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New Blockbuster NFL Trades You've Never Thought Of

Maurice Moton

In the coming weeks, front offices around the NFL could make calls to execute blockbuster deals before teams cut rosters down to 53 players.

Some clubs have tried to extend a key player to no avail. Other teams may have to find a resolution with a disgruntled player who wants to go elsewhere. Perhaps a veteran no longer fits in the franchise's future plans.

While several names have gone through the trade rumor mill before training camp, we'll link some of the top playmakers to teams that may not have crossed your mind.

Though some deals look bold on paper, we've based these hypothetical scenarios on roster need and salary-cap available.

As a result, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whose contract carries an approximate $27 million cap hit, isn't included. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the San Francisco 49ers granted him permission to seek a trade, but that seems unlikely with a big cap number, and he's also coming off shoulder surgery on his throwing arm. The Cleveland Browns are the only team with more than $22 million in cap space, and they're not expected to pursue Garoppolo, per cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot.

Now, let's go through six intriguing trade ideas.

Carolina Panthers Acquire DK Metcalf

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Carolina Panthers receive: WR DK Metcalf

Seattle Seahawks receive: 2023 first- and second-round picks

Through the spring, DK Metcalf and the Seattle Seahawks seemed eager to strike a deal on an extension.

On Shannon Sharpe's Club Shay Shay podcast, Metcalf expressed the thought that he'll "be in Seattle for the next coming years."

On 950 KJR AM with Ian Furness (h/t ESPN's Brady Henderson), head coach Pete Carroll didn't express doubt about getting a deal done with the Pro Bowl wideout.

"We want him to be here," Carroll said. "He wants to be here. We'll figure it out. It'll just take us some time, but we'll get it done."

Metcalf skipped mandatory minicamp with an unexcused absence, per Pro Football Talk's Josh Alper. Still in communication with the wideout, Carroll didn't waver on his positive outlook.

However, the Seahawks will open training camp on July 26, and Metcalf doesn't have a new deal.

With head coach Matt Rhule likely on the hot seat after back-to-back five-win seasons, the Carolina Panthers should go all in for better results in 2022.

Early in July, Carolina acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield, who will compete with Sam Darnold for the starting job. The winner of that battle would have a strong wide receiver unit with Metcalf, D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson.

Despite a questionable quarterback situation, Carolina's offense could put some fear into defenses with a healthy Christian McCaffrey in the backfield and Metcalf on the perimeter.

Though the Philadelphia Eagles gave up first- and third-rounders to the Tennessee Titans for A.J. Brown, the Panthers may have to offer a higher secondary draft pick in this deal because Metcalf has better receiving numbers than his former Ole Miss teammate and suited up for every game in three seasons.

Chicago Bears Acquire Kadarius Toney

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Chicago Bears receive: WR Kadarius Toney

New York Giants receive: 2023 third-round pick

In year one of a rebuild under new general manager Ryan Poles, the Chicago Bears need wide receiver help, but they shouldn't pursue a big-ticket player who could command a massive extension right now or next offseason.

In March, the Bears traded Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers to clear a ton of cap space for 2023. With a cost-saving plan in mind for this year, Poles can take a look at a wideout early in his rookie deal, which makes Kadarius Toney a prime target.

Though NFL Network's Mike Garafolo doesn't expect the New York Giants to trade Toney, he confirmed that the team had a conservation about him. Perhaps the Bears can acquire the second-year wideout with a good offer.

Like the Bears, the Giants will head into their first year with a new regime, but they have depth at wide receiver. Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, who's also been the subject of trade rumors, per The Athletic's Dan Duggan, can soak up the extra targets if the front office moves Toney elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Chicago would fill a glaring need with a versatile playmaker who could line up all over the formation and brings speed as well as explosiveness to the passing attack. As a rookie, Toney caught 39 passes for 420 yards. He had a highlight performance against the Dallas Cowboys, recording 10 receptions for 189 yards.

Currently, Darnell Mooney is the only Bears receiver with more than 42 receptions in a single season.

Dallas Cowboys Acquire Jessie Bates III

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Dallas Cowboys receive: S Jessie Bates III

Cincinnati Bengals receive: 2023 second-round pick

The Cincinnati Bengals designated Jessie Bates III as their franchise-tagged player, but they're currently in a financial standoff with the fifth-year safety.

According to CBS Sports' Josina Anderson, Bates "has no intention" of playing with the franchise tag or showing up for training camp.

In the first round of the 2022 draft, the Bengals selected Daxton Hill, who could immediately replace Bates if the front office parts ways with the veteran.

If the Bengals shop Bates, the Dallas Cowboys may have an interest in him because of a moderate need at the position and $22.5 million to spend in cap space.

Dallas can go into the 2022 season with Jayron Kearse, who's coming off his most productive year, and Malik Hooker at safety, but the latter isn't the most reliable, missing 30 games in five campaigns. The front office can land an upgrade to bolster the pass defense, which ranked 20th in yards allowed last year.

