2022 NFL Trade-Block Big Board and Top Potential Landing Spots Entering Week 1

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2022

2022 NFL Trade-Block Big Board and Top Potential Landing Spots Entering Week 1

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 09: Robert Quinn #94 of the Chicago Bears warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 9, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
    Robert Quinn (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

    The 2022 NFL season is finally upon us, football fans! The Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills will kick off the campaign Thursday at SoFi Stadium, and from there, it will be full speed ahead.

    Naturally, fans and players will be focused on the games that are in front of them. However, team decision-makers always have one eye on the future. Though the preseason and 53-player roster cuts are complete, player movement will continue.

    This includes the trade market, at least until this year's Nov. 1 deadline. Each week until then, we'll examine the top 10 trade targets based on each team's on-field and salary-cap situations, player roles, any relevant buzz and just a little bit of common sense.

    We'll also dive into prime landing spots based on factors like team needs, positional value and cap/contract situations.

The Selection Process

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    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 30: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass the ball in the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    To create our top 10 list, we have gathered 15 names that are likely to be on the trade block based on the aforementioned rankings criteria.

    The San Francisco 49ers, for example, restructured Jimmy Garoppolo's contract in order to keep him as the backup quarterback for Trey Lance this season. However, logic suggests that the team only did this because it couldn't find a trade partner.

    Once we established the top 15, we ranked players on their talent level, positional value and their likelihood of being dealt. For this exercise, we're looking at both player value and obtainability.

    This week's honorable mentions, in no particular order, are:

    • Mason Rudolph, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers 
    • D'Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns 
    • Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings 
    • Deion Jones, LB, Atlanta Falcons 
    • Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers

10. Sidney Jones, CB, Seattle Seahawks

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    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 12: Sidney Jones IV #23 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    Seattle Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones falls firmly into the "logic" category. He's a good player on a one-year, $3.6 million deal and with a team that isn't likely to contend in 2022.

    "We've been averaging 10 wins a year for the last 20-something years," head coach Pete Carroll recently said of Seattle and his time at USC, per ESPN's Brady Henderson. "... I don't see any reason my expectations should change at all."

    Sorry, Pete, but we do. This is a team that won seven games with Russell Wilson under center for most of 2021. With Wilson gone after being traded to the Denver Broncos, Seattle is more likely to chase the No. 1 pick than a playoff berth.

    Jones, who allowed an opposing passer rating of only 84.3 in coverage last season, would make for a tremendous in-season trade chip.

    There is no shortage of cornerback-needy teams, but two should be particularly high on Jones.

    The first is the Cincinnati Bengals, who reached Super Bowl LVI despite having the league's 26th-ranked pass defense. Jones would provide an immediate boost to a unit that has largely been built by acquiring veterans.

    The New England Patriots should also be in on Jones. New England lost star corner J.C. Jackson in free agency and released Malcolm Butler with an injury settlement. If the Patriots hope to remain in playoff contention this season, they could use another talented corner.

    Best Fits: Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots

9. Nelson Agholor, WR, New England Patriots

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    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 11: Nelson Agholor #15 of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups ahead of the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    While there hasn't been any real buzz about the Patriots trying to move wideout Nelson Agholor, there has been some speculation.

    "A source close to the situation expects one of the Patriots' veteran wide receivers to be traded or released, and that source believes Agholor is the prime candidate," Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus wrote in early August.

    It would make sense. Agholor had just 473 yards and three touchdowns last season, and trading him would clear at least $4.9 million off the cap—more if New England could convince a team to take on some of the dead money.

    With second-round pick Tyquan Thornton (collarbone) on injured reserve, though, New England probably wouldn't actively shop Agholor until the rookie is healthy.

    The Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers should be interested in Agholor if and when the price is right. They each have questionable receiver depth, and both were interested in acquiring Laviska Shenault Jr. from the Jacksonville Jaguars before he was dealt to the Carolina Panthers, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.

    Agholor, who logged 896 yards and eight touchdowns with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, could provide a spark to either team's offense.

