NFL Trade Ideas That Could Shake Up the League in 2020
The 2020 NFL league year doesn't begin until March 18, but that doesn't mean that teams haven't already considered their trade possibilities. Many teams who couldn't address needs before the 2019 deadline or who feel they are a piece or two away may already have some deals in mind—and as we saw last spring, they could be huge.
Two notable moves shook up the NFL early in the 2019 offseason. The Cleveland Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr. and the Oakland Raiders traded for Antonio Brown. Neither of those moves has worked out for the teams receiving a star wide receiver, but at the time they had a significant impact on the NFL landscape.
What trades could have a similar impact on 2020? That's what we're going to examine here. Based on team needs, player contracts, existing rumors and a little bit of speculation, we'll run through seven realistic trade ideas that could rock the NFL next March.
Let's dig in.
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Trent Williams to the Cleveland Browns
Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams has made it increasingly clear that he doesn't trust the team's medical staff and doesn't plan to play for the franchise again.
"It's over with," he said, per The Athletic's Rhiannon Walker. "I'll never be a Redskin again."
The Redskins have little reason not to trade the seven-time Pro Bowler, and there should be no shortage of teams looking to add a premier left tackle.
The Browns could be at the top of the list of suitors. They'll be looking to rebound after falling short of expectations while continuing to develop quarterback Baker Mayfield. Cleveland was linked to Williams before the trade deadline, though Browns general manager John Dorsey wasn't able to get a deal done.
"It takes two to tango," Dorsey said, per Ben Axelrod of WKYC.
The offensive line has been one of Cleveland's biggest issues this season. Putting a talent like Williams on one side of the line would help address that, and the Browns could add more talent on the trenches early in the 2020 draft.
At this point, the Redskins shouldn't expect anything more than a late Day 2 pick for Williams.
Odell Beckham Jr. to the New England Patriots
While the Browns may be looking to upgrade their offense, they may end up unloading a prominent piece of it as well. According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, Beckham is already looking for a way out of Cleveland.
"Throughout this year, Odell Beckham has actually told other players and coaches before games, during games, 'Hey, come get me,'" Glazer said on Fox NFL Sunday.
There are plenty of teams that could use a No. 1 receiver like Beckham, but the New England Patriots stand out as one that could be willing to pay the price to get him. New England took a chance on Antonio Brown earlier this year and traded for Mohamed Sanu before the trade deadline—yet, receiver remains a primary need.
Naturally, a lot will hinge on Tom Brady's future with the Patriots—they probably won't target Beckham if the window with Brady has closed—and on Cleveland's willingness to do business.
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Browns aren't interested in moving Beckham right now.
"He's not going anywhere," Mortensen said on SportsCenter (h/t Bryan DeArdo of CBSSports.com).
It's impossible to rule out a Beckham trade, though—the New York Giants didn't seem interested in trading him this time last year.
The Browns aren't going to get back what they invested in Beckham—a first, a third and safety Jabril Peppers—but they might finagle a first-rounder out of the Patriots. New England dealt a late first and swapped a third-round pick for a fourth to acquire Brandin Cooks during the 2017 offseason.
Miami Dolphins Trade for the No. 1 Draft Pick
Early offseason draft trades are rare, but they aren't unprecedented. In 2018, the New York Jets secured the third overall pick in the draft by mid-March. The Miami Dolphins could make a similar move in 2020.
Their tanking strategy hasn't panned out perfectly—they would get the No. 4 selection if the season ended today—but that doesn't mean the Dolphins cannot still secure the No. 1 pick. The top two candidates to get it are the Giants and the Cincinnati Bengals. Either team could be willing to trade the pick if Miami offers enough to take the top prospect on its board—presumably LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Giants just drafted Daniel Jones and won't be in the market for a quarterback. The Bengals may be looking for a signal-caller, but they have Andy Dalton under contract for another season and may be better served by putting a handful of players around him instead.
Cincinnati already has a talent-starved roster and is set to lose A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Nick Vigil in free agency.
The Dolphins are armed with three first-round picks and two second-round picks in the 2020 draft. Parting with a couple of those selections could be enough to get Miami up to No. 1 a month ahead of the draft.
Andy Dalton to the Chicago Bears
If the Bengals end up with the No. 1 pick, their willingness to trade it will depend on their plan for Dalton. While he is under contract for 2020, Dalton has no dead money remaining on his deal and could be released without financial repercussion.
