One Player Who Should Be Traded from Every NFL Team
The NFL trade deadline used to be much ado about nothing. There might be a deal here and there, but it was nothing like the flurry of activity in other sports.
It's still not a swap meet on the level of the NBA or MLB, but a lot more NFL general managers have been channeling their inner Monty Halls in recent years.
The 2020 trade deadline is on Nov. 3, and as that date draws near, fans of all 32 teams are speculating about which players could be sent packing and who could be coming to town. It's that first part we're going to hit on here.
However, this column comes with a few caveats.
The first is that NFL teams are not created equal—it's far more likely that the 0-5 New York Jets will be in a selling mood than the 5-0 Seattle Seahawks.
The second is that while there are undoubtedly players every team would like to trade, they must have value for the buyer and be expendable for the seller. The Philadelphia Eagles would take a box of Hot Pockets for Alshon Jeffery at this point. But with that contract? It's not happening.
The third is that with an exception or two, this list is short on superstars. Big names rarely get dealt in-season, and when they do, it's a sure sign of a clearance sale.
Still, for every team from Arizona to Washington, there's a player who makes some sense as a trade chip.
Arizona Cardinals: OLB Haason Reddick
After they lost Chandler Jones to a season-ending biceps tear, it might seem odd to advocate the Arizona Cardinals trading any kind of pass-rusher—even a disappointing one.
But if the Cardinals are going to move someone at the deadline, Haason Reddick has to be the guy.
Back in 2017, the Cardinals made Reddick the 13th overall pick in the draft. He had a decent second season in 2018, tallying 80 total tackles and four sacks. But as he pinballed from scheme to scheme and staff to staff, he never appeared comfortable in the desert and never came close to living up to that draft slot.
The Cardinals wouldn't get much in return for Reddick, who has 10 tackles and two sacks in spot duty this season. But it's not out of the question that an NFL team would be willing to roll the dice on his talent in the hope that he has just been misused.
Maybe the change of scenery would jump-start his career.
Atlanta Falcons: QB Matt Ryan
Yes, you read that right.
Not that long ago, the idea of the Atlanta Falcons trading Matt Ryan would have been laughable. After all, we're talking about the MVP of the entire National Football League in 2016.
No one's laughing in Atlanta now. Not after an 0-5 start that cost both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff their jobs.
The Falcons are headed for a ground-up rebuild, and having a 35-year-old quarterback on the roster with an average annual salary of $30 million who won't hit free agency until 2024 isn't going to accelerate it. He's instead going to hinder it.
As things stand now, the Falcons are in the thick of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. There are absolutely teams that would be interested in adding a quarterback with Ryan's resume.
John Elway is fanning himself right now.
It would an ignominious end to the tenure of the best quarterback the franchise has ever had. But if Atlanta is going to blow the team up, Ryan is more valuable as trade bait than under center.
Baltimore Ravens: RB Mark Ingram II
This one is admittedly as speculative as speculative gets. There isn't a player on Baltimore's roster who stands out as both expendable and valuable enough to trade. Not for a Ravens team with its sights set squarely on Tampa and Super Bowl LV.
But as strange as it sounds, Mark Ingram II is probably about as close as we're going to get.
Ingram's numbers are down relative to his 1,000-yard season in 2019, although that's in large part because the Ravens are employing a committee attack. The 30-year-old is still averaging a respectable 4.6 yards per carry.
The Ravens drafted J.K. Dobbins to be the future in the backfield, but to date, he's received just 16 carries. He's made the most of them, though, averaging 7.9 yards a pop.
The clock is ticking on Ingram's time in Baltimore anyway. With the salary cap set to decrease in 2021, he's a prime candidate to be a cap casualty in the offseason. Move him now and distribute his work on the ground to Dobbins and Gus Edwards.
Maybe Baltimore's run game (which hasn't been as lethally efficient as a year ago) would actually benefit if the team would let a guy get into a rhythm instead of playing musical backfield every week.
