NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 5

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2020

NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 5

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    Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

    The NFL trade block hits an apex around Week 5.

    By then, teams have played about a month of football, and some clear trends have started to emerge. Winless teams like the New York Jets and the Houston Texans could serve as sellers while thinking about a rebuild.

    Plenty of would-be contenders could be looking to acquire talent, ranging from undefeated teams such as Buffalo and Seattle to squads in the NFC East, where a 1-2-1 team sits in first place.

    Add in a big injury, such as the 3-1 Cleveland Browns' loss of running back Nick Chubb, and the trade market could pick up serious speed.

    Here's a look at some of the top players potentially available, based on roster and cap situations plus the chances that a move could happen.

The Selection Process

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    To assemble a top 10, we first outlined 15 probable trade candidates and then narrowed it down. Candidates are most often on losing teams or at a position of excess for their current teams.

    We've removed Cleveland running back Kareem Hunt in the wake of the injury to Nick Chubb and added Houston Texans running back David Johnson for a handful of reasons explained later.

    Here's a look at the initial list, in no particular order:

    • Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
    • David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
    • Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
    • Joe Thuney, LG, New England Patriots
    • Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Ryan Kerrigan, EDGE, Washington Football Team
    • Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts
    • DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Denver Broncos
    • Denzel Perryman, LB, Los Angeles Chargers
    • Kenny Stills, WR, Houston Texans
    • Haason Reddick, LB, Arizona Cardinals
    • Trent Murphy, EDGE, Buffalo Bills
    • Vic Beasley Jr., EDGE, Tennessee Titans
    • Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

10. David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    It's time to start talking about the prospects of a serious fire sale in Houston.

    Bill O'Brien's makeover of the roster hasn't panned out, and the team fired him Monday. Swapping out DeAndre Hopkins for a host of new weapons, including running back David Johnson, is one of the many reasons the team is off to an 0-4 start.

    Along the way, Johnson has cobbled together 197 yards and two touchdowns on 51 attempts for a 3.9 average. He hasn't averaged four yards per rush in a season since 2016.

    The front office might want to recoup some of its losses considering Johnson is sitting on a three-year deal worth $39 million with a cap hit of $9 million or more this season and the next. It wouldn't be the type of trade to net big assets—just one aimed at clearing the books.

9. Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Brett Duke/Associated Press

    Cameron Brate still looks like one of the top possible names the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could move this season.

    That said, he takes a nosedive down the list after an Achilles injury to tight end O.J. Howard that is likely season-ending.

    But even with Howard down in Week 4, Tom Brady hit Brate with just one target, which he caught for three yards. Wideout Scotty Miller helped pick up the slack, catching five passes for 83 yards and a score. Seven players had more targets than Brate.

    Brate has shown he's capable of more in the past, which other teams could want. And the Buccaneers might want out of a misguided deal in which Brate has a cap hit of at least $6.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

8. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Odell Beckham Jr. being Odell Beckham Jr. means he'll probably stick on lists like this all season.

    But for now, the pedal is to the floor for the Cleveland Browns as they experience a surge. They're 3-1, and Beckham just dropped 81 yards and two scores while catching five of eight targets as one of many Browns weapons to decimate a lost Dallas defense.

    We'll see if the feel-good vibes hold up for Beckham and Co. as the schedule gets more difficult in the coming weeks. But he has been a staple of trade speculation since landing in Cleveland for good reason.

    Teams aren't likely to stop sniffing around the idea. Things could still implode in Cleveland. Mostly, though, the front office could want to offload a cap hit of $15 million or more in each of the next three seasons, especially because he'll be in range of an extension as he nears the age of 30.

7. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Bengals might be closer to seeing the proverbial writing on the wall with wideout A.J. Green.

    Green has had a miserable start to his comeback campaign, grabbing only 14 of his 33 targets for 119 yards and averaging just 8.5 yards per catch. He's getting hardly any separation and at times is more of a liability than a boon for Joe Burrow.

    In Week 4, Green caught one of five targets for three yards. He tied for fourth on the team in targets, and he's been surpassed by second-round rookie Tee Higgins. One could suggest it's merely rust for a guy who missed all of last season and had a slight injury in training camp this summer, but he's 32.

