Something got into the NFL at the trade deadline this year. There was a flurry of major activity, especially over the last 24 hours.
ESPN's Adam Schefter offered this nugget about the 2017 deadline:
Going back to the beginning of October, trades involving marquee names have been happening across the NFL:
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports summed up the flurry of trade activity with a GIF:
The official deadline was Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, which was about the moment when the Carolina Panthers traded wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills:
Schefter first reported the Benjamin deal to Buffalo for a third- and seventh-round draft pick, adding the move reunites the wideout with head coach Sean McDermott, who was Carolina's defensive coordinator from 2011-16, and general manager Brandon Beane, who spent nine years in the Panthers' front office from 2008-16.
Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus had this assessment of Benjamin's career so far:
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus finds Benjamin's skill set to be an odd fit with Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor:
The biggest deal to take place on deadline day saw the Philadelphia Eagles, who own the NFL's best record at 7-1, acquire running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round pick.
Not surprisingly, many Eagles players were very excited by their new addition:
Philadelphia's running game ranks fifh in the NFL with 129.2 yards per game, but its depth is lacking with Darren Sproles out for the season with a torn ACL and Donnel Pumphrey on injured reserve with a torn hamstring.
Monson loved to the move for Philadelphia and also praised LeGarrette Blount for his production with the Eagles:
Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green noted one area in which Ajayi is a massive upgrade for the Eagles backfield:
That's also a key piece of information, since the Eagles lost left tackle Jason Peters in Week 7 for the rest of the year with a torn ACL and MCL.
The reaction from the Dolphins side wasn't nearly as enthusiastic:
Looking up at the Eagles in the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys have a situation to address at running back. Ezekiel Elliott's injunction was denied Monday and his six-game suspension is going into effect immediately, per Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News.
Sports reporter Ed Werder noted one running back who the Cowboys are familiar with had heard rumors about himself possibly being dealt:
Later, though, Werder noted the Cowboys are apparently ready to roll with the three running backs they already have on their roster:
Michael Lombardi of the Ringer did like the idea of Murray going to the Cowboys:
The most-talked-about deal took place on Monday when the San Francisco 49ers acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick in 2018.
ESPN's Jeff Darlington noted current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has been high on Garoppolo since he was draft-eligible in 2014:
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the Garoppolo deal at a press conference on Tuesday, per ESPN's Mike Reiss:
While the 49ers paid a steep price to get Garoppolo—that second-round pick could end up being as high as No. 33 overall—Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com shared this bit of information:
The 49ers did make another move at the deadline on Tuesday. They announced they sent cornerback Rashard Robinson to the New York Jets for an undisclosed draft pick.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport likes the Jets' gamble on Robinson:
Per Connor Hughes of NJ Advanced Media, Jets head coach Todd Bowles didn't seem to know a deal was coming:
One team that does need a quarterback but didn't land Garoppolo was the Cleveland Browns, who were ripped on social media:
There was a significant rumor for the Browns on deadline day involving suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon, per Schefter:
Schefter also reported the Browns made a last-ditch effort to acquire a quarterback but were unable to finalize a deal:
Even though the Browns missed out on A.J. McCarron, Joe Dolan of Fantasy Guru did read into what some of the quarterback-needy teams could be thinking about the 2018 draft:
Gordon hasn't played in an NFL game since Dec. 2014 and has one year remaining on his rookie contract if/when the league reinstates him to play.
Sticking with AFC North wide receivers, Rapoport reported Tuesday afternoon Martavis Bryant would remain with the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Bryant was inactive for Pittsburgh's Week 8 win over the Detroit Lions after telling ESPN's Josina Anderson he needed to "move on" from the team.
The pieces seemed to be in place for Bryant to be dealt. Rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster had a career day against the Lions in Bryant's place with 193 yards and one touchdown on seven receptions.
After years of being a nonfactor, the NFL trade deadline is starting to become a must-see event, similar to what happens in the NBA and MLB.
Last year saw notable players like Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy dealt close to the deadline. That was an appetizer for the flurry of activity featuring multiple big-time talents moving around this year.
There has been a dramatic shift in the NFL landscape this trade deadline, with some teams having an eye on 2017 and others focused on their long-term futures.
With half of this season still to be played, we will see how all of these deals and non-deals impact the race to Super Bowl LII.