1 Trade Each NFL Team Should Offer Before the 2022 Season Starts
A flurry of player movement unfolds before the start of every NFL regular season.
The roster churn primarily involves teams releasing individuals in order to solidify their initial 53-man roster. Multiple low-level trades tend to occur as well.
General managers often see an opportunity within this swirling vortex of movement.
Certain squads are targeted because of the strength and depth found at a certain position. Maybe a player is likely to be released solely on account of the numbers game. These situations are ripe for a trade.
In other instances, an individual may be viewed as a disappointment, and a fresh start is needed elsewhere. Franchises are often willing to take a chance at a low cost if they believe they can still maximize the underachieving player's potential.
Financial ramifications also factor into these discussions. Holdouts or massive salary-cap numbers can be a holdup on both sides of a possible deal, though they can often be renegotiated as part of any agreement.
Whatever the case, organizations should take the initiative to propose trades. The specifics can be tricky, but the following suggestions fit based on the league's current landscape.
Arizona Cardinals: WR Andy Isabella to Jaguars
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella found himself on the trade block last season and even received permission to seek a deal earlier this offseason. Now, he isn't, according to the Orange and Brown Report's Brad Stainbrook.
While the Cardinals may keep Isabella as a safety net as a result of DeAndre Hopkins' six-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, this newfound stance may be a leverage ploy. Clearly, the 2019 second-round pick hasn't showed much to date, and the roster remains strong at wide receiver with Marquise Brown, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore as the top three options, not to mention tight ends Zach Ertz and Trey McBride as plenty capable receiving threats.
Speed has always been Isabella's biggest selling point. The Jacksonville Jaguars are still in need of weapons with differing skill sets to place around last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, Trevor Lawrence. Isabella can bring more explosive quality to a wide receiver room that features Marvin Jones Jr., Zay Jones, Laviska Shenault Jr. and former Cardinals teammate Christian Kirk.
Atlanta Falcons: LB Deion Jones to Cowboys
Declining players with massive salary-cap hits aren't usually highly sought-after trade targets. Still, the Atlanta Falcons should do what they can to unload linebacker Deion Jones, though.
Jones' current salary-cap figure sits at a whopping $20 million, though a trade could alleviate $14.7 million.
An interested party almost certainly isn't going to take on the majority of his $9.6 million base salary, and the Falcons will be forced to eat even more dead cap space. But the team clearly finds itself in a rebuild and already has a replacement on the roster in this year's 58th overall draft pick, Troy Andersen.
The Dallas Cowboys aren't in need of Jones' services with Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch and Jabril Cox already on the roster. However, Dan Quinn has an extensive history with Jones as the head coach who originally drafted the linebacker. Furthermore, the Cowboys defensive coordinator already experienced success by bringing some of his old players into the fold.
Last season, both Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee thrived as part of the scheme. Jones can be brought in and fill a similar role to Neal, who signed a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.
Baltimore Ravens: S Chuck Clark to Falcons
The Baltimore Ravens have an embarrassment of riches at the safety position. After signing Marcus Williams to a five-year, $70 million contract in free agency, general manager Eric DeCosta turned around and nabbed Kyle Hamilton with this year's 14th overall draft pick.
Williams is one of the game's best pure free safeties, while Hamilton brings an impressive combination of size (6'4", 220 lbs) and versatility to any secondary.
With those two in tow, Chuck Clark's status with the Ravens defense changes. Granted, the Ravens don't plan to trade Clark. But it's a mistake not to at least entertain the possibility.
Clearly, Clark will be the team's third safety, and he has one year remaining on his contract beyond this season. At 27 years old, his trade value won't get much higher than it is right now.
The Atlanta Falcons, meanwhile, must add long-term building blocks as they reset their roster. The fit in this particular case is perfect, since the Ravens originally drafted Clark to play in Dean Pees' defensive scheme. Pees now serves as the Falcons defensive coordinator.
Buffalo Bills: OL Cody Ford to Seahawks
Cody Ford got his chance to be a long-term answer at one of the spots along the Buffalo Bills' starting front five. He didn't thrive at right tackle or guard. Now, he's more than likely going to find himself as a utility option off the bench, because Rodger Saffold and Ryan Bates are seemingly set at both guard spots with Spencer Brown at right tackle.
