2022 NFL Trade-Block Big Board Entering Week 4

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2022

2022 NFL Trade-Block Big Board Entering Week 4

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 07: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kenny Golladay #19 of the New York Giants in action against the Las Vegas Raiders at MetLife Stadium on November 07, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. New York Giants defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 23-16. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Giants WR Kenny Golladay (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

    The 2022 NFL season isn't getting any more predictable. While we didn't see a slew of late-game collapses as we did in Week 2, Week 3 brought its fair share of surprises. Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars routed the Los Angeles Chargers, while the 0-2 Indianapolis Colts stymied the Kansas City Chiefs.

    In other words, we're still a long way off from knowing which teams are dominant and which are the bottom-feeders.

    The landscape will become more relevant in a matter of weeks as teams look to buy and sell at the rapidly approaching Nov. 1 trade deadline. Remember, it was at last year's deadline when the Denver Broncos dealt star pass-rusher Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams. And Miller went on to help L.A. win Super Bowl LVI.

    We'll likely see at least one notable player traded at the deadline this year, but who will it be? Robert Quinn? Kenny Golladay? There's even been some speculation that Christian McCaffrey will wind up on the trade block before long.

    Between now and deadline week, we'll check in weekly on the top potential trade targets based on factors like salary-cap situations, player usage, projected player roles, team performance, roster depth and any relevant trade buzz.

    We'll also examine logical landing spots based on factors like team needs, positional value and salary-cap and contract situations.

The Selection Process

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    CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 25: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during warmups before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

    To create our top 10 list, we have gathered 15 names that could realistically land on the trade block or become hot trade targets based on the aforementioned criteria.

    Notable changes to our initial list involve the New York Giants and their receiving corps. Darius Slayton falls off entirely for a couple of reasons. For one, the Giants restructured Slayton's contract and have little to gain by moving him. Secondly, New York could use the insurance at the position.

    Sterling Shepard suffered a knee injury against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. According to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, the Giants believe it could be season-ending.

    The injury, however, might not preclude New York from dealing another receiver, though. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Giants could look to move Golladay, who has seen little playing time in 2022.

    We're also adding Las Vegas Raiders tight end Foster Moreau. While Moreau plays a valuable depth role behind Darren Waller, he's set to be a free agent in 2023. Las Vegas is the NFL's only 0-3 team and may look to part with impending free agents if it doesn't turn around its season in a hurry.

    Once we established the top 15 players, we ranked them on their talent level, positional value and their likelihood of being dealt. The idea here is to identify players who can provide value and may realistically be available at the deadline.

    One notable addition to the honorable mentions list this week is McCaffrey. It feels extremely unlikely that the running back will be traded until/unless the Carolina Panthers decide to blow it up and start anew without head coach Matt Rhule. Despite Sunday's win over the New Orleans Saints, though, that time may come before the deadline.

    "Multiple coaching agents I spoke to on the condition of anonymity have the Panthers pegged as the first job to open and are already contemplating which of their clients would be the best fit," Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post wrote last week.

    La Canfora also predicted that McCaffrey will be dealt by midseason. Expect the trad chatter to pick up if Rhule's seat becomes any hotter.

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

    • Austin Hooper, TE, Tennessee Titans
    • Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
    • Michael Schofield, G, Chicago Bears
    • Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers
    • Daron Payne, DT, Washington Commanders

10. Foster Moreau, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

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    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 18: Tight end Foster Moreau #87 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs to the sideline during a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Allegiant Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 29-23 in overtime. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Moreau comes in low on our list because Las Vegas is undoubtedly looking to get back into the AFC West mix. If the Raiders continue to struggle, however, he is a prime trade candidate.

    Behind Waller, Moreau has carved out a niche as a complementary pass-catcher. He's grabbed three receptions in each of his last two games and finished the 2021 season with 30 catches for 373 yards and three touchdowns.

    Moreau could be gone in the offseason, however, and Las Vegas also has free-agent addition Jesper Horsted on the roster.

