While Major League Baseball and the NBA might feature blockbuster moves at their respective trade deadlines, that’s usually not the case for the NFL trade deadline. Granted, while several semi-stars see their colors change, never does a sincere “franchise” guy leave an organization to make another team better.
That could change this season with several players on the trade market. No, DeAndre Hopkins is not going anywhere, but perhaps another receiver is. With 4:00 pm ET already on the horizon for Tuesday’s deadline, it could be an exciting day, or simply a dull day, around the NFL trade deadline.
We’ve already seen teams make moves in the past several weeks. Mohamed Sanu changed teams and jersey numbers as he was shipped for a second-round pick to New England while the Patriots moved Michael Bennett back to his home state with Dallas. Kenyan Drake started the week moving to Arizona while Gareon Conley bested his old team in Houston on Sunday afternoon.
Trade: Arizona has reached agreement in principle to trade a conditional 2020 draft pick to Miami for RB Kenyan Drake, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2019
Franchise pieces never seem to be on the market. Although improbable, it’s not unlikely to see several bigger name players change jerseys mid-season. Take Leonard Williams, for instance, just moving over locker rooms out in East Rutherford.
For anyone asking where I’ve been the past week, well, you can thank the Houston Astros for my disappearance. You can also thank them for this super short Two Minute Warning since they will have a chance to win the World Series this evening, and they need my assistance. Still, the NFL trade deadline is a critical day to see the outlook of all the teams around the league.
Let’s bounce around the league and see who could be on the move.
Foles finished in Florida?
Perhaps the biggest name on the market right now could be Nick Foles. Jacksonville moved on from Blake Bortles during the offseason and signed the Super Bowl 52 MVP to a four-year, $88 million deal to become the franchise quarterback. He’s yet to have a turnover but he’s been on injured reserve with a broken clavicle.
But bad luck for one gunslinger could mean great fortunes for another. Sixth-round selection Gardner Minshew wasn’t even considered a roster lock and now is looking to be a part of the long-term plan in Duval County. The former Washington State quarterback had perhaps his best game of the season Sunday, throwing for 279 yards and three touchdowns.
Despite the emergence of Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars don't have plans to trade Nick Foles, per source. Never say never, but team with playoff aspirations has Super Bowl-winning QB on roster, wants to keep it that way.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 28, 2019
Could Minshew’s success make Foles expendable? For the right price, it could be hard to pass up. While reports state that the Jags “do not have plans” to move Foles on, it’s hard to say Minshew is worth the demotion.
Finding someone to take on Foles’ contract will be the most significant factor. Teams like Tampa Bay and Chicago could be in the market for his services, but they’ll likely be taking on the contract.
A second-round selection, along with the acquisition of his contract, should do the trick, but will anyone bite before the NFL trade deadline? For now, no. Still, stranger things have happened, and the Jaguars need to think of their future as well.
Norman needs a way out
Pick a mistake found in Washington with the Redskins. Did you find it? You are correct. That’s how many mistakes are out there right now following their 1-7 start to the season. Despite pieces for the future, the current status of the organization is in need of a rebuild.
That could start with moving on from veteran talent such as cornerback Josh Norman. With the season looking to be lost and the defender still possessing quality skills, it only makes sense to move the 31-year-old to a potential contender.
In addition to LT Trent Williams, the #Redskins are calling around trying to trade CB Josh Norman, per sources. Tough to get value right now: Norman is due almost $6 million for the rest of this season and hasn't been practicing because of thigh and hand injuries.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 28, 2019
According to NFL Network, Washington is “actively shopping” the former Pro Bowl corner. Finding a suitor could be a tough ask as Norman is set to make $6 million for the remainder of the season. It doesn’t help that his recent slew of injuries has sidelined him.
Although talented, Norman has never lived up to his five-year/$75 million deal following his tremendous 2015 season with the Panthers. Through seven games this season, he’s collected one interception and 31 tackles. A contender could potentially use his services in a heavy coverage system, so perhaps Seattle could be a likely destination.
The asking price is for the contract, not the draft collateral. That’s how much the team is hoping to move on from Norman before 4 p.m. this afternoon. Literally trade them a seventh-round selection, and the team will be thanking you.
Williams willing to leave? We know…
Washington has another player on the trade block, according to reports. This is one we all should have seen coming since the team should have traded him months ago. Now, Washington is willing to “listen to offers” for Pro Bowl left tackle, Trent Williams.
Williams has yet to report to camp since an incident involving the medical staff this offseason. The former top-five pick stated he would “never play for the organization again” following the incident and would hold out to be traded. So far, he’s lived up to his side of the bargain.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2019
The team that makes the most sense to trade for his services is the Cleveland Browns. Although John Dorsey has built a potential contender in the Browns, the offensive line has been in shambles and a glaring hole. The asking price for Williams will be steep, but without him, the Browns’ playoff chances will continue slipping away.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, Dorsey has been trying to trade for Williams for “basically six weeks,” and Washington team president Bruce Allen won’t budge. With the team now expected to finish under .500, perhaps he’ll listen to another offer.
The Browns benched Greg Robinson last week in favor of Justin McCray. An NFL deadline trade for a left tackle is coming soon, and the hope is it will be Williams.
Gordon going somewhere?
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon played a dangerous game this offseason by sitting out with hopes of a new contract. He lost that battle and reported by the start of October to honor the final year of his deal.
Just because he’s returned to Los Angeles doesn’t mean he’ll remain there. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, multiple teams have called asking about Gordon’s status with the organization. The Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills seem to be the top suitors.
