Predicting the Biggest Trades Still to Go Down in 2020 NFL OffseasonMay 26, 2020
Predicting the Biggest Trades Still to Go Down in 2020 NFL Offseason
The NFL trade market isn't going to slow down despite the usual crawl during the summer months.
While some of the obvious trade candidates like Trent Williams have finally changed teams, the post-draft market still boasts plenty of big names, ranging from elite pass-rushers and defenders to surprises on both sides of the ball.
These players' current teams have salary-cap or other reasons to move on, while potential trade partners have a serious need or sometimes seek out the luxury of adding more talent while engaged in win-now mode.
These are the biggest trades that could light up the usually quiet stretch before the preseason.
Jaguars Send Leonard Fournette to Eagles
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has been an easy point of trade speculation for a long time.
He hasn't lived up to the hype of being the 2017 draft's fourth overall pick, averaging just four yards per carry over three seasons and scoring 17 times for an up-and-down team.
During the draft, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Jags had tried to move Fournette with little success. But now that things have settled down, a team looking for a punch in the rotation probably won't mind inheriting a one-year rental at roughly an $8.6 million cap hit after Jacksonville's front office declined Fournette's fifth-year option May 1.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a good example.
As NFL insider Adam Caplan noted on the Inside the Birds podcast (h/t CBS Sports' Jeff Kerr), the Eagles want to add a rotational piece behind Miles Sanders. Fournette would fit well in such a role, and if the asking price for him is only a late-round pick, Philly should jump at the opportunity to add a 25-year-old back who has shown flashes of first-round upside.
Buccaneers Send Cameron Brate to the Redskins
Some thought 2017 first-round pick O.J. Howard might be the odd man out after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded a fourth-round selection to the New England Patriots for tight end Rob Gronkowski and a 2020 seventh-rounder.
However, the Bucs might be better off moving on from Cameron Brate, who will turn 29 in July.
Brate restructured his contract in March, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic, who described him as a "key target" for Brady. But that was before the Buccaneers added Gronk, so the front office might like the idea of moving the veteran as opposed to a still-developing Howard.
Over the last two years, Brate hasn't reached the 350-yard mark in either season despite scoring 10 times. He also played in only 38 percent of Tampa Bay's offensive snaps last year, and his snap count has dipped every season since 2016.
Brate might make sense as a trade target for a team like Washington. The Redskins didn't make a big splash to replace Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis this offseason, but they could use a big-play threat to help Dwayne Haskins develop. At this point, it feels like a middle-round pick would get the job done.
Dolphins Send Josh Rosen to the Patriots
It feels like Josh Rosen could be on his way to team No. 3 any day now.
Rosen, whom the Arizona Cardinals dealt after they selected Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in 2019, spent one year with the Miami Dolphins before the organization added Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5 overall. Tagovailoa might not start right away, but it's clear the gig would then go to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
While Rosen's career numbers don't put him in a favorable light (54.8 percent completion rate, 12 touchdowns, 19 interceptions over 502 passing attempts), he still has allure as a 2018 top-10 pick who's still on a rookie contract and available for cheap.
The New England Patriots might be the team to swoop in. Head coach Bill Belichick and Co. didn't do much to stop the bleeding after losing Tom Brady to Tampa Bay and have shown continued support for Jarrett Stidham, who is expected to compete with Brian Hoyer for the starting job.
It would make sense for Belichick to send a late-round pick to New England's AFC East rival to at least see what Rosen has to offer. The UCLA product could benefit from a new environment, and if they don't like what they see, the Patriots wouldn't have to keep him on the final 53-man roster.
Redskins Send Ryan Kerrigan to the Seahawks
Ryan Kerrigan could be a shocking cut before the season if Washington doesn't find a trade partner.
The 31-year-old linebacker has been the face of the Redskins defense for a long time, piling up 90 sacks since 2011 and at least 7.5 every season before 2019, when injuries limited him to 12 games (his first missed contests ever) and sent him to injured reserve.
With a cap hit of $11.7 million on the final year of his deal, Kerrigan could be on his way out as pass-rushing duties go to first-round products Montez Sweat and Chase Young. The team also has Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis up front.
Elsewhere in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks haven't brought back free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The team only put up 28 sacks last year (second-fewest in the NFL), with just three coming from Clowney, so it's not hard to see why Seattle didn't want to pay his initial $20 million asking price.
The Seahawks could throw a mid-round pick at Washington and ask the Redskins to eat some of Kerrigan's contract. Clowney did lower his asking price last month, according to ESPN's Dianna Russini, but the Seahawks could net a bigger pass-rushing boost at a cheaper cost than re-upping with Clowney.
Jaguars Send Yannick Ngakoue to the Eagles
It isn't a secret that Yannick Ngakoue wants to be dealt from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
And most teams with the cap space wouldn't mind taking the star pass-rusher off Jacksonville's hands. He's only 25 years old and worth every penny of his $17.8 million franchise tag after registering 37.5 sacks over just four seasons.
A team in win-now mode like the Eagles—who already have Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox—makes sense. The Philadelphia front office has a little over $22 million to play with, and it probably would like to give a boost to its 43-sack defense (13th leaguewide) from last year.
The bigger issue is trade cost. But Philadelphia doesn't play in the same conference as the Jags, who are clearly headed toward a rebuild after dealing key contributors such as Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye this offseason. A sign-and-trade centered around a second-round value could get this done.
Jets Send Jamal Adams to the Dallas Cowboys
There could be more to the trade saga of New York Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.
Chatter connecting Adams to the Dallas Cowboys has reigned supreme since the October trade deadline, but Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported Saturday that Dallas hasn't called Gang Green about a deal this offseason.
According to NFL Network's Michael Irvin, the Jets want first- and third-round picks as compensation in any deal for Adams.
It's not hard to see why New York's asking price is so high. Adams is only on the fourth year of his rookie deal and has recorded 273 tackles, 12 sacks and six forced fumbles over 46 appearances. Pro Football Focus gave him an 87.9 grade last season, and he allowed just a 55.3 percent completion rate when targeted.
Even after adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Cowboys could use Adams. Safety remains a weak point on the roster, and Adams would change that.
Dallas has just $4.1 million to work with in 2020, so while the organization might need to take cap-clearing measures before acquiring Adams—like figuring out a long-term deal with Dak Prescott—an all-in team like Cowboys is an ideal landing spot for the two-time Pro Bowler.