1 Trade Each NFL Team Should Offer Before the 2021 Season Starts

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystJuly 28, 2021

1 Trade Each NFL Team Should Offer Before the 2021 Season Starts

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    Trade chatter is constant since NFL general managers are always checking in with other teams to gauge interest in players—either their own or the other squad's. 

    The desire to improve one's squads never stops. So, file the following under, "It doesn't hurt to ask." 

    Each team has improvements or moves it should try to make. The willingness doesn't mean a deal will be completed. But general managers should make an offer to see what may come of what could be nothing more than a harmless conversation. 

    To be clear, each offer presented is based on each franchise's best interests. One team looking for a premier player believed to be on the trade block isn't the same as his original squad keeping said individual to further its own standing. 

    Moves can be made for the right price, though the majority of movement before the regular season begins will likely be smaller, bottom-of-the-roster deals. The potential still exists for a few headline-grabbing trades based on how situations develop across the league.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Trade LB Jordan Hicks to New Orleans Saints

    Quality depth is always positive, but the Arizona Cardinals already made their decision at linebacker when general manager Steve Keim chose Zaven Collins with the No. 16 pick in this year's draft. Collins and last year's first-round selection, Isaiah Simmons, will man the team's second line of defense. 

    As a result, Jordan Hicks, who led the team or tied for the lead in total tackles each of the past two seasons, is now the odd man out and searching for a new squad since Arizona already granted him the ability to seek a trade, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

    By moving Hicks, the Cardinals can save nearly $3 million and add an extra draft asset. The Saints, meanwhile, want to improve at linebacker and recently brought in Kwon Alexander for a visit, according to Adam Schefter

Atlanta Falcons

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Las Vegas Raiders Edge Carl Nassib

    The Atlanta Falcons' pass-rush became a significant disappointment last season. The organization signed Dante Fowler Jr. to a three-year, $45 million free-agent contract a year ago. The edge-defender managed a meager three sacks. As a whole, the Falcons defense ranked in the league's bottom 10 with only 29 total sacks. 

    Atlanta did little to nothing to address the problem this offseason. The hope is Fowler reemerges as a consistent presence. But the new coaching staff needs more. 

    The Las Vegas Raiders are deep at defensive end. Currently, the Raiders have Yannick Ngakoue, Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, Carl Nassib and third-round rookie Malcolm Koonce. Nassib could very well be the odd man out depending on how many edge-rushers the team chooses to keep. The Falcons could be fortunate and land a starter depending on Las Vegas' decision. 

Baltimore Ravens

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    Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Green Bay Packers Edge Preston Smith

    The Packers don't have to move on from Smith if the team chooses to keep its current defensive unit intact as it prepares for another season with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. 

    However, Green Bay may consider the possibility of moving Smith for two reasons. First, his departure would create increased opportunities for Rashan Gary. The 2019 first-round pick looks great as training camp begins. Second, Smith's value decreases based on his contractual status. Gary's continued growth may make Smith's $8.7 million salary-cap charge extraneous, especially after a disappointing four-sack campaign. 

    The Baltimore Ravens' pass-rush could use more help, though.

    Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser will take on featured roles, while this year's first-round pick—Penn State's Odafe Oweh—is a work in progress. Smith would immediately become the best edge defender on Baltimore's roster. 

Buffalo Bills

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz

    The Buffalo Bills have been linked to Ertz as a potential landing spot for months. 

    Originally, the three-time Pro Bowl tight end didn't want to play for the Eagles anymore, according to Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline. Ertz's stance seems to be softening a bit, and he could be with Philadelphia at the start of the 2021 campaign, per Sports Radio 94 WIP's Howard Eskin

    Or, the Eagles could be trying to build some leverage since they desperately require salary-cap relief. 

    Whatever the case, the Bills should be aggressive to land an upgrade at one of the team's few weak spots. Dawson Knox managed 52 receptions through his first two seasons (not including the postseason). He's not a consistent threat in the passing game.

    Even coming off a disappointing 2020 season in which he missed five games because of a high ankle sprain, Ertz definitely would be to make a potent attack even more dangerous. 

Carolina Panthers

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Propose trade for New York Giants LT Nate Solder

    The Carolina Panthers prepare for the 2021 season with Cameron Erving as their projected starter at left tackle. 

    The idea of Erving manning Sam Darnold's blind side isn't comforting. But the one-time first-round bust did show some growth last season with the Dallas Cowboys while filling in for the injured Tyron Smith. 