    Best Fits: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers

8. Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns

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    CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Kareem Hunt #27 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
    Nick Cammett/Getty Images

    For now, the likelihood of the Cleveland Browns trading Kareem Hunt remains relatively low. Hunt, who is in the final year of his contract, requested a trade in the offseason. The Browns said no, according to ESPN.

    However, he could rocket up this list, as could No. 3 running back D'Ernest Johnson, if the team stumbles early in the season.

    Hunt has shown himself to be a high-end dual-threat running back, and he'd be a starter on most teams. Cleveland is also loaded at the position, with Hunt, Johnson, Nick Chubb, Jerome Ford and Demetric Felton Jr. rounding out the depth chart.

    If it becomes clear the Browns can't contend in 2022, they could be more inclined to part with the 2023 free agent.

    Virtually any team without an established starter could benefit by acquiring Hunt. The Falcons are a great example. Head coach Arthur Smith worked with a bell-cow back in Derrick Henry as the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. He doesn't have that in Atlanta and instead has a committee that includes receiver/runner Cordarrelle Patterson.

    Hunt, who led the league in rushing as a rookie in 2017, could be Smith's new centerpiece.

    The Los Angeles Rams would be another logical landing spot. They have an underwhelming backfield duo in Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. Neither has proved himself to be a high-end starter, and both are coming off injury-plagued campaigns. General manager Les Snead has not been shy about making big-time additions in-season.

    Best Fits: Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams

7. Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Las Vegas Raiders

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    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 25: Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Las Vegas Raiders defends against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL game at AT&T Stadium on November 25, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    The Las Vegas Raiders are giving 2019 fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell one more chance. The Clemson produce has not developed into a defensive difference-maker—he has eight sacks in three seasons—and is set to play out his rookie contract after the team declined his fifth-year option for 2023.

    Las Vegas kept Ferrell as depth behind Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. The Raiders probably also want to see if new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham can get Ferrell to play up to his potential.

    If the Raiders don't see a resurgence from Ferrell, who did have 4.5 sacks and 15 quarterback pressures as a rookie, they could look to cash him in for a player who can contribute right now.

    Teams that would be interested in Ferrell come in two varieties. There are contenders who want to add another pass-rusher to their rotations. The Rams are again a good example. Aaron Donald leads the pass rush, but L.A. seriously lacks depth on the edge after Leonard Floyd.

    Von Miller, who is now with the Buffalo Bills, was the only other defender to reach five sacks in 2021.

    The second flavor of a Ferrell-interested team is a rebuilding franchise that wants to take a crack at developing him. Seattle could be just such a team. The Seahawks lack edge-rushing talent after losing Carlos Dunlap in free agency, and they could look to turn Ferrell into a long-term piece.

    Best Fits: Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

6. Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets

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    INGLEWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 20: New York Jets Wide Receiver Denzel Mims (11) is pushed out of bounds by Los Angeles Rams Safety John Johnson III (43) during an NFL game between the New York Jets and the Los Angeles Rams on December 20, 2020, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    There was some trade buzz surrounding New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims late in the offseason. Mims requested a trade, and the Jets declined a few offers, according to SNY's Connor Hughes.

    Connor Hughes @Connor_J_Hughes

    The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Vikings?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Vikings</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cowboys</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Seahawks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Seahawks</a>, along with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Panthers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Panthers</a>, called the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Jets?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Jets</a> about trading for WR Denzel Mims, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/SNYtv?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SNYtv</a>. <br><br>The Jets asking price was a 4th round pick.<br><br>No team was willing to offer that, so Jets kept Mims.

    If it's just a matter of compensation, that issue could change dramatically as we get into the regular season.

    If teams become desperate for receiver help, that fourth-round price tag might not seem so steep. At the same time, the Jets could lower their asking price if Mims continues to be an offensive non-factor.

    Through two seasons, he has made only 11 starts and caught 31 passes for 490 yards and no touchdowns.