Buffalo Bills: DE Trent Murphy
Like most of the playoff contenders on this list, the Buffalo Bills are far more likely to be buying than selling at the trade deadline. The AFC East leaders need to add talent on defense, not shed it.
However, if there's one player on the team the Bills should shop, he's on that side of the ball.
There was more than a little speculation before the season that defensive end Trent Murphy wouldn't even make the Bills' 53-man roster. The 29-year-old not only made the cut, but he also remains Buffalo's starter at strong-side defensive end.
Murphy is a pro's pro and a very good player. More than a few NFL teams with depth or injury issues up front would be interested in bringing him in. His nine tackles and one sack this year aren't gaudy numbers, but they also don't tell the whole story of his impact on the field.
Murphy is also set to hit the open market in 2021, and after the Bills drafted Iowa's A.J. Epenesa in 2020, it's highly unlikely the veteran will be back in Western New York next year.
In Epenesa, Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, the Bills have the depth at defensive end to absorb the hit.
Carolina Panthers: WR Curtis Samuel
The Carolina Panthers have done as much to re-make their roster since the end of the 2019 season as any team in the NFL. And to their credit, they have done so well enough that a franchise that looked like it would be a seller in the trade market is now 3-2 and could instead be looking to add pieces.
However, there are still assets with which the Panthers could afford to part, and chief among them is wide receiver Curtis Samuel.
Samuel has had his moments over three-plus years in Carolina, including a career-high 54/627/6 line in 2019. But the former Ohio State running back has just never been a consistent part of the offense. That includes this year since he has taken the clearest of back seats to DJ Moore and Robby Anderson and has just 19 receptions for the year.
Samuel is talented and has more than a little appeal for teams looking for a slot receiver or pass-catcher out of the backfield. He's also an impending free agent who Spotrac estimated will command $6.5 million per season in free agency.
The chances the Panthers will be paying that salary aren't good.
Chicago Bears: QB Mitchell Trubisky
This is probably more wishful thinking than reality. The writing is on the wall regarding Mitchell Trubisky's future in Chicago, so much so that even if a team were interested in the 2017 second overall pick, it could just wait the Bears out and sign him in free agency next spring.
Still, as soon as the Bears traded for Nick Foles, the clock started ticking. Once Trubisky was benched for the new arrival, it sealed it: Trubisky is done in the Windy City.
It wasn't what the Bears hoped for when they drafted him, but he wasn't terrible. He completed 63.1 percent of his passes, had 22 more touchdowns than interceptions and went 26-18 as the starting quarterback.
This wouldn't be without risk, of course. At 4-1, the Bears are playoff contenders who may need a viable backup plan at quarterback at some point this season.
But given what general manager Ryan Pace surrendered to move up and draft Trubisky, getting something back for him would be tempting.
Cincinnati Bengals: WR A.J. Green
Adriel Jeremiah Green is the greatest wide receiver the Cincinnati Bengals have ever had. He's caught over 600 career passes, topped 9,000 career yards, posted six 1,000-yard seasons and been named to seven Pro Bowls.
And if the Bengals get any kind of reasonable offer for the 32-year-old, the team should send him packing.
Green has been a complete non-factor for the new-look Bengals in 2020, managing just 14 catches (on 34 targets) for 119 yards. He's been passed by both Tyler Boyd and rookie Tee Higgins in the pecking order at wideout in the Queen City, and he's also a free agent after the season.
Add that all together and the smart play for a Bengals team in the opening stages of a rebuild is clear: Flip Green to a contending team looking to add a veteran presence at wide receiver and pick up some extra draft capital.
It may not be the end to Green's time with the Bengals that most envisioned, but it's the best thing for both player and team at this point.
It beats watching A.J. Afterthought not catch passes every Sunday.
