The Trade Every NFL Team Should Explore at the Trade Deadline
A whole lot of poking, prodding and sizing up happens in the days before the NFL trade deadline. Then we get mostly silence.
The football version generally doesn't have the frantic action of deadlines in other sports. There are a lot of reasons for that, and salary-cap maneuvering is chief among them. Fitting players into new systems and schemes at midseason can also be difficult.
The few trades that happen can have a significant impact, though, even if they don't involve the flashiest names. Sure, there's always the chance Houston Texans tackle Duane Brown gets moved, and maybe the New England Patriots will finally ship off quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. But there could also be valuable role players available, such as Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron or San Francisco 49ers pass-rusher Aaron Lynch.
Sometimes the tiny ripples that come at the trade deadline are just as important as the splashes. Let's take a look at both and see what trade each team should consider as the 4 p.m. ET Oct. 31 deadlines nears.
Arizona Cardinals: Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo
We begin with the first of many teams that either will be or are still interested in New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Whether the Patriots are interested in trading him is another matter. They may want to capitalize on the value he has left, and in a league starved for quarterback talent, a Garoppolo trade would still bring a bounty of draft picks back to New England. But then there's also Tom Brady's age (40) and the battle against time he'll eventually lose—though not soon thanks to a steady diet of avocado ice cream.
Form the Patriots' perspective, there are many tricky elements in play. It's tough to gauge how long Brady can keep going, and therefore even tougher to know if slapping the franchise tag on Garoppolo would be worth it when his contract expires at season's end.
But from the Arizona Cardinals' perspective, this is easy. They don't have a viable long-term option at quarterback. They didn't have that before Carson Palmer, who will turn 38 in December, broke his arm in Week 7. And they definitely don't have anything encouraging on the depth chart behind him, with Drew Stanton as the next man up, followed by Blaine Gabbert.
This era of Cardinals football is likely about to end, with both Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald possibly retiring after 2017. That increases the need for promising talent at core offensive positions to accelerate a rebuild.
Atlanta Falcons: Trading for Aaron Lynch
The Atlanta Falcons need all the pass-rushing firepower they can get to boost a unit that's still leaving the secondary exposed too often.
The Falcons have recorded just 14 sacks through six games, which is tied for 20th. Clearly, defensive end Vic Beasley's two-game absence with a hamstring injury didn't help, especially after he was the 2016 sack leader (15.5). The Falcons were tried to add depth with first-round pick Takkarist McKinley and free-agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe.
So far those efforts have failed, and the solution is to keep adding reinforcements, such as the 49ers' Aaron Lynch.
He's in the final year of his contract and playing for a 0-7 team, which means he likely has at least one foot on the trade block. Lynch has been inconsistent and had a 2016 suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy. But he was productive in the not-so-distant past, with 12.5 sacks over his first 30 regular-season games in 2014 and '15.
He still has talent and potential and is just 24 years old.
Baltimore Ravens: Trading for Eric Ebron
The Baltimore Ravens have been underwhelming at tight end in 2017. Actually, they've been underwhelming at pretty much every offensive position, but tight end is the area that's especially limped along after Dennis Pitta suffered another hip injury in the offseason.
Benjamin Watson is the Ravens' top tight end. He'll turn 37 years old in December and isn't a long-term solution. Eric Ebron, meanwhile, is much younger at 24 and hasn't taken off with the Detroit Lions. He has just 13 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown this season.
Changing to a new offense may help kick-start his career and get him to reach the talent ceiling that made him the 10th overall pick in 2014. He finally showed some of that potential in 2016 with 61 receptions for 711 yards.
The Lions could be willing to move him, as Darren Fells has similar production (101 yards, three TDs) and would likely benefit from taking Ebron's snaps.
Buffalo Bills: Trading for Jarvis Landry
The Miami Dolphins haven't signed wide receiver Jarvis Landry to a contract extension. All he's done is top 1,100-plus receiving yards in two of his first three NFL seasons and catch 249 passes since 2015.
