The 7 Most Plausible 2020 NFL Draft-Day Trades
Business has been booming in the trade department prior to next week's virtual NFL draft from April 23 to 25.
Most notably, the Houston Texans sent DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for a package that included running back David Johnson. And just last week, the Los Angeles Rams traded Brandin Cooks to Houston for a second-round pick.
The 2020 draft—as an unspoken deadline to get aggressive in acquiring or unloading assets—will see more deals take place. Teams will move up to take their guy or down to acquire draft capital, and long-speculated trade chips like Andy Dalton will probably change teams.
The most plausible trades involve two parties with complementary goals.
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QB Josh Rosen to Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins Get: Sixth-round pick
Jacksonville Jaguars Get: Josh Rosen
This is it for Rosen, right?
The Miami Dolphins, who own the No. 5 selection, have a treasure trove of resources, and it would not be surprising if they moved up to secure a long-term answer under center. Dealing for Rosen—who was displaced in Arizona by a new coaching staff and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray—was always an insurance policy.
While Rosen is still only 23 years old, he completed just 53.2 percent of his passes in six games (three starts) last year. The fact that he hasn't performed well over two of a possible five years on his rookie contract means the Dolphins won't get much in return.
A team like Jacksonville could be interested. The Jaguars seem to be entering a rebuild after trading key players like Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye this offseason. They also dealt Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears, leaving 2019 sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew II as their No. 1 signal-caller. They have the ninth overall selection in the draft, meaning they have little chance at a top-three rookie passer.
Rosen at least has experience as a starter and could compete.
EDGE Yannick Ngakoue to Seattle Seahawks
Jacksonville Jaguars Get: Second-round pick
Seattle Seahawks Get: Yannick Ngakoue
The Jaguars are in the middle of a rebuild, and the franchise-tagged Yannick Ngakoue doesn't want to commit long-term.
While Ngakoue's openness about his displeasure harms Jacksonville's leverage in trade talks, the fact that the 25-year-old is one of the league's premier pass-rushers balances the scales a bit.
The Jags can probably expect a Day 2 pick. A team like the Seattle Seahawks—who might be looking to recoup some of its losses on the Jadeveon Clowney deal—could be interested.
Seattle recorded the second-fewest sacks (28) in the league last year, which isn't going to cut it in an NFC West with the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals.
Using a top-60 pick in return for an edge-rusher who'll improve the unit right away makes too much sense.
OT Trent Williams to Cleveland Browns
Washington Redskins Get: Second-round pick
Cleveland Browns Get: Trent Williams
This one feels like it falls into the "just a matter of time" department.
The Cleveland Browns have long made sense as a landing spot for Trent Williams, the star left tackle who has made it clear he won't play for the Washington Redskins again.
But an apparent blinking contest has slowed things up. Last month, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported the Browns didn't want to pay what the Redskins asked for. According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Washington wanted a second-round pick for Williams.
It might come down to how desperate both franchises are to get something done. Washington's offensive line—which allowed the fifth-most sacks (50) in 2019—has already endured a season without Williams on the blind side. Cleveland will want to ensure Baker Mayfield's health and development over the long term.
Look for the Browns give up a pick and work out an extension with Williams in the hope he'll return to his status as a top-10 player on the left edge.
QB Andy Dalton to New England Patriots
Cincinnati Bengals Get: Fourth-round pick
New England Patriots Get: Andy Dalton
The Cincinnati Bengals, for now, seem to be stuck in quarterback limbo.
They likely wanted a good return for veteran quarterback Andy Dalton prior to the draft, during which they're expected to select LSU's Joe Burrow first overall. But the front office had the unfortunate luck of starters Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, to name a few, hitting the open market this offseason.
But the Bengals can salvage the situation during the draft. Unless New England unexpectedly finds a way to acquire a top-three prospect, head coach Bill Belichick and Co. might have to settle for a veteran via trade.
Dalton is the most desirable one left, largely because of his availability and his lack of injury issues over the years compared to someone like Cam Newton. He's a known commodity with playoff experience and essentially a one-year rental.
The Bengals should settle for a "something is better than nothing" approach and be happy with a mid-rounder, plus they'll get Dalton's contract ($17.7 million) off their books after being one of the more active teams in free agency.
Carolina Panthers Trade Down in Round 1
Las Vegas Raiders Get: No. 7
Carolina Panthers Get: Nos. 12, 80, 81
The Carolina Panthers quietly made one of the bigger moves of free agency by getting Teddy Bridgewater, 27, to serve as the potential long-term starter after ending the Cam Newton era.
It seems the team is doing soft reboot under new head coach Matt Rhule, so the front office might want to move out of the top 10 to acquire more picks to remake the roster.
Besides, since Carolina has its quarterback locked up, the seventh pick is a prime spot to trade to a team that wants an outside shot at one of the draft's top-three passers if the Dolphins make a more surprising choice.
That team could be the Las Vegas Raiders, who haven't always seemed sold on Derek Carr under center and don't have anything guaranteed behind him with Marcus Mariota.
Head coach Jon Gruden and Co. haven't been shy about making splashy moves, and climbing five spots for the cost of a pair of mid-rounders might be worthwhile.
Los Angeles Chargers Trade Up in Round 1
Los Angeles Chargers Get: No. 4
New York Giants Get: No. 6, 2021 first-round pick
The race is on to see which team can move up and get the first passer not named Joe Burrow.
After sitting still on the hot quarterback market and mutually parting ways with Philip Rivers, the Los Angeles Chargers are a prime trade-up candidate.
Sure, the Chargers reportedly like veteran Tyrod Taylor, per NBC Sports' Peter King. But Taylor, who turns 31 in August, is a career 61.6 percent passer who hasn't appeared in more than eight games in each of the last two seasons.
Taylor will likely be a transitional starter while a prospect like Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa sits and learns.
The Giants are an ideal candidate to make a slight trade down. They haven't won more than five games in a season since 2016 and need to rebuild around 2019 first-round pick Daniel Jones.
This sort of deal helps both parties move the needle in the right direction. The Giants will get an additional future asset to aid a rebuild, and the Chargers will position themselves for a top-three QB prospect to start a new era.
Miami Dolphins Trade Up in Round 1
Miami Dolphins Get: No. 3
Detroit Lions Get: Nos. 5, 26, 70
The Dolphins have waited for this moment, stockpiling draft assets while moving chips like Minkah Fitzpatrick.
With the Washington Redskins cozily sitting at No. 2 and expected to draft defensive end Chase Young after selecting quarterback Dwayne Haskins last year, it's likely the Dolphins find a way to get to No. 3.
That means striking a deal with the Detroit Lions, a team that won't complain too much about moving down just two spots while picking up an additional first-round pick plus a mid-round selection.
Those Lions have face-planted under coach Matt Patricia to date, winning just nine games over the last two years. One top-three pick isn't going to change things, but stacking the deck with a top-five prospect and another first-round selection might move the needle more over the long term.
Barring something unfathomable at this point, the Dolphins will get to choose either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert third overall before making another first-round pick.