The Bills have plenty of depth, too. Greg Van Roten, Greg Mancz, David Quessenberry, Bobby Hart and Ike Boettger all bring extensive starting experience.
Buffalo can move Ford now before he walks as a free agent after this season. An opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere is ideal for the 25-year-old blocker.
The Seattle Seahawks reworked their offensive line this offseason with the signing of center/guard Austin Blythe and the first- and third-round draft selections of Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, respectively. Interestingly, both Cross and Lucas come out of Air Raid schemes. The transition may not be automatic for either.
Ford provides a legitimate starting option for multiple spots depending on how the Seahawks' new-look offensive front comes together (or doesn't) during training camp.
Carolina Panthers: WR Robbie Anderson to Packers
Tension between a quarterback and wide receiver is never a good thing. Baker Mayfield already experienced a fallout during his time with the Cleveland Browns. Now, the Carolina Panthers' new quarterback enters a situation where another potential hang-up exists.
When the possibility of Mayfield to Carolina first arose, Robbie Anderson didn't seem pleased. He's since backtracked by saying he was trying to be a good teammate by supporting Sam Darnold. OK. [Insert winking face emoji]
The Panthers front office searched for a quarterback all offseason. The team ended up with Mayfield. Carolina must do everything in its power to place its new signal-caller in a position to succeed. Quarterback is far more important than wide receiver, especially when the target isn't even the top option in the passing game.
Anderson could and should be moved. His $9.7 dead cap hit in the event of a trade is a hurdle, though the Panthers can easily move his $1 million base salary. Besides, the 29-year-old wide receiver shouldn't have any problems playing alongside Aaron Rodgers if the Green Bay Packers are interested.
The Packers' wide receiver room consists of Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers and this year's second-round draft pick, Christian Watson. Point blank, it's not good enough.
Chicago Bears: Edge Robert Quinn to Cowboys
Every team can use an elite pass-rusher. The Chicago Bears already have one in Robert Quinn. How does he really fit, though?
The Bears aren't close to being a contender. They could very well be one of the worst teams in the league this fall based on the rest of their roster. Quinn is already 32 years old with a $17.1 million salary-cap charge.
New general manager Ryan Poles may prefer not to move a player of Quinn's caliber and risk being accused of tanking. Yet the edge-defender's value right now could greatly benefit the Bears based on potential trade assets received.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys made a mistake during their negotiations with Randy Gregory, which cost the team a talented pass-rusher. Granted, the team still has Micah Parsons, but he's expected to play off the ball more this season. Dallas signed Dante Fowler Jr. to partially offset the loss of Gregory.
A willingness to pay Gregory in the first place shows how much value the Cowboys placed on him and the position. Yes, DeMarcus Lawrence is still on the roster. However, the defensive front would be even better with Lawrence plus Quinn and Parsons sprinkled into the mix.
Cincinnati Bengals: S Jessie Bates III to Panthers
The Cincinnati Bengals may have backed themselves into a corner when it comes to the status of defensive captain Jessie Bates III.
The two sides couldn't reach an agreement on a contract extension before the franchise tag deadline came and went. CBS Sports' Josina Anderson reported that Bates had "no intentions" of reporting to training camp or playing under the franchise tag.
The Bengals organization tends to be frugal with the amount of guaranteed money it offers, plus it has to look toward the future when quarterback Joe Burrow becomes eligible for a contract extension. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Cincinnati offered an insulting $4 million in total guarantees when the two sides negotiated.
Basically, the organization is already telling everyone it's ready to move on from Bates. It already prepared for the possibility by drafting Daxton Hill with this year's 31st overall pick.
The Panthers just might be desperate enough to make a big move for the 25-year-old defensive back. The team is in win-now mode with an impatient owner and head coach on the hot seat. Carolina's defense is already young and exciting. Bates would slide in nicely next to Jeremy Chinn.