His value is somewhat limited by his status as a slot receiver and lack of versatility to do much damage on the outside. Still, he's been wildly productive over the past few seasons, and another offense in need will gladly pay a hefty price for Landry's services if the Dolphins intend to let him walk when his contract expires in March.
The Buffalo Bills should hotly pursue Landry and pounce on an opportunity to make a playoff run. The surprising 4-2 Bills haven't played in the postseason since 1999, and a good way to get there is giving their 29th-ranked passing offense a jolt of life.
That's what the Bills drafted Zay Jones to do, but the second-round pick has stumbled to just 83 receiving yards so far. Jordan Matthews has been a disappointment as well after being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles, with only 172 receiving yards over five games.
Adding Landry to that depth chart would provide proven production and give quarterback Tyrod Taylor another target brimming with athleticism.
It may be hard to believe the Dolphins would trade Landry within the division. But given the Dolphins' immense offensive struggles that peaked with being shutout 40-0 Thursday (they're also averaging a mere 5.5 yards per pass attempt), they could see darkness coming ahead and be enticed by the stockpile of picks coming from the Bills.
Having Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker as more well-rounded receivers who can threaten secondaries downfield would also help to pull the trigger on a Landry deal.
Carolina Panthers: Trading for Jeremy Hill
It's far too early to call Christian McCaffrey a flop. In fact, the Carolina Panthers running back may never really earn that title, as his versatility leads to several avenues for production. He's been solid as a pass-catcher, with 329 receiving yards on 44 catches.
But that pass-catching ability is a nice tasty side dish. The main course of McCaffrey's 114 rushing yards has left the Panthers hungry for much more.
If you use the No. 8 pick on a running back in 2017 and then he can't succeed as an inside runner, the pick is a failure. It really is that simple, and the Panthers offense is suffering because of McCaffrey's sputtering and the lack of support for quarterback Cam Newton. Carolina is scoring only 18.7 points per game (23rd).
Veteran running back Jonathan Stewart isn't helping much either with his three yards per carry. The Panthers need a well-established inside runner who can complement McCaffrey, and the Bengals' Jeremy Hill could be that man.
Hill has been expendable in Cincinnati since Joe Mixon was drafted. He's not a burner with his career average of 4.1 yards per carry, but he's proven to be effective between the tackles, especially in short yardage and goal-line situations. Hill has scored 29 rushing touchdowns over only 53 career regular-season games.
Chicago Bears: Trading for Mike Wallace
The Baltimore Ravens have struggled to the point where the 2017 season could soon turn into an audition for 2018. Even after their 40-0 win Thursday, they still have one of the worst QB situations in the league, and their best offensive lineman (Marshal Yanda) is out for the season. If you're a veteran 31-year-old receiver set to be a free agent, there's a chance you won't be around much longer.
That's Mike Wallace right now. The Ravens will likely still be rebuilding their offense heading into 2018, with little need to hold onto a vertical-threat receiver whose speed is set to diminish as he ages.
But Wallace still has trade value, and even if he loses a step, the 6'0" and 200-pound receiver will remain scary fast. He can supply speed to an offense that needs to put the pedal down, and the Chicago Bears are desperate for any established pass-catcher.
Wallace, who had his third career 1,000-plus-yard season in 2016, could provide a downfield spark for a decimated wide receiver depth chart. The Bears have lost Kevin White and Cameron Meredith to season-ending injuries and are have now turned to Kendall Wright as one of their top receivers.
Wallace would make the Bears offense less one-dimensional and complement strong-armed rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Cincinnati Bengals: Trading for Duane Brown
The Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of problems, and not all of them are named Andy Dalton.
Dalton has thrown eight interceptions in only six games, and he's done it with poor ball placement and worse decisions. But in fairness, both of those things tend to happen a little more often when you're pressured all the time and in a constant state of panic.
The Bengals offensive line is a mess. That's been the case since left tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler departed as free agents, and now Dalton has been sacked 19 times. He's on pace to take 50 sacks, which would easily be a single-season career high.