Cincinnati could also explore trading Dalton if it is indeed ready to part ways. The Chicago Bears would make for a juicy, yet sensible, destination.
Chicago has 2017 first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, but the Bears don't yet know if he is the long-term answer. He has played well over the last couple of weeks but has also been wildly inconsistent throughout his NFL career.
It's too early to give up on Trubisky, but the Bears don't want to waste another year of their playoff window either. Acquiring Dalton would give Trubisky a veteran mentor while also providing Chicago with a starting-caliber fallback option.
Due $17.7 million in 2020, Dalton would be a cheaper veteran option than Cam Newton—who could be on the trade market in the spring. This is notable, as Chicago is currently projected to be a bottom-five team in terms of cap space next offseason.
Dealing tight end Trey Burton—who is due to carry a cap hit of $8.55 million in 2020—could help Chicago take on Dalton's contract while giving Cincinnati a potential replacement for Eifert.
Cam Newton to the Los Angeles Chargers
Newton, who has missed most of the Carolina Panthers' 2019 season with a Lisfranc injury, is likely on the move. At least, that's the word from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport:
"The expectation is that the Panthers will attempt to trade Newton this offseason provided they can get a large deal to make it worth their while. In what could be the most active QB market in years, Newton -- if healthy -- could be the centerpiece. That, of course, would depend on what happens to Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Drew Brees."
If the Bears don't make a move for Newton, the Los Angeles Chargers might. As Rapoport noted, Rivers is scheduled to be a free agent. His play hasn't been great in 2019, and Los Angeles may be ready to move on from its longtime starter.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes the Chargers have already "begun to emotionally detach" from Rivers.
Like Chicago, Los Angeles has a playoff window worth maximizing. Yes, the Chargers are just 5-8, but they were 12-4 a year ago and might still be in the mix with more consistent quarterback play.
If the Chargers move on from Rivers, Newton would make sense as a replacement. Head coach Anthony Lynn has experience with a dual-threat quarterback having coached Tyrod Taylor—currently Rivers' backup—as offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills.
The Panthers may be holding out for a big offer, but Newton will be coming off his second significant surgery in just over a year. They shouldn't expect anything more than a high second-round pick in return.
Le'Veon Bell to the Kansas City Chiefs
The New York Jets' signing of running back Le'Veon Bell was one of the most notable moves of the 2019 offseason. But Bell hasn't been the difference-maker the Jets hoped he'd be. Bell has rushed for just 589 yards with a 3.2 yards-per-carry average, though he has added 55 receptions for 403 more yards.
According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, the Jets could look to trade both Bell and safety Jamal Adams in the offseason.
Bell's skill set would make him a terrific fit for the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City has struggled to run the ball this season—it has averaged 93 rushing yards per game—and has flipped between LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams as the starting back.
While Bell doesn't seem like a clear upgrade based on his rushing numbers this season, one has to consider his situation. The Jets don't have a reliable offensive line or a passing attack that regularly backs opposing defenses off the line of scrimmage.
Most teams have focused on slowing Bell while daring Sam Darnold to beat them through the air. That strategy won't be an option against Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and the Kansas City offense.
A third-round pick seems to be the going rate for running backs—that's what the Browns got in return for Duke Johnson Jr.—and the Jets should be thrilled to get that given Bell's $52.5 million contract.
Jamal Adams to the Dallas Cowboys
If the Jets are indeed looking to move Adams, the Dallas Cowboys may be the first team they call. Dallas tried to make a move for the Pro Bowl safety ahead of the trade deadline but to no avail. According to Rapoport, New York asked for about the availability of guard Zack Martin and tackle Tyron Smith during trade talks.
It's highly unlikely that Dallas would part with either standout lineman in the offseason to acquire Adams, but the Cowboys could make a push with other players and/or a package of draft picks.
Adding Adams would be huge for Dallas, as the second level has been a huge weakness on the defense this season. Despite sporting a front seven that features DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys rank just 19th in run defense. Adams is a premier box safety who would instantly improve the D.
Dealing Adams might not directly net the Jets a Pro Bowl lineman like Martin or Smith, but moving him and Bell may get New York the draft capital needed to uncover one.
A second-rounder and perhaps a Day 3 pick should be a good starting point for Adams, as he has one year remaining on his rookie deal plus a fifth-year option. The Dolphins got a first for Minkah Fitzpatrick, but Fitzpatrick had 3.5 years left on his contract, whereas Adams will have two.
*All contract and cap information via Spotrac.