Cleveland Browns: RB D'Ernest Johnson to Falcons
The Cleveland Browns have too many good running backs. A loaded backfield is a luxury in today's pass-first league.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the game's best one-two punch. D'Ernest Johnson showed he's more than capable of being a featured back when both were dinged last season.
Johnson had three games with double-digit carries. Against the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and Bengals, he toted the rock 66 times for 368 yards.
Cleveland also has Demetric Felton Jr. and rookie Jerome Ford as part of its upcoming rotation. Five backs on the active roster seems like overkill when Johnson can be flipped to a team in need of a starting ball-carrier.
The Falcons lack a true RB1. Cordarrelle Patterson is a fantastic offensive weapon, but he could use a traditional counterpart.
Johnson fits in nicely with the Falcons thanks to Arthur Smith's emphasis on zone blocking. The 26-year-old runner, who began his career with the AAF's Orlando Apollos, isn't the biggest or fastest back. But he runs hard and makes decisive cuts, which is vital to being effective in the scheme.
Atlanta needs help everywhere. The potential addition of a workhorse back will certainly alleviate concerns at quarterback.
Dallas Cowboys: DT Trysten Hill to Raiders
The Cowboys seemingly wasted a second-round pick when the organization chose defensive tackle Trysten Hill in the second round of the 2019 draft.
Hill played in 18 games during his first three seasons. He's been fined, suspended and hurt throughout his tenure without any semblance of becoming anything more than a rotational piece.
Dallas is set at defensive tackle with starters Neville Gallimore and Carlos Watkins. Osa Odighizuwa found a home at 3-technique as well. Hill really doesn't have a home anymore in Dan Quinn's defensive scheme. The Cowboys may be able to leverage the fact that Hill is only 24 years old and an excellent athlete instead of outright releasing him.
Beggars can't be choosers, and the Las Vegas Raiders could use more help along the defensive interior. New general manager Dave Ziegler pieced together a motley crew by re-signing Johnathan Hankins, adding Bilal Nichols, Kyle Peko, Andrew Billings and Vernon Butler through free agency and drafting Matthew Butler and Neil Farrell Jr.
Hill can be another option thrown into the mix in hopes of building a passable patchwork group.
Denver Broncos: Edge Malik Reed to Vikings
Malik Reed helped the Broncos in a pinch when Bradley Chubb and Von Miller suffered season-ending injuries during the 2020 campaign, and then again when Miller was traded midseason last year.
Reed managed 13 sacks during that stretch. The Broncos tendered the restricted free agent this offseason, and the outside linebacker re-signed on a one-year, $2.4 million contract.
Despite his contributions over the last two seasons, Reed may be a man without a role in Denver this year.
Chubb and free-agent acquisition Randy Gregory give the Broncos two talented edge-rushers. General manager George Paton drafted Nik Bonitto in this year's second round. Baron Browning is also switching from off-ball to outside linebacker this year. Reed could stick depending on Browning's development or if the team decides to keep five at the position.
Another options exists, however. Denver can flip Reed to Minnesota, where he'll be reunited with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after playing under his direction the last three seasons. More importantly, the 25-year-old provides much-needed depth behind Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith, both of whom have scary injuries histories.
Detroit Lions: OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai to Titans
The Detroit Lions are now in Year 2 of their rebuild under the direction of general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell. At this juncture, the offensive line is the clear strength of the Lions roster.
The possibility of trading an established starter isn't as precarious for them as it would be for other squads.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai started all 25 games in which he's played since joining the Lions. Vaitai is arguably the weakest link among the entire group, though. Plus, he holds an $8.7 million salary-cap charge this offseason.
Detroit has other possibilities to start at right guard in Evan Brown, Logan Stenberg or Tommy Kraemer. A Vaitai trade saves the Lions $7 million this season.
The Tennessee Titans shouldn't scoff at taking on the 29-year-old blocker's $6.5 million base salary because of the team's uncertainty at right tackle and left guard. Neither position is settled, though the Titans hope Dillon Radunz and/or Aaron Brewer improve and claim those spots. Rookie Nicholas Petit-Frere may get a shot at right tackle, too, while Jamarco Jones will compete with Brewer.
