Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Ideal Trade Target for Each NFL Team

Maurice Moton

When we discuss potential trade deadline deals, keep in mind that head coaches, general managers and front-office executives won't peel back the curtains and reveal negotiations involving a specific player, especially a high-profile talent.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said he wouldn't trade wideout Odell Beckham Jr. Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll commented that defensive end Frank Clark would be with the team for another season. Before last year's deadline, wideout Demaryius Thomas wasn't on the trade block.

Yet, all three players suited up for different teams shortly after those comments and reports. For the most part, with the exception of established quarterbacks, teams will take calls on just about anybody on the roster and execute a deal at the right price.

With all that in mind, we'll dig into an ideal trade target for each team. As front offices prepare for the October 29 deadline, executives will either plug holes on teams with playoff aspirations or attempt to land long-term building blocks for a rebuilding roster. Some of the potential high-profile movers will fit the bill for two possible suitors.

     

Arizona Cardinals: LT Trent Williams

G Fiume/Getty Images

Despite the Washington Redskins' impasse with Trent Williams, general manager Steve Keim should make a hard push for the disgruntled left tackle. He's held out since the spring because of his displeasure with the team's medical staff and wants a new deal.

According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the Redskins don't plan on moving Williams until the offseason, but as mentioned above, plans can change with new offers and a deadline on the horizon.

The Arizona Cardinals could attempt to land Williams with a first-round pick and a player of choice. With a rebuilding roster, team president Bruce Allen may also have an interest in cornerback Patrick Peterson. In that scenario, Keim can try a player swap and push for a draft pick since he's giving up a three-time All-Pro talent.

Trading Peterson isn't ideal, but he's 29 years old with only one year left on his contract. Secondly, the Cardinals can use an acquired pick to draft another cornerback in 2020. 

Finally, Keim must protect the franchise centerpiece in quarterback Kyler Murray. Left tackle D.J. Humphries hasn't performed up to his first-round pedigree, giving up 14 sacks, per the Washington Post's STATs, and allowing constant pressure in 33 contests. This year alone, the 25-year-old has already drawn six penalties.

Atlanta Falcons: DE Josh Sweat

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons' season spiraled out of control early, starting out 1-6 with a slim hope of reaching the playoffs. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, owner Arthur Blank has already issued a light warning to head coach Dan Quinn. He'd like to see notable "progress" before the team's Week 9 bye.

Whether Quinn stays with the club beyond this season or not, the Falcons could afford to add a young asset to the defensive line. They don't need a highly skilled veteran (defensive end Vic Beasley) on an expiring deal with the playoffs at a far reach.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff can pursue a high-upside second-year player in Josh Sweat, who's showing flashes in Philadelphia with seven solo tackles, three takedowns for loss and a sack. At the right price, the Eagles may be willing to part with him because of their depth. 

In March, Philadelphia extended Brandon Graham's contract through 2023. They can exercise the fifth-year option on Derek Barnett's rookie deal, keeping him on the roster until the 2022 offseason. Lastly, the front office selected Shareef Miller with a fourth-round pick in this year's draft. 

If the Falcons want a defensive end with room for growth, the coaching staff in place could groom Sweat into a solid starter. Beasley isn't a strong candidate to return after his deal expires. According to ESPN's Jordan Schultz, the team has placed the 27-year-old on the trade block. Furthermore, Atlanta has the fewest sacks (five) in the league.

Baltimore Ravens: S Reshad Jones

Mark Brown/Getty Images

Offseason trade rumors swirled around Reshad Jones. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins wanted to move him at some point.

"The Dolphins ideally would prefer to trade safety Reshad Jones if they get an offer to their liking, according to a league source who has been in touch with Miami's front office," Jackson wrote.

In August, Jones had a feeling he'd finish this season in Miami, per Jackson.

"Jones told the Miami Herald on Sunday that he has received very recent assurance from Dolphins management that he will not be traded."

We all know the trade market is fluid up until the deadline. According to Jackson's reports, the Dolphins have already changed their stance on Jones. We can't rule out another change of heart, especially for an 0-6 team headed to the top of the 2020 draft order.

The Baltimore Ravens acquired Marcus Peters via trade to bolster the cornerback spot with Jimmy Smith (MCL sprain) and Tavon Young (neck) out. The secondary also lost safety Tony Jefferson for the season with a torn ACL. 

To replace Jefferson, general manager Eric DeCosta can offer a third- or fourth-rounder for Jones.

Buffalo Bills: WR Emmanuel Sanders

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills can continue their theme of picking up quicker, smaller wide receivers who can extend plays after the catch. The front office added John Brown (5'11", 178 lbs) and Cole Beasley (5'8", 174 lbs) during the offseason. Listed at 5'11", 180 pounds, Emmanuel Sanders would fit with the group.