    Erving deserves a chance to prove himself. But the opportunity shouldn't come without competition of some sort. 

    Nate Solder, who opted out of the '20 campaign, could easily be the Giants' third tackle if New York is comfortable moving forward with second-year blockers Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart. If that's the case, the Panthers should inquire about Solder's availability since he can provide a proven, veteran option to compete with Erving or even take over at left tackle. 

Chicago Bears

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Propose trade for New England Patriots WR N'Keal Harry

    The future looked bright for N'Keal Harry when the Patriots drafted the wide receiver with the 32nd pick in the 2019 NFL draft. He would get a chance to play alongside Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick finally identified a wide receiver he felt was worthy of being a first-round selection. 

    None of it came to fruition, though. Harry struggled through his first two seasons, collecting 45 receptions for 414 yards on 81 targets over 21 games. The Patriots decided to sign free agents Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne this offseason. Harry and his representation responded by requesting a trade, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo

    Similarly, the Chicago Bears traded a once-promising wide receiver, Anthony Miller, to the Houston Texans. Chicago has Allen Robinson II and Darnell Mooney. Beyond that point, the group remains unsettled. Harry can provide some size on the outside even though he struggles to separate. 

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Detroit Lions OL Tyrell Crosby 

    The Cincinnati Bengals offensive front should be improved over last year's disastrous effort. Does that mean it's good enough? It doesn't. At this point, the unit still resides among the league's worst. 

    Sure, Frank Pollack's rehire along with the additions of veteran Riley Reiff and second-round rookie Jackson Carman will help. But the team shouldn't stop looking for more help.

    Depth is critical since injuries are a reality of professional football. 

    According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Lions placed former starting right tackle Tyrell Crosby on the trade block after drafting Penei Sewell with this year's No. 7 pick. In an ironic twist, Crosby only became available because the Bengals passed on Sewell. The 25-year-old can serve as Cincinnati's swing tackle or move into a starting spot if Reiff is comfortable working at guard based on how others develop. 

Cleveland Browns

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Trade LB Mack Wilson to the Detroit Lions

    The numbers don't favor Wilson on a loaded Cleveland Browns roster. 

    Cleveland now has Anthony Walker, whom it signed in free agency, and rookie second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah projected as its starting linebackers. Sione Takitaki is a quality part-time performer at SAM backer. Behind them, the unit can lean on long-time veteran Malcolm Smith and Jacob Phillips, who could win the starting job over the rookie. Plus, fifth-round rookie Tony Fields II will be thrown into the mix. 

    Where does Wilson fit? He doesn't. 

    Wilson, who's only 23, started 22 games over the past two seasons. But he's dealt with his share of struggles. He's often out of position and doesn't fare well when working in space. 

    Cleveland's previous general manager, John Dorsey, now serves as the Detroit Lions' senior personnel executive. Dorsey and Co. could still see some upside in Wilson while bolstering their linebacker corps. 

Dallas Cowboys

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    Mark Brown/Getty Images

    Propose trade for Atlanta Falcons DT Deadrin Senat

    Deadrin Senat wasn't drafted to play in a Dean Pees-led defense. Pees prefers bigger and more physical defensive linemen capable of holding the point of attack. Senat is more of a disruptive option, though he's nowhere near the level of teammate Grady Jarrett. 

    Steven Means, John Cominsky, Marlon Davidson and Tyeler Davison are much better fits alongside Jarrett. Senat may not have a roster spot, especially with the addition of fifth-round rookie Ta'Quon Graham. 

    Senat's overall usage significantly declined after his rookie campaign, mainly due to injuries. But the Falcons originally drafted him in the third round to play for Dan Quinn, who now serves as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator. The Cowboys need added help along their defensive interior, too. 

Denver Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Trade RB Melvin Gordon III to the Los Angeles Rams

    Teams draft running backs in the first or second round with high expectations of the ball-carrier becoming the focal point of the ground game. The Denver Broncos certainly saw something in Javonte Williams considering they traded up and make him this year's 35th pick. 

    "Javonte, he's an explosive runner," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur told reporters. "He did a really nice job in the passing game with regard to protection. He [also] displayed an ability to catch the ball [in college], which are all things that we've seen in the training." 

    With Williams, Mike Boone and Royce Freeman already on the roster, Gordon is a luxury. The Broncos can trade the veteran ball-carrier, save nearly $7 million and give the Rams a new RB1 after Cam Akers suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon. 