There's a readily available solution in a disgruntled blindside protector who wants to get paid. That's Texans tackle Duane Brown, who just returned to his team after ending a holdout that lasted well into the season.
The 32-year-old knows he's one of the best left tackles in the league and wants to be paid accordingly. In 2016, he was one of only two tackles to play 370-plus passing-down snaps and surrender just one sack, according to Pro Football Focus. Yet his average annual salary ranks just 17th among tackles, per Spotrac.
The Bengals could solve a short-term problem and address a long-term need by having the inside track to securing Brown with an extension.
Cleveland Browns: Trading for Carlos Hyde
Just focus on the good times, sports people of Cleveland. The Indians' season may have ended in disappointment, but it was a lot of fun and featured a 22-game win streak. And LeBron James still plays basketball in your city.
But here's all you need to know about how often a higher power casts spells on the Browns: They've won just four games dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season. It gets worse, too, as defensive end Myles Garrett was just put in the concussion protocol and could miss Week 8.
So yet again we've arrived at the time of the year when two questions are asked about the Browns: Will the current head coach be fired? And will next season finally, mercifully be better?
The former question will likely be answered on Black Monday, because firing Hue Jackson in the middle of a season accomplishes nothing. Then answering the latter is more of a process, and it should involve pursuing running back Carlos Hyde now.
The 49ers back has shined on a struggling team, with his 590 yards from scrimmage tied for ninth in the league. His violent running style could boost a Browns rushing offense averaging only 92.3 yards per game (25th).
Hyde is slated to become a free agent at the end of 2017, and the 49ers' priorities could lie elsewhere. The Browns could acquire and then sign him to fix of their many problems.
Dallas Cowboys: Trading for Martavis Bryant
The Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Martavis Bryant seem to be headed for a messy divorce. It might be just a matter of when that breakup takes place.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the team doesn't intend to trade Bryant, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. But prior to that, Bryant told ESPN's Josina Anderson that he wants out. And now he'll be inactive for Week 8 after complaining about his lack of targets again on social media.
It's all been a headache, and a distraction the division-leading Steelers would surely like to have behind them. If they finally cave before the deadline and give Bryant the trade he clearly wants, then the Dallas Cowboys should be the first to call.
The Cowboys still face uncertainty around running back Ezekiel Elliott's suspension. But with or without him, they need better weapons among the receivers available to quarterback Dak Prescott.
Beyond Dez Bryant (327 yards on 28 catches), the Cowboys aren't getting much from their secondary receivers. Brice Butler is second among Cowboys wide receivers with 207 yards, and Terrance Williams is third at 180 yards.
Bryant might be sputtering right now, but he caught 14 touchdown passes over his first 21 regular-season games prior to his suspension in 2016.
Denver Broncos: Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo
The Denver Broncos have a deeply flawed quarterback depth chart. So flawed that it's easy to say a thing like "they should bench Trevor Siemian!" but much harder to get the words "I'm really excited about Brock Osweiler!" out of your mouth and actually mean them.
The Broncos are a talented team being derailed by pedestrian passing. They've scored just 10 points over their last two games, all while Siemian has posted passer ratings of 71.7 and 74.3. He's also been holding onto the ball too long, which has contributed to four-plus sacks in three straight games.
He has cratered, but Osweiler did too in 2016 when he threw 16 interceptions for the Houston Texans. Trading for Garoppolo would bring a young quarterback aboard who has been groomed since 2014 behind Tom Brady, though there's still an element of the unknown with him after only two career starts.
But the Broncos need to put aside any risk tied to Garoppolo. If they don't, they'll squander an opportunity to ride the league's top-ranked defense to the playoffs.
Detroit Lions: Trading for DeMarco Murray
A DeMarco Murray trade feels unlikely, but the Detroit Lions should still be harassing the Tennessee Titans while desperate for a solution to their floundering rushing offense.