The Lions can circumvent those competitions by offering Vaitai to the Titans, since he can start at either position.
Green Bay Packers: LB Krys Barnes to Texans
Krys Barnes finished top-three in total tackles for the Green Bay Packers the last two seasons. The organization didn't feel the effort was good enough and drafted Georgia's Quay Walker with this year's 22nd overall pick.
Walker immediately slots next to De'Vondre Campbell, who re-signed this offseason to a five-year, $50 million contract. The duo gives the Packers an athletic second line of defense with the speed and length to cover significant chunks of the field.
Barnes isn't consistent with his angles as a run- or pass-defender. Still, he's 24 years old with 23 starts since 2020.
His age and experience, coupled with a need at linebacker, should make him an attractive option for the Houston Texans, if the Packers decide to cut ties with Barnes altogether.
The Texans are running it back with Christian Kirksey, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Neville Hewitt as their top three linebackers. Kirksey, in particular, hasn't been the same since 2018 when injuries took hold. The soon-to-be 30-year-old missed four or more games in each of the last four seasons. Barnes played in all but one game a year ago.
Houston Texans: OL Max Scharping to Panthers
The Texans aren't awash in attractive talent other teams are eager to acquire.
With that in mind, the ties that bind serve as a starting point for a potential trade offer. Max Scharping started 33 games over his first three seasons, including 11 last year.
General manager Nick Caserio signed A.J. Cann and drafted Kenyon Green with this year's 15th overall pick to address guard. Clearly, offensive tackle is set with Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard as the bookends.
Scharping should no longer be viewed as a starting option in Houston. Justin McCray, Jimmy Morrissey and Scott Quessenberry also bring some starting experience as further interior depth.
The Panthers aren't entirely settled at guard. Brady Christensen, Pat Elflein and Deonte Brown will compete to start on the left side. Who will oversee this competition? Offensive line coach James Campen.
Campen held the same position on the Texans staff before David Culley's surprise firing. He had Scharping in Houston's lineup. He could do the same with the Panthers. At worst, Scharping doesn't win the job but adds more depth to an offensive line that desperately needed to be rebuilt this offseason.
Indianapolis Colts: Edge Ben Banogu to Bears
New Bears head coach Matt Eberflus already brought defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad with him from the Indianapolis Colts. Why not make it a two-for-one deal?
The Colts needed more of an edge rush after the team finished among the league's bottom 10 last season with only 33 sacks.
So, general manager Chris Ballard traded for Yannick Ngakoue to serve as the Leo in Gus Bradley's defensive scheme. The development of second-year defensive linemen Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo should provide more reason for optimism. The Colts also brought back Tyquan Lewis as a reliable part of the rotation. Both Odeyingbo and Lewis provide flexibility with the ability to play along the defensive interior.
Ben Banogu, whom Indianapolis selected in the second round of the 2019 draft, has become the forgotten man. The fact that he's missed 15 games over the last two seasons with zero sacks is a good reason why. Injuries have slowed him, but he still presents some intriguing traits as a flexible and quick edge-rusher when he's on the field.
Maybe room doesn't exist for him in the Colts locker room, but the Bears could use another piece to implement Eberflus' system.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge K'Lavon Chaisson to Saints
The Jaguars used this year's No. 1 overall pick on Travon Walker, who will become a full-time edge-rusher in the team's defensive scheme.
With Josh Allen already on the other side, the Jaguars' outside linebacker rotation features three first-round picks. As a result, K'Lavon Chaisson's status with the team isn't set in stone.
The 20th overall pick in the 2020 draft is now on his third head coach in three years. He's clearly the third wheel in the team's pass-rush plans. The Jaguars can explore the possibility of moving Chaisson to see what kind of interest remains in the 23-year-old.
A return to Louisiana may be ideal. The LSU product can join the New Orleans Saints and give the team a long-term edge opposite Marcus Davenport or Payton Turner. Both first-round picks have a lot to prove this season, and Cameron Jordan certainly isn't getting any younger (he turned 33 earlier this month).
A healthy Davenport or Turner could make acquiring Chaisson redundant. But both have to prove they can be consistent edge presences. The former isn't even under contract beyond this season.