Sanders has an expiring contract. Furthermore, the Denver Broncos don't have much incentive to keep the 32-year-old around with the emergence of Courtland Sutton, who leads the team in receptions (36) and yards (564).

The Bills can potentially land Sanders, who's slightly past his prime, with a fifth-round pick or swap out wideout Robert Foster since he's off to a slow start because of a groin injury and limited opportunities. 

As we saw in the Broncos' Thursday Night Football matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, Sanders can still make plays. He finished with five catches for 60 yards. However, the front office can entertain offers for him and elevate 2018 fourth-rounder DaeSean Hamilton, who's started in six of his 21 appearances.

Carolina Panthers: WR Keelan Cole

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers don't need a big splash. In NBA terms, they have a point-guard-like quarterback in the pocket who doesn't need star wide receivers to move the ball through the air.

According to Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, via NFL Network's Rich Eisen, his team had a more difficult time preparing for Kyle Allen than Cam Newton last week.

In four contests, Allen has thrown for 901 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. He's targeted five pass-catchers at least 14 times since taking over the job for Newton, who's nursing a Lisfranc injury.

The Panthers signed wideout Greg Dortch from the New York Jets practice squad, which indicates their intent to bolster the position. The front office can attempt to acquire Keelan Cole, a three-year veteran who flashed as a rookie with 748 yards and three touchdowns but saw his numbers drop over the last two seasons. That's partially due to quarterback Blake Bortles' subpar performances in 2018. 

This year, Cole has converted two targets into a pair of receptions for 21 yards and a score. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II has built a strong rapport with wideouts DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook, leaving few opportunities for the undrafted product out of Kentucky Wesleyan.

With Marqise Lee under contract through 2021 and Chris Conley on the books for another year, the Jaguars may feel comfortable parting ways with an overachieving player who no longer has a stable role in the passing attack—a sixth- or seventh-rounder could seal the deal.

Chicago Bears: OG Alex Redmond

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears placed Kyle Long on injured reserve with a hip injury. In his absence, Ted Larsen or Rashaad Coward could soak up the reps. The former missed the team's Week 5 outing with a knee injury.

According to Football Outsiders, the Bears field a shaky offensive line, which ranks 28th in run-blocking adjusted line yards (3.61) and 19th in pass protection.

Long didn't play well—specifically in pass-blocking sets—when healthy, and the Bears need depth following his transition to the IR. Larsen's injury may cause him to miss additional contests if he doesn't respond well to in-game contact. 

Alex Redmond served a four-game performance-enhancing-drug suspension to open the year and made his season debut against the Ravens in Week 6. The Cincinnati Bengals have veterans at the position in John Jerry and John Miller—the latter signed a three-year deal in March. 

The Bears can possibly pry Redmond away from the winless Bengals, who are rebuilding, with a late-round pick. He has starting experience, opening 15 contests and allowing just 2.5 sacks, per the Washington Post, during the 2018 campaign. Chicago can plug him into the starting lineup in Long's place if Larsen and Coward struggle to fill Long's spot.

Cincinnati Bengals: OT Daryl Williams

Tim Warner/Getty Images

At some point, the Bengals must realize Bobby Hart isn't a starting-caliber offensive tackle. Last year, he allowed 11.5 sacks, per the Washington Post's STATs. As USA Today's Doug Farrar pointed out, the 25-year-old continues to struggle on the right side.

"Bobby Hart, who T.J. Watt used as a tackling dummy last night and is generally regarded as the NFL's worst right tackle, has 17 pressures allowed and 3 penalties in 197 pass-blocking snaps," Farrar tweeted.

During the past offseason, Hart signed a three-year deal, but the coaching staff should move on in order to protect the quarterback.

The Bengals desperately need help across the offensive line. The Panthers' Daryl Williams would step in as an upgrade over Hart. He also comes with solid experience as a first-stringer—35 game-openers.

Cincinnati can give Williams a trial run on an expiring deal and decide whether to re-sign him the following offseason. He's worth a fourth-round pick.

This season, Williams struggled at left tackle before moving to guard. If Trai Turner and Greg Little come out of the bye week healthy, the Panthers may consider a trade for the fifth-year veteran.

Cleveland Browns: LT Trent Williams

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns have either decided to relieve left tackle Greg Robinson of his starting duties, or he's on the way out of the lineup.

Robinson had a solid 2018 campaign with the Browns and signed a $6.4 million deal in February. Through six contests, he hasn't regressed terribly, but general manager John Dorsey wants to see steady performances from him, per Cabot. 

"I would like Greg to be more consistent," Dorsey said. "Just be more consistent as a football player."