Cleveland Browns: TE David Njoku
The 2020 season hasn't gone as planned for David Njoku since the Cleveland Browns tight end spent the early part of the season on injured reserve with a knee injury. However, he is back now, and he told Anthony Poisal of the team's website that he can't wait to rejoin Cleveland's rolling offense.
"It feels really good, and my body is fully healed now," he said. "As everyone else sees, we are making great progress. We're coming together as a team and fighting for each other, so week by week, we keep getting better."
There's something a little mean about advocating trading him now that Cleveland's offense is finally good. But that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense.
Njoku has shown flashes here and there over three-plus seasons—enough that there will be interest in the 24-year-old. But he has bever lived up to his first-round draft slot, and in veteran Austin Hooper and rookie Harrison Bryant, the Browns have shown their tight end room is just fine without him.
Dallas Cowboys: WR Michael Gallup
Five games into the 2020 season, we know a couple of things about the Dallas Cowboys.
The first is that with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown on the roster, the Cowboys may well have the best cadre of wide receivers in the league.
The second is that the Dallas defense is hot garbage, especially in the secondary.
Even if Dak Prescott hadn't suffered a season-ending ankle injury, Dallas' leaky defense was going to prevent this team from making a deep playoff run. And while the Cowboys are in pretty good shape relative to the salary cap this year, it's a different story in 2021.
If Dallas is going to renovate the defense next offseason, it's going to be in the draft.
Trading a young wideout just entering his prime would be a bold move. But the demand for the 24-year-old's services would all but certainly be high. So could the return the team receives in a trade.
And if the first month of the season was any indication, Gallup is essentially the Cowboys' third receiver behind Cooper and Lamb.
Denver Broncos: S Justin Simmons
The optimism surrounding the Denver Broncos in 2020 didn't last especially long. Injuries have hit both sides of the ball hard, and the Broncos have just one win over the season's first month.
Another disappointing season in the Mile High City means difficult decisions for general manager John Elway—among them the future of All-Pro safety Justin Simmons.
Simmons is an excellent player, to be sure. He has topped 90 total tackles each of the past two seasons and had an impressive passer rating against of just 43.6 last season.
But Simmons is also going to be an expensive player. The 26-year-old is playing under the franchise tag in 2020 and will likely look to be one of the highest-paid safeties in the game moving forward.
The Broncos aren't going to get the sort of haul for Simmons that the New York Jets got from the Seattle Seahawks for Jamal Adams. But there are plenty of defense-needy teams that would have significant interest in adding a player of his caliber to their secondary.
Detroit Lions: RB Kerryon Johnson
If the first month of the 2020 season is any indication, it's going to be another long year for the Detroit Lions. And while it's still too early to throw in the towel (maybe), they are likely looking at another offseason of high draft picks and addressing numerous holes on the roster.
At running back, at least, that shouldn't be a problem. The Lions' leading rusher is 35-year-old Adrian Peterson, but they just spent a second-round pick on the player they hope is the future at the position in Georgia's D'Andre Swift.
With Swift and Peterson in town, Kerryon Johnson has been relegated to a lot more watching than playing. The third-year pro has all of eight touches in the past two games combined. But he is healthy at the moment (an issue over his first two seasons) and has shown enough when afforded the opportunity to potentially draw some interest from teams that have been hit by injuries in the backfield.
The 23-year-old probably wouldn't fetch a lot in a trade. But from all indications, the Lions can use all the picks they can get.
Green Bay Packers: RB Jamaal Williams
To be clear, this one almost certainly won't happen. Undefeated teams don't trade away assets at the deadline. They acquire them.
With that said, the Green Bay Packers would love it if they were in a position to make this deal happen.
There's a reason the Packers drafted Boston College's AJ Dillon in the second round of April's draft, and it wasn't because general manager Brian Gutekunst enjoys trolling the draftnik community. That was the reason for the Jordan Love pick.