Kansas City Chiefs: OT Lucas Niang to Ravens
The Kansas City Chiefs' plan to rebuild their offensive line began a year earlier than it actually occurred.
The organization chose Lucas Niang with a third-round pick in 2020, but he opted out of his rookie campaign because of the pandemic. Niang returned the following season with Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith comprising a new-look front five.
Niang endured plenty during his first NFL campaign. He started nine games at right tackle but also dealt with shoulder and rib injuries before his season ended with a torn patellar tendon. In his stead, Andrew Wylie filled in admirably.
This offseason, general manager Brett Veach signed veteran Geron Christian and drafted Darian Kinnard in the fifth round. Both can play right tackle. Niang's standing is suddenly in question after only one year.
The Ravens are much older on the right side. Morgan Moses and Kevin Zeitler are 31 and 32, respectively. General manager Eric DeCosta did select Daniel Faalele in this year's fourth round, but the Ravens experienced so many injuries along their offensive front the last two years that a small investment in another middle-round talent will give them even better depth.
Las Vegas Raiders: Edge Clelin Ferrell to Cardinals
The Las Vegas Raiders can stop trying to make Clelin Ferrell happen.
The burden of expectations crushed any hope for Ferrell to become a productive player. Mike Mayock's decision to overdraft the defensive end with the fourth pick in 2019 set Ferrell up for failure long before he ever stepped onto the field.
Unsurprisingly, he has done little to warrant his draft standing with eight sacks. The Raiders made sure to address their edge rush this offseason by extending Maxx Crosby and signing Chandler Jones to a three-year, $51 million free-agent contract.
Ferrell might find a home as a 5-technique in Patrick Graham's scheme. A fresh start with a new team sounds like a better proposal.
The Arizona Cardinals need help along their defensive front because of Jones' departure. Ferrell can never replace Jones, but the Cardinals added little to their pass rush, drafting Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders in the third around.
At least Ferrell would be another body and has upside.
Los Angeles Chargers: DL Jerry Tillery to Browns
The Los Angeles Chargers don't need to say a thing about their defensive line after their offseason moves. The defensive front wasn't good enough last season. It couldn't hold the point of attack. It was soft.
Enter star Khalil Mack, via a trade with the Chicago Bears. Enter free agents Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson to provide heft and toughness. Enter free agent Morgan Fox and his year of experience with Brandon Staley's defense. Enter rookie fifth-rounder Otito Ogbonnia with his strength and ability to hold his ground.
Jerry Tillery, a 2019 first-round selection, has predicated his game on creating pressure along the interior since his Notre Dame days.
The Cleveland Browns don't emphasize stuffing the run among their defensive tackles. And they're prepared to go into the season with the game's worst group of interior defenders. One of Taven Bryan, Jordan Elliott, Tommy Togiai and rookie fourth-rounder Perrion Winfrey could surprise. But more help couldn't hurt.
Tillery may be a first-round disappointment, but at least he'd give Cleveland someone of note between Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney.
Los Angeles Rams: OL Bobby Evans to Vikings
The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams have lost two of their starting offensive linemen, and a third could be traded.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired after an amazing career, and right guard Austin Corbett signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent.
Joe Noteboom has been developed to replace Whitworth, whereas the guard spot isn't settled. Coleman Shelton and third-round rookie Logan Bruss are expected to compete for the starting job, which leaves Bobby Evans out of the equation.
Evans played 23 games with eight starts over the last three seasons and is a solid utility lineman. It says a lot that Shelton and Bruss are getting looks over him.
The Rams can move the 25-year-old to somewhat familiar territory.
The Minnesota Vikings are also unsettled at right guard. The organization signed Jesse Davis in free agency and drafted Ed Ingram in the second round. Evans would import experience from the Rams system brought in by head coach Kevin O'Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips.
Miami Dolphins: RB Myles Gaskin to Giants
So much of the Miami Dolphins offseason centered on the acquisition of Tyreek Hill and whether Tua Tagovailoa is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes that the new running game has been overlooked.
