NFL Trade Rumors: Teams Willing to Discuss Dealing Star Players 'More Than Ever'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2021

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) on the sideline against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore are reportedly among the notable trade candidates to watch during the 2021 NFL offseason.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano reported Tuesday the expected drop in the salary cap because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will lead some teams to trade high-priced players, creating an opportunity for front offices with financial wiggle room.

"More than ever, executives are willing to at least discuss possibilities with big-ticket players," Fowler and Graziano wrote. "Thirteen teams have more than $20 million in cap space. Others will get creative while trying to get there."

Fans have already received a taste of what could become a memorable offseason, with the Los Angeles Rams acquiring quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions for a pair of first-round draft picks, a third-round selection and fellow signal-caller Jared Goff.

That move should firmly place the Rams in the group of NFC contenders for 2021, and other teams that feel they're a piece or two away from contention will likely consider similar blockbusters.

Beckham, Ertz and Gilmore could similarly make a major impact elsewhere if moved.

The Browns wide receiver was limited to seven appearances in 2020 before suffering a season-ending torn ACL. He'd previously recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in five of his first six years split between Cleveland and the New York Giants.

It's a similar story for Ertz, who missed five games last season with an ankle injury. Before that he was one of the league's most impactful tight ends, scoring 22 touchdowns from 2017 through 2019.

Gilmore was the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year but likewise only played 11 games in 2020 because of time on the COVID-19 list and a partially torn quadriceps.

So interested teams would be betting on a bounce-back year from any of those three stars, but there's no doubting their game-changing upside when healthy.

When you combine their potential availability with the trade request from Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the NFL landscape could look quite different by September.