At the conclusion of the 2020 season, both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams will hit free agency. So will left tackle David Bakhtiari. And center Corey Linsley. The odds that Williams will be back in green and gold in 2021 are non-existent.
Williams is a complementary back in Titletown. But the 25-year-old has the potential to be a quality No. 1 back for more than one team. He'd also be a welcome addition for a number of NFL squads that have a clear top back but precious little behind them.
Houston Texans: WR Kenny Stills
The Houston Texans didn't expect to be sellers at the 2020 trade deadline. But thanks to a combination of four losses in five games and the, um, interesting personnel decisions of former general manager and head coach Bill O'Brien, the Texans are headed nowhere fast and are preciously short on draft capital.
Eighth-year veteran Kenny Stills was part of the Laremy Tunsil trade that cost the Texans their first-round pick in next year's draft. Since arriving in Houston, he has been mostly invisible with five touchdown catches and all of one 100-yard game. Through five weeks this season, the 28-year-old has caught a whopping eight passes.
The return in a trade for a player with that limited resume is going to be modest. But Stills has previously shown the ability to take the top off a defense. He averaged 17.3 yards per catch and scored nine touchdowns with the Miami Dolphins back in 2016.
Some teams in need of depth at wide receiver would be interested in that.
Indianapolis Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett
As the offseason trade for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner showed, the Colts are in win-now mode. This team is more likely to be a buyer than a seller at the deadline, but that doesn't mean there isn't a player worth shopping on the roster.
As Jim Ayello reported for the Indianapolis Star, Colts head coach Frank Reich insisted quarterback Philip Rivers is in no danger of being benched despite his mistake-laden outing against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5.
"My trust at the end of the day is who he is," Reich said. "This guy is a Hall of Fame QB. I have the utmost confidence and belief in him, Our team has the utmost confidence and belief in him. You've got to live with some mistakes but the good is going to far outweigh the one or two bad things that are going to happen."
Whether the Colts should be committed to Rivers is a matter of some debate, and as the trade deadline approaches, Indy will be a popular potential partner in many hypothetical trades for a veteran quarterback.
That all also points in an additional direction: Jacoby Brissett is expendable.
Brissett is set to hit free agency in 2021, and the Colts aren't going to hand the 27-year-old $15 million per season again. If he isn't going to play and isn't going to return, they might as well dangle him in front of teams that need help under center and get something in return before he saunters out the door.
Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Dede Westbrook
It's hard to single out a player the Jacksonville Jaguars should trade in 2020. The team already had a fire sale. Defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue and safety Ronnie Harrison were all either traded or released in the offseason.
Still, at least one veteran player might generate some interest on the trade market.
Not much is said about the wide receiving corps in Jacksonville, but the team has quietly constructed a solid group with DJ Chark Jr., Keelan Cole Sr., rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. and slot man Chris Conley. But that depth at wide receiver has created a problem for fourth-year pro Dede Westbrook. There just isn't any playing time for the former Oklahoma standout who has been relegated to being a healthy scratch on Sundays.
Granted, a player who has one catch for four yards this season isn't going to fetch much in a trade—likely no more than a conditional Day 3 pick. But teams out there might be willing to pay that modest price for a young receiver who topped 65 catches and 650 yards in both 2018 and 2019.
Kansas City Chiefs: ILB Anthony Hitchens
The Kansas City Chiefs might be the least likely team in the NFL to move a player at the trade deadline.
It's far more likely that the defending Super Bowl champions will be adding a player than subtracting one. But the premise of this column is finding a player the Chiefs can afford to lose who would generate some interest from potential suitors.
Seventh-year veteran Anthony Hitchens isn't a great linebacker. There's a reason the Chiefs went out and drafted Willie Gay Jr. in 2020. Hitchens allowed a 110.4 passer rating in coverage last year.
