5 NFL Trade Ideas That Should Happen Before October

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 17, 2022

5 NFL Trade Ideas That Should Happen Before October

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    Deion Jones | AP Photo/Butch Dill

    The trade market will be relatively quiet in the early stages of the 2022 NFL season, but the rumor mill is destined to pick up speed as September rolls into October.

    Let's be clear: It's definitely not time to blow up a roster. Although snap reactions are enjoyable for both fans and media, a one-game sample size is a terrible way for front offices to manage a team. Executives must be more patient than us.

    Still, we know that trades are coming soon enough.

    The following deals are focused on players who are either established trade candidates or currently holding minor roles and perceived playoff contenders with voids to address.

WR Darius Slayton to Green Bay

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    AP Photo/Steve Luciano

    All offseason, any number of analysts pointed to the Green Bay Packers' unproven receiving room as a major concern. This isn't new.

    The opening game against the Minnesota Vikings didn't do much to calm those concerns. Rookie wideout Christian Watson dropped a would-be touchdown from Aaron Rodgers, and veterans Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb hardly made an impact. Running back AJ Dillon paced the Packers in receptions (five) and yards (46), which is certainly not ideal in both production and execution.

    Yes, both Watson and fellow rookie Romeo Doubs should develop as the season progresses. The return of top wideout Allen Lazard and offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins will help the passing game, too. Again, we already knew the situation at hand.

    But an upgrade still looks necessary.

    Green Bay could look to the New York Giants for Darius Slayton. Not only did he recently agree to an incentive-laden pay cut, but Slayton was also a healthy scratch in Week 1. He's clearly not a Plan A option for the Giants and wouldn't cost more than a speculative late-round pick.

    However, the 25-year-old has 124 catches for 1,830 yards and 13 touchdowns in three NFL seasons. Slayton would provide a mix of youth and experience that Green Bay lacks outside of Lazard.

Edge Clelin Ferrell to Pittsburgh

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    AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

    How aggressive should a fringe playoff contender be?

    That's a key question for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the opener thanks to four interceptions. Pittsburgh's defense atoned for a miserable day from the Mitchell Trubisky-led offenseβ€”a sentence that probably will be written again this season.

    Unfortunately for the Steelers, they'll be without edge-rusher T.J. Watt (torn pectoral) for about six weeks. The strength of the roster could use reinforcement.

    Clelin Ferrell, meanwhile, could use a fresh start.

    The fourth overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft, Ferrell played just 24 percent of snaps for the Las Vegas Raiders despite appearing in all 16 games last season. He logged 28 percent in the opener, so his role seems mostly unchanged.

    Similar to Darius Slayton, Ferrell is a backup with an expiring contract. He's a low-risk addition who could both assist in filling Watt's snaps and potentially be a low-cost extension candidate.

OT Teven Jenkins to Arizona

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    Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Between his Week 1 workload and admirable play, Teven Jenkins suddenly has an opportunity to stay with the Chicago Bears.

    Sure, a 53 percent snap share doesn't look overwhelming, but it was much greater than anticipated. The previous staff hesitated to play him when healthy, and the current group moved Jenkins from offensive tackle to right guard during the preseason. His future in Chicago, at best, was uncertain.

    That's the long version of saying the Bears may still envision a path to regular playing time. If his performance dips, though, it's already clear that Jenkins' options are limited in Chicago. Free-agent addition Lucas Patrick would be there to take his place, too.

    On the other hand, the Arizona Cardinals had a terrible opener. They surrendered 27 pressures to the Kansas City Chiefs and gained just 282 yards in the 44-21 loss.

    Jenkins played in a similar type of offense at Oklahoma State, so a return to a more familiar system could be a spark for his young career.

LB Deion Jones to Titans

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    David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Among the players listed, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones is the most likely to relocate in 2022.

    Through six seasons, he's averaged 108.6 tackles with 6.7 for loss per year. The challenge is balancing that production with a 2021 campaign in which Jones had terrific numbers (131 tackles) but often fell short on the eye test.

    Jones is currently on injured reserve while recovering from a shoulder injury, but he can still be traded. Most importantly, a recent restructure made his contract more appealing to interested teams. Now, the acquiring side would merely be on the hook for $1.14 million.

    Jones only turns 28 in November, and his upside is worth the gamble for the Tennessee Titans.

    David Long Jr. and Zach Cunningham are locked-in starters today, but Tennessee lacks depth at linebacker. And while Jones would be more expensive in 2023, the Titans could keep him or Cunningham and stay in a similar financial spot based on cap savings.

    If the Titans don't upgrade the defense, it's tough to see them sticking in the AFC playoff picture.

D'Ernest Johnson to 49ers

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    Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    If the Cleveland Browns continue to not play D'Ernest Johnson, they may as well collect a little bit of value.

    Now, that's not to suggest Cleveland should be finding touches for Johnson over Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt. But the Browns waved off Hunt's preseason trade request, used him on 56 percent of snaps in the opener and made Johnson a healthy scratch.

    The pecking order in the backfield is obvious, and Johnson is headed for free agency this offseason anyway.

    Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers lost starting back Elijah Mitchell (knee) for potentially two months. That comes after releasing Trey Sermon and JaMycal Hasty, as well as losing Raheem Mostert in free agency.

    Cleveland shouldn't be too resistant to landing a late-round selection for a player it's not using anyway. But the Niners have the space for a runner with 5.3 yards per carry in his young career.

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