbuster came Monday when the Denver Broncos sent Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams. Tuesday, by comparison, was mostly quiet.

There were a handful of smaller transactions — including when Chiefs sent offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to the Jets for tight end Dan Brown — but by and large, teams were as good Tuesday afternoon as they were Tuesday morning. So, who were the winners and losers of the 2021 trade deadline?

NFL trade deadline winners

Which teams and players won at the trade deadline? Sometimes, not making a trade makes you a winner, as is the case with the first team.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins didn’t make a single move — and should feel great about it. Yes, they probably could have gotten solid 2022 draft capital for Xavien Howard and DeVante Parker. But those moves could still come after the season.

Related | NFL Trade Tracker 2021: Von Miller, Mark Ingram highlight recent moves

Rather, the most important decision they made was to not trade for Deshaun Watson, who will remain with the Houston Texans until at least March 16, 2022. The Dolphins very well could (and probably will) re-enter the fray in the offseason, and by then, there should be far more clarity on Watson’s legal situation.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl behind the Bills and the Buccaneers, and honestly, 6 1/2-to-1 seems like a value. Miller completes a defense that was already 10th in scoring (21 points per game), sixth in sack rate (7.7%), and sixth in interception rate (3.4%).

The Rams (7-1) are technically the fifth seed in the NFC by virtue of losing the tiebreaker to the Arizona Cardinals. When the teams meet again in LA on December 13, home-field advantage will probably be on the line.

Melvin Ingram

Melvin Ingram wanted out of Pittsburgh. He got it — joining a playoff contender in the Kansas City Chiefs. But at 32, how many sacks does the veteran pass rusher have left? The Steelers got good value in return (a sixth-round pick).

NFL trade deadline losers

Which players lost at the trade deadline? Deshaun Watson is the obvious choice, but a few other players meet the criteria.

Deshaun Watson

It’s hard to call anyone who will earn $10.5 million in 2021 by not playing a snap while the subject of a criminal investigation a loser. But Watson wanted to get to Miami. And he’ll have to wait at least four more months to get there.

Jordan Love

Jordan Love didn’t go anywhere, which, while unsurprising, didn’t exactly help his career. With Aaron Rodgers having the Packers in Super Bowl contention, who’s to say that Love isn’t Green Bay’s backup for a third season in 2022?

Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. pulled out the big guns in an attempt to force a trade out of Cleveland, calling in both LeBron James and his dad to shape the message. The gambit failed. He is still a Brown, and Baker Mayfield is still his quarterback.

Adam Beasley is the National NFL Analyst and Insider for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.


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