Detroit Lions

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Tyler Johnson

    The Detroit Lions need some—any, really—help at wide receiver. New general manager Brad Holmes should mine other loaded rosters to add individuals with upside. 

    As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a good place to start. Life will be difficult for a few fringe players capable of much more if they played elsewhere.

    Johnson is the perfect example. Last year's fifth-round draft pick flashed potential early in this career, but there's a logjam ahead of him on the Bucs' depth chart. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Scotty Miller form an excellent quartet. Tampa Bay drafted Jaelon Darden in this year's fourth round, too. 

    General manager Jason Licht might not be able to hold onto Johnson, but the second-year wide receiver could be the Lions' most promising option working out of the slot. 

Green Bay Packers

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Philadelphia Eagles OT Jordan Mailata

    Mercifully, Aaron Rodgers' situation has been settled (for now). With the reigning MVP's decision to report for training camp, the Packers retain their status as a Super Bowl contender. 

    As such, general manager Brian Gutekunst can flesh out the rest to the best of his ability and make sure the team is ready for another run. 

    Gutekunst caved and gave Rodgers what the quarterback wanted by trading for veteran receiver Randall Cobb. The next step is making sure Rodgers remains properly protected. 

    Green Bay should pursue whatever left tackle doesn't win the Philadelphia Eagles' starting job (Jordan Mailata, most likely). In doing so, the team protects itself as David Bakhtiari continues his recovery from a torn ACL, keeps Elgton Jenkins at guard to start the season and provides depth at both tackle spots once everyone is healthy. 

Houston Texans

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Trade QB Deshaun Watson to the Philadelphia Eagles

    The Houston Texans aren't a contender with or without quarterback Deshaun Watson.

    The organization should distance itself from someone who A) faces numerous civil cases and potential criminal charges related to allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, and B) doesn’t want to be with the franchise.

    Suitors must acknowledge and understand the potential backlash.

    New general manager Nick Caserio doesn't want to sell low, either. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Texans are asking for some combination of five high draft picks or starting players. 

    No team will come close to that number considering the circumstances. But the Eagles may be more willing than most since they lack a true franchise quarterback and should hold three first-round picks in next year's draft after the Carson Wentz trade parameters are met. 

    Then, to paraphrase Bill Belichick, "The Texans are on to the 2022 season."  

Indianapolis Colts

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Arizona Cardinals edge Chandler Jones

    Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard waits to strike when the iron is hot. He's not going to rush into a decision or hurt his team's flexibility from a draft or financial standpoint. But when Ballard sees an opportunity to make significant strides, he pounces. 

    He already did so with DeForest Buckner and even Carson Wentz. Chandler Jones should be the next target. 

    According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Jones requested a trade from the Cardinals earlier this offseason. The 31-year-old veteran is reportedly unhappy with his current contract. Jones' base salary is $15.5 million this season, but the Colts can lower the initial number while adding an extra year or two. 

    By doing so, Indianapolis can place an established pass-rusher opposite first-round rookie Kwity Paye. A front featuring Jones, Paye, Buckner and Grover Stewart would be counted among the league's best. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    Trade QB Gardner Minshew II to the Dallas Cowboys

    Pretty much everyone loves Minshew. How can you not? The flair, the facial hair, the flowing locks, his uncanny accuracy in the short game and his penchant for making something out of nothing. But he's a limited quarterbacksomething the Jacksonville Jaguars discovered last season. 

    Trevor Lawrence is the present and future of Jaguars football. His selection with the No. 1 pick made Minshew expendable. Jacksonville has another veteran signal-caller in C.J. Beathard, so Minshew's presence isn't necessary. The Jaguars can add a draft pick by dangling Minshew to other teams. 

    The Cowboys don't have the same kind of depth at quarterback. Andy Dalton signed with the Chicago Bears. Dallas is left with Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci and Cooper Rush as their backup options behind Dak Prescott. Minshew would be an upgrade if Prescott were to get hurt again (hopefully not). 

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Houston Texans edge Whitney Mercilus 

    Frank Clark’s pending legal matters related to an arrest on suspicion of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle will have a significant impact on the Kansas City Chiefs roster. Depending on Clark’s status—which has yet to be decided—the team now lacks any type of consistent passing-rushing presence off the edge.

    Maybe help can be found from a team in the midst of a full-on rebuild. The Texans already overturned a significant portion of their roster. More highly paid veterans could very well find their way out the door. 