New head coach Mike McDaniel brought a tried and true system with him from the San Francisco 49ers. The zone rushing attack has been successful in the NFL for nearly 30 years. Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel were signed in free agency to implement the scheme.
Meanwhile, Myles Gaskin, who led the team in rushing in the last two seasons, might be no better than fourth on the depth chart. The Dolphins went out and got their guys for the new offense. Gaskin can be better used elsewhere.
The New York Giants don't have a quality backup behind Saquon Barkley. The 2018 No. 2 pick hasn't played a full slate of games since his rookie campaign. He has suffered a high ankle sprain, a torn ACL and another ankle injury. Yet the team's depth chart consists of Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell and Antonio Williams. The trio combined for 27 carries last season.
Minnesota Vikings: S Harrison Smith to Raiders
Harrison Smith has turned into a luxury for the Minnesota Vikings.
The six-time Pro Bowler remains an excellent player and tone-setter for the defense. First-time general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can make the smart play by moving the standout safety now before his value significantly declines.
"Smith no doubt was [the standard] and the prototype for a long time. Age gets us all," an NFC front-office member told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
Smith is 33 years old, but his $7.4 million salary-cap charge isn't exorbitant this season. In fact, his base salary is $3 million. The Vikings can save $3.5 million with a trade.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler spent years with the New England Patriots. The Patriots were never afraid to bring in aging veterans on team-friendly terms to boost the roster. Smith might be exactly what Las Vegas needs: a veteran voice working the back end.
Johnathan Abram isn't the answer at strong safety since he struggles greatly in pass coverage. Smith could help direct a secondary that features Trayvon Mullen Jr., Rock Ya-Sin, Nate Hobbs and Tre'von Moehrig.
New England Patriots: TE Devin Asiasi to Texans
The New England Patriots selected a pair of tight ends in the third round of the 2020 draft. A year later, those same Patriots splurged in free agency to sign Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry.
Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene have done next to nothing, though injuries have played a part. Nonetheless, whatever plans the organization had have likely gone by the wayside.
The Houston Texans are different, because they don't have an established tight end. Nick Caserio, who was the Patriots' director of player personnel when the team drafted both prospects, could take a chance on one or both.
Otherwise, the Texans will enter the campaign with Brevin Jordan, Pharaoh Brown and fifth-round rookie Teagan Quitoriano as their top three options.
A healthy Asiasi can be a threat in the passing game. He simply hasn't had an opportunity to show those capabilities. The tight end's appeal derived from working the seam and getting in space. During his final season with UCLA, Asiasi caught 44 passes for 641 yards.
New Orleans Saints: CB Bradley Roby to Lions
The New Orleans Saints have built arguably the league's best secondary. The additions of safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye, as well as second-round rookie Alontae Taylor, to a group that already featured Marshon Lattimore, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Paulson Adebo, P.J. Williams and Bradley Roby presents all kind of possibilities.
The flexibility within that group creates further intrigue since Mathieu, Gardner-Johnson and Williams can cover the slot.
This depth creates roster flexibility, too. The Saints won't need to carry all these defensive backs. They can if they want. Or they could capitalize since teams always need cornerbacks.
Roby joined the Saints at the start of the 2021 campaign via a trade with the Houston Texans. The veteran played 14 games. But he's 30 years old with a $1.1 million base salary, which should be easy to move.
The Detroit Lions have no certainty at cornerback. They are still trying to figure out what Jeff Okudah is going to be after making him the third pick in the 2020 draft. Roby should easily transition from Dennis Allen's scheme to Aaron Glenn's since the two defensive minds previously worked together with New Orleans.
New York Giants: WR Darius Slayton to Bears
A new regime means a fresh start for everyone on the New York Giants, including wide receiver Darius Slayton.
But Slayton could still find himself exactly where he was eight months ago when the wide receiver was mentioned as "someone to watch" at the trade deadline, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Slayton overachieved as a fifth-round rookie in 2019 with 740 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He didn't build on those numbers the following year, and his playing time and production decreased last season as he missed three games with a hamstring injury.