    The Minnesota Vikings and the Seahawks seem to be the two most logical landing spots for Mims. The Dallas Cowboys are likely looking for a receiver who can contribute immediately, as Michael Gallup continues to work back from a torn ACL and James Washington (foot) sits on injured reserve. The Panthers, meanwhile, landed Shenault.

    Seattle, as we've already mentioned, could be keen to take a flier on a developmental player who hasn't panned out elsewhere. The Vikings could be looking for someone to season behind 32-year-old wideout Adam Thielen.

    Minnesota also put wideout Olabisi Johnson on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

    Best Fits: Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings

5. Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers

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    CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 26: Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers runs off the field after a play against the Buffalo Bills in the second quarter of a preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 26, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
    Eakin Howard/Getty Images

    Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold cracks the top half of our list for two reasons. No position in the NFL is more valuable than quarterback, and while Darnold isn't a high-end signal-caller, he has 49 starts on his resume.

    He will also be expendable once he returns from injured reserve (ankle). Darnold lost the starting job to trade acquisition Baker Mayfield, and Carolina has P.J. Walker as a backup and Jacob Eason on the practice squad.

    If the Panthers can get another team to take on any of Darnold's $18.9 million guaranteed salary, they'll do it.

    The tricky part is finding a logical landing spot. For Carolina to find a buyer for Darnold, it'll likely need a contending team to lose its starter in-season. If, say, Matthew Stafford goes down for an extended period in L.A., the Rams could view Darnold as a reasonable stopgap.

    Carolina would likely be competing with the 49ers in this scenario, and we'll dive into that shortly.

    But with starters mostly healthy going into Week 1, Seattle and Atlanta are the two teams that might take a flier on Darnold. The Seahawks might want to see if he has more long-term value than Geno Smith and Drew Lock. The Falcons might want a different placeholder if Marcus Mariota struggles early and rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder isn't ready for the starting job.

    Darnold will be available; however, his market won't materialize until we're closer to the deadline.

    Best Fits: Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons

4. Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 28: Wide receiver Darius Slayton #86 of the New York Giants in action during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on July 28, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Darius Slayton is another receiver who was the subject of trade buzz before final roster cuts. He also seemed to be a potential cap casualty, as the New York Giants could have saved $2.5 million by releasing him.

    The Giants, though, held on to Slayton, likely as a trade chip.

    "Just because Slayton hasn’t been traded yet doesn't mean he won’t be, eventually," Darryl Slater of NJ Advance Media wrote. "It could take some time for a trade to materialize."

    On Wednesday, Slayton agreed to a revised contract that will pay him the league minimum, according to Tom Rock of Newsday. This doesn't mean that his spot on the team is secure.

    In New York, Slayton is stuck in a crowded receiver room that also features Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney and rookie second-rounder Wan'Dale Robinson. Right now, Slayton seems like obvious trade bait.

    He has shown more as a pro than Mims, with an impressive 740-yard, eight-touchdown 2019 campaign as his highlight. His stock will rise if a contender loses a key pass-catcher, but there should be plenty of interested contenders now.

    The Packers should be at the top of the list, as rookie second-round pick Christian Watson has missed valuable time in camp following knee surgery. Green Bay traded Davante Adams to Las Vegas in the offseason and appears to still be sorting through its options.

    The Rams could also be interested, as they have yet to re-sign Odell Beckham Jr., who's recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the Super Bowl, and have Van Jefferson working his way back from "minor" knee surgery, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

    Best Fits: Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams

3. Chuck Clark, S, Baltimore Ravens

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    BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 27: Chuck Clark #36 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the Washington Commanders during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
    Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

    We're now getting into players who have high on-field value and reasonable availability on the trade block.

    Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark has emerged as a quality starter over the last three seasons. In 2021, he started 16 games and finished with 80 tackles, a sack, two interceptions and an opposing passer rating of 81.9.

    The Ravens signed Marcus Williams and used a first-round pick on Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, which prompted a trade request from Clark. The veteran, though, is now focused on playing for Baltimore in 2022.