    By trading Mercilus now, the Texans can save $5.1 million toward this year's salary cap and recoup some type of compensation. The Chiefs have the room to take on Mercilus while simultaneously improving a premium position that's bad enough to possibly derail a third straight Super Bowl appearance.

    Without Clark or another addition, Kansas City's edge-rushers combined for 5.5 sacks in 2020. 

Las Vegas Raiders

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Trade LB Cory Littleton to the Green Bay Packers 

    Cory Littleton was one of the biggest free-agent signings last offseason when the Las Vegas Raiders signed the linebacker to a three-year, $35.3 million contract. A year later, Littleton looks like a free-agent flop. Nick Kwiatkoski proved to be the better signing during the linebackers' first year together. 

    The Raiders probably want to see what Littleton can do in his second season with the squad. But the Packers should inquire about the 27-year-old's availability just in case Las Vegas wants to dump his contract. 

    Littleton played outstanding football during the 2018 and '19 campaigns before falling off last year. Joe Barry is the connection between then and now. Barry served as the Los Angeles Rams' linebackers coach at the time. He's now Green Bay's defensive coordinator. 

    The Packers would be forced to rework some deals to make this happen, but it's a natural fit. 

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

    Propose trade for Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks 

    The Texans already shipped Randall Cobb to the Green Bay Packers. Why not move Brandin Cooks while they're at it? 

    Cooks remains one of the most valuable trade chips on Houston's roster because he's 27 years old and a proven 1,000-yard receiver. 

    But the Texans can clear $16.8 million off the books for the next two seasons by moving on from Cooks sooner rather than later.

    The Los Angeles Chargers already have Mike Williams and Keenan Allen to serve as Justin Herbert's targets. From there, Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson will vie for the third receiver spot. Cooks would be a massive upgrade and still serve as a vertical threat in said role. 

    The Chargers already invested heavily in their offensive line to make life easier on the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The possibility of adding another top target makes total sense. 

Los Angeles Rams

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    John McCoy/Getty Images

    Propose trade for Atlanta Falcons edge Dante Fowler Jr

    The Falcons had to experience some buyer's remorse after signing Fowler to a three-year, $45 million free-agent deal last offseason. Fowler managed three sacks in his first season with the team. A trade now will save the team $6 million. 

    The Los Angeles Rams can handle Fowler's current contract while simultaneously bringing him back to the team where he experienced his most productive season. 

    Granted, Wade Phillips is no longer on the Rams staff. However, head coach Sean McVay is still in place with similar talent found on the defensive side of the ball. Fowler could pair with Leonard Floyd to create outstanding bookends to win one-on-one matchups as opposing offenses concentrate their blocking schemes on all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald. 

Miami Dolphins

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Indianapolis Colts RB Jordan Wilkins

    A running back-by-committee approach is the best way to describe the current configuration of the Miami Dolphins backfield. Myles Gaskin will serve as the lead back, but he'll give way to Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed. 

    Another option would give the Dolphins a better chance of finding at least one option to rely upon as the season progresses. 

    The Colts are set in the backfield with Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack (when fully recovered from a torn Achilles tendon) and Nyheim Hines. The Colts could easily go four deep at the position, especially if they employ a run-first offense until quarterback Carson Wentz is comfortable. However, Wilkins is a free agent after the season and they can get something in return for him instead of losing him for nothing. 

    Miami has depth, but it lacks a focal point. Wilkins brings added size (216 pounds) and upside to the position. 

Minnesota Vikings

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Trade OG Dakota Dozier to the Baltimore Ravens

    The Minnesota Vikings reworked their offensive line this offseason. The process shouldn't be considered complete. 

    Rookie first-round pick Christian Darrisaw will replace veteran left tackle Riley Reiff. Erza Cleveland converted from right to left guard. Right guard remains a mystery as an open competition ensues during training camp. 

    Dakota Dozier started all 16 games last season. But he's far better as a run blocker than pass protector. He can join the Baltimore Ravens in a potential trade and fit right into the franchise's run-first mentality. Plus, he's an experienced option if third-round rookie Ben Cleveland struggles to start his career. 

    The Vikings, meanwhile, can still allow Mason Cole and their third-round rookie, Wyatt Davis, to compete for their final starting spot among the front five. Both teams can benefit by addressing their offensive lines. 