    The Bengals might try to recoup something for Green's eventual departure. At his age and with how he's slowed down, he'd normally be more effective in the slot—but the Bengals can't play him there since they have Tyler Boyd. Playing him in the slot is a line of thought that might encourage another team to come calling.

6. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    It feels like Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is close to a return, which could also mean he's close to getting shipped out of town.

    The 30-year-old has yet to play this season. Were he returning to a contending team, it might be wise for the Eagles to swat away the trade speculation that has centered on Jeffery over the past year.

    But reality says otherwise. The Eagles are 1-2-1, which places them atop the NFC East—but the ineptitude of the division won't remain for long. And Jeffery is an aging possession wideout who managed just 490 yards and four scores on 73 targets last year over 10 games.

    The Eagles might want to shake free of a messy contract that gives Jeffery a cap hit of $18.5 million in 2021. They're in first place without him anyway, right?

5. Kenny Stills, WR, Houston Texans

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Elsewhere on the Houston Texans, should the organization undergo an overhaul, Kenny Stills might be one of the pieces the team decides to move.

    Stills did catch two passes for 39 yards and a score in Week 4, but he tied for third in team targets and hasn't been a big part of an underperforming offense. This wasn't hard to see coming after the Texans brought in Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks this past offseason.

    Stills has just seven catches on the season. With things seemingly about to blow up in Houston, contenders could call about picking him up as a rental given that he's a viable deep threat who averages 15.7 yards per catch for his career.

4. Haason Reddick, LB, Arizona Cardinals

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    The Arizona Cardinals are likely to go their separate ways from linebacker Haason Reddick, the 13th pick in 2017, especially after saying no thanks to his fifth-year option.

    Arizona added Isaiah Simmons in the first round this year as an apparent do-over at trying to find a versatile, do-it-all linebacker who can fly all over the field.

    Reddick hasn't had a solidified position with Arizona. Through four games, his snap count is down to 51 percent. Last year, he finished at 61 percent. A 57.7 Pro Football Focus grade partially explains why the Cardinals aren't getting him out there more.

    Bad grades or not, NFL teams often believe a change of scenery will work wonders, so there is bound to be trade interest in a former first-round pick on a half-season deal.

3. Ryan Kerrigan, Edge, Washington Football Team

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Washington is 1-3, so speculation about a potential Ryan Kerrigan trade should only pick up.

    Kerrigan is still a strong pass-rusher at the age of 32. He's also appealing to other teams because he's in the final year of his contract, making him a half-season rental for a contender that is trying to win it all.

    Kerrigan has two sacks on the season, but he's played more than 50 percent of the defense's snaps twice in four games. It's also no secret he's expendable after the front office made pass-rushing moves for the future by drafting Montez Sweat and Chase Young in back-to-back first rounds.

    Given the apparent need for a rebuild in Washington, Kerrigan is the sort of veteran who could net a big return and help the front office keep fueling the desired turnaround.

2. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The New York Jets are one of the worst teams in football again under Adam Gase with an 0-4 record and minus-66 point differential.

    Le'Veon Bell hasn't played since Week 1 but has been targeting a Week 5 return, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

    Bell probably isn't going to look amazing in the negative game scripts a bad team provides, but he did cobble together 789 rushing yards and 461 receiving yards over 15 games last season in a similar situation after spending a year out of football.

    The Jets might be wise to admit his signing was a mistake considering his cap hit of at least $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons. It's easy to forget Bell is still under the age of 30, so another team might be interested in seeing if it can help him rediscover his old form.

1. Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    The importance of the position shoots Jacoby Brissett to No. 1 on the list.

    The Indianapolis Colts are doing just fine with Philip Rivers under center. They have a 3-1 record with a plus-47 point differential, and the new arrival under center has a 72.7 completion percentage with four touchdowns.

    While Brissett struggled last year, completing just 60.9 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions, he's likely one of the first guys another contender or team will call about if it has a starter go down. The drop-off between him and the top free agents is dramatic.

    Brissett is in the last year of his deal, and Rivers hasn't missed a game since 2005, so the Colts might think it wise to get something in return for his possible departure. Given the unpredictable nature of this season (think Cam Newton's situation in New England), teams might be willing to pay more than usual for a guy who can start.