Some around league have linked Lions and Bills to Melvin Gordon. Both teams could be in the market for RB help, and Gordon would make sense if Chargers loosen asking price.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 28, 2019
With Detroit’s win Sunday, the team moves to 3-3-1 and remains in contention in the NFC North. The loss of Kerryon Johnson for seven weeks could hurt the offense as he will remain on the injured reserve following knee surgery. Buffalo has found some success with rookie Devin Singletary, but Gordon would be a nice combination to pair with the young runner and Josh Allen in the backfield.
The two-time Pro Bowler has rushed for over 800 yards in three seasons and is a reliable option in the passing game. With Austin Ekeler looking promising, the Chargers could move Gordon and receive a pair of compensation picks for the near future.
Gordon will still be wanting a big deal this offseason. Through four games, he’s collected 149 total yards and two touchdowns. Most likely a rental player, expect contenders to fish around a price for his services before the NFL trade deadline.
Should Slay stay?
Depending on how the team moves forward with acquiring a running back, that could decide this move. Detroit’s face of the defense has been cornerback Darius Slay since they drafted him in 2013. His time in the Motor City could be coming to an end.
Reports have stated that several teams have called about Slay’s status with the organization. Perhaps the most noticeable call comes from the Philadelphia Eagles, who are hoping to acquire a defensive back by 4 p.m. this afternoon. The biggest delay, besides the Lions’ record, would be the asking price. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, the price tag is “very, very high,” for Slay’s services.
The Eagles were adamant about trading for Jalen Ramsey’s services before they lost out to the Los Angeles Rams. The team was willing to offer a first and second for the All-Pro corner’s status, but it wasn’t enough to overthrow the Rams. That could be a similar asking price for Slay, who has been one of the league’s more underrated defenders overall.
Still, the Lions could be willing to part ways with their Pro Bowl corner despite looking like a quality team. The franchise traded defensive back Quandre Diggs to Seattle earlier this month. For the right price, it could be on the table.
Slay could be the surprise move of the offseason since the Lions now could be considered a playoff roster. Should he leave Detroit, the team is likely getting back a nice haul for a player who has a year and a half left on their current contract.
We’re doing parting shots differently this week. Instead of giving you fun clips or moments around the NFL, here are my predictions on who gets moved and where. I won’t be guessing the asking price because that’s just far too hard after seeing the Sanu news.
10.) Jacksonville keeps both Minshew and Foles
No one is going to bite on that contract without seeing what Foles can do. No one has seen him play since week one, and the Jaguars have two options at quarterback. Just roll the dice and let them compete until next season.
9.) Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay stays put
Should the team have lost over the weekend to the Giants, Slay likely would have been moved. Instead, the Lions now have a chance to contend for a wild card. A pair of mid-round picks should be the asking price, and outside of Philly, no one will offer that.
8.) Philadelphia Eagles settle for Denver Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr.
Philadelphia will be going after a cornerback. If they miss on Slay, Harris is still a great option to add to their secondary. Parting ways with Sidney Jones or Rasul Douglas and a mid-round draft selection likely seals this deal up for both parties.
7.) Atlanta Falcons trade OLB/DE Vic Beasley to the Houston Texans
Bill O’Brien hates draft picks, so this would make sense as the team is trying to win now. Beasley has yet to ever return to his 2016 MVP caliber form, and the team has been trying to trade him for months. With the loss of J.J. Watt, a former top 10 pick would at least be able to try and help add pressure to backfields coming off the edge. A late-round pick might get the job done before the NFL trade deadline.
6.) The New York Jets finally trade WR Robby Anderson to the Green Bay Packers
The Jets are bad. How bad, you ask? Well, the Sam Darnold seeing ghosts joke is now being compared to the “butt fumble” with Mark Sanchez. The team should be willing to move on from Anderson, who is on a one-year contract, to gain more draft capital. The Packers need another wideout badly. This should be a quick move made by both parties tomorrow.
5.) Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith finds a new home…in Jacksonville
The Jaguars are still in the race in the AFC South. Whatever they do at quarterback should keep them in contention. With the addition of Marcus Peters, Smith has become expendable for the Ravens. The former first-rounder is back healthy and has been the subject of trade all season. A low-risk pick could be enough to bring him into Jacksonville’s secondary in replacement of Ramsey.
4.) Miami Dolphins finally trade WR DeVante Parker to the Minnesota Vikings
Parker has been the subject of trade for three seasons. Nearly moved to Houston at the deadline last season, the Vikings could be a destination for the right price. Parker has improved slightly, but his flashes prove he has the ability to succeed. A compliment to pair with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen could make sense for both parties.
3.) Los Angeles trades RB Melvin Gordon to the Detroit Lions
If he were a receiver, this would be a done deal for Buffalo. The Bills still need another weapon in the passing game, but their run game isn’t atrocious. The Lions struggled without Johnson, making this a need if they want to fight in their division. A mid-round pick that will turn into a comp later likely will work out for all involved.
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars surprises everyone…by trading for TE OJ Howard
Foles succeeded with John DeFillipo as his quarterback coach because the Eagles loved to use tight ends. Jacksonville needs a tight end for the future, whether Minshew or the former Eagles star takes snaps under center. With extra picks in the Ramsey trade, the Jaguars could turn a pair of them into one of the most undervalued players on offense.
Plus, I’d love to see my favorite quarterback and favorite Alabama player working together.
1.) Cleveland adds an offensive lineman…. Named Nate Solder
Allen and Washington are stubborn. They’re going to ask for a hefty ransom in order to acquire a player like Williams. The Giants are willing to move Solder for a lesser price, and he’s better than anything found in Cleveland now. The two teams made a massive move in the offseason already, so why not go for broke and trade mid-round pick and Antonio Callaway for Solder’s purposes. In a winnable AFC North, the team needs an o-line.
Cole Thompson is the Lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson.