1 Trade Each NFL Team Should Propose Before the 2022 Season

Alex KayContributor IAugust 22, 2022

1 Trade Each NFL Team Should Propose Before the 2022 Season

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    The 2022 NFL season may nearly be here, but there is still plenty of time for teams around the league to talk shop and swing trades.

    Notable players could be on the move based on training camp and preseason results. With positional battles being settled and depth charts being sorted, franchises may seek to clear a logjam by offloading some veteran talent who may otherwise ride the pine.

    While final cuts aren’t due until August 30, general managers could make certain decisions easier by trading away a player currently on the fringes. These decision-makers would benefit heavily from scoring a late-round pick for a player who might not even make the final 53-man roster.

    With that in mind, here is a look at one player each NFL team could propose a trade to get rid of prior to the 2022 campaign kicking off.

Arizona Cardinals: WR Andy Isabella to Seattle Seahawks

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    Andy Isabella has been a bust for the Arizona Cardinals, but a divisional rival could help revitalize the young wide receiver’s career.

    Isabella fell completely out of favor in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense last year, catching just one pass for 13 yards across a mere 30 snaps over eight games.

    The Cardinals granted Isabella permission to seek a trade and shopped him around during the 2022 draft, but so far neither side has found a taker.

    Arizona should attempt once more to move Isabella rather than waste a spot on the roster again, this time offering him to the Seattle Seahawks for a last-round pick.

    Isabella would be a perfect buy-low pickup for the Seahawks. The team has no real chance of contending this year after trading Russell Wilson and failing to unearth a suitable heir to the star quarterback’s throne.

    With a lost season on the horizon, Seattle could kick the tires on the 2019 second-rounder and give him ample opportunity to prove himself.

    Isabella was a highly regarded prospect for his speed and athleticism who displayed a well-rounded skill set at UMass.

    If he reaches that ceiling, he could serve as an ideal complementary wideout behind starters DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, the latter of whom is about to turn 30 years old and could see a decline in the coming seasons.

Atlanta Falcons: LB Deion Jones to New England Patriots

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    The Atlanta Falcons appear to be stuck with Deion Jones, but the lack of interest thus far shouldn’t shop them from trying to trade their expensive linebacker this offseason.

    According to The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz, Atlanta hasn’t been able to find a suitable trade for Jones despite multiple attempts to deal him. The club seems resigned to keeping the 27-year-old, preferring to have him on the roster rather than take the massive dead money hit a release would bring.

    When Jones is healthy—he’s still working his way back from a shoulder surgery—he has the talent be a significant asset for a contending squad. The Falcons could attempt to leverage his talents by dangling him to a Super Bowl hopeful in exchange for meager recompense.

    A team like the New England Patriots could be intrigued by the value here. The Pats parted ways with Dont’a Hightower this offseason and need a high-caliber replacement for their longtime defensive captain.

    Jones has recorded 652 tackles, 11 interceptions—five of which he returned for touchdowns—and 8.5 sacks over his first six years in the league. The Pro Bowler may be rehabbing, but he’s played in all but one game since the start of the 2019 campaign and a clean bill of health could coincide with a return to form.

    Although they would have to take on a significant portion of Jones’ $24.9 million salary to get him cheap, New England hasn’t shied away from moves like this in the past. It’s a low-risk, high-reward deal that could pay dividends.

Baltimore Ravens: OG Ben Powers to Minnesota Vikings

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    The Baltimore Ravens are hosting a competitive battle for their starting left guard job. It could get easier to declare a winner if the club opts to trade one of the linemen vying for the gig.

    Although head coach John Harbaugh recently called Ben Powers the “most consistent guy there right now,” he could net the club a nice return in a trade.

    Powers, a fourth-round pick in 2019, has started 19 games for Baltimore over the last two seasons. His 66.3 PFF grade last year was adequate, but it wasn’t indicative of a long-term anchor along the interior of the offensive trenches.

    With Tyre Phillips and Ben Cleveland also for the same role, the Ravens may benefit most by simply dealing Powers and removing one competitor from the picture.

    The team may have showed their hand during the preseason opener by deploying Powers as their starting right guard and giving him snaps at center. Having him display that type of versatility could bolster his trade value by widening the number of potential suitors.

    The Minnesota Vikings are desperate for a decent center right now. Garrett Bradbury hasn’t panned out for the club and needs to be replaced for their line to be competitive. They should be more than willing to part with an early Day 3 pick to get someone like Powers before the season begins.

    With his reps in training camp and preseason at the position, Powers could immediately slot in as the team’s new starting center for 2022. If Minnesota finds a more natural fit for the position in the future, Powers could slide back over to guard or provide depth at multiple spots.

Buffalo Bills: WR Jamison Crowder to Baltimore Ravens

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    The Buffalo Bills picked up a quality veteran wideout this offseason in Jamison Crowder, but there’s a chance he doesn’t play a single meaningful snap for the club.

    Crowder needs to beat out Isaiah McKenzie and rookie Khalil Shakir for the WR3 role in an offense that already has a an elite wideout in Stefon Diggs and an up-and-comer in Gabe Davis. The position looks crowded, potentially leaving the the 29-year-old as the odd man out.

    While the seven-year veteran has been a steady option for much of his career, injuries—including one suffered early in training camp—have set Crowder back in recent seasons.

    Since Crowder’s salary is fully guaranteed, the Bills would be much better off finding a taker over losing money by cutting him.

    The Baltimore Ravens should be interested in acquiring a wideout with Crowder’s resume. The team has a critical lack of proven pass-catchers in its receiver’s room right now, an issue it can cheaply rectify by bringing in a savvy veteran for a late-round pick.

    With second-year wideout Rashod Bateman set to take on the WR1 role and a host of inexperienced talent such as Devin Duvernay and James Proche II attempting to establish a pecking order behind him, Baltimore’s passing game will be in rough shape if a move like this isn’t made soon.

Carolina Panthers: QB Sam Darnold to Seattle Seahawks

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    The Carolina Panthers tried and failed to revitalize Sam Darnold’s career last year. The team admitted the gambit didn’t work by taking on another project in Baker Mayfield this offseason.

    While Darnold cost Carolina several draft picks—including a second-rounder this year—the club will likely have to settle for a Day 3 pick in exchange for dumping off the quarterback’s salary and opening up a roster spot.

    The Seattle Seahawks are one of the teams downright desperate for a decent signal-caller right now. Their decision to trade away Russell Wilson has them looking for a starting QB for the first time in a decade.

    Geno Smith and Drew Lock are duking it out for the job in preseason, but neither is a viable long-term option under center. Rolling the dice on Darnold could potentially give the organization a franchise QB for a throwaway draft selection.

    Because Seattle isn’t expected to contend in 2022, Darnold can get a low-stakes audition in the Pacific Northwest, a final chance to prove he’s capable of becoming a decent starter in this league.

    Given Darnold is just 25 years old and it’s reasonable to conclude that the New York Jets and Panthers simply couldn’t unlock the talents that made him the No. 3 overall pick four years ago, it would be hard to fault the Seahawks for taking a chance here.

Chicago Bears: LB Roquan Smith to Las Vegas Raiders

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    The Chicago Bears may not have a desire to deal Roquan Smith right now, but the star linebacker could force the organization to deal him before the 2022 campaign kicks off.

    Smith began a holding-in to protest his lack of a contract extension before he publicly announced his trade request earlier in the month, releasing a statement that claimed the Bears have “refused to negotiate in good faith.”

    As solid as Smith has been to start his career, the Bears have plenty of needs during this critical rebuilding stage. They may not want to pay upward of $20 million annually to an off-ball linebacker and could benefit more from the package they would receive for his services.

    If Chicago decides to move Smith, offering him to the Las Vegas Raiders could be the best play. Vegas made its intentions to compete this year readily obvious after dealing for Davante Adams and could swing another blockbuster, this time to bolster the defense.

    The Raiders have the cap space—their $23 million in available funds is more than every club but the Browns—to give Smith the deal he desires

    Vegas’ linebacking corps leaves something to be desired. Denzel Perryman has been inconsistent at best during his career, and fellow starter Divine Deablo is still learning the position after being converted from safety. Trayvon Mullen Jr. had a down year before joining as a free agent, making Smith an ideal pickup to bolster this unit.

    It could be costly to get a deal done in terms of draft capital—it would likely take at least a second-rounder plus some later picks—and a new contract, but Smith would patch a huge hole in the Raiders defense. With Chicago getting more assets to rebuild and significant cap savings, both sides should be happy with this move.

Cincinnati Bengals: S Jessie Bates III to Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Cincinnati Bengals did not come to terms on a contract extension with Jessie Bates III this offseason. Although they knew the star safety had no interest in playing the 2022 season on the franchise tag, the team still offered it his way and let the deadline to sign him to a long-term deal pass.

    Unsurprisingly, Bates declined to sign the tender and began holding out. He’s still yet to report to training camp, and there is little Cincinnati can do at this point to appease him besides finding a trade partner.

    If Bates refuses to return, the Bengals could ship him over to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a Day 2 draft pick.

    The Eagles improved their secondary this offseason by locking up cornerback James Bradberry following his release from the rival New York Giants and could get even better with the addition of Bates.

    Bates has already tallied up 408 tackles, 35 pass defenses and 10 interceptions since entering the league in 2018. He’d add an edge to a Philadelphia defense that allowed nearly 70 percent of passes to be completed and gave up 28 touchdowns against 12 interceptions last season.

Cleveland Browns: RB Kareem Hunt to Kansas City Chiefs

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    Kareem Hunt isn’t happy about his current contract situation and asked the Cleveland Browns to trade him earlier in August.

    Although the team denied the request and the star running back is still participating in training camp, the Browns could opt to reverse course. Moving on from Hunt before losing him for nothing following the 2022 season would be a sensible move given how deep the team is at the RB position.

    With Nick Chubb—one of the NFL’s best backs—locked in as the starter, third-stringer D’Ernest Johnson looking like a potential star in his limited work last year and promising rookie Jerome Ford now in the mix, Cleveland could forge ahead without the talented veteran.

    It’s possible the team that Hunt started his career with would be interested in taking him back, though the Kansas City Chiefs did release Hunt in 2018 after footage of him shoving and kicking a woman was made public. The running back apologized and reportedly underwent treatment and counseling after two other alleged physical altercations surfaced in the news.

    Hunt’s return would greatly boost a Chiefs backfield that hasn’t gotten much out of 2020 first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The club is desperate for playmakers after trading away their most dangerous weapon in Tyreek Hill, leaving a major pass-catching void that Hunt could help fill.

    Even if it’s only a one-year rental, giving up a late-Day 2 or early-Day 3 draft pick for Hunt would aid the Chiefs tremendously in their quest to make a fifth straight AFC Championship Game.

Dallas Cowboys: DT Trysten Hill to Jacksonville Jaguars

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    The Dallas Cowboys brought in Trysten Hill to bolster the defensive trenches in 2019. The second-round pick hasn’t lived up to expectations, however, and could find himself dealt while he still has some value this offseason.

    Hill has performed decently in the preseason, a promising showing that could help the team get a better return for his services. The team seems set at the defensive tackle spot right now with veterans Neville Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa, Carlos Watkins and Quinton Bohanna in the mix and rookie John Ridgeway learning behind them.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars may be willing to cough up a Day 3 pick for Hill, a move that would reinforce a position that isn’t exactly brimming with depth right now.

    While Jacksonville did add a quality free-agent DT in Folorunso Fatukasi this offseason, fellow starter DaVon Hamilton earned an unsightly 52.8 PFF grade last year. Jay Tufele and Adam Gotsis aren’t great options behind them either, opening the door for Hill to earn some meaningful playing time right away.

    While Hill only has 27 tackes and 0.5 sacks to his name since entering the league, a fresh start in Jacksonville could rejuvenate his career and help him reach the ceiling that made him an exciting prospect back in 2019.

Denver Broncos: Edge Malik Reed to Arizona Cardinals

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    The Denver Broncos aren’t stacked with talent on the edge, but they do employ several intriguing players who could evolve into legitimate contributors this season.

    While Malik Reed is one of the more established pass-rushers on Denver’s roster, the club might be better off trading him and clearing the way for the likes of Nik Bonitto and Baron Browning to shine across from free-agent pickup Randy Gregory.

    Reed could net the Broncos a nice return given his status as a capable edge-rusher on a reasonable contract. Owed just a shade over $2.4 million for the 2022 season, the 26-year-old could draw serious interest from contending squads if he’s shopped around.

    One team that should be heavily interested is the Arizona Cardinals. The team let Chandler Jones walk in free agency and is hoping that a pair of rookies in Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders can replace the veteran’s huge production.

    If Arizona is going to get back to the postseason and avenge an embarrassing NFC Wild Card Round loss, the team needs more proven options on the edge. Reed would be a fantastic fit, joining forces with J.J. Watt and the youngsters to form a much more balanced pass-rushing unit.

Detroit Lions: DT Michael Brockers to Los Angeles Rams

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    The Detroit Lions brought Michael Brockers in from the Los Angeles Rams last offseason for the low cost of a 2023 seventh-round pick. After only one season with the club, Brockers could be on his way out.

    While Brockers is one of the few veteran leaders on Detroit’s roster, the team is oozing with young and upcoming talent in the defensive trenches. He is on the wrong side of 30, coming off a disappointing showing—Brockers earned a concerning 40.6 PFF grade last year—and isn’t likely to be around when the Lions finally turn a corner and becomes a contender.

    With his reasonable contract—just $7 million in 2021 and $10 million in 2022—the 2012 first-round pick could be a better fit with a club in win-now mode.

    A return to the Rams could be a great fit and a sensible move for all parties. The Lions would free up cap space and open playing time up for 2021 second-rounder Levi Onwuzurike, while Los Angeles gets a player who is intimately familiar with its system and could immediately assist in a title defense.

    Brockers would fit in nicely to a rotation with the likes of Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines, depth the Rams need to sustain another long season and playoff run.

    Considering they probably wouldn’t need to give up anything more than the pick they returned for him in 2021, this deal nicely fills a need and comes cheap.

Green Bay Packers: QB Jordan Love to Indianapolis Colts

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    The Green Bay Packers' decision to take Jordan Love with their first-round pick was controversial in 2020 and remains as much in 2022.

    With Aaron Rodgers re-upping on a three-year extension this offseason, it’s now time for the Packers to admit the move was a mistake and deal the young signal-caller while he still holds plenty of value.

    Love didn’t do much of note during his first two seasons in the league but looked sharp in his preseason debut this year. He hung 113 yards and a touchdown on the New Orleans Saints, making several big throws and showing strong development all around.

    That performance should have perked up the ears of several rival teams in need of a franchise quarterback, a group that includes the Indianapolis Colts.

    Indy settled on veteran Matt Ryan to lead the offense this year—the latest in a string of stopgap signal-callers the team has brought in following Andrew Luck’s retirement—but have a clear need for a young QB to build around.

    Love would get a chance to become the next in a long line of storied Colts quarterbacks. While he wouldn’t take the reins right away, spending a year learning the system and preparing to take over in 2023 could set him up for sustained long-term success.

    While Love won’t come at a bargain—especially not after his latest preseason showing—a second-round pick could be enough to pry him away from Green Bay.

Houston Texans: OL Max Scharping to Carolina Panthers

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    Max Scharping has been a serviceable offensive lineman since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2019. He’s never developed into a top-end starter, however, and is in danger of riding the pine for much of the upcoming campaign.

    With the additions of rookie Kenyon Green and A.J. Cann, the Texans' guard spots are in better shape than they were last year. That could render Scharping—who has started 33 games in his career—expendable.

    The Carolina Panthers have been working relentlessly to re-tool their offensive line following a dismal 2021 performance. They could make another move to shore their protection up right before the season starts, with Scharping making an intriguing candidate for the club.

    At the age of 26 and only owed $2.5 million for the final year of his rookie deal, the Northern Illinois product could be a budget starting option for a Carolina unit that shouldn’t feel comfortable with its current left guard situation.

    Michael Jordan and Brady Christensen are currently battling it out for the job, but Scharping could usurp both quickly. Even if he doesn’t slot in as a starter right away, the Panthers have a lack of depth in the offensive trenches that Scharping’s presence would help rectify.

    If the Panthers cough up a late-Day 3 pick, it should be enough to take Scharping off the Texans’ hands.

Indianapolis Colts: QB Sam Ehlinger to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    The Indianapolis Colts may have an intriguing young backup quarterback in Sam Ehlinger on their roster right now, but there’s a real chance the team could soon lose him.

    The Colts have only carried two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster in recent years, and it's highly unlikely Ehlinger is able to climb over backup Nick Foles or starter Matt Ryan before final cuts are due. While Indianapolis would ideally put Ehlinger on the practice squad, there is a real chance a competing squad poaches the 23-year-old if that move is attempted.

    Rather than watch Ehlinger depart for zero compensation, the Colts may want to outright offer their second-year signal-caller to a team that would consider claiming him.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team that could take on Ehlinger as a long-term project. The team felt the pain of losing Tom Brady earlier in the offseason to a brief retirement and should want to better position itself for life without the future Hall of Famer.

    Ehlinger may not be Brady’s heir, but having him learn from the greatest QB of all time—with a chance to supplant Blaine Gabbert as the backup eventually—could help him develop into a quality NFL starter one day.

Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Laviska Shenault Jr. to Houston Texans

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    Laviska Shenault Jr. was once one of the more intriguing prospects on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster, but time is quickly running out for the 23-year-old to show he can be a viable NFL wideout.

    Shenault was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft and opened his career with a 58-reception, 600-yard, five-touchdown rookie year. He regressed in 2021, however, only catching 63 passes for 619 yards and failing to score once. He had eight drops last season alone, bringing his career total to a concerning 11.

    With Jacksonville recently adding Christian Kirk and Zay Jones to complement a receiving corps that also has Marvin Jones Jr. and Laquon Treadwell, Shenault could find his role even further reduced in 2022.

    Rather than let him languish on the pine or cutting him, the Jaguars could offer him up to the receiver-needy Texans for a Day 3 pick.

    Houston’s receiving corps is already thin and could have a critical lack of talent if the club opts to trade Brandin Cooks this year. Cooks recently re-upped for two more seasons but could be more valuable to the club as trade bait to bolster the current rebuild.

    The Texans have guys like Nico Collins, Chris Moore, Chris Conley and Phillip Dorsett attempting to carve out a role behind Cooks. Shenault may not be ready to separate as a clear-cut WR2, but he’d be one of the most athletically gifted wideouts on the roster with a higher ceiling than his peers.

Kansas City Chiefs: RB Ronald Jones to New Orleans Saints

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    The Kansas City Chiefs have been struggling to get production from the running back position over the last few years. The team’s high-powered passing attack has allowed it to overcome the lack of an elite backfield, but this flaw could be exposed following a receiver’s room overhaul in 2022.

    The Chiefs should be working to bring in a top-tier back to improve this situation. To free up room on the roster, the club could shop disappointing backup Ronald Jones around.

    Jones was brought in early in free agency but hasn’t separated himself during training camp. He’s buried behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon on the depth chart and worked with the third- and fourth-string offense in the preseason.

    The 2018 second-rounder racked up nearly 1,000 rushing yards and scored seven rushing touchdowns while starting for the eventual champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago. He’s only 25 years old and could still return to form, but it seems Kansas City isn’t the right location to maximize the back’s talents.

    The New Orleans Saints could be a better fit for Jones.

    The team doesn’t have much in the way of depth behind star starter Alvin Kamara, who has yet to play a full season since his rookie year in 2017. Primary backup Mark Ingram II is well on the wrong side of 30 and only accumulated 260 yards and one touchdown for the club in seven games last year.

    Jones would push for the No. 2 role quickly in the Big Easy. For what would almost surely cost no more than a late-Day 3 pick—potentially even a conditional one—it’s a great move for the Saints to shore up their improving offense.

Las Vegas Raiders: TE Darren Waller to Green Bay Packers

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    The Las Vegas Raiders have a tough decision to make regarding Darren Waller. The tight end has outperformed the four-year, $29.8 million contract he inked in 2019 and is now hoping for a new deal.

    Vegas is understandably being cautious about giving out a big-money extension to a player who is going to turn 30 at the start of the 2022 campaign, missed six games last year and has already been absent from training camp with injuries.

    If the Raiders do not plan to meet Waller’s demands, they could opt to trade him and get a sizable return for his services.

    The Green Bay Packers, a team that Vegas already swung a major deal with this offseason when they landed Davante Adams, should be interested in taking Waller on. The Packers made it clear they wanted Waller as part of that deal and still have a clear need for his services.

    Green Bay’s pass-catchers leave a lot to be desired, especially at the tight end position. The team failed to find an upgrade to Robert Tonyan this offseason, making it a spot to address before the campaign begins.

    It would probably cost the Packers a second-rounder and an additional late-mid-round pick to convince the Raiders to part with their star tight end. That would be worth it if the club wishes to contend during the final years of Aaron Rodgers’ career.

Los Angeles Chargers: DT Jerry Tillery to Cleveland Browns

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    Jerry Tillery has been one of the more polarizing players on the Los Angeles Chargers roster. The 2019 first-round pick has been a consistent starter over the last two seasons but didn’t show enough growth to have his fifth-year option picked up by the club.

    With Tillery now in a contract year, the Bolts could decide to move on from the inconsistent defensive tackle a year early and get some value in return rather than let him leave for nothing come the spring.

    The Cleveland Browns could take on Tillery to improve the interior of their defensive line. Their top-four rotation of Taven Bryan, Jordan Elliott, Tommy Togiai and rookie Perrion Winfrey is relatively weak, and the addition of Tillery could inject some more upside into this unit.

    With elite edge-rushers like Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney book-ending the Browns’ line, Tillery might just thrive in the middle. For the low cost of a Day 3 pick, the 25-year-old could add a surprising edge to the Cleveland defense in 2022.

Los Angeles Rams: S Taylor Rapp to Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Los Angeles Rams boast one of the league’s most feared defenses despite one of their rare early-round picks failing to develop into a quality starter.

    Taylor Rapp, a second-round pick in 2019, is going into his fourth NFL season and has yet to emerge as a top contributor in L.A.’s secondary. He finally earned a starting job last season but only notched 94 tackles, six pass defenses and four interceptions despite staying on the field for 96 percent of the defensive snaps.

    Rapp is most comfortable in the box and struggles in coverage. In 2021, he allowed a concerning 74.1 percent completion rate on the 58 targets he faced and gave up a career-high four touchdowns.

    With his contract set to expire following the season and the Rams unlikely to retain him, Rapp could be a trade candidate this preseason. A safety-needy squad like the Cincinnati Bengals—the team the Rams beat in the Super Bowl last season—could be interested.

    Given the Rams also have Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess at the safety position, they wouldn’t need much in terms of compensation to part with a player making $2.9 million who could find himself back on the second-string unit in 2022.

    A sixth-round pick could be enough for the Cincinnati Bengals to convince Los Angeles to ship Rapp over and shore up the secondary.

Miami Dolphins: WR Preston Williams to Cleveland Browns

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    The Miami Dolphins are attempting to clear their logjam at the receiver position by reportedly making both Lynn Bowden Jr. and Preston Williams available.

    Williams has become disgruntled with the Dolphins after the club added Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson Jr. this offseason. Those veterans, along with the emergence of Jaylen Waddle as a star last year, have pushed the fourth-year wideout way down Miami’s depth chart.

    The 25-year-old found a consistent role in the ‘Phins offense during his first two years in the league. Although he was only available for 16 total games, he managed to rack up 50 catches for 716 yards and seven scores in that span.

    Williams was phased out last year, catching just six passes for 71 yards and failing to find the end zone in any of the eight contests he participated in. It’s unlikely he’ll improve upon those numbers if he remains in Miami.

    The Cleveland Browns could give Williams the opportunity he is seeking.

    The Browns have little in the way of proven pass-catchers outside of Amari Cooper. Donovan Peoples-Jones and rookie David Bell are both set to assume large roles for this club as things stand right now, marking a concerning lack of depth and experience in this receiving corps.

    With a price tag that is likely no more than a conditional last-round pick, the Browns should roll the dice on the athletic 6’5”, 220-pound wideout.

Minnesota Vikings: S Harrison Smith to Miami Dolphins

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    The Minnesota Vikings have relied heavily on Harrison Smith to lead their defense over the last decade. A changing of the guard could happen sooner than later. An adjustment could be expedited this offseason if the team elects to trade its longtime safety.

    Smith is now 33 years old and could sharply decline as early as the 2022 campaign. Despite his advancing age, Smith hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down—evidenced by a career-high 114 tackles last season—which should help Minnesota maximize the return it would get for his services.

    By moving on from Smith a year early rather than a year late, the Vikings can save cap room and get some notable draft capital out of the Notre Dame product.

    The Miami Dolphins should jump at the chance to land Smith if they receive a call gauging their interest. He’d be an ideal complement to rising star Jevon Holland and a significant improvement over Brandon Jones, Miami’s other projected starting safety.

    With Lewis Cine and Camryn Bynum ready to assume larger roles in Minnesota’s secondary, the Vikings should be willing to take an early-Day 2 pick in exchange for Smith.

New England Patriots: WR Nelson Agholor to Arizona Cardinals

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    The New England Patriots’ receiver’s room is brimming with mid-range weapons. While the team doesn’t have any truly elite playmakers at the position, it has a group of decent pass-catchers all looking to establish themselves atop the pecking order this preseason.

    New England could remove one candidate from the equation by shipping off Nelson Agholor. The receiver was a mild disappointment during his first season in New England, catching just 48 passes for 896 yards and eight scores after signing a two-year, $22 million contract.

    Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers are both returning to the fold and have been joined by second-round pick Tyquan Thornton and trade pickup DeVante Parker. Agholor could be the odd man out in this group, making him a likely trade candidate ahead of final roster cuts.

    The Arizona Cardinals may want to consider bringing the pass-catcher aboard for a Day 3 pick after they lost wideout DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games of the 2022 campaign and let Christian Kirk walk in free agency.

    While Arizona did bring in Marquise Brown from the Baltimore Ravens, the club will be relying heavily on aging wideout A.J. Green and an unproven Rondale Moore following a wildly inconsistent rookie year.

    Agholor would give recently extended quarterback Kyler Murray a reliable and athletic deep threat who could play a big role early in the year with the potential to establish himself as a consistent part of the offense even after Hopkins gets back from his suspension.

New Orleans Saints: TE Nick Vannett to Houston Texans

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    The New Orleans Saints might have too many capable tight ends on their roster after Taysom Hill made a full-time switch to the position. That could lead to the club dealing Nick Vannett before the 2022 season kicks off.

    The 29-year-old has his work cut out for attempting to establish a regular role behind starter Adam Trautman and Hill. The Saints also have a promising talent in converted receiver Juwan Johnson, who caught two touchdowns in last year’s season opener, and Chris Herndon competing for snaps.

    Vannett didn’t do much of note during his first season in the Big Easy, reeling in a mere nine receptions for 133 yards and one score in seven games. Barring a slew of injuries that hinders New Orleans’ depth, he could soon be on his way to his fourth team in as many years.

    The Houston Texans could give Vannett plenty of playing time this season. They have one of the weakest tight end rooms in football, a group headlined by Pharaoh Brown, Jordan Brevin and rookie Teagan Quitoriano vying for playing time in training camp.

    Vannett would immediately slot in as one of the better options for Houston, which would have to give up almost nothing in exchange for his services. A conditional seventh-rounder should get this deal done.

New York Giants: WR Darius Slayton to Indianapolis Colts

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    Darius Slayton has been one of the New York Giants’ most intriguing young players, but he’s running out of time to show he can take a leap.

    After being selected in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, Slayton amassed an impressive 98 catches for 1,491 yards and 11 touchdowns across the first 30 games of his career. He regressed in 2021, however, notching only 26 catches for 339 yards and two scores.

    With Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney returning to the mix as starters and Wan’Dale Robinson the top candidate for the WR3 role this year, Slayton could see even fewer offensive snaps than the career-low 536 he logged last year.

    The G-Men would be better served taking a sixth-rounder from a team like the Indianapolis Colts over burying Slayton on the depth chart.

    The Colts had one of the league’s weakest passing attacks last year but have made several changes to rectify the issue. With Matt Ryan now starting under center and rookie Alec Pierce joining up-and-coming star Michael Pittman Jr., the team could have a much more balanced offense in 2022.

    Slayton could immediately step in as the WR3 in Indianapolis, giving the club a promising young receiving corps that has a chance to heavily impress this coming season.

New York Jets: WR Denzel Mims to Dallas Cowboys

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    The New York Jets overhauled their offense following yet another disappointing season in 2021. One of the key additions was rookie Garrett Wilson, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2022 draft.

    Wilson rounds out a receiving corps that also features a pair of solid starters in Elijah Moore and Corey Davis. That trio, along with possession receiver Braxton Berrios, is likely to dominate the touches during the regular season.

    Denzel Mims was already struggling to see regular action for Gang Green and could be phased out entirely this year because of the Wilson pickup.

    The 2020 second-round pick’s snap count decreased from 439 as a rookie to just 279 in 2021. Mims’ production regressed from 23 catches for 357 yards in his first year to a mere eight catches for 133 yards last season.

    Although Mims is a cut candidate at this point, the Jets should try to offer him up to a receiver-needy squad before releasing him. The Dallas Cowboys are starved for healthy wideouts right now and could be convinced to part with a late-Day 3 pick to bolster their depth.

    Dallas lost Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr. this offseason and is currently forced to go without both Michael Gallup and James Washington while they rehab from injuries. CeeDee Lamb is locked in as the No. 1 WR, but the Cowboys will be relying heavily on third-round pick Jalen Tolbert to shoulder the No. 2 job while his teammates recover.

    With Tolbert a question mark and little depth behind him, Mims could be worth kicking the tires on to shore this unit up.

    It’s possible the Jets failed to maximize the once-promising prospect’s talents. Mims would get no shortage of opportunities in a depleted Dallas offense, a destination that represents his best chance to turn his career around.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor to Denver Broncos

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    Jalen Reagor hasn’t looked anything like the player the Philadelphia Eagles were hoping for when they drafted him in the first round three years ago.

    Despite this, teams are still reportedly interested in seeing if they can rehabilitate the 23-year-old’s wildly disappointing career. According to Geoff Mosher of Inside The Birds, at least two clubs have recently inquired about the receiver’s availability.

    Although he’s only notched 64 receptions for 695 yards and three touchdowns since entering the league, Reagor still has some upside after a dominant career at TCU.

    The Denver Broncos should be one of the interested parties after losing Tim Patrick for the season during training camp. Patrick’s ACL tear left a sizable void in the receiving corps, one that the Broncos have yet to bring in any notable replacements to fill.

    If Philadelphia’s asking price is low—a fifth-round pick at most—the Broncos could justify the risk of taking on this project.

    Reagor would get a shot at living up to his billing while running routes for a perennial Pro Bowler in Russell Wilson. If Denver’s rejuvenated offense can’t get the young receiver playing at a decent level, it’d be safe to call Reagor a surefire bust.

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Mason Rudolph to Detroit Lions

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing host to arguably the most interesting positional battle of any team during the preseason. The club has three candidates vying to replace the retired Ben Roethlisberger as its starting quarterback.

    While Mason Rudolph has the advantage of experience on his side following four years of backing up Big Ben, he lacks the experience that free-agent pickup Mitch Trubisky brings to the table and has a much lower ceiling than first-round rookie Kenny Pickett.

    Because of this, Rudolph could be dealt to set Trubisky and Pickett up as the top two quarterbacks—in some order—on Pittsburgh’s roster this year.

    Rudolph already admitted he was frustrated by the lack of first-team reps he was getting. With his chances of winning the QB1 job rapidly diminishing, the 27-year-old could end up getting shipped off before the regular season kicks off.

    The Detroit Lions are generating buzz as a potential landing destination for Rudolph.

    Steelers insider Andrew Fillipponi revealed that a former NFL GM predicted the Oklahoma State product will soon end up in the Motor City, a rather logical fit given Detroit’s quarterback situation.

    Jared Goff didn’t show anything during his first season with the Lions to give the team a reason to believe he could be the long-term solution under center.

    Backups Tim Boyle and David Blough aren’t cut out for much more than holding clipboards, making Rudolph a nice fit as a high-end backup who has the potential to take Goff’s role if the starter struggles again this year.

    Pittsburgh won’t be able to get much for Rudolph, but simply getting him off the roster in exchange for a late-Day 3 pick within the next week would be a big win. That would allow the Steelers to pare down their QB competition to just Pickett and Trubisky and free up a roster spot before final cuts are due.

San Francisco 49ers: QB Jimmy Garoppolo to Cleveland Browns

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    The San Francisco 49ers may have declared Trey Lance their new starting QB, but they still must figure out what to do with the incumbent.

    The Niners have waited patiently for a situation to arise that maximizes the asking price for Jimmy Garoppolo. While the signal-caller’s market was ice cold following a surprise surgery to open the offseason, he appears healthy and has been spotted throwing again.

    The Cleveland Browns could be one of the few squads willing to give San Francisco reasonable value in exchange for Garoppolo after starting QB Deshaun Watson was handed an 11-game suspension.

    The Browns would be facing a potential lost season without making a drastic move. The 30-year-old Garoppolo has led the 49ers to conference championship game appearances in each of his last two healthy seasons and can steady the ship while Watson is sidelined.