But he is an experienced and productive player who racked up 135 total tackles in his first season with the Chiefs in 2018. There are NFL teams who could use him as a steadying force at linebacker, and with Gay's playing time starting to ramp up, losing the veteran wouldn't create a huge hole in the Chiefs defense.
Las Vegas Raiders: WR Zay Jones
The Las Vegas Raiders finally appear to be headed in the right direction. Last week's stunning upset of the Kansas City Chiefs puts them squarely in the hunt for at least a wild-card spot, and that makes it more likely they will be buying and not selling at the deadline.
But should another team come calling in search of some wide receiver help on the cheap, it's possible the Raiders might part with a youngster whose production has never met his potential.
Zay Jones' next game with the Raiders will be his 16th. Over that "season," the fourth-year pro's production has been less than stellar: 29 receptions on 39 targets for 228 yards and one score.
But Jones has shown some ability to help an NFL team. Back in his second season in Buffalo, he was targeted over 100 times, hauling in 56 passes for 652 yards and seven touchdowns.
There's some appeal there for teams looking for additional depth in the wide receiver room.
Los Angeles Chargers: DB Desmond King II
This is one of the more likely scenarios in this column.
Trade rumors have surrounded Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Desmond King II since before the season began, and as his playing time has dwindled, the 25-year-old has taken to social media to express his unhappiness over the situation.
"Is there a reason I'm not on the field?" King tweeted a couple of weeks ago, per ESPN's Alden Gonzalez. "Some people want to know."
In another tweet, he wrote: "I'll continue to do my job but I'm going to need answers real soon."
At 1-4, the Chargers aren't going anywhere in 2020. The team's focus should shift from the present to building around Justin Herbert in the future, and King doesn't appear to be in those plans ahead of hitting free agency in the offseason.
King admittedly struggled in coverage last year, allowing a 124.8 passer rating when targeted. But the former Iowa standout is only just entering the prime of his career and can play both in the slot and at safety.
Multiple teams are going to be interested in that kind of player.
Los Angeles Rams: S Taylor Rapp
The Los Angeles Rams are just full of surprises in 2020.
After a disappointing 2019 season, they have come out of the gate hot, winning four of five to open the year. An improved defense deserves much of the credit for that start, and there has been a surprise on that unit: rookie Jordan Fuller starting ahead of Taylor Rapp at safety.
As a rookie in 2019, Rapp played over 800 snaps on defense, hit the century mark in total tackles and picked off a pair of passes. But when he was nicked up in camp, Fuller shined on the practice field and took the job. Rapp's snap count is way down in 2020, and most of his playing time came when Fuller suffered a shoulder injury.
That injury makes it rather unlikely that the Rams would part with Rapp since teams eyeing deep playoff runs don't generally trade valuable depth pieces.
But if he did become available, the Rams could potentially land significant compensation in a trade because 22-year-old safeties who have shown they can play have more than a little value.
The Cleveland Browns, for example, would cartwheel to L.A. for the chance to grab a viable starting safety.
Miami Dolphins: RB Matt Breida
This one is rather unfair. It's not easy to figure out a trade candidate for a Miami Dolphins team that recently traded away every player who wasn't nailed down.
Those deals have already helped accelerate the rebuild in South Florida, and the Dolphins are flush with draft capital in 2021, as well. Still, there remains work to be done before they can contend in the AFC East, and they shouldn't be shy about continuing to maintain a long-term focus.
When Miami traded for running back Matt Breida in the offseason, the hope was that the talented but oft-injured running back would help solidify an uncertain group of players at the position.
To his credit, Breida has stayed healthy. But with the emergence of Myles Gaskin, he has become an offensive afterthought. He's had 10 touches in a game only once this season, and that was in mop-up duty against his old team in the San Francisco 49ers last week.
Breida is a free agent in 2021. He's not coming back next year. He'd likely welcome the opportunity to play somewhere where he might actually get to, you know, play.
It's hardly a splash move like dealing Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick. But it's worth pursuing even if it only nets the team a conditional pick.