The Lions backfield is somehow worse now after a lackluster 2016. It's averaging only 3.5 yards per carry (tied for 27th), which is down from 3.7 yards in 2016. That's allowed defenses to tee off on quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has been sacked 23 times over only six games.
The solution is to get some experienced bulldozing muscle, and a running back who plows ahead with a violent one-cut style. That's Murray, who had his third 1,200-plus yard rushing season in 2016 and has shed early career injury concerns by playing 14-plus games in four straight years.
For the right price, the Titans might be talked into a deal. Smart teams generally don't cling to aging running backs with plenty of mileage on their legs. Murray will turn 30 years old early in 2018 and has endured the punishment of 1,791 career touches. The Titans also have his replacement ready in the form of Derrick Henry, who has started to receive a larger workload recently.
Green Bay Packers: Trading for Josh McCown
Dream with me here for a second, and let's entertain the most rosy, peachy and optimistic hypothetical scenario for the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, their broken superstar quarterback.
Rodgers busted his collarbone in Week 6 and has been placed on short-term injured reserve. That means he'll miss the next eight weeks at minimum. He isn't eligible to play again until Week 15, which sounds like the best-case scenario.
We likely won't see Rodgers again unless the Packers can somehow claw their way to a playoff spot in a division that's less than daunting.
The NFC North is led right now by the Minnesota Vikings, a team that has to call Case Keenum its quarterback until maybe moving on to Teddy Bridgewater, who just returned from a long layoff following his severe knee injury. They're only a game ahead of the Packers, and the Detroit Lions have lost two straight while giving up 79 points. And it's hard to take the Chicago Bears too seriously after a game when quarterback Mitchell Trubisky attempted only seven passes.
So it's not a stretch to think a 9-7 team could emerge from the NFC North and earn a playoff spot and then await the triumphant January return of Rodgers. The Packers need five more wins over the next nine games, four of which are within the division.
To do that they need a competent game manager at quarterback to bridge the gap. And yes, that describes the New York Jets' Josh McCown.
McCown will make some mistakes and, like any 38-year-old quarterback, he's injury-prone. But his 91.5 passer rating and 69.2 completion percentage with the lowly Jets has reminded us yet again that the veteran can have short-term success. That's all the Packers would be asking for during the second half of the season.
Houston Texans: Trading for Kony Ealy
The Houston Texans lost the soul of their defense when pass-rushers J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus went down with season-ending injuries. They also lost two key pieces of their front seven who have 114.5 career sacks combined.
Finding a solution for that potentially crippling problem at midseason is either difficult or impossible. The best path is to look for more low-cost options to throw at the wall, just like the Texans did when they signed veteran defensive end Kendall Langford.
For that they can look to Kony Ealy, the defensive end who was considered a journeyman not long ago. Now he's making a consistent and pretty mind-blowing contribution for the New York Jets. Ealy is collapsing the pocket enough to get near the quarterback but not quite take him down. So he uses his positioning and athletic awareness to bat the ball down.
He's recorded eight passes defensed, which has already eclipsed his career total prior to 2017 (five). The 25-year-old has done that while playing a rotational role and being on the field for a modest 45.7 percent of the Jets' defensive snaps.
Indianapolis Colts: Trade for Eric Reid
Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker was everything we all expected and more. He recorded three interceptions over just his first four career games.
Now he's gone, stripping more talent away from an already barren defense.
The impressive rookie suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Week 7. Just like that, the best defender has been removed from a unit allowing 8.9 yards per pass attempt.
But even with a 2-5 record, the Colts aren't out of playoff contention yet. They play in the AFC South, which is annually a clown-car calamity. The Colts are only two games back with four dates remaining against division rivals.
To keep their reaching, borderline laughable playoff hopes alive, they need defensive reinforcements, and especially an adequate Hooker replacement. They need Eric Reid.