As a result of Robinson's up-and-down play, Dorsey has contacted Redskins team president Bruce Allen about Trent Williams but admits Washington doesn't seem interested in moving its absentee left tackle. "It takes two to tango," said the Browns general manager. 

Deadlines change minds. Perhaps the Redskins will settle on an offer as the cutoff time approaches on October 29. If so, the Browns should dangle their first-round pick and a desired player for Williams.

Dallas Cowboys: OT George Fant

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys received encouraging news Thursday. Offensive tackles La'El Collins (MCL) and Tyron Smith (ankle) returned to practice after sitting out Week 6. 

While the news sounds good for Sunday's crucial contest with the Eagles, the Cowboys have to keep an eye on Smith, who sat out two games with a high-ankle sprain. He's missed at least three contests every year since 2016.

For offensive line insurance, the Cowboys should pursue George Fant, who's a swing tackle and able to play tight end in six-man protection schemes. He's suiting up on an expiring deal, and the Seahawks have backup tackle Jamarco Jones under contract through 2021.

Fant and Jones have logged a similar number of snaps this season—164-146, respectively—in reserve roles. With Duane Brown and Germain Ifedi manning the starting spots, the Seahawks may entertain a fifth-round offer for a solid reinforcement in the trenches.

Denver Broncos: WR Robert Foster

Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

This move would assume the Broncos engage the Bills in a swap—Emmanuel Sanders for Robert Foster as noted above.

The transaction makes sense for both sides. Buffalo would receive a veteran wideout with playoff experience in case the Bills qualify for the postseason. General manager Brandon Beane would be able to unload a player who's provided little impact after an impressive second half to the 2018 term.

Last year, Foster logged three 100-yard games in a span of five weeks. The Bills signed John Brown and Cole Beasley, who've played the most offensive snaps among the wide receivers. They could stunt the Alabama product's growth in the passing game.

The front office traded Zay Jones to the Oakland Raiders, but undrafted rookie Duke Williams had a solid outing as a starter in three-wide-receiver sets, converting all four targets into catches for 29 yards and a touchdown in Week 5.

Foster missed Weeks 5 and 6 because of a groin injury, but as seen during his rookie campaign, he's a potential big-play receiver. The Broncos' 25th-ranked passing attack needs a spark.

Detroit Lions: DL Leonard Williams

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The Detroit Lions field one of the worst run defenses in the league, ranking 27th in yards allowed. Defensive lineman Mike Daniels hasn't been able to strengthen the front seven because he's battling a foot injury and missed the last three outings.

The Lions defensive front needs another versatile big body with Da'Shawn Hand (elbow) and rookie fourth-rounder Austin Bryant (pectoral) recovering from offseason ailments.

At some point, Daniels, Hand and Bryant could return, but the Lions can land a healthy body and flip him into a long-term asset for the coming years.

When asked about a possible Leonard Williams trade, Jets head coach Adam Gase told reporters "anything is always possible." According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, multiple teams have interest in the defensive lineman. Detroit should be one of the suitors because of its futility against the run.

At 2-3-1, the Lions can contend for a playoff berth with crucial victories in the second half of the season. They have no time to wait for their ailing defensive linemen to return. Also, A'Shawn Robinson and Daniels are playing on expiring contracts. 

General manager Bob Quinn should offer a third- and a sixth-round pick for the Jets defensive lineman.

Williams can suit up right away, contribute and potentially re-sign on a multiyear deal as a roster building block. He's doesn't produce a lot of sacks, 17 in his career, but the USC product can cause problems in the opponent's backfield, especially on running downs. The 25-year-old has recorded 32 tackles for loss in 69 contests.

Green Bay Packers: WR Mohamed Sanu

Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers could pursue a dream scenario with A.J. Green if they had a healthy wide receiver corps, but that's not the case. Davante Adams continues to recover from turf toe. Geronimo Allison just returned from a chest injury and concussion. Marquez Valdes-Scantling missed Wednesday and Thursday practices with ankle and knee issues but gave it a go Sunday.

If the Packers acquire a wideout, he must contribute right away. ESPN's Vaughn McClure doesn't anticipate the Falcons will trade Mohamed Sanu, but he expects teams to inquire about the eighth-year veteran. Green Bay should be one of those clubs.

Sanu has an impressive 80 percent catch rate through six games. He's not a flashy, dynamic wideout, but the 30-year-old picks his spots and drops few passes. Aaron Rodgers can depend on him among a group of youngsters with Adams on the sideline. 

The Falcons selected Calvin Ridley in the first round of last year's draft, and he put together a strong rookie campaign. Atlanta's 1-6 record doesn't look good in the standings, but the second-year wideout averages slightly more receiving yards per game this year compared to the last (57.2-51.3). 

