NFL Players on the Trade Block Who Should Stay Put
The NFL rumor mill is about to heat up with the Week 8 trade deadline approaching.
And why not? The league has been trade-happy in recent years, and as the season nears the halfway point, contenders and pretenders will mostly have been sorted into their respective columns. Injuries have occurred, head coaches have been fired, and long-term courses need plotting.
The trade deadline should once again serve as a vehicle for rebuilders to offload talent and would-be contenders to stock up for a short-term run. That said, a few notable players shouldn't get traded, whether because it wouldn't make sense for the team's situation or because the return would be minimal.
Using a trade block big board featuring the biggest players involved in trade speculation, let's look at a handful of massive names who shouldn't get moved in the coming weeks.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts no longer have the best backup quarterback in football thanks to Andy Dalton's presence with the Dallas Cowboys (though he's currently starting in place of an injured Dak Prescott), but they aren't far off thanks to the presence of Jacoby Brissett.
Call Brissett's presence a good dilemma for the Colts as they'll likely receive the first call from any team with issues at the position before the deadline. He was the starter last year, and Philip Rivers continues to play well enough to hold down the job in 2020, as evidenced by his 371 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a Week 6 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
While Brissett wasn't overly impressive as a starter (60.9 completion percentage, 18 touchdowns, six interceptions over 15 games in 2019), the Colts do need to keep an eye on the future. Rivers hasn't missed a game since 2005, but he's also 38 years old and on a one-year pact.
While there might be interest in gaining a long-term asset by offloading Brissett, the pursuit of contention suggests keeping him as insurance is smart, and the eye toward the future points at a question mark if the Colts somehow hit next summer with neither quarterback on the roster.
Will Fuller V, WR, Houston Texans
It's easy to tab the Houston Texans as sellers at the deadline with head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien fired. And that might end up being the case after O'Brien absorbed a big cap hit with running back David Johnson, traded away DeAndre Hopkins and added wideouts Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb.
According to a report from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Cooks, Will Fuller V and others could be on the move.
While some of the other miscues around Deshaun Watson might make sense to unload, a longtime favorite target like Fuller doesn't. Through six games, he's leading the team in receiving with 455 yards and four scores, he's up to three 100-yard performances, and he has scored in four straight games.
The Texans will have to work on an extension for Fuller, a 26-year-old drafted in 2016's first round, but he's a consistent, long-term weapon upon whom Watson can lean while the organization likely undergoes a dramatic change.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
It's easy to tab Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green as a trade candidate.
Green, 32, hadn't played regular-season football since 2018, and he's been a slow-starter as he works into a new offense under a new head coach, never mind receiving passes from a new quarterback by the name of Joe Burrow. Through the first five games, he had caught just 14 of his 34 targets for 119 yards, putting him fifth on the team in receiving.
But those same issues mean other teams might not have much interest, either. Maybe another team likes the idea of moving Green to the slot even if he does look notably slower, but he's also playing on a costly franchise tag.
From Cincinnati's perspective, letting Green go for a minimal return wouldn't make a ton of sense. While Tee Higgins might be outplaying him right now, he's just a rookie. Having Green as a fall-back plan isn't the worst idea.
The time to sell high on Green is long, long gone, and the Bengals don't have a major reason to settle for a lesser trade return. Instead, crossing their fingers and hoping he can at least help Burrow develop is the best thing the organization can do.
Dwayne Haskins Jr., QB, Washington Football Team
The putrid state of the NFC East has a way of influencing teams to act in unanticipated ways.
One of them seemed to be Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera pulling the plug on Dwayne Haskins Jr., the team's first-round pick from 2019. The former Ohio State star hadn't been great over his first four games of the season (four touchdowns, three interceptions), but it seemed like an overreaction, and that was reinforced by middling play from Alex Smith and Kyle Allen.
But again, the state of the NFC East and a new head coach trying to make a name for himself early factor into Washington's decisions.
If things go south, the coaching staff might want to loop back to a first-round pick who has hardly had a fair shake. As a rookie, Haskins got in just nine games for a team that fired its head coach early in the season and remains in rebuild mode.
Other organizations might have interest in Haskins' upside, but it's not like the recent Josh Rosen saga had suitors lining up to cough up big assets. Washington might benefit over the long run from rebuffing potential offers and keeping him aboard since there aren't many assets more valuable than a high-upside passer on a rookie deal with a fifth-year option.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Whether the Philadelphia Eagles want to focus on the now or later will influence what they do with Alshon Jeffery.
He has yet to play a down in 2020 and carries an $18.5 million cap hit next season. He's 30 years old and hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2017. But the NFC East also remains in reach as no team in the division sports a winning record.
Keep in mind the negatives will dash the potential return the Eagles can get back in a trade. Aside from divisional contention, the front office also has to consider the idea that the veteran wideout could get back and immensely help Carson Wentz.
Wentz continues to struggle with Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham as his top targets. Jeffery, while costly, could provide some much-needed stability around the quarterback.
Were the NFC East not up for grabs, it'd be easier for the Eagles to justify a developmental year for their franchise passer and his younger surrounding pieces. But all could benefit from Jeffery sticking in town, and his presence could also up the likelihood of a playoff appearance.