The 49ers safety is in the final year of his contract, and therefore a winless team could be open to hearing offers if he's not part of their future. Reid was slowed by injuries in 2016 and missed six games. But earlier in his career, the 25-year-old proved he has quality coverage instincts. He snatched seven interceptions between 2013 and 2014.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trading for Eli Manning
Let's start here by acknowledging the chances of this actually happening aren't great. But they're not quite zero, and while Eli Manning seems to be living out his career twilight years with the New York Giants, he could be the solution to put the Jacksonville Jaguars over the top.
The Jaguars have the league's top-ranked rushing offense, averaging 169 yards per game. They also have a fast-rising young cornerback tandem in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. And incredibly, they have a pass rush that's recorded 33 sacks already, 11 more than any other team.
Also incredibly, the Jaguars still have a quarterback who's generous with his interceptions.
Blake Bortles has thrown 56 interceptions over 53 career regular-season games, with five coming in 2017. The Jaguars are smartly trying to minimize his role, and he's attempted only 196 passes (22nd). But that approach means also asking the defense to be flawless, which is a tough task for even the most talented units.
The Jaguars need someone who can fit the classic definition of a game manager. That means minimizing mistakes but also having the talent and ball placement to make tough throws when needed and maybe lead a key late point-scoring drive.
Manning can still be that guy when put in the right environment. And the right environment is one where he's not asked to be the cornerstone of a team's success.
Kansas City Chiefs: Trading for Martavis Bryant
The Kansas City Chiefs should take a running cannonball into the Bryant pool if he's put onto the market. The reason is simple: They need more contributors not named Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt or Travis Kelce.
That trio is doing amazing work, especially Hunt with his average of 143.1 yards from scrimmage per game.
The problem is depth beyond them, and specially a field-stretcher to provide support for Hill. That was supposed to be Chris Conley's job, but he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in early October.
Bryant can be the final piece for an offense that would then have multiple mismatch-creators. Between Kelce and Bryant, the Chiefs would present an especially difficult challenge in the red zone. Bryant's effectiveness there is well established, and Kelce knows how to use his 6'5", 260-pound fame to shield defenders and win jump balls.
Los Angeles Chargers: Trade for Vontae Davis
The Los Angeles Chargers have recovered after losing four straight games to begin the season, with three of those losses excruciatingly coming by a field goal or less.
They've now won three in a row, including a surprising 21-0 shutout of the Denver Broncos in Week 7. That winning has come without Jason Verrett, the oft-injured cornerback whose season ended far too early again, this time due to a knee issue.
The Chargers still have a solid pass defense, largely because of the pressure applied up front by defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. But to keep climbing out of the early hole they dug themselves, the team Los Angeles has already forgotten needs to find a better replacement for Verrett beyond Trevor Williams, who went undrafted in 2016.
That's why they should be calling the Colts about Vontae Davis. The 29-year-old is in the final year of his contract and playing for a team that has long-shot playoff hopes at best. Prior to 2017, Davis had double-digit passes defensed in four straight seasons, topping out at 18 in 2014, and hit the four-interception mark twice (2014 and 2015).
He struggled a bit in 2016 while posting a passer rating allowed of 85.1, per PFF. But he still has enough recent high-level play on his game film to believe he can form a quality tandem with Casey Hayward.
Los Angeles Rams: Trading for Frostee Rucker
The Arizona Cardinals will soon be in full flameout mode after losing both Palmer and a game (by 33 points) in Week 7. They'll be ready to at least consider selling off anyone who doesn't have value for the future. That should include Frostee Rucker, the starting defensive end on the NFL's all-time best name team.
Rucker is 34 years old and signed to a one-year contract. He's playing in a rotational role for the Cardinals and has been on the field for 60.4 percent of their defensive snaps. Considering both that and his age, Rucker is having a solid season with 13 tackles so far, which already matches his total in 2016.
The Rams are a young, rising team without many glaring flaws. But the one area of significant weakness is their run defense, which is allowing 123.1 yards on the ground per game (24th). Rucker can help to set the edge at 6'3" and 280 pounds and has made a career out of being tough to move.
