5 NFL Stars Who Could Request a Trade Next
There have been a number of trades during the 2022 NFL offseason, and more could be coming in the months ahead.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt recently requested a trade because he's unhappy with his current contract, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Other star players may soon follow suit.
Like Hunt, some stars may not be happy with how extension negotiations are going. Others might prefer to go from a rebuilding team to a contender.
Whatever the case, the following five players—listed in alphabetical order—could soon ask for a change of scenery and a fresh start.
Jessie Bates III, S, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals failed to reach a long-term extension with safety Jessie Bates III before the mid-July deadline for franchise-tagged players. It's now unclear when—or if—the Bengals will get him back on the field.
CBS Sports' Josina Anderson reported Bates had "no intentions of reporting to training camp, nor playing on the franchise tag." Since he still has yet to sign his $12.9 million franchise tag, he can't be fined for his ongoing training camp holdout.
According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, "the Bengals remain confident Bates will be ready to play whenever he shows," and "there are no indications as of now the team is willing to entertain trading Bates." The safety also stated his desire to remain with the Bengals in February, but there is no end in sight to this current standoff.
Bates’ options are limited at this juncture. He must either sign his tag and play under it this season, continue holding out into the regular season, or request a trade.
If Bates chooses the last option, there should be no shortage of suitors interested in him. The 25-year-old has racked up over 400 tackles, defensed 35 passes and snared 10 interceptions since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2018.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are playing with fire, as they still have yet to sign quarterback Lamar Jackson to a long-term contract extension. While talks are ongoing between the two sides, they might not reach an agreement anytime soon.
Jackson is potentially in line to set records with his next deal. After Aaron Rodgers inked a three-year, $150.8 million extension, Deshaun Watson received a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million deal and Kyler Murray signed a five-year, $230.5 million contract this offseason, Jackson might be in line to earn more than $50 million annually.
Rodgers is the only quarterback with an average annual salary north of $50 million, but Murray ($46.1 million), Watson ($46.0 million) and Patrick Mahomes ($45.0 million) aren't far behind. The 25-year-old Jackson has also already won an MVP award, which Murray and Watson have not.
The two-time Pro Bowler has gone 37-12 as a starter and reached the playoffs in three of his four seasons as a starter. He’s racked up nearly 10,000 passing yards and 84 touchdowns against 31 interceptions while also adding 3,673 yards and 21 scores on the ground.
Jackson currently isn't holding out, but he could become disgruntled with the Ravens during the negotiation process. They should aim to avoid that by coming to terms with him on a new contract as soon as possible.
Derwin James, S, Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James wants a contract extension, but he hasn't received one yet. He has thus begun a hold-in—he’s attending training camp, but only engaging in walkthroughs rather than full practices—as a tactic to expedite a new deal.
James has established himself as one of the top players at his position. The 26-year-old has amassed 257 tackles, 19 pass defenses, 5.5 sacks, five interceptions and three forced fumbles in 36 games since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2018.
While James has been injury-prone at times—he played only five games in 2019 and missed the entire 2020 campaign—he returned to play 15 games last year. He earned his second Pro Bowl nod and a solid 78.1 grade from Pro Football Focus.
During a recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said he plans to get a deal done for James, but he admitted that it’s taken longer than he had hoped.
If the extension talks continue to drag out, the Bolts risk further alienating their star defender. With James heading into the final year of his rookie contract, he might wind up requesting a trade if he can't come to terms with the Chargers.
Robert Quinn, Edge, Chicago Bears
Robert Quinn re-emerged as one of the NFL’s top edge-rushers last season. After notching an impressive 18.5 sacks, he is ready to contribute to a winning team in 2022.
Unfortunately for Quinn, his Chicago Bears are far away from contending. They traded away fellow star pass-rusher Khalil Mack earlier in the offseason, while the offense prepares for Year 2 of the Justin Fields era after losing its two best incumbent starting offensive linemen.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Bears' regular-season win total set at 6.5, which suggests that Quinn's talents will be wasted if he stays in the Windy City this season. In May, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora relayed rumblings that the three-time Pro Bowler wants out of Chicago, although NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said in April that the Bears weren't shopping him.
Although he skipped a mandatory minicamp, Quinn publicly stated in late July that he wants to remain with the Bears. That could change during the season if Chicago’s defense takes a major step back without Mack and the team rapidly falls out of contention.
With three seasons left on his five-year, $70 million contract, Quinn would likely draw plenty of interest from contenders looking to spruce up their pass rush.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys could soon lose tight end Dalton Schultz after they failed to reach an agreement with him on a long-term extension this offseason. He is now set to play on the franchise tag this season after talks on a multiyear deal broke down over the summer.
The Cowboys are developing several promising tight ends behind Schultz, including 2020 undrafted free agent Sean McKeon and rookie fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson. Still, it could be difficult for them to replace Schultz, who was tied for the second-most targets on the team last year while hauling in 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns.
At the start of training camp, team executive Stephen Jones told reporters that Schultz “represents everything we want in a Dallas Cowboy” and said he believes the two sides will eventually reach a long-term deal. It won't happen this season, though, as the mid-July deadline to extend franchise-tagged players has come and gone.
If the Cowboys don’t show interest in meeting Schultz’s extension demands or signal they plan to franchise-tag him again in 2023, he could force his way out by requesting a trade.
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