The Giants are four deep at wide receiver without Slayton. Kenny Golladay's contract makes him WR1 by default. Kadarius Toney and Wan'Dale Robinson are recent early-draft selections. Sterling Shepard remains a viable target.
Slayton, on the other hand, could be the No. 2 wide receiver with the Chicago Bears, especially since his previous coach, Tyke Tolbert, is the team's passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach. Beyond Darnell Mooney, no one on the Bears has managed more than 612 yards in a season.
Chicago needs all the help it can get at wide receiver, and the Giants have an option or two to spare.
New York Jets: OT Mekhi Becton to Chiefs
The New York Jets' floating the possibility of a Mekhi Becton trade should light a fire under the talented offensive tackle.
Discontentment with the 2020 No. 11 pick has been a common theme throughout the past year. Becton is a pile driver with the potential to be a dominant pass-blocker.
As Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline reported in November: "People close to the organization ... feel Becton has a bit of growing up to do. One source said Becton taps out a lot—he taps out of plays, taps out of games and does not work very hard. The team was upset when Becton showed up to camp this summer overweight and out of shape."
Offensive coaches got to the point that they were "done with Becton," per Pauline.
General manager Joe Douglas didn't draft a tackle with either top-10 pick and didn't add serious competition. But those actions don't mean the Jets are overly happy with Becton. A trade remains a possibility.
The Kansas City Chiefs are known for taking on projects and letting them thrive in the culture established by Andy Reid. Considering Orlando Brown's holdout and their uncertainty at right tackle, the Jets could get significant return.
Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor to Ravens
The Philadelphia Eagles have all but given up on wide receiver Jalen Reagor just two years after making him a first-round selection.
"As we head into Year 3, we expected more from Jalen at this point," head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters after the end of the 2021 campaign. "We had a chance to sit down with him after the season and had an honest conversation about the things that he needs to develop and the things that we can help him develop to continue his growth.
"We want more production from Jalen Reagor, and he has all the talent to do so. I like him in that No. 3 spot right now, to be able to make plays, because he has skill. He has talent. It's just our jobs as coaches to get that skill and talent out of him."
Well, the Eagles are more than settled after acquiring A.J. Brown to push Reagor even further down the depth chart. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Philadelphia has continued to shop the 23-year-old.
The Baltimore Ravens are an obvious landing spot after moving Marquise Brown during the draft. The team didn't address the wide receiver position after doing so. Instead, Lamar Jackson and Co. will rely heavily on Rashod Bateman to blossom in Year 2 with little beyond him.
Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Devin Bush to Lions
Sometimes a team just needs to rip off the Band-Aid and move on because a pairing hasn't worked.
The Pittsburgh Steelers surprised many when they traded up for the 10th pick in the 2019 draft and selected linebacker Devin Bush. Bush looked like the perfect modern linebacker with his speed and range.
But he has failed to put everything together.
"Playing linebacker is knowing the front and knowing the coverage. He has to know them both," former Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler told reporters last season. "He has to learn more and more as time goes along. The more he knows, the quicker he'll react and the more confident he'll be."
The Steelers could give Bush one more year to prove himself. Or they can move forward with Buddy Johnson and Robert Spillane next to Myles Jack.
A trade of Bush to the Detroit Lions would give the NFC squad a more athletic option instead of Alex Anzalone and Chris Board, who are arguably the league's worst pair of starting linebackers. Plus, Bush can return to the state of Michigan, where he excelled as part of the Wolverines program.
San Francisco 49ers: QB Jimmy Garoppolo to Texans
The Cleveland Browns tried to wait out the market, hoping an opportunity would arise to create leverage in a possible Baker Mayfield trade. It never happened. Instead, the Browns ate the majority of Mayfield's fifth-year rookie option and received a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick in return.
The San Francisco 49ers now sit in a similar position with Jimmy Garoppolo. The Niners had to wait to drive any interest in the veteran signal-caller since Garoppolo had offseason shoulder surgery.
Last week, they granted permission for Garoppolo's representation to seek a trade, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Options are limited because this year's quarterback carousel has ground to a halt. The Houston Texans may present a unique opportunity, though.
