NFL Teams That Desperately Need to Strike a Trade Before the Deadline

Alex BallentineOctober 10, 2022

NFL Teams That Desperately Need to Strike a Trade Before the Deadline

0 of 6

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams talks with Matthew Stafford #9 during warm-ups against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay are struggling to generate offense in Los Angeles. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

    We might only be five weeks into the 2022 NFL season, but it already feels like some teams are desperately in need of a jolt.

    For some, that spark might come from getting healthy. But for others, it might mean making a move before the Nov. 1 trade deadline.

    The in-season trade market has been relatively dry. By this time last season, we already had a deal involving Stephon Gilmore. There's still time for things to heat up, though.

    After all, the Los Angeles Rams didn't trade for Von Miller until the 2021 deadline, and it ended up being the catalyst that netted them a championship.

    Whether it's because they are one piece away or need to add draft capital for a rebuild, these teams should start working the phones.

Carolina Panthers

1 of 6

    Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey runs against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
    AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

    Most of the teams on this list need to strike a deal with an eye toward maximizing their 2022 chances. The Carolina Panthers should be looking to abandon ship on this campaign.

    They should sell at the trade deadline after a disastrous 1-4 start. Most recently, they suffered a 37-15 beating from the San Francisco 49ers.

    The loss dropped Matt Rhule's record with the team to 11-27, and it's hard to envision a path in which he comes back as the head coach in 2023. However, Scott Fitterer took over as general manager in 2021, so the coach may still have a path to redemption.

    That begins with restoring some of the draft capital that has been depleted through multiple trades. The Panthers only have four 2023 picks, and they dealt their third-rounder in the trade that brought them QB Matt Corral in this year's draft.

    The Panthers have candidates who could bring back some draft capital, and Christian McCaffrey is the biggest fish. The oft-injured back is a prodigious talent, but if a team is willing to take on his contract and give the Panthers valuable picks in return, they should consider it.

    Robbie Anderson could also provide value to a team looking for a deep threat, and Cameron Erving is a veteran offensive tackle who has taken a back seat to rookie Ikem Ekwonu.

Cleveland Browns

2 of 6

    CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 09: Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Cleveland Browns attempts a pass during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Jacoby Brissett could use another weapon in the Browns' passing game. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    The Cleveland Browns got off to a 2-1 start following a specific formula that relied on Nick Chubb, conservative passing from Jacoby Brissett and solid defense.

    Over the last two weeks, the flaws in that system have started to show. The Browns have dropped back-to-back games in which the shortcomings of their passing game and defensive woes have cost them.

    They have already addressed the defensive woes through the trade market. In the wake of the loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Browns worked out a deal with the Atlanta Falcons to acquire linebacker Deion Jones.

    While that could help the run defense and linebacker depth, the offense is another story.

    The Browns' passing game is predicated on Amari Cooper and David Njoku dominating their matchups but isn't getting much out of their other weapons. Donovan Peoples-Jones has made some big plays downfield but has caught just 51.6 percent of his targets.

    Anthony Schwartz and David Bell have combined for just six catches and 72 yards on the season.

    There are plenty of receivers who could make sense. Kenny Golladay, for instance, led the league in touchdown receptions in 2019 but has tanked in New York. A change of scenery could spark a return to form.

    Denzel Mims is a big-bodied receiver who shined in the preseason for the Jets but has barely seen the field and requested a trade.

Detroit Lions

3 of 6

    DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions looks on during the first half of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field on October 02, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Dan Campbell's Lions have to start playing defense. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    The Detroit Lions might be a lost cause after a 1-4 start, but they can't afford to just pack it in and call it a season.

    Both head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes are only in their second season, but if there's no progress from Year 1 to Year 2, they could find their job security in question.

    The good news for the Lions is there are already answers on one side of the ball. It didn't look like it in Week 5 when they were shut out by the New England Patriots, but the Lions have been one of the best teams offensively. They were averaging 35 points per game before an injury-plagued offense was blanked by the Pats.

    The Lions didn't have D'Andre Swift, D.J. Chark and Quintez Cephus, while Jonah Jackson, Josh Reynolds and Amon-Ra St. Brown were all questionable and played through injuries.

    When healthy, the offense is good enough to win games. The secondary is not.