    The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that could use a player like Moreau. They got into the win column in Week 3 against the New York Jets but haven't gotten a huge return from free-agent tight end Hayden Hurst (11 catches, 77 yards).

    The Bengals also recently lost tight end Drew Sample, who underwent knee surgery.

    The Indianapolis Colts might also want to add to their tight end room. They got their first win of the season Sunday but still lack reliable targets for quarterback Matt Ryan aside from standout wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

    Kylen Granson leads the Colts tight ends with a mere seven receptions for 43 yards.

    Best Fits: Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts

9. Nelson Agholor, WR, New England Patriots

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    PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Nelson Agholor #15 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown during the first half in the game against the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    After a breakout game in Week 2 (six catches, 110 yards, one TD), New England Patriots wideout Nelson Agholor went back to being a bit player in Week 3 (two catches, 41 yards).

    There was trade speculation surrounding Agholor at the start of the season, per Pro Football Focus' Doug Kyed, and the 1-2 Patriots could revisit the idea of moving him at the deadline. Agholor has a cap hit of $14.9 million in 2022, and the Patriots could save $9.9 million by dealing him.

    Getting back into the playoff mix—with or without Agholor—could be difficult for New England. Starting quarterback Mac Jones is expected to miss multiple games with an ankle sprain, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    One team that could heavily consider Agholor is the Chicago Bears, who are looking to develop second-year quarterback Justin Fields. According to CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones, Chicago is expected to be "active" in the receiver market before the trade deadline.

    The Colts should also be in on Agholor. Pittman, who missed Week 2 with a quad injury, leads the team with 17 receptions. He and Ashton Dulin are the only Colts wideouts with more than eight receptions and 50 receiving yards on the season.

    Both the Bears and the Colts would have to clear some cap space to fit Agholor onto the roster—each team has roughly $7.9 million available—but he's a logical target for both franchises.

    Best Fits: Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts

8. Sidney Jones IV, 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 IV hasn't been heavily used this season. Though he was an 11-game starter in 2021, he played just 12 snaps in Week 1.

    Jones was a inactive this past week against the Atlanta Falcons.

    If Seattle isn't going to use Jones, it should view him as a valuable trade chip. He's playing on a one-year, $3.6 million deal and was a valuable contributor a year ago. In 2021, Jones allowed an opposing passer rating of only 84.3 in coverage.

    Virtually any cornerback-needy team could use Jones in the secondary, and the Baltimore Ravens should be at the top of the list. Despite having both Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey on the roster, Baltimore has been awful against the pass.

    Through three weeks, the Ravens have surrendered 1,060 passing yards. No team has allowed more.

    The Cleveland Browns should also consider Jones. While the defense showed signs of life against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3, it has been plagued by miscommunication issues and coverage breakdowns.

    The Browns rank just 21st in yards per pass attempt surrendered (7.4).

    Best Fits: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns

7. Deion Jones, LB, Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 31: Deion Jones #45 of the Atlanta Falcons during the Week 8 NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers on October  31, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Falcons linebacker Deion Jones has yet to play in 2022, as he remains on injured reserve following offseason shoulder surgery. However, he's an enticing trade target for linebacker-needy teams.

    Last season, Jones logged 137 tackles and two sacks.

    According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the Falcons tried to trade Jones during the offseason but never found a trade partner. Instead, they restructured his contract.

    The restructured deal means that Jones now has an easily tradable $1.1 million base salary in 2022. The question is whether Atlanta would move him now that it has found a win and perhaps a chance to make some noise in the NFC South. A lot will hinge on how the team fares over the next couple of weeks.

    If Jones is available, the Dallas Cowboys would be a logical landing spot. They remain in the playoff mix despite Dak Prescott's absence, and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn previously coached Jones in Atlanta.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers should also take a long look at Jones—at least if they hope to remain in the playoff mix as well. The Steelers were gashed on the ground (171 yards) by Cleveland in Week 3 and rank 28th in rushing yards allowed this season (142.7 per game).

    Head coach Mike Tomlin's 15-year streak of avoiding losing seasons will be in serious jeopardy if Pittsburgh can't start to stop the run.