    Without a deal, a career backup in Jacoby Brissett would be tasked with guiding these promising but currently rudderless Browns to the playoffs. It’s a tall task in any division, let alone the competitive AFC North.

    Cleveland would have to absorb Garoppolo’s $24.2 million salary and send over some compensation to get a deal done. That alone should be enough to get the 49ers to make the move. Securing a late-Day 2 or early-Day 3 pick on top will be icing on the cake.

Seattle Seahawks: Edge L.J. Collier to New York Giants

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    The Seattle Seahawks have long been regretting their choice to draft L.J. Collier with first-round pick in 2019.

    He hardly saw the field as a rookie on a team that badly needed defensive line help, was forced into action and fared poorly in 16 starts as a sophomore before getting sent back to the bench for much of last year’s campaign.

    After recording a meager 33 tackles and three sacks across 930 defensive snaps in that three-year span, it’s readily apparent that Collier doesn’t have much of a future in Seattle. The club has the depth to move on from him—Darrell Taylor and Boye Mafe are both promising young talents—before the upcoming season.

    While Seattle could simply cut Collier, offering the edge-rusher up to a rebuilding team could net at least a conditional seventh-round pick based on his pedigree and upside.

    The New York Giants fit the bill here. The team is looking to exit a rebuild this offseason and could roll the dice on Collier to potentially add some surprise production at a bargain-bin price.

    Big Blue’s starters on the edge are solid, but the depth behind them isn’t elite. Having a group of rotational edge-rushers like Collier to throw at opposing quarterbacks will help this defense evolve into a playoff-worthy one.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Scotty Miller to Los Angeles Rams

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    Parting with a fan-favorite player is never easy, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be wise to flip wideout Scotty Miller this offseason.

    Miller was a fixture during the team’s Super Bowl-winning 2020 campaign but has since fallen out of favor and dealt with injuries. With Russell Gage and Julio Jones joining a receiving corps that still has Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, there simply won’t be enough touches to go around.

    There should be plenty of contenders interested in picking up a battle-tested wideout who was contributor for a championship club. The Los Angeles Rams could be one of them, needing to add some high-end depth to their receiver’s room.

    With Odell Beckham Jr. remaining unsigned, the Rams could go for a cheaper option to work behind Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson II and Van Jefferson as a fourth wideout. Miller has the reliable hands and well-rounded skill set to complement Los Angeles’ current crop of pass-catchers.

    It likely won’t take much for the Bucs to part with Miller right now either. They have a logjam to clear and some tough cuts on the horizon, so kicking over a Day 3 pick should get them to agree.

Tennessee Titans: TE Geoff Swaim to Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Tennessee Titans have made some additions to the tight end spot that could see an incumbent starter on the move.

    Tennessee brought in two new talents this offseason, signing veteran Austin Hooper and drafting Chigoziem Okonkwo in the fourth round to shake things up at a position that wasn’t exactly producing at a high level last year.

    Top tight ends Anthony Firkser and Geoff Swaim only accumulated a combined 65 catches for 501 yards and five scores in 2021. Firkser already departed to the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent, and Swaim could soon be on the move as well.

    The Eagles might be interested in acquiring Swaim to bolster a depleted tight end corps.

    The club has a quality starter in Dallas Goedert but lacks reliable options behind him. Jack Stoll—an undrafted free agent last year—is currently the No. 2 TE on the depth chart, a role that Swaim could fill in 2022.

    If the Titans keep their asking price reasonable—a seventh-rounder at most—the Eagles would be foolish to pass up on the chance to reinforce a position that is among the weakest on the roster.

Washington Commanders: DT Daron Payne to Detroit Lions

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    Daron Payne has been one of the more reliable members of the Washington Commanders defense since he was selected in the first round back in 2018.

    Although the 25-year-old has been a regular starter and has tallied up 227 tackles and 14.5 sacks over the last four years, he’s yet to fully reach the potential that made him such a lofty draft choice.

    The Commanders still picked up the fifth-year option on his contract, and he’s now entering the final year of that rookie deal.

    Because he’s set to hit the open market after the season and hasn’t yet earned an extension, The Athletic’s Ben Standig noted that teams have been inquiring about Payne’s availability. Thus far no deal has emerged strong enough to entice Washington’s brass to make a move.

    If the Commanders decide they want to get some value out of Payne before potentially losing him for nothing, they should offer him to the rebuilding Detroit Lions.

    Payne would be a great pickup for an up-and-coming defensive line. He’s still young enough to continue developing alongside the other emerging talents in the Motor City and would still be in his prime when Detroit finally emerges as a contender following this extended rebuild.

    It will take a respectable offer to pry Payne out of Washington.

    The Commanders will almost certainly net a compensatory mid-round pick if he exits in free agency next spring, so the Lions would need to cough up at least a late-Day 2 pick and package in some other minor assets to get a deal done.


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