    For the current regime to make it to Year 3, the Lions have to show some progress. Right now, quarterbacks are having a field day against the Lions defense.

    Bringing in a veteran cornerback such as Sidney Jones could be a temporary solution to the problem. Jeff Okudah has shown signs of progress this season, but Amani Oruwariye went from being the starter to being a healthy scratch against New England.

Los Angeles Chargers

4 of 6

    INGLEWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Los Angeles Chargers on September 25, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Khalil Mack is suddenly without a running mate on a flawed Chargers defense. (Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    The Los Angeles Chargers beat the Cleveland Browns to get to 3-2 this season, but it wasn't easy.

    Few teams have been hit as hard with bad injury luck as the Chargers. They already lost Rashawn Slater for the year most likely and are projected to be without Joey Bosa for eight to 10 weeks with a groin injury.

    Rookie Jamaree Salyer has filled in admirably at left tackle. After seeing Myles Garrett in his second game, he wasn't charged with a sack or quarterback hit on 31 pass-blocking snaps, per PFF.

    The loss of Bosa appears like it's going to sting a bit more, though. The Chargers' pass rush failed to get home against Jacoby Brissett and the Browns with no sacks. While the group has 11 sacks on the season, 10 of those came in two games against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Houston Texans.

    If the Chargers are going to continue to improve defensively without Bosa in the lineup, they need to bring in reinforcements along the defensive front.

    Robert Quinn would make sense as a trade target if the club can figure out a way to clear cap space for what's left of his $17.1 million cap hit. The veteran had 18.5 sacks last season but doesn't fit in with a rebuilding Bears team.

    If that price is a bit much, someone such as Jacob Martin—who had 19 pressures last season but is only playing 35.2 percent of the snaps for the Jets right now—might make sense.

Los Angeles Rams

5 of 6

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stafford needs help to fix a floundering offense in Los Angeles. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

    The Los Angeles Rams pushed themselves from playoff team to championship team when they traded for Von Miller at the deadline. Now, they might have to swing a deal just to be a playoff team again.

    The problems for the Rams are numerous, but the biggest ones are on offense.

    Right now, the offense could best be summed up as Cooper Kupp or nothing. No one else has scored more than one touchdown this season.

    The offensive line rarely holds up long enough for anything to develop downfield, and the run game is non-existent as evidenced by its 2.5 yards per carry in a 22-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. According to PFF, the offensive line surrendered pressure on 52.2 percent of the pass-blocking snaps.

    The Rams are no strangers to getting aggressive in the trade market, and they'll need to do it again to remain relevant after a 2-3 start.

    Even a deal for a veteran such as Riley Reiff, who isn't getting much run in Chicago despite starting 12 games for the Bengals last season, would potentially be an upgrade at left tackle. Joseph Noteboom has conceded five sacks already this season.

    Tackle help can be hard to come by, so even if they can't find offensive line help, they can still make a deal to improve the cast around Matthew Stafford. A running back such as D'Ernest Johnson, who doesn't have a role this season with the Cleveland Browns, or a receiver such as Kendrick Bourne would at least offer some hope in getting things back on track.

San Francisco 49ers

6 of 6

    SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 03:  San Francisco 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (4) during the NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers on October 03, 2022, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    The Niners may have to figure out how to deal with a season-ending injury for Emmanuel Moseley. (Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    The San Francisco 49ers have had one of the best defenses in the league this season, but it's about to get much more difficult for them.

    The Niners took care of business against the Carolina Panthers in a 37-15 win, but it came at a cost. Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward both suffered potentially serious injuries on a roster that is already pretty banged up.

    Arik Armstead (foot and ankle) and Javon Kinlaw (knee) were both inactive for the game against the Panthers. Head coach Kyle Shanahan noted that Armstead aggravated his foot injury during the week, and Kinlaw has struggled with injuries throughout his short career.

    Ward was making his season debut after working through a hamstring injury from the preseason. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that he broke his hand, while there is fear that Moseley tore his ACL.

    Interdivision trades are rare, but Sidney Jones would make sense as a replacement target for Moseley. The veteran has only played in two games for the Seahawks this season despite starting 11 games last season.

    At defensive tackle, the Niners could take a big swing by trading for DaRon Payne. The disruptive defensive tackle is in the final year of his contract with the Commanders.