New England Patriots

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Trade QB Jarrett Stidham to the Houston Texans

    The New England Patriots admirably rebuilt their roster after last year's downturn. Tom Brady isn't coming back, but the Patriots can return to the playoffs after the moves they've made. 

    Uncertainty remains at quarterback, though. 

    Cam Newton may be in a better spot, but he's not guaranteed to start. New England did invest this year's No. 15 pick in Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.

    With those two on the roster, Jarrett Stidham is redundant. His upside no longer matters with a first-round prospect on the roster. His potential can be better served elsewhere. 

    The Texans could trade Deshaun Watson. Tyrod Taylor would then step in as the starter. Behind the veteran, Houston drafted Davis Mills at the top of the third round. Add Stidham to the mix and the Texans will have two developmental quarterbacks to hedge their bet. 

New Orleans Saints

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Propose trade for New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore 

    Usually, the Patriots operate by moving a player a year too early rather than being a year too late. Bill Belichick knows better than anyone else what the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year brings to the table. He also understands that Gilmore isn't happy with his current deal and becomes a free agent after this season. 

    If something isn't settled in the next few days or weeks, the Patriots may just cut their short-term losses in order to get value now instead of losing the cornerback later. 

    The New Orleans Saints always find a way to add a quality talent. Right now, the team lacks a quality starter opposite outside corner Marshon Lattimore. The Saints can absorb what's left of Gilmore's contract. However, the team reworking his current deal while lowering his initial salary-cap charge would be the most likely outcome.

New York Giants

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    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    Trade TE Evan Engram to the Buffalo Bills

    The New York Giants have something in Engram. They're just not sure what. 

    Engram is a gifted athlete capable of making big plays. He's also inconsistent, highly inefficient and a free agent after this season. Engram shouldn't be placed in a position where he leads the team with more than 100 targets, as he did a year ago. 

    He almost certainly won't with Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney on the roster. In fact, the Giants should take things one step further and build around their new wide receiver corps. Golladay, Toney, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard can be highly effective. Besides, New York signed veteran Kyle Rudolph to be a more reliable option at tight end. 

    If the Bills don't eventually make a move for the Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz, the Giants can outmaneuver their rival by dealing Engram to Buffalo. 

New York Jets

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Propose trade for San Francisco 49ers CB Dontae Johnson

    Familiarity can be a powerful tool in professional football. Coaches tend to place an emphasis on players who know their system and preferred style of play. Similarly, players can find new life in a somewhat familiar situation. 

    The New York Jets are young and suspect at cornerback. The position group certainly doesn't present the same caliber of talent Robert Saleh had as the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. 

    Maybe the Jets find a way to bring a little of that talent to the Big Apple. 

    The Niners are relatively set at the position with Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, K'Waun Williams and third-round rookie Ambry Thomas. Dontae Johnson might be San Francisco's fifth corner even after playing in 14 games while starting three last season. Johnson certainly understands Saleh's approach. 

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Trade WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to the Indianapolis Colts

    Zach Ertz's situation is the most pressing matter for the Philadelphia Eagles since the team has the NFL's least amount of salary-cap space. 

    But Ertz may not be the only move of consequence.

    The Eagles could finally move on from wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Granted, a possible Arcega-Whiteside trade brings only $1 million in extra space. At the same time, the organization can move on from a player who hasn't developed as expected since the offense will now be built around DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward. 

    The Colts can be a soft landing spot for Arcega-Whiteside due to his former quarterback (Carson Wentz) passing game coordinator (Press Taylor) and offensive coordinator (Mike Groh) are all in Indianapolis. The third-year target can join Michael Pittman Jr., T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Brett Carlsen/Associated Press

    Propose trade for Miami Dolphins OT Jesse Davis

    The Pittsburgh Steelers can't go into this season thinking they're set along the offensive line, because they most definitely are not. 

    Tackle is particularly worrisome since Chukwuma Okorafor will make the move from right to left tackle and Zach Banner started only one game before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Both are questions marks entering training camp, let alone the season. 

    An inquiry with the Miami Dolphins could be vastly beneficial. The Dolphins chose Liam Eichenberg in this year's second round. Eventually, the No. 42 draft pick should take over at right tackle. Miami can expedite the process by trading veteran Jesse Davis, and it would save $3.6 million by doing so. They Dolphins already have D.J. Fluker on the roster as a veteran option at right tackle or guard. 

    Davis can start at four of the five line positions. He's the ideal addition to a Steelers front with major question marks. 

