5 Wild NFL Trade Ideas That Actually Make Sense
The NFL is where the absurd often becomes reality.
Fans don't even need to look that far back for proof, either. In late September, a dramatically rebuilding Jacksonville team traded 2020 first-round pick CJ Henderson to Carolina in exchange for a third-round pick and tight end Dan Arnold. And earlier this month, New England traded Pro Bowl corner Stephon Gilmore to Carolina for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Had either of those deals and trade packages been floated as possibilities before happening, fans likely would have hit them with an "unrealistic" or "absurd" tag.
Yet the NFL has a way of making absurd happen, and that's bound to be true again ahead of this year's Nov. 2 trade deadline. Here are a handful of absurd-looking trades that make sense for the teams involved based on need, future trajectory and financial reasons.
Texans Send Justin Reid to the Chiefs
Don't put it past the Houston Texans to make another ridiculous trade in the DeAndre Hopkins vein.
At least with safety Justin Reid it makes some sense. Reid, a 2018 third-round pick who had excellent production in his first three seasons, has posted a middling 73.1 Pro Football Focus grade (placing him in the low end of the "starter" category) over four games in a contract year.
As perhaps the best defender in Houston, he's free to demand top dollar, which could mean the Texans have to cough up roughly $15 million or more in average annual salary to keep him, either on a new deal or on a tag.
Or, Houston could realize the predicament and ship Reid to a contender like Kansas City in exchange for something like a second-round pick, guaranteeing the franchise doesn't lose him for nothing in free agency.
And for the Chiefs and Reid, it might bring out even better play while he works alongside Tyrann Mathieu, so everybody wins.
Bears Send Allen Robinson II to Packers
Let's get really absurd with some intradivision trading between winning teams.
The relationship between the Chicago Bears and wide receiver Allen Robinson II has seemed spoiled for more than a year now as the two sides haven't been able to agree on an extension. He accepted the franchise tag over the offseason, but through five games he has just 29 targets, two fewer than that of Darnell Mooney.
That's a disservice to Robinson, owner of three 1,100-yard seasons, who has never played with a great quarterback and won't get that chance this year as rookie Justin Fields learns under center.
So why not ship him to Green Bay? The 4-1 Packers desperately need another quality target besides Davante Adams, who has 42 catches. The next-highest tally is 17 from running back Aaron Jones.
Yes, Green Bay would likely have to pay extra to make a deal happen because Chicago won't want Robinson in the division. But with the relationship between the Bears and Robinson so spoiled and one foot out the door already, most teams likely