Bates would have to sign the franchise tag to facilitate the trade, but if the Cowboys agree to pay him, he shouldn't have any issues going to another playoff-caliber team that just won its division.

Green Bay Packers Acquire Diontae Johnson

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Green Bay Packers receive: WR Diontae Johnson

Pittsburgh Steelers receive: 2023 second-round pick

Despite the additions of Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure, the Green Bay Packers have a void at wide receiver after they dealt Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Without a top-tier pass-catcher on the roster, general manager Brian Gutekunst can take a big swing for 38-year-old Aaron Rodgers.

Instead of leaning on the ground attack with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, the Packers can acquire a high-volume pass-catcher in Diontae Johnson.

Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (h/t Chris Mueller of 93.7 The Fan), Johnson "wants to be in Pittsburgh for the long term." Yet The Athletic's Mark Kaboly doesn't see a situation in which the Steelers pay him a top-dollar amount on an extension:

"They aren't offering him anything near [Terry] McLaurin or anybody else that got more than $20 million per year. They will offer him something, and it won't be what he thinks he can get on the market, and he will get paid next year somewhere else. That's the way I see it working out now."

Johnson hasn’t publicly threatened a holdout. He reported to mandatory minicamp, which means the fourth-year wideout may head into the 2022 season with a $3.1 million cap hit, a bargain for a player who just hauled in 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns.

Pittsburgh has a deep wide receiver group with Chase Claypool, rookie second-rounder George Pickens and rookie fourth-rounder Calvin Austin III. The front office may be willing to deal Johnson for the right price, and if that’s the case, Green Bay should be on the line with a strong proposal.

Johnson has improved his receiving numbers every year, but he's not a big-play star wideout, averaging 10.9 yards per catch for his career. The Packers may be able to acquire him with a second-rounder.

Indianapolis Colts Acquire Deebo Samuel

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Indianapolis Colts receive: WR Deebo Samuel

San Francisco 49ers receive: 2023 first-round pick

The San Francisco 49ers have a complex contract situation with Deebo Samuel. To extend him, they have to agree with the wideout's camp on salary figures, and the coaching staff might have to amend the way he's used in the offense.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who appeared on The Rich Eisen Show, Samuel wants a traditional wide receiver role with a lighter rushing workload. He recorded 59 carries for 365 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

If Samuel isn't satisfied with the 49ers' offer or plan for him, general manager John Lynch may have to explore other options.

Of course, several teams would line up for Samuel's services, but the Indianapolis Colts should go above and beyond to acquire him. They have a 37-year-old quarterback in Matt Ryan on a playoff-caliber roster; the team is in a win-now window.

With open positions at left tackle and right guard, the Colts should make an attempt to bolster their aerial attack in case Jonathan Taylor isn't as effective on the ground compared to the previous season when he rushed for a league-leading 1,811 yards.

Indianapolis needs a reliable playmaker to complement wideout Michael Pittman Jr. Parris Campbell has battled injuries, missing 34 games in three seasons. Rookie second-rounder Alec Pierce must prove himself. Samuel can elevate the passing attack immediately, and he wouldn't have to play a significant role as a ball-carrier with Taylor in the backfield.

Samuel's reluctance to take on a sizeable workload in the run game dings his trade value, but he's still worth a first-rounder coming off an All-Pro campaign with a league-leading 18.2 yards per reception.

Kansas City Chiefs Acquire Robert Quinn

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Kansas City Chiefs receive: Edge Robert Quinn

Chicago Bears receive: 2023 third-round pick

In win-now mode for as long as Patrick Mahomes starts under center, the Kansas City Chiefs should make a big move to strengthen their defense, which ranked 27th and 21st in passing and rushing yards allowed, respectively.

The Chiefs selected edge-rusher George Karlaftis in the first round of the 2022 draft, but the team may want to add a productive veteran to significantly improve the defensive line.

General manager Brett Veach can make an attempt to bring in Robert Quinn, who’s coming off a Pro Bowl campaign with 18.5 sacks, 34 pressures and 17 tackles for loss.

Quinn didn't report to the Chicago Bears' mandatory minicamp in the spring. The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain wrote that "it's tough to feel confident" that the 32-year-old edge-rusher will be on the roster at the start of the 2022 season.

At this stage in his career, Quinn may not want any parts of a rebuild in Chicago, and the Bears can deal him and clear $12.9 million in cap space. The Chiefs would gain a quality starter to play opposite Frank Clark and alongside defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Chicago received a 2022 second-rounder and a 2023 sixth-rounder from the Los Angeles Chargers for 31-year-old, three-time All-Pro edge-rusher Khalil Mack, so a third-rounder for Quinn seems fair.

NFL player salaries and team cap space figures are provided by Over the Cap.

Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @MoeMoton.


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