Predicting the Biggest NFL Trades of the 2020 Offseason
No hypothetical trade in the NFL these days is unrealistic.
That used to apply only to potential draft happenings. But in an era wherein teams are trading talented players such as Odell Beckham Jr. and increased player agency has steered the results of free agency and contract extensions, nearly anything seems on the table for the trade market.
This offseason should be especially interesting in this regard with big-name players looking at free agency or contract impasses and front offices surely willing to move around for what looks like a talented draft class.
Here are initial predictions for the biggest trades—based on the names involved and the wide-sweeping ramifications of the moves—that could occur this offseason.
Redskins Send Trent Williams to Browns
Sometimes a predictable trade is the best move of all.
The Cleveland Browns need help in the offensive trenches, and the Washington Redskins have a problem in theirs thanks to their impasse with left tackle Trent Williams.
Williams has repeatedly said he won't play for the Redskins again but has one year left on his deal. The Redskins reportedly ended up changing their tune about a trade near the deadline, but it was far too late for anything to get done.
The offseason offers plenty of time. Washington has presumably hurt itself in any negotiations by waiting so long, and Williams would be a risk for a team such as the Browns based on his age (31) and the fact he's missed so much time.
But upside is what the Browns want too. Williams was a top-10 tackle when healthy and could be again in Cleveland, where the Browns briefly benched starter Greg Robinson and Baker Mayfield has regressed behind a bad line. While this move might not be as large as it would've been in the past, it would still register as one of the bigger moves of the offseason.
Bengals Send A.J. Green to Packers
The Cincinnati Bengals decided it wasn't a good idea to act as sellers at the deadline and have won just a single game this season.
The team and wideout A.J. Green publicly haven't moved closer to agreeing on an extension. In fact, Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week the Bengals will franchise-tag Green rather than let him slip to the market.
Which means it's tag-and-trade time.
A team such as the Green Bay Packers should have plenty of interest. The cost isn't going to be too steep because the Bengals have backed themselves into a corner and Green has missed at least six games in three of the past four seasons.
Green's upside is enough to entice the Packers, especially since it means boosting their title chances by getting Aaron Rodgers a big-play threat to complement Davante Adams, as right now he's the only Packers pass-catcher with more than 500 yards.
Considering the two teams don't share a conference, it would make this easier and further the ambitions of both as they start from very different vantage points this offseason.
Jets Send Jamal Adams to Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are surely interested in doing anything around Lamar Jackson that helps propel them to a championship.
Hence their being in on the Jamal Adams sweepstakes at the trade deadline, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Nothing materialized, but it isn't hard to see why the Ravens would want to acquire the New York Jets' elite safety. He's allowed a completion percentage of just 53.9 percent over the past two years while serving as one of the game's best against the run.
Considering the negative vibes between Adams and the Jets, it's safe to presume teams will broach the subject of a trade again. He's still on an affordable rookie deal, and the Ravens can't ignore the idea of pairing him with Earl Thomas III.
In a conference featuring heavyweights such as Patrick Mahomes, Baltimore might not blink at meeting New York's price.
Lions Send Darius Slay to Eagles
It feels like a matter of time.
Slay, who has one year left on his deal, has allowed a completion percentage of only 56 percent on 75 targets this year. His contract situation might be one reason the Lions would be content to let him go rather than dole out a big extension.
Teams that were presumably in on the Jalen Ramsey sweepstakes—such as the Philadelphia Eagles—could swoop in and make something happen. Their overall numbers might not be terrible, but two of Philadelphia's top corners (Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas) have combined to allow 11 touchdowns this year.
For the Eagles, avoiding a bidding war on a free agent and using their remaining available draft picks elsewhere while acquiring a known asset in Slay would be hard to pass up.
Buccaneers Send O.J. Howard to Patriots
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard's name came up around the trade deadline, though NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported rumblings were shuttered because the Buccaneers told teams he wasn't available.
Sometimes what necessitates a substantial return needs to wait until the offseason.
Howard, a top-20 pick in 2017, hasn't sniffed expectations with just one receiving score this season. But maybe he merely needs a better surrounding cast to unlock his apparent upside.
The New England Patriots continue to look like an obvious fit. Tom Brady simply hasn't been the same player this year, hardly completing 61 percent of his passes with only 22 touchdowns. He's clearly missing Rob Gronkowski, so giving him a chess piece of sorts in Howard could help turn the tide for the offense.
Tampa Bay hasn't received a return on its investment, and Howard's trade value might not get higher than it is now.
Bengals Send Andy Dalton to Bears
Of the teams that clearly need to make a move at quarterback this offseason, the Chicago Bears feel like the one most likely to rely on a trade for help.
The Bears would be contenders were it not for the sporadic play of Mitchell Trubisky, who has thrown just 17 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions during a 7-8 season. Three seasons after they drafted Trubisky second overall, the Bears could use a veteran who can play off their elite defense to make a serious postseason push.
As mentioned, the Bengals have plenty of reasons to sell. The franchise is starting over at quarterback, and Dalton himself wanted a trade, per Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic, after he was benched for Ryan Finley.
Dalton was later reinserted in the starting lineup and has struggled in tough circumstances but has one year left on his deal. The Bengals would benefit from offloading his $17.7 million salary for 2020, and the Bears would get a capable passer in ideal circumstances.