Going forward, Atlanta's passing attack can flourish with Julio Jones and Ridley as a one-two combination. Sanu has one more year on his deal. If the Falcons decide to dump a few contracts in a season headed in the wrong direction, the front office can send its sure-handed slot receiver to Green Bay for a third- or fourth-round pick.

Houston Texans: EDGE Kyler Fackrell

Morry Gash/Associated Press

The Houston Texans opted to trade Jadeveon Clowney, their second-best pocket-pusher, to the Seahawks almost a week before the season opener. Whitney Mercilus has picked up the slack with pressure off the edge (five sacks), but he doesn't have a strong complement on the other side.

Opposing quarterbacks have carved up the Texans pass defense. The unit ranks 24th in yards allowed, giving up 11 touchdowns in six contests (23rd).

Houston can bolster the defense with an edge-rusher who broke out last year in Green Bay. In 2018, Kyler Fackrell recorded two three-sack games and finished with 10.5 for the season.

The Packers took an aggressive approach during free agency to upgrade their pass rush, signing Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith. To the team's credit, the plan has worked so far. The pair has registered a combined 13 sacks. 

Meanwhile, Fackrell has retreated into obscurity—no longer a factor off the edge, notching just six tackles and a half-sack in six games. Yet, he's on the field for 58.6 percent of the defensive snaps.

Perhaps Fackrell only caught lightning in a bottle for one season, but he's worth a late-round pick. The Texans can only hope the 27-year-old flashes again.

Indianapolis Colts: WR Nelson Agholor

Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

The Indianapolis Colts don't need a star wide receiver with their physical identity. The offense ranks fourth in rushing and 27th when attacking defenses through the air. Still, Indianapolis fields the fourth-best pass-protecting offensive line, per Football Outsiders. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett has enough time to find capable wide receivers in stride.

After Week 1, the Colts placed wideout Devin Funchess on injured reserve with a broken collarbone. He can return to action in Week 10. 

In the meantime, general manager Chris Ballard can acquire a temporary complement to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. In Week 4 against the Raiders, we saw what the Colts aerial attack looks like if he cannot suit up—ineffective. Tight end Eric Ebron dropped multiple passes in that contest and isn't the same playmaker as last year. 

The Colts don't have to invest heavily in a wide receiver before the deadline, but they need a solid No. 2 to help balance the offense. 

The Eagles selected J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of this year's draft. He's the probable future at the position. The front office can afford to trade Nelson Agholor, who's on an expiring deal and seems like a long shot to return with DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Arcega-Whiteside on the books for at least the next three seasons.

Indianapolis would only need a fifth- or sixth-round pick to acquire a wideout who's a decent playmaker but comes with occasional drops.

Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Patrick Robinson

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars dealt cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams, leaving a void in the secondary. Tre Herndon, who started in the All-Pro's place, could audition for the starting spot. He's looked solid in stretches, recording 25 total tackles and two pass deflections.

Still, the Jaguars can gauge the trade market for a veteran insurance policy at cornerback. They're 3-4 but capable of making a midseason run at a playoff spot with a string of victories.

In order to shore up the secondary, general manager Dave Caldwell can look for experience. Two years ago, Patrick Robinson had one of his best seasons during Philadelphia's Super Bowl run, registering four interceptions and a team-leading 18 pass breakups.

During the 2018 offseason, Robinson signed with the New Orleans Saints and played three games in the following campaign before breaking his ankle.

This season, he's lined up for a limited number of defensive snaps. The pass defense has performed well without him, holding its last three opponents to fewer than 213 yards. He exited Sunday's game with a hamstring ailment but may be a trade target if healthy enough to play in the coming weeks.

The Saints can move on from Robinson, who's on a four-year deal, and the Jaguars can acquire a competitor for the starting position opposite A.J. Bouye. Because of his inactivity, the Saints cornerback is only worth a late-round pick.

Kansas City Chiefs: DL Leonard Williams

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

As noted, Schefter reported multiple clubs have shown an interest in acquiring Williams via trade. Like the Lions, the Chiefs need a versatile defensive lineman to help stop the run, but the AFC West club doesn't have players on the mend who could help down the stretch.

As a result, general manager Brett Veach should have a more enticing compensation package. Perhaps a second- and fourth-round pick or a player to outbid other parties involved in trade talks for Williams.

The Chiefs frontline resembled a brick wall against the Broncos ground attack, but one solid performance isn't a long-term cure for the team's poor run defense. Before Thursday's outing, Kansas City allowed at least 180 rushing yards in four consecutive contests. 

For the long term, Veach must acquire another component to the defensive front to complement Frank Clark and Chris Jones, specifically on run downs. Williams can line up in multiple spots, and he's physical at the point of attack in short-yardage situations.