Miami Dolphins: Trading for Teddy Bridgewater
For whatever reason, it doesn't feel like the Miami Dolphins have any business having a record above .500. Maybe that's because the Jay Cutler experience flopped so spectacularly. Or maybe it's because at nearly midseason, 11 NFC teams are at or above the .500 mark, so inevitably we're going to get some eyebrow-raisers.
But the Dolphins are playoff contenders right now after winning three straight games, and that's still true even though they were pulverized Thursday night, losing 40-0. They're 4-3 and share an identical record with the team occupying the second wild-card spot (the Jaguars).
The Dolphins are moving ahead with Matt Moore as the starting quarterback because Cutler suffered a rib injury. They should use that as a happy accident and an opportunity to move on from a bad decision.
Cutler was signed to a contract that guarantees him only $5 million. The Dolphins should consider sending him back to the broadcast booth and then pursuing a better depth option behind Moore.
That option can be Teddy Bridgewater, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback who's nearly ready to return after recovering from a severe knee injury. If the Vikings are content with giving Case Keenum the keys to the offense until Sam Bradford is healthy, then suddenly Bridgewater is a movable piece. He would likely fetch a high draft pick in this quarterback-starved market, too.
And for the Dolphins, Bridgewater would provide both a quality short-term fallback option as well as a possible long-term solution under center.
Minnesota Vikings: Trading for Carlos Hyde
Hyde will likely be the best running back available on the trade market, and by default that should put him in the Minnesota Vikings' crosshairs.
Dalvin Cook went down for the season back in Week 4, and since then Latavius Murray has mostly produced a cloud of dust. Yes, he did go off for 113 rushing yards during a Week 7 win over the Baltimore Ravens. But his per-carry averages in games prior to that aren't pretty. Murray averaged 2.6 yards per carry in Week 5 and 1.9 in Week 6.
Jerick Mckinnon has been the better back during that stretch. He burst downfield in Week 5 for a 58-yard run and averaged 4.6 yards per carry in Week 6.
Still, the Vikings are a run-oriented team in need of a back who can more closely duplicate Cook's physical style. Hyde runs like a dump truck with no brakes and can easily fill that role. He's scored 10 rushing touchdowns in 20 games since the start of 2016.
New England Patriots: Trading for Hau'oli Kikaha
When Ian Rapoport singles out a player and tells us to keep an eye on him as the trade deadline approaches, it's probably a good idea to do that.
The NFL Network insider pointed his finger in the direction of New Orleans Saints linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha. Moving him makes sense for a Saints team that seems to be drifting away from the 25-year-old after he was inactive in Week 7.
Kikaha is damaged goods after tearing an ACL three times, with the first two coming in college before he missed the 2016 season due to the third tear. But when he's healthy, the 2015 second-round pick has been a decent pass-rusher. He has two sacks in 2017 and finished with four during his rookie year.
He's the sort of discarded depth player who is right in New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's wheelhouse. Belichick has made a career out of turning afterthought defenders like Kyle Van Noy into important assets on every down (Van Noy has played 95 percent of the Patriots' snaps in 2017).
The 15th-ranked Patriots pass rush needs an injection of energy, and Kikaha can be the guy to provide it.
New Orleans Saints: Trading for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
There's been a rocky relationship between the New York Giants and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The cornerback stormed out of the team's practice facility after being pulled during a Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He was suspended one game, and although Rodgers-Cromartie played in Week 7, the 31-year-old was on the field for just 16 snaps.
The Giants' season is already lost after starting out 1-6, and the strained situation with a top cornerback could only get worse from here. The Giants have no shortage of cornerback talent, with Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins topping the depth chart, and they could easily embrace life without Rodgers-Cromartie.
If they go that route, the New Orleans Saints should find a way to get the two-time Pro Bowler on their roster. Rodgers-Cromartie is fresh off 21 passes defensed and six interceptions in 2016. He would form a shutdown tandem with rookie Marshon Lattimore and immediately upgrade the league's 21st-ranked pass defense.
New York Giants: Trading for Tevin Coleman
The Giants are still struggling to find a rushing offense with a pulse.