    "They're going to get what I got for right now," Clark said, per Ryan Mink of the team's official website. "So, whatever comes in the future, that's what's going to come."

    At some point, Baltimore will want to turn the page to Hamilton, and if the right offer comes in before the deadline, the Ravens will likely flip the switch on a trade.

    Expect contenders to be the most interested in the 27-year-old, who is under contract through 2023.

    The Bills could be interested, as they lack proven depth behind Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, who is working his way back from a hyperextended elbow and will be a free agent next offseason.

    The 49ers could also be interested, as starting safety Jimmie Ward will open the campaign on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

    Best Fits: Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers

2. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers

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    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo takes part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
    AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

    The 49ers ended up keeping Garoppolo after agreeing to restructure his contract. Instead of having a $24.2 million base salary, he'll play the backup role for just $7 million. At least, the 49ers are saying that he'll be Lance's backup.

    "This was, 'Oh my God, Jimmy Garoppolo's available as a backup quarterback.' ... It was pretty shocking for us," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said, per 95.7 The Game. "We thought it was a win-win for both sides."

    The reality is that the San Francisco likely never planned to keep Garoppolo as the backup and only pivoted after it couldn't find a trade. According to Peter King of Pro Football Talk, Garoppolo spent the bulk of the offseason working alone and perhaps without a playbook.

    It feels like the team kept Garoppolo as an in-season trade chip, and it should be noted that his restructured contract will be much easier to move. If a starter elsewhere does go down with an injury, Garoppolo—who has one Super Bowl appearance and two trips to the NFC title game on his resume—will be at the top of the wish list.

    As is the case with Darnold, though, it's hard to nail down a perfect landing spot until then.

    According to former NFL executive Mike Lombardi (h/t Logan Mullen of Audacy), Seattle is interested in Garoppolo. While San Francisco may be reluctant to deal Jimmy G to a division rival, this is the only logical landing spot entering Week 1.

    Cleveland could be another potential suitor, though, as it awaits Deshaun Watson's return from an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy. Twenty-five women filed lawsuits against Watson accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct during massage therapy sessions. One lawsuit was dropped after the woman chose not to have her name on the petition, and Watson has settled 23 of the remaining lawsuits.

    The Browns have Jacoby Brissett as the Week 1 starter, but if he struggles early, Garoppolo could become an enticing option.

    Best Fits: Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns

1. Robert Quinn, Edge, Chicago Bears

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    Chicago Bears outside linebacker Robert Quinn (94) during an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 in Minneapolis. Minnesota won 31-17. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
    AP Photo/Stacy Bengs

    Chicago Bears pass-rusher Robert Quinn might not be as easily available as some other players on our list. However, the three-time Pro Bowler was reportedly looking for a change of scenery early in the offseason.

    "I continue to hear that Quinn wants out of Chicago—and who could blame him?—and there are a host of interested teams," CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora wrote in May.

    The Bears will be inclined to hang on to Quinn, who is under contract through 2024, for as long as it makes sense. It will stop making sense if and when Chicago falls out of contention. Quinn, who logged a whopping 18.5 sacks last season, could draw a huge return on the trade market.

    He is hands down the most valuable trade chip on our list, but at 32 years old, he's not necessarily the best fit for the rebuilding Bears.

    You can likely point to any playoff hopeful and find a team that would love to have Quinn at his relatively reasonable $12.8 million base salary. Finding teams that could easily absorb his price tag is a little trickier.

    Four squads—Carolina, Cleveland, Dallas and Las Vegas—have more than $10 million in cap room available. Dallas and Las Vegas are the two that make the most sense for Quinn.

    The Raiders could look to replace Ferrell with a far more proven option in the pass-rushing rotation. Dallas could bring back Quinn, who played there in 2019, as a complement to DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons.

    The Raiders and Cowboys were both playoff teams in 2021, are playoff hopefuls in 2022 and have the financial means to make a run at Quinn.

    Best Fits: Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders

    Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted. Contract and cap information via Spotrac.