Alongside Clark and Jones, Williams could win his one-on-one matchups and give opponents headaches in the trenches. He has the ability to add brute force and power on the interior.

Los Angeles Chargers: CB Janoris Jenkins

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers need a starting-caliber playmaker at cornerback. Michael Davis has been solid, recording eight tackles, two pass breakups and an interception, but it's hard to trust a career backup in big moments with a pass defense that's allowed 10 scores. 

Because of his tendency to gamble in coverage, which leads to incredible interceptions and terrible whiffs, Janoris Jenkins comes with some risk at a steep price. According to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, Big Blue may consider shipping him out of town. 

"The Giants might be one game out of first place, but they are realistically in a rebuild. If Jenkins can bring back an asset, they might consider a trade. He has been up and down this season while making $11.25 million as the team's third-highest-paid player."

While Jenkins' contract and play style may give the Chargers pause, he's second in pass deflections (98) and tied for seventh in interceptions (21) since entering the league in 2012.

If the coaching staff can tone down some of Jenkins' guesswork in coverage, he's worth a third-round pick to strengthen the secondary.

Los Angeles Rams: CB Artie Burns

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Rams initiated the trade frenzy, dealing cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens and acquiring cover man Jalen Ramsey. They also executed a deal with the Browns for offensive lineman Austin Corbett. Yet, general manager Les Snead has more work to do to keep this roster in playoff contention.

This isn't the Rams' style to go the inexpensive route, but the organization has paid running back Todd Gurley, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and quarterback Jared Goff over the last two years. Ramsey will likely want a new deal in the near future. Los Angeles has to shop in the bargain bin at a few spots for potential short-term benefits.

The Rams lost both their starting cornerbacks this week with Peters going to Baltimore and Aqib Talib landing on injured reserve with a rib injury. The latter can't return until Week 15.

Cornerback Troy Hill will likely man the perimeter as he did last year when Talib missed eight weeks with an ankle injury. He had decent stretches, finishing the year with five pass breakups and two interceptions. 

Los Angeles can acquire Artie Burns, who's on the outs in Pittsburgh. He's played 64 defensive snaps—62 of them in Week 6 against the Chargers. Coming into the league as a first-round pick in the 2016 draft, the 24-year-old still possesses some upside.

If defensive coordinator Wade Phillips can extract the best out of Burns' skill set, the Rams would have depth and options at cornerback. Snead should be able to acquire him with a Day 3 pick since he's played few snaps this year.

Miami Dolphins: OT Ty Sambrailo

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Dolphins can start their rebuild before the deadline, acquiring offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo, who signed a four-year, $14.25 million contract with the Falcons in February. Despite signing a long-term pact, he's barely seen the field as a reserve, playing nine offensive snaps since Week 2. 

With Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary entrenched as starters on the exterior, the Falcons can dump Sambrailo's salary and acquire draft capital to revamp a 1-6 roster.

Miami has roster voids, especially on the offensive line, which ranks 25th in run-blocking adjusted line yards (3.89) and 30th in pass protection, per Football Outsiders.

Through seven weeks, the Dolphins have continually shuffled their five-man combination, specifically at the tackle spots and right guard. Whoever starts under center for the remainder of the season will need an experienced veteran among a makeshift group.

If Miami selects a rookie quarterback in the 2020 draft, a veteran presence in the huddle holds a little more value. The front office could send over a fifth-rounder for Sambrailo.

Minnesota Vikings: WR Josh Reynolds

Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Over the last couple of outings, the Minnesota Vikings have removed the handcuffs from quarterback Kirk Cousins' arm, and he's played well, throwing for 639 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception.

Now that Cousins looks more comfortable in the pocket, the Vikings can add to his pass-catching options. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs will continue to serve as the primary receivers, but a viable third wideout would create another wrinkle in the downfield attack. 

Rams wideout Josh Reynolds has one more year left on his deal. He's unlikely to stay with the team long-term with Brandin Cooks signed through 2023, Robert Woods under club control until the 2022 offseason and Cooper Kupp's contract expiring at the end of the 2020 campaign.

Bouncing back from a torn ACL, Kupp produces at the level of a No. 1 wide receiver. Leaguewide, he's second in receptions (45) and sixth in yards (522). At this rate, the 2017 third-rounder will earn an early extension or whatever is left of the Rams' cap space after paying Jalen Ramsey. 

Knowing there won't be enough money to re-sign Reynolds, who's fourth on the depth chart, the Rams may deal the 24-year-old for a fifth- or sixth-round pick.

New England Patriots: TE O.J. Howard

Naomi Baker/Getty Images

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft left the door open for Rob Gronkowski to don the uniform and take the field again. The now-retired tight end didn't rule out the possibility.