San Francisco 49ers

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    Josie Lepe/Associated Press

    Trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo to the Washington Football Team 

    The San Francisco 49ers are making a mistake in how they're handling their quarterback room. 

    "There's no open competition right now," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Tuesday. "Jimmy is coming in as the one, and Trey [Lance] is coming in as the two."

    As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, someone will point to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers as the proper way to develop a quarterback. 

    Sure, some individuals need to sit and learn. Not all of them. The Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers both made mistakes by not immediately starting Baker Mayfield and Justin Herbert, respectively. 

    Once a franchise sinks a high first-round pick into a quarterback prospect, it's now on that individual's timetable. Obviously, the 49ers saw something special in Lance to trade up and select him with this year's No. 3 pick. Let him compete and dictate when he should play. 

    The 49ers could go a step further and just commit to the rookie now by trading Garoppolo to a quarterback-needy team like Washington. The franchise might as well rip off the Band-Aid now instead of letting the situation fester. 

Seattle Seahawks

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    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    Trade RB Rashaad Penny to the Detroit Lions

    The Seattle Seahawks' selection of Rashaad Penny with the 27th pick in the 2018 NFL draft still stings knowing that the Cleveland Browns chose Nick Chubb eight picks later.

    Penny has yet to put a full season together with 823 combined rushing yards in three seasons. 

    Chris Carson is Seattle's lead back. A healthy Penny won't change that fact. Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas are both former draft picks. 

    The Lions are interested in adding talent to their backfield. Todd Gurley II made a free-agent visit two months ago but didn't sign. D'Andre Swift will be the featured back, of course. Jamaal Williams showed he can be a third-down back last season. Penny can add some upside, as long as he's healthy. 

    For a team that will likely lean on its running game, a cheap pickup of a former first-round pick should be strongly considered. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Trade TE Cameron Brate to the Arizona Cardinals

    O.J. Howard's return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineup can make the reigning Super Bowl champions even more potent. Howard is a potential mismatch working out of the slot. Unfortunately, the tight end suffered a torn Achilles before he really got into a groove last season. 

    The 2016 first-round pick can resume his duties this fall as another weapon for Tom Brady to utilize. Along with Rob Gronkowski, few reps should be left for Cameron Brate. The team has depth in Tanner Hudson if another injury occurs. Whereas, the Buccaneers can flip Brate for a draft asset or two. 

    The Arizona Cardinals don't have a legitimate threat at tight end. With Dan Arnold's departure, the Cardinals' tight ends combined to make 17 catches for 22 yards. Brate could immediately start in the desert. 

Tennessee Titans

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Propose trade for Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard 

    The Tennessee Titans have already showed they'll be aggressive for a difference-maker. 

    The organization traded for wide receiver Julio Jones at the beginning of June. General manager Jon Robinson can make a similar deal for Howard. 

    Last year's league leader in interceptions (10) did report to training camp despite an ongoing gripe with his contract. If Howard is willing to press the team and make the situation untenable, the Dolphins could eventually trade the ball hawk. The Titans should be more than willing to take on Howard and rework his deal since first-round rookie Caleb Farley has a long injury history and Janoris Jenkins turns 33 later this year. 

    A trade may cost the Titans next year's first-round pick after they surrendered a second-rounder for Jones. But the possibility of adding a corner of Howard's caliber to an unsettled secondary that allowed the fourth-most yards in 2020 is too tempting not to strongly consider.        

Washington Football Team

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Propose trade for Houston Texans LB Zach Cunningham 

    The Washington Football Team knew it needed to be better at linebacker, hence the organization's selection of Jamin Davis with this year's 19th overall pick. 

    "You have to have linebackers who can run," head coach Ron Rivera told Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (h/t Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk). "We were in Carolina, we had Luke [Kuechly] and we had Thomas Davis. What we lacked was that third guy that could run, just flat-out run, because if something were to happen to Luke or Thomas, we’d be deficient at that position."

    Zach Cunningham isn't great at working in space, but he's a tackling machine. He's amassed 503 total stops in his first four seasons. His prolific production and downhill playing style coupled with Davis' athleticism and range would form an excellent duo. 

    In a contractual twist, Cunningham ($1.5 million) would actually cost Washington less than Jon Bostic ($3.6 million). A contract restructure earlier this offseason now makes Cunningham a tradeable asset, and Houston certainly hasn't had a problem with moving pieces.


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