Paul Perkins was given the first shot at leading the backfield, but he's averaged 1.9 yards per carry. Rookie running back Wayne Gallman hasn't been much better at 3.9 yards. Orleans Darkwa has provided some life recently with his 221 rushing yards over the past three games, but it's still difficult to trust a fourth-year undrafted player yet to take on a heavy workload.
Which is why the Giants should attempt something bold and try to get Tevin Coleman away from the Atlanta Falcons.
The struggling Falcons offense would surely be hesitant at first to move a key piece of their backfield. But they made a hefty five-year, $41.25 million commitment to lead back Devonta Freeman in the offseason. In 2018, Coleman is set to enter the final year of his rookie deal and will likely earn a sizable raise barring injury.
The Falcons almost certainly won't be giving Coleman the money he wants, because paying two running backs large sums of money isn't how modern NFL roster-building works. So shipping Coleman off now when he's still healthy and at the peak of his value would be wise.
Then the Giants can pay him. They gladly would if he keeps averaging 69.8 yards from scrimmage per game, as Coleman has for the Falcons since the beginning of 2016 while in a secondary role behind Freeman.
New York Jets: Trading for Taylor Gabriel
Elsewhere in Falcons offensive pieces who could be expendable, we have wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. Whereas Coleman is talented and contributing but still redundant, Gabriel is becoming a spare part in Atlanta's new offense under Steve Sarkisian.
Gabriel exploded in 2016 when the Falcons utilized his speed by scheming plays for him, and he became their deep threat whenever they needed a home-run play. That's how he averaged 16.5 yards per reception and scored six times.
But his per-catch average has now plummeted to 12 yards, with the 26-year-old's role in the offense greatly diminished.
The New York Jets need to stockpile playmakers while rebuilding, and if Gabriel's value for the Falcons has diminished, they should jump on him fast. The shifty 5'8" and 165-pounder proved he can test defenses deep, and a Jets passing offense averaging only 208.7 yards per game needs all the help it can get.
Oakland Raiders: Trading for Kenny Vaccaro
The Oakland Raiders' secondary has been getting shredded by opposing quarterbacks. That was one factor contributing to a four-game losing streak snapped in Week 7 after a zany finish on Thursday Night Football against Kansas City, 31-30.
Of their four losses, two have come by a touchdown or less. So the Raiders have been keeping scores close, and their weak pass defense is making it hard to overcome that thin margin for error.
The Raiders are giving up an average of 8.2 yards per attempt (29th), and worse, they're the only team searching for its first interception. They need a ball-hawking presence, and Kenny Vaccaro can help.
The New Orleans Saints safety has been wildly inconsistent throughout his five-year career. The same is true for 2017, as he was benched in Week 2, but he seems to have turned his season around since then. He's recorded six passes defensed over the Saints' four-game winning streak.
Even with that sudden performance upswing, the Saints may have still grown impatient and might be ready to move on and get something in return for a contract-year player, especially with an adequate replacement (Rafael Bush) ready to fill in.
Philadelphia Eagles: Trading for Duane Brown
Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters is a classic story of persevering, adapting, learning and then thriving on the way to success as an undrafted free agent.
Now he could also become one of many examples of how a career can end with a cold suddenness.
Peters tore his ACL and MCL during a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins Monday night. He did that while still an offensive line anchor for the Eagles and one of the league's best left tackles. Now his season is over, and he'll turn 36 years old in January. It's fair to look ahead and wonder if we've seen the last of Peters in the NFL.
If that's the case, then he went out on top. Even at his advanced age, Peters was still a sturdy blindside protector, and through Week 6 had allowed only one sack and seven total pressures, per PFF.
The Eagles have the NFL's best record, and will be scrambling while trying to find a solution. Quarterback Carson Wentz is having an MVP-caliber season, and now he's missing a critical blocker both in the short term, and maybe also the long term beyond 2017.