The Patriots pass-catching group is decent but lacks a top-notch dynamic playmaker. Furthermore, Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett II (hamstring) have battled injuries in recent weeks. Rookie first-rounder N'Keal Harry, who's on injured reserve with multiple ailments, must wait until after Week 8 to practice.

Although Jakobi Meyers had an impressive preseason, logging 20 catches for 253 receiving yards and two touchdowns, he's yet to leave a notable mark on the regular season.

The Patriots receiving unit may come together down the stretch, but the front office can add a proven playmaker at tight end in O.J. Howard to bolster the aerial attack.

At 38 years old, Ben Watson isn't a strong addition at tight end. He hauled in 35 receptions for 400 yards and two touchdowns with the Saints last year.

The Buccaneers rank ninth in pass attempts and seventh in yards with their aggressive aerial attack, but Howard hasn't contributed to much of the production through the air.

Howard has 13 catches for 176 yards and seems like an afterthought in Bruce Arians' offense. ESPN's Jenna Laine says it's unlikely the Buccaneers will trade the 24-year-old, but she acknowledges his name comes up frequently in the rumor mill.

Tampa Bay has tight end Cameron Brate signed through the 2023 campaign, which allows the team to trade Howard and still have a capable pass-catching tight end on the roster. The Patriots should propose a second- or third-round pick for the underutilized playmaker.

New Orleans Saints: DE Michael Bennett

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Last year, the Saints traded up for defensive end Marcus Davenport, sending the Packers a 2018 first-rounder, a 2018 fifth-rounder and a top-32 selection in this year's draft. While it's too early to fully assess the transaction, we can say he's been solid through six games.

Davenport has recorded three sacks, 20 total tackles and 12 quarterbacks hits. Oftentimes, he's able to push the pocket and force the quarterback to rush his throw—something that's not visible in the box score.

Nevertheless, Davenport's development shouldn't stop the team from loading up on pass-rushers, especially at a low cost. 

With running back Alvin Kamara, tight end Jared Cook and wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith ailing with ankle injuries, the Saints can continue to win with a strong defense until their offensive playmakers return to action. New Orleans has held its last four opponents under 213 total yards—a major factor in the team's victories.

In March, the Patriots acquired Michael Bennett and a seventh-round pick for a fifth-rounder. Through seven weeks, the work relationship has gone a bit sour. New England suspended the 33-year-old for conduct detriment to the team, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

According to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston, Bennett isn't happy about his limited role. He's lined up for 35.7 percent of the defensive snaps.

Even in a backup position behind Cameron Jordan and Davenport, Bennett would likely see more action than what he's become accustomed to in New England. Since the start of the 2017 campaign, the 11th-year veteran has 20 sacks.

Bennett cost the Patriots a fifth-rounder—he's worth nothing more than sixth-round pick at this stage in his career following an in-house dispute that's gone public. 

New York Giants: LB Josey Jewell

Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

A week before the season opener, the Giants traded B.J. Goodson to the Packers. He produced some impact plays last year, logging 44 solo tackles, four pass deflections, two interceptions and a half-sack.

After letting go of an asset to the linebacker depth, the Giants have struggled to find continuity at the position. Alec Ogletree missed two games with a strained hamstring. Tae Davis hasn't played since Week 3 because of a concussion.

Although it sounds improbable, the Giants have a chance to battle for the NFC East crown down the stretch. To compete against Dallas and Philadelphia, New York must patch up holes within its 28th-ranked defense.

General manager Dave Gettleman may want to gauge the trade market for a linebacker—his first call should go to Denver. 

Josey Jewell started the first three weeks of the season. Now, he's a backup to Alexander Johnson, who's played well with the first unit. After a decent showing during his rookie campaign, the Iowa product has fallen behind on the depth chart. 

Jewell has 12 career starts—a change in scenery could boost his production. The Giants have a need at the second-year pro's position with the resources to offer a late-round pick to strengthen their depth at linebacker.

New York Jets: CB Quincy Wilson

Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Since head coach Adam Gase and his coaching staff took control of the roster, cornerback Trumaine Johnson has struggled to hold his starting job. The team benched him for Weeks 2 and 3. When on the field, he's put together lackluster performances; in five games, the 29-year-old has one pass deflection.

Opposite Johnson, Darryl Roberts has manned the perimeter, logging one pass breakup and an interception. He could develop into a solid No. 2 cover man, but the fifth-year pro out of Marshall is battling an ankle injury and is questionable for Monday's game with the Patriots.

In August, the Jets sent a sixth-round pick to the Colts for cornerback Nate Hairston. (He's dealing with a knee injury.) General manager Joe Douglas can circle back and attempt to acquire Quincy Wilson from the same seller.