The Texans have supported Davis Mills all offseason and said he'll get another chance to prove himself. Houston could just be slow-playing a potential Garoppolo deal. After all, general manager Nick Caserio served as the New England Patriots' director of player personnel when the organization selected the quarterback in the second round of the 2014 draft.
Seattle Seahawks: DL L.J. Collier to Giants
The Seattle Seahawks' edge rotation appears set, and it won't necessarily include L.J. Collier for another season.
Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu are the projected as starters, and rightly so. Taylor is the Seahawks' most promising pass-rusher, while the team signed Nwosu to a two-year, $19.1 million free-agent contract this offseason.
From there, the Seahawks drafted Boye Mafe with this year's 40th pick. Collier and Tyreke Smith are left to become the fourth option. The 2019 first-round pick isn't guaranteed anything.
In 37 games, Collier has only three sacks. To say he's been a disappointment is an understatement.
He could land with a team such as the New York Giants, who are better equipped to take advantage of his skill set. Collier, who has never been much of an edge-rusher, can start as a base end alongside Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence and reduce down in certain sub-packages.
Meanwhile, Azeez Ojulari and this year's fifth pick, Kayvon Thibodeaux, will be screaming off the edge to give the Giants a more complete pass rush.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Tyler Johnson to Browns
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply have too many talented wide receivers. That statement seems counterintuitive in today's pass-happy NFL, but roster restrictions limit how many options a team can carry.
Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage are set as the top three options. A free-for-all should ensue for spots during training camp.
Tyler Johnson, Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, Jaelon Darden, Cyril Grayson Jr., Vyncint Smith, Jerreth Sterns and Deven Thompkins will compete to earn a place on the 53-man roster.
Johnson has been given plenty of opportunities to impress throughout his first two season, but everything hasn't clicked. He's still a 23-year-old with upside and two years remaining on his rookie deal.
The Cleveland Browns are young at wide receiver. Amari Cooper is the team's clear-cut top option. Beyond Cooper, some order will materialize among Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz and third-round rookie David Bell. Johnson and Bell present similar skill sets, but the two can be interchangeable as slot or outside options.
Whatever the case, the Browns need someone to become a secondary target. Johnson would bring as much ability as anyone already on the roster.
Tennessee Titans: TE Geoff Swaim to Falcons
Not a lot of fat can be found on the Tennessee Titans roster, especially after the team moved on from A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Anthony Firkser, Jayon Brown, Rashaan Evans and Rodger Saffold.
The team mitigated some of its losses with the additions of Austin Hooper, Jamarco Jones and Robert Woods and the draft selections of Treylon Burks and Chigoziem Okonkwo.
Hooper's and Okonkwo's inclusions were important because they signaled a change at tight end. Geoff Swaim is a solid contributor, but Hooper is a better traditional tight end, while the rookie fourth-rounder will add dynamic receiving qualities despite being undersized (6'3", 238 pounds).
The Falcons, on the other hand, could use a strong in-line option to complement their standout tight end, Kyle Pitts. Pitts is a wide receiver in arguably the most athletic tight end body anyone has ever seen. Coincidentally, Firkser signed with Atlanta as a free agent. Neither is a true Y.
Swaim can serve in that role for Arthur Smith since the two previously worked together when the latter called offensive plays for the Titans.
Washington Commanders: DL Daron Payne to Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers may be one of the NFL's most consistent and conservative franchises, but they are more than willing to make a move when a good opportunity arises.
Think back to the price they paid to acquire Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has thrived with Pittsburgh. It's time for the Steelers to consider something similar for defensive line reinforcements.
The Washington Commanders are in a predicament. They sank significant financial investments into quarterback Carson Wentz and wide receiver Terry McLaurin this offseason. Jonathan Allen signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension a year ago. Defensive end Chase Young will enter the window for an extension next offseason. As a result, Daron Payne, who is on the final year of his rookie deal, could be the odd man out.
According to The Athletic's Ben Standig, Washington "quietly let other teams know Payne [was] available for a trade" prior to the draft.
With Stephon Tuitt's surprise retirement and Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu 33 and 35 years old, a big trade for a stout 25-year-old interior defender is a splash move the Steelers should make.