    Best Fits: Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers

6. Mason Rudolph, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 28:  Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Detroit Lions at Acrisure Stadium on August 28, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    We've dropped Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold from the list proper for a couple of reasons. Primarily, it's because his fully guaranteed $18.9 million salary makes him a candidate only for teams that need a starter for the rest of the season. Right now, one of those doesn't exist.

    Dallas has gone 2-0 with Cooper Rush filling in for Prescott (thumb), and Darnold isn't a better option than Jimmy Garoppolo for the San Francisco 49ers. We also have to consider the fact that Carolina could go back to Darnold when he's healthy (ankle) if Baker Mayfield continues to underwhelm.

    Mayfield has gone 42-of-81 for 550 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of just 80.8 this season.

    Teams may be much more interested in a quality backup like Pittsburgh's Mason Rudolph—at least until another serious injury occurs. While Rudolph isn't going to lift a team into contention, he's an experienced veteran with a career 5-4-1 record as a starter.

    With a one-year, $5.1 million contract, Rudolph is much more enticing than Darnold as a fill-in option.

    Rudolph would be a fine fit in San Francisco as Garoppolo's backup, as the 49ers lack proven depth there. Rookie Brock Purdy is the only other quarterback on the roster.

    The Patriots may also want depth with Jones likely to miss multiple games. New England has journeyman Brian Hoyer ready to step in and start, but rookie fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe is the only other signal-caller in New England.

    Best Fits: San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots

5. D'Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns

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    CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson (30) leaves the field following the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on September 22, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Browns would be 3-0 if not for an inexplicable collapse against the New York Jets in Week 2. They are tied for the lead in the AFC North, however, and have also fielded the league's most prolific rushing attack.

    What's interesting, however, is that Cleveland has racked up 572 rushing yards in three games without relying on D'Ernest Johnson. Cleveland's No. 3 back saw the field in Week 3 but only played 15 special teams snaps.

    With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt leading the backfield, Johnson is nothing but depth for the Browns. He could be a huge asset for a running back-needy team, however, and his one-year, $1.2 million contract would be easy to move.

    Last season, Johnson logged 534 rushing yards, 137 receiving yards and three total touchdowns.

    The 49ers should be interested in Johnson, as their depth has been tested. Jeff Wilson Jr. averaged an impressive 6.3 yards per carry in Week 3, but San Francisco lost starting back Elijah Mitchell to a sprained MCL in Week 1 and rookie Tyrion Davis-Price to a high-ankle sprain in Week 2.

    The Miami Dolphins should also consider sparking their ground game with a trade for Johnson. The Dolphins are 3-0 and retooled their backfield in the offseason. However, they have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, tied for the second-lowest average in the league.

    Offseason additions Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds have not provided Miami's rushing attack with the desired boost yet.

    Best Fits: San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins

4. Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 05:  Denzel Mims #11 of the New York Jets warms up prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on December 05, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
    Steven Ryan/Getty Images

    Regardless of how the 1-2 Jets fare over the next few weeks, a trade of wideout Denzel Mims feels inevitable. He has yet to appear in a game this season, and the Jets have been able to lean on rookie first-round pick Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore and Corey Davis instead.

    The team has the league's fifth-ranked passing offense and little need for Mims, a 2020 second-round pick.

    According to SNY's Connor Hughes, the Jets fielded trade calls on Mims before the season began but sought a fourth-round pick in return. As the trade deadline draws nearer, that price is likely to decline.

    The Bears should be a team to watch in the coming weeks, especially if their reported interest in a receiver is accurate.

    The Cowboys might also want to take a flier on Mims. They have yet to see the return of Michael Gallup, who suffered a torn ACL in 2021. They have also struggled to find an adequate replacement for the departed Amari Cooper.

    The little-known Noah Brown is Dallas' leading pass-catcher (213 yards).

    Dallas also happens to be one of the teams that called about Mims at the end of the preseason, according to Hughes.