Minnesota Vikings: CB Mike Hughes
The 2020 season has so gone sideways for the 1-4 Minnesota Vikings that quarterback Kirk Cousins was almost the pick here. But it's not quite time to completely nuke the franchise just yet.
It is, however, time to admit that this is a lost season and jettison underperforming players who might be able to help the team engineer a turnaround just as rapid as its fall from grace.
A big reason for that free-fall is the implosion of the Minnesota secondary. The Vikings lost their top three corners from a year ago in the offseason, and it shows—partly because 2018 first-round pick Mike Hughes has been a massive disappointment.
Hughes' make-or-break third season has been all kinds of broken. He's allowing career highs in completion percentage (73.3) and passer rating against (126.8) and is giving up 13.5 yards per catch.
However, Hughes also has first-round pedigree and is under contract through at least 2021. There is no shortage of teams looking for help on the back end.
At least one will convince itself he can turn things around.
New England Patriots: CB Jason McCourty
Had the New England Patriots struggled to start the 2020 season, it wouldn't have been at all surprising to see the team part with veteran guard Joe Thuney. The 27-year-old is the most valuable asset of the players in New England whose contract expires in 2021, and the Patriots have long been willing to send just about anyone packing if the price is right.
But with the Pats in the thick of at least the wild-card hunt, Thuney is probably safe. Still, it's the Patriots. Who knows?
Veteran cornerback Jason McCourty is all kinds of expendable, though.
At 33, McCourty isn't the player he once was, and it has shown. His completion percentage against is up over 15 percent relative to last year. His passer rating against has spiked to 128.8.
Still, there are teams out there who could use a steadying veteran presence on the back end. And after 11 seasons and 130 starts in the pros, McCourty is most assuredly that.
New Orleans Saints: Edge Marcus Davenport
The New Orleans Saints are stuck.
At 3-2 and with Drew Brees nearing the end of the line, they are smack-dab in win-now mode. But if the last few weeks are any indication, they aren't making it to Tampa.
There's no way the team would consider trading impending free-agent edge-rusher Trey Hendrickson, who has been the team's best pass-rusher this year. Given how badly the team is playing the pass, general manager Mickey Loomis might want to fire half the cornerback room, but the Saints can't afford to do so.
However, maybe they should consider trading another edge-rusher.
The trade up in 2018 that brought Marcus Davenport to New Orleans was a mistake, plain and simple. He has missed time in all three seasons he's been in the pros and has just 10.5 sacks in 27 career games.
That said, given Davenport's youth (24) and athleticism, there will be teams willing to gamble that he's just a late-bloomer.
If the Saints believe Hendrickson's breakout is legitimate, they need to decide which one they want to keep. A franchise in the fifth circle of salary-cap hell can't afford both.
New York Giants: WR Golden Tate
I'm going to break some news here: The New York Giants are not good.
At 0-5, the only place the Giants are headed is toward what could be an interesting choice between Daniel Jones and one of the top quarterbacks in the class of 2021. And that means just about every aging player on the roster is expendable.
Wide receiver Golden Tate should be right at the top of that list. Since joining in 2019, Tate has been mostly underwhelming. He hasn't hit even 700 receiving yards in a season and is averaging a career-low 8.1 yards per catch this season.
However, it's not like the 32-year-old doesn't have something to offer a contender. Tate's 78.3 catch percentage in 2020 is a career high, he found the end zone six times last year, and part of his drop in YPC can be attributed to the terrible quarterback play in New York.
With a cap hit of over $10 million in 2021, Tate is probably a goner after this season anyway.
The Giants might as well get something for the veteran now.
New York Jets: QB Sam Darnold
Free Sam Darnold!
The New York Jets may well be the worst team in the National Football League. They are on a collision course with a franchise reset that will more than likely include both a top-five draft pick (and perhaps the No. 1 pick) and a coaching change.
They might as well change the quarterback, too.