That automatically puts the Eagles in the Duane Brown sweepstakes if the Texans choose to shop him.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Trading for Virgil Green
Tight end is the only offensive skill position where the Pittsburgh Steelers could use a better presence. Acquiring Virgil Green would give them another low-cost lottery ticket.
The Steelers would still have Jesse James and Vance McDonald on the tight-end depth chart and could focus on whoever is sizzling.
McDonald and James have combined for just 214 receiving yards, though McDonald's yardage has all come over the past two games (63 yards).
Green, meanwhile, is starting to be overtaken on the Denver Broncos' tight end depth chart by A.J. Derby. But he's always had surprising speed and athleticism and can stretch secondaries up the seam. He showcased that skill back in Week 1 with a 44-yard catch. He's also in a contract year, meaning the Broncos won't be asking for much in return.
San Francisco 49ers: Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo
The San Francisco 49ers are desperate for a long-term solution at the most important position in football and could look to secure Garoppolo before facing competition during free agency.
Of course, they'll also face competition now. What could set the 49ers apart, though, is their exceedingly high thirst for quarterback talent.
This is a franchise that just brought in Kyle Shanahan to be its fourth head coach in the past four years. He came aboard with a well-earned reputation as an offensive guru after guiding the Falcons to a Super Bowl. But even with his creativity, there's only so much that can be done with below-replacement-level quarterback talent.
Brian Hoyer handcuffed the offense, and now it's too early to make any judgement yet on rookie C.J. Beathard. But at a position where risk needs to be minimized, going with the quarterback who has been developed by the Patriots for several seasons feels like the safer bet.
Seattle Seahawks: Trading for Duane Brown
Our last entry into the Duane Brown battle dome is the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks' offensive line has improved a bit recently, and enough that quarterback Russell Wilson was able to pass for 334 yards and three touchdowns in Week 7. But Seattle has played six games, and Wilson has been sacked three times in four of them.
So yes, despite a marginal improvement, the Seahawks once more have an offensive line that could derail championships aspirations. Wilson has been sacked 40-plus times in four straight seasons.
The difference in 2017 is that there's a midseason solution likely available if the Seahawks are willing to pay the trade price.
Tennessee Titans: Trading for Hau'oli Kikaha
The Tennessee Titans have some swirling black holes on a defense allowing 24.7 points per game.
They've particularly struggled against the pass and have allowed 13 passing touchdowns. Much of that weakness can be pinned on a pass rush making life comfortable for opposing quarterbacks.
The Titans have recorded just 11 sacks in 2017 (30th), and that lack of pressure has given quarterbacks time to pick apart the secondary. So it's a logical connection to draw a line between them and Kikaha, a young pass-rusher who's potentially available and wouldn't come at a heavy cost with his recent injury history.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trading for Brian Robison
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have a punch-less pass rush and are dead last with only seven sacks. They've fallen so far that a 43-year old Simeon Rice is considering a comeback, and he's apparently serious.
If the Bucs want an aging player to boost their pass rush, defensive end Brian Robison is the better option.
Robison is 34 years old and being used in only a limited role by the Vikings. But he still has something left and could give the Buccaneers' front seven the kick in the rear it needs. He finished with 7.5 sacks in 2016, which was solid production during his age-33 season.
The Bucs just lost defensive end Noah Spence for the season due to a shoulder injury. General manger Jason Licht needs any help he can get his hands on to save his defense and keep Tampa's season from going belly up.
Washington Redskins: Trading for Ethan Westbrooks
The Washington Redskins lost first-round pick Jonathan Allen to a season-ending injury and now need more depth along the defensive line.
Ethan Westbrooks is a situational pass-rusher who's playing only 26 percent of the Rams' defensive snaps. So he could be a trade piece and has value to a team like the Redskins that suddenly finds itself with a midseason need.
Despite his few snaps, Westbrooks has still chipped in with two sacks in 2017. He's also reliable against the run and finished with a career-high 24 tackles in 2016. He can provide the Redskins with exactly what they need: another experienced pass-rusher who could be effective in a rotational role.