    Best Fits: Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys

3. Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Las Vegas Raiders

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 12: Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) before an NFL game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs on Dec 12, 2021 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Things have not gone well for the Raiders through the first three weeks, and the more they struggle, the more likely it is that they'll trade Clelin Ferrell.

    Ferrell, the fourth overall pick in 2019, hasn't played a major role in 2022. Through three weeks, he's played just 32 percent of the defensive snaps and has logged a mere three tackles and one quarterback pressure.

    However, he did flash some potential as a pass-rusher earlier in his career. He logged 4.5 sacks as a rookie and 21 quarterback pressures in 2020. It's not hard to envision a team taking a flier on Ferrell, who is set to be a free agent in 2023.

    The Browns should be at the top of the list of interested teams. Jadeveon Clowney missed Week 3 with an ankle injury, and Chase Winovich has landed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

    On Monday, star pass-rusher Myles Garrett was injured in a one-car crash following practice. He was discharged from the hospital on Monday evening, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, and his injuries don't appear to be significant. However, Garrett may still miss some playing time.

    "A source said it's 'too early' to say if Garrett will be ready to play Sunday in Atlanta. But given the seriousness of the accident, there’s a good chance he'll sit out the game," Cabot wrote.

    The Arizona Cardinals should also be willing to take a chance on Ferrell. They lost Chandler Jones to Las Vegas in free agency and have struggled to field a functional pass rush this season.

    They have logged a mere two sacks through three games, which is tied for the league low.

    Best Fits: Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals

2. 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

    If our list were based on talent alone, Quinn would never leave the top spot. The three-time Pro Bowler notched 18.5 sacks last season to go with 34 quarterback pressures.

    Quinn has one sack and two pressures through the first three weeks of 2022.

    However, the Bears are a surprising 2-1 and won't be incentivized to move Quinn until/unless they start to slide. Quinn's $12.8 million base salary this season is reasonable and not something Chicago has to dump. However, the Bears showed that they're willing to cash in players for draft assets when they traded Khalil Mack in the offseason.

    Trading Quinn would bring a quality return, too, and we'd expect several teams to inquire about him at the deadline.

    Cleveland would be smart to make a play for Quinn given its aforementioned injury concerns. The Raiders would also be wise to make a run at the 32-year-old.

    Las Vegas' addition of Chandler Jones hasn't provided the defense with a significant boost. He has yet to log a sack, and the Raiders have just two of them on the season (tied with Arizona for the league low). The big question is whether Las Vegas can rebound soon enough for a big-time trade to make sense during the campaign.

    Cleveland leads the league with $36.2 million in cap space, while the Raiders rank second with $14.1 million available. Financially, these are the two most realistic suitors for Quinn's services.

    Best Fits: Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders

1. Kenny Golladay, WR, New York Giants

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    NASHVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Kenny Golladay #19 of the New York Giants lines up before a play during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
    Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

    Golladay moves onto our list and all the way to No. 1. The reason? The Giants seem eager to unload him even if it means paying a chunk of the $31.4 million in dead money remaining on his deal.

    "The Giants could trade Golladay to an interested party, and likely the only way it would work is if New York pays the bulk of his contract in exchange for a late-round pick, sources say," NFL Media's Ian Rapoport wrote. "That is a possibility."

    Golladay has just two catches on the season, and while he did see action Monday night, he played just 24 snaps and finished without a catch. It's clear that he isn't a fit for head coach Brian Daboll's offense.

    However, Golladay was a Pro Bowl receiver in 2019 and actually led the league in touchdown receptions (11) that year. In the right situation, he could be a big-time contributor.

    Golladay's $13 million base salary is problematic, but a reunion with Matthew Stafford in Los Angeles could make a ton of sense if the financials can be hashed out. The Rams are no strangers to in-season trades, and they haven't gotten the expected return from offseason addition Allen Robinson II (seven catches, 88 yards, one TD).

    The Bears should also be in on Golladay if they're indeed eyeing the wide receiver market. They too would need to clear cap space with only $7.5 million available, but improving Justin Fields' supporting cast should be a priority.

    Best Fits: Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears


    *Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference. Contract and cap information via Spotrac.

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