Sam Darnold isn't completely blameless for his struggles over the past two-plus seasons. But there's a lot that was out of the young quarterback's control, whether it was a lack of offensive talent around him or a coaching staff that appears completely out of its depth.
The odds of Darnold's fifth-year option for 2022 being picked up are seemingly dropping by the day. He looks to be headed down the Mitchell Trubisky route with a lame-duck fourth season next year before he heads out the door.
If that's the case, the Jets might as well just bite the bullet and move on by turning the reins over to Joe Flacco for the rest of 2020, flipping Darnold to a team that's confident it can turn the 2018 third overall pick around and drafting a quarterback next year.
Assuming, of course, that Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields don't both stay in school to avoid Darnold's fate.
Philadelphia Eagles: TE Zach Ertz
In a perfect world, the Philadelphia Eagles would no doubt love to get veteran wide receiver Alshon Jeffery off the books. But he hasn't played at all yet in 2020, so good luck finding a suitor.
The situation would be substantially different with tight end Zach Ertz.
Ertz has had a disappointing start to the 2020 season, but at least part of that can be attributed to the attention he receives from defenders due to the injury-ravaged nature of the Philadelphia offense. But we've seen what the 29-year-old can do when he's on his game. He hauled in 116 passes for 1,163 yards back in 2018.
This potential trade is based on two factors.
The first is compensation. Quite a few teams would be interested in Ertz, especially since he's under contract through 2021. He would net a nice haul of draft capital for a team that has been exposed as having more than a few holes on the roster.
The second factor is financial. It's going to be awfully difficult for the Eagles to re-up Ertz given their salary-cap troubles in 2021. They also have young tight end Dallas Goedert hitting free agency in 2022.
Pittsburgh Steelers: WR James Washington
It's tempting to go bold here—like JuJu Smith-Schuster bold.
Smith-Schuster is set to become a free agent after this season. If he gets to the open market, he'll command a contract likely in excess of $15 million per season. That's going to be a tough ask for a Steelers team that is $17 million and change over next year's projected cap.
Since exploding for 111 receptions in 2018, Smith-Schuster hasn't produced at the same level. And with youngsters like Diontae Johnson and rookie Chase Claypool emerging as dangerous receivers in their own right, he isn't as vital to the Steelers passing game as he once was.
However, the Steelers also have their eyes on a trip to Tampa in February, which makes it unlikely that general manager Kevin Colbert would gamble by dealing the team's most proven pass-catcher.
With all those mouths to feed, James Washington has fallen out of favor in the Steel City with 13 catches for 117 yards and a score through four games. However, the third-year pro is also a solid young field-stretcher who has averaged 14.6 yards per catch for his career and is under contract through 2021 at a modest amount.
Interest in Washington would be robust, and a deal involving the 24-year-old could bring a nice return.
San Francisco 49ers: S Jaquiski Tartt
It's harsh-reality time for the San Francisco 49ers.
The team isn't getting back to the Super Bowl this year. In fact, given their 2-3 record and ludicrously difficult schedule over the next seven games, the Niners probably aren't making the playoffs.
And that means it's time to start assessing the roster for 2021 by making decisions now that will have more impact next season.
Jaquiski Tartt is a capable veteran safety who has started 48 games for San Francisco over the past five-plus seasons. But the 28-year-old is set to hit free agency in 2021. Given San Francisco's precarious salary-cap situation (the fifth-least space in the league) and the likelihood that next year's cap will decrease substantially, he is all but certainly not part of the long-term plans.
There's always demand for veteran talent in the secondary, and 49ers general manager John Lynch would likely have no problem finding a contender looking to improve on the back end that's willing to part with a pick for a safety who allowed less than half the passes thrown in his direction to be completed a season ago.
Seattle Seahawks: OT Cedric Ogbuehi
At 5-0, the Seattle Seahawks are riding high heading into the bye week. They're most definitely not interested in having a garage sale.
