Ranking the 5 Most Likely NFL Players to Be Dealt During 2020 Draft

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2020

Ranking the 5 Most Likely NFL Players to Be Dealt During 2020 Draft

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    An unorthodox virtual setup shouldn't stop NFL teams from making plenty of trades during the 2020 draft.

    While trades often shuffle around assets in the form of picks, it isn't uncommon to see a player get moved too. This could happen more than usual this year. After a memorable free-agency period, teams may need to bring on as much ready talent as possible in case offseason workouts and training camps are pushed back or shortened because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The likeliest draft trade candidates sit on teams with viable replacements in hand or soon to be added. They feature big contracts and sometimes soured relationships. Typically, the onset of the draft is the final checkpoint for posturing between parties as teams look to get something done.

    The following trade candidates are ranked in order of likelihood of getting moved, largely because replacements make it clear their teams are ready to move on if the right offer comes along.


5. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Free agency was tough on wideouts ahead of a draft widely hailed as rich at the position.

    That won't stop an Alshon Jeffery trade.

    The 30-year-old receiver has long been speculated as a trade candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles. He's got a big price tag with a cap hit north of $15 million in each of the next two seasons and has had problems staying healthy, missing nine games over the last two years.

    The Athletic's Connor Hughes reported in February that the Eagles are open to trading Jeffery, and general manager Howie Roseman called his No. 1 wideout "the elephant in the room" in a conference call last month.

    While the Eagles won't publicly say they're willing to move Jeffery because it could dampen the trade return, this feels like a scenario where the team will settle for a later-round pick to get his contract off the books. A win-now team like the Green Bay Packers might have an interest in taking the risk after lying low in free agency on the wideout market.

    Potential Destination: Green Bay Packers

4. Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Yannick Ngakoue is the latest to go the way of Dee Ford, Frank Clark and Jadeveon Clowney.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars hit Ngakoue with the franchise tag. Similar to what transpired with the above edge-rushers, they could end up receiving an early draft pick as a trade return. That meshes well with what seems to be a roster overhaul.

    Ngakoue has made it clear he doesn't want to sign a long-term pact with Jacksonville. According to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, the Jaguars have started trade talks asking for a first-round pick and then some for the star pass-rusher.

    That sort of asking price is reasonable for a 25-year-old star who just posted eight sacks (the minimum in each of his four pro seasons) with nine knockdowns and 27 pressures while tallying a 72.0 grade at Pro Football Focus.

    The draft is where blinking contests end and things actually happen. Consider a team like the Seattle Seahawks, which didn't get much production out of the Clowney trade, hasn't drafted well in the first round lately and needs pass-rushing help after nabbing just 28 sacks last year.

    Potential Destination: Seattle Seahawks

3. Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Two of the Indianapolis Colts' top three cap hits this year, checking in together at roughly $46 million, rest at the quarterback position.

    One of the more predictable moves of the offseason happened when the Colts upgraded on Jacoby Brissett, bringing on Philip Rivers to start next season.

    Now, one of the next most predictable moves can happen—a Brissett trade.

    While Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star reported last month that the Colts turned down two trade offers for Brissett, it seems like a matter of time before they deal him. The 27-year-old flopped over 15 games last year, completing 60.9 percent of his passes while averaging just 6.6 yards per attempt with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions.

    But this is the NFL, where a decent quarterback will always attract a buyer. Cam Newton is still available too, so the Colts might have to settle for less than they'd like, but they presumably want to get Brissett's number off the books.

    Rivers' old team, the Los Angeles Chargers, would make a ton of sense in exchange for something like a mid-round pick. The Chargers won 12 games in 2018 and could use some competition to push Tyrod Taylor for the starting job. A move like this would also provide insurance on the chance one of the draft's top three passers doesn't fall to the sixth pick.

    Potential Destination: Los Angeles Chargers

2. Trent Williams, OT, Washington Redskins

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Incredibly, the exhausting Trent Williams saga with the Washington Redskins still isn't over.

    There was a brief beacon of hope that perhaps the arrival of Ron Rivera and the reshuffling of the front office could patch up the relationship between the two sides. That idea fell flat, Williams still wanted out and the Redskins gave him permission to seek a deal.

    Last month, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported the Cleveland Browns put out feelers on a deal, but the Redskins' asking price was too rich.

    But at some point. the Redskins will have to blink—and the draft feels like that point. Williams, who turns 32 in July, clearly isn't afraid to hold out and not play. Something is better than nothing, and needy teams around the league are also clearly willing to wait this out.

    Conventional wisdom says both Williams and his new team will want to get an extension done. He's not far removed from being one of the league's best left tackles, so the Browns make plenty of sense—and talk about giving Baker Mayfield zero excuses after adding Jack Conklin at right tackle in free agency.

    Potential Destination: Cleveland Browns

1. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    The most desirable non-rookie quarterback available is Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals.

    One could argue it's former MVP Cam Newton, but availability trumps almost anything else in the league, and Dalton has been a rock. He has missed just eight games since 2011, not counting the three he missed last year because he got benched.

    Dalton wasn't happy about being benched and said his agent had put out feelers about a trade. The Bengals, meanwhile, hold the first overall pick this year and are poised to draft LSU's Joe Burrow.

    While cooler heads could prevail, Dalton figures to want a starting opportunity somewhere, and the Bengals presumably don't want his $17.7 million cap hit on the books, especially not after surprisingly being one of free agency's biggest spenders.

    The New England Patriots lost Tom Brady and aren't fooling many by posturing like they'll go into 2020 with Jarrett Stidham as a starter. Dalton would come cheap, bring a veteran steadiness to an unsteady time—both for the Patriots and a shuffled NFL calendar—and prevent Bill Belichick's team from falling into purgatory considering it won't be in a position to get one of this year's top three quarterback prospects.

    Potential Destination: New England Patriots