During this year's draft, the Colts added two defensive backs, Rock Ya-Sin and Marvell Tell III in the second and fifth rounds, respectively. Wilson hasn't played more than 21 defensive snaps this season, and despite showing glimpses of his potential over the last two years, he doesn't have a steady role.

The Jets can possibly exchange a fifth-rounder for Wilson and build upon some of his bright spots. He's logged eight pass deflections and two interceptions in 25 contests.

Oakland Raiders: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Perry Knotts/Associated Press

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said it's hard to find good pass-rushers after the team traded Khalil Mack to the Bears. Now, he can land one on an expiring contract before the deadline.

Surely you're wondering, Why trade Mack only to acquire another defensive end who will want a new deal in the offseason

For starters, Ngakoue, though talented, isn't on the same level as Mack. He's not going to demand a salary that's equivalent to the Bears edge-rusher's. 

Secondly, Oakland could compete for a playoff spot in the AFC, especially with the Chargers and Broncos sporting sub-.500 records. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will likely miss some time because of a dislocated kneecap.

The Raiders have a chance to surge in the standings with their run-oriented offense that ranked eighth going into Week 7. The defense will need to limit opponents if the ground attack struggles to move the ball.

Lastly, in their first five games, the Raiders had nine sacks, which ranked 28th across the league. 

Ngakoue held out during the offseason but returned for training camp. The Jaguars could entertain offers for him because they selected defensive end Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick in this year's draft. He leads the team in sacks (four). The Kentucky product will likely bookend Jacksonville's defensive line opposite Calais Campbell for the next two seasons. The latter's contract expires after the 2020 term. 

Ngakoue seems like the odd man out with his contract expiring after this season. He's tied for 11th in sacks (31.5) since entering the league in 2016. The Pro Bowl pass-rusher would probably cost the Raiders one of their first-round picks.

Ngakoue seems like a better option at defensive end than any rookie projected to land in the middle or end of the opening round in 2020, so the Raiders could give up the Bears' first-round pick for him. 

Philadelphia Eagles: LB Preston Brown

John Munson/Associated Press

The Eagles released Zach Brown after he started six contests at middle linebacker. Nigel Bradham can play inside or outside at the position, but Philadelphia may want to add a veteran in case injuries become a factor down the stretch.

Before a knee ailment sidelined him for the second half of the last term, Preston Brown had a solid first season in Cincinnati. He logged 42 tackles, four pass deflections and two interceptions in seven games. Now, with an 0-6 squad, he's witnessed a slight decline in his workload, per ESPN's Ben Baby.

"He has played 76.9 percent of the Bengals' defensive snaps through the first six games. As the team is looking to evaluate younger players, however, Brown's role could diminish. Rookie Germaine Pratt, a third-round pick, saw his participation increase last week while Brown's dropped, which could be foreshadowing." 

As an early-round pick, Pratt's role will likely expand as the season progresses, leaving the veteran with question marks about his future with the club. The Eagles can take his three-year contract off the Bengals' books and plug the 26-year-old into their lineup as a starter.

Typically, linebackers don't cost much in draft capital—a sixth-rounder should give Philadelphia the green light to acquire Brown.

Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB Ryan Anderson

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

With the expectation that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns next season, the Pittsburgh Steelers acquired a budding talent for the defense. General manager Kevin Colbert sent a first-round pick to Miami for safety and slot cover man Minkah Fitzpatrick.

With the idea that Pittsburgh's offense will look a lot better next season when Roethlisberger is back on the field, we'll continue to focus on the defensive side of the ball.

The Steelers could allow outside linebacker Bud Dupree to walk once his deal expires at the end of the 2019 campaign. If so, the coaching staff can begin to groom a potential replacement in Ryan Anderson.

In 2017, the Redskins selected Anderson with the No. 49 overall pick, but he's played sparingly in three terms. The Alabama product has notched 42 total tackles and two sacks in 33 contests.

As a pass-rusher, Anderson has much more to offer if he can take the field for a significant number of snaps. At 6'2", 255 pounds, the 25-year-old has quick feet to beat offensive linemen off the edge. Pittsburgh could flip a sixth-rounder for a developing player with a high ceiling.

San Francisco 49ers: WR A.J. Green

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers need a go-to playmaker at wide receiver, as Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis and rookie second-rounder Deebo Samuel are all No. 2 or No. 3 options in most offenses across the league.

Samuel may develop into a consistent contributor, but he has an injury history dating back to his collegiate years, battling recurring hamstring ailments and suffering a broken leg as a redshirt junior. He didn't suit up for Week 7 because of a strained groin. 

The 49ers are positioned to pick late in the draft and must decide if A.J. Green, who's still rehabbing an ankle injury, is worth an early-round pick at 31 years old. San Francisco is 6-0 without him, so the offense could patiently await his return and utilize him down the stretch. 