But the premise of this piece is that every team is represented, so someone in Seattle has to go.
Of course, no one said it had to be someone good.
The five-plus-year career of offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi has been mostly disappointing. The 21st overall pick in the 2015 draft was a two-year starter for the Cincinnati Bengals, and during that time, he was mostly a turnstile.
Ogbuehi hasn't started a game since the 2017 season and has been on the field for just 4 percent of Seattle's snaps this year, which begs the question of why a team would bother to send Seattle even a seventh-round pick for him.
But it's possible for the same reason that he's making $2.2 million to stand and watch this season: He's an offensive tackle.
Injuries are already mounting up front throughout the league, and at least one team should be desperate enough to pay more attention to Ogbuehi's first-round pedigree than everything that has happened since.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Blaine Gabbert
What? You expected Shaq Barrett?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all-in on winning in the near future. It was the whole point of signing that Tom Brady guy. Even fringe players are all but untouchable if the Buccaneers think they can help the team get to the playoffs. If the Buccaneers are going to deal anyone, it will be from the back of the roster.
And Blaine Gabbert is definitely on the back of the roster.
The Buccaneers aren't going to get much for a 31-year-old journeyman quarterback with a career record of 13-35 (ouch). But if the quarterback carousel were to get to spinning or a team that's shaky under center wants to add a guy who has at least started 48 NFL games, Tampa might be able to land a late pick.
The Bucs don't need Gabbert. If Brady goes down, the team is toast—plus it could at least trot out Josh Rosen and see if there's anything there.
Finally, mentioning Gabbert lets me share the most glorious fan video ever made with you again.
Tennessee Titans: Edge Vic Beasley Jr.
Back in 2016 while he was a member of the Atlanta Falcons, Vic Beasley Jr. led the National Football League in sacks with 15.5. He made the Pro Bowl and appeared well on his way to becoming the league's next great pass-rusher.
Since then, Beasley has 18 sacks in three-plus seasons. Eight of those sacks came last year, which was enough for the Tennessee Titans to roll the dice on a one-year "prove it" deal worth $9.5 million.
So far, those dice have come up snake-eyes.
As Erik Bacharach reported for the Tennessean, just about everything that could go wrong has. Beasley reported to camp 10 days late for reasons that have never been specified. Then he hurt his knee. A month into the season, he has made exactly zero impact for the team.
In 46 snaps over two games, he has tallied all of a single assisted tackle.
Edge-rushers carry a high premium on the trade market, and Beasley's 2016 explosion and first-round pedigree could lead another team down the same path Tennessee took in the offseason, believing Beasley can recapture past glories and become an impact defender.
With Jadeveon Clowney now in Nashville and Harold Landry playing well, the Titans would be well-served to cut their losses with Beasley, get what they can in return and let him become someone else's problem.
Washington Football Team: QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.
The logic of trading away a first-round quarterback who was just drafted in 2019 is, um, debatable.
But it appears that's just what the Washington Football Team is going to do with Dwayne Haskins Jr. As Jason La Canfora reported for CBS Sports, Washington has not just benched the 23-year-old but also intends to shop him ahead of the trade deadline.
"What they'll tell you in that building is that he is a project who was drafted by the owner and his son," one league source said. "That's the bottom line there. [Kyle] Allen is their guy. They think he fits their system. They didn't really want anything to do with Haskins from the beginning."
Haskins admittedly hasn't been great with 11 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and three wins over 11 starts in D.C. But there's a reason he was a first-round pick to begin with, and he was just a one-year starter at Ohio State.
He's talented but needs time to develop.
There are going to be teams interested in the big-armed youngster with three years (counting the fifth-year option) left on his rookie deal. And if a rebuilding Washington team is convinced Haskins isn't the guy, there isn't a player on the team's trade block who would garner a better return in a deal.
Washington should rip off the Band-Aid and move on.