Although Bengals head coach Zac Taylor shot down trade rumors involving the seven-time Pro Bowler, the front office should consider a deal at 0-7. Green isn't going to change this team's bleak short-term outlook, and the franchise needs to go with younger talent through the draft.

General manager John Lynch can offer a third-rounder with an early 2021 pick to facilitate the transaction. Although Green has missed 14 games over the last two years, he can still be a major asset to the passing attack at full strength. With the undefeated 49ers in win-now mode, the deal could help their push for a title.

Seattle Seahawks: CB Chris Harris Jr.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Broncos general manager and team president of football operations John Elway didn't want to publicly entertain thoughts on trading notable playmakers, per ESPN's Jeff Legwold.

"When asked about the availability of big-contract players such as Harris, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and pass-rusher Von Miller, Elway said: 'You guys bring all those names up. I have not brought any names up. We're trying to win football games. No one from our side is on the trading block.'" 

Elway didn't say he wouldn't contemplate offers. The team isn't shopping the veterans in question, but most of the players on the roster have a price tag. That's especially true for a team that's 2-5 and headed toward another playoff-less season. 

In May, the Broncos put a Band-Aid on negotiations with Chris Harris Jr., extending him for one year. Next season, the four-time Pro Bowler would play in his age-31 term. For a team that's not contending for a playoff berth, he may demand a salary that's above Elway's threshold. 

Instead of going through another round of offseason negotiations, Elway can opt to trade Harris for premium draft resources.

Unlike the Broncos, the Seahawks have playoff aspirations. Yet, they have a porous pass defense that ranks 23rd in the league. Tre Flowers has been a solid perimeter defender since transitioning from safety on the collegiate level to cornerback in the pros.

Flowers can float between the outside and the slot with Harris in the fold. Head coach Pete Carroll can use his defenders' versatility to show different looks on the back end.

The Seahawks have two 2020 second-round picks. They could offer one plus a late-rounder to the Broncos for Harris' services.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Kenyan Drake

Mark Brown/Getty Images

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins are dangling Kenyan Drake for a draft pick. 

Since coming into the league as a 2016 third-rounder, Drake has rarely led the backfield as a workhorse back and never eclipsed 700 rushing yards in a single season. 

He doesn't have much mileage on his legs, but he hasn't been in a position to showcase his utmost potential either. As a result, the Buccaneers should offer a late-round pick for him. 

Tampa Bay's ground attack needs a spark, ranking 23rd in yards per game. Although Ronald Jones II has come along in recent outings, neither he nor Peyton Barber poses a viable threat in the passing game. Dare Ogunbowale leads the backfield group in receptions (16) and yards (130), but he doesn't have Drake's upside.

General manager Jason Licht can acquire Drake now and extend him if he's a solid asset in the second half of the season.

Tennessee Titans: OT Brandon Shell

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans declined to pick up right tackle Jack Conklin's fifth-year option during the past offseason.

He experienced his share of lapses in pass protection during one outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars but has only allowed two sacks for the season, per Washington Post's STATs. The 25-year-old has also been whistled for four penalties, one of which negated a touchdown in a 14-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 5.

Because of his All-Pro rookie campaign, Conklin may command a contract on which the Titans would rather pass next offseason. The front office could instead pick up a low-cost replacement such as Brandon Shell and extend him on a modest deal.

The Jets benched Shell for rookie third-rounder Chuma Edoga following their Week 4 bye, though the former played 22 offensive snaps last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Gang Green has a high-upside rookie in Edoga at right tackle, which makes it easier to move on from Shell, especially as the 27-year-old may not reclaim his job in New York.

The Titans should consider sending a late-round pick for him with the future in mind.

Washington Redskins: TE O.J. Howard

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Like the Patriots, the Redskins should make a call for O.J. Howard if the Buccaneers consider moving him.

Jordan Reed experienced lingering effects from a concussion before Washington placed him on injured reserve, and he can't return to action until Week 14. Unfortunately, the 29-year-old has battled a myriad of ailments. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, repeated head trauma jeopardized the tight end's career.

Along with Reed's uncertain future, tight end Vernon Davis' contract will expire at the end of the term. He'll turn 36 years old in January.

With the short-term outlook at tight end in doubt, Washington must take a swing at Howard, who doesn't seem like a fit in Tampa Bay because of his lack of opportunities in the passing game.

Howard would serve as a big-bodied target (6'6", 251 lbs) in the red zone and a safety blanket for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, assuming he eventually takes over the starting job under center.

        

Contract details provided by Spotrac.com2020 draft picks and current order courtesy of Tankathon.com.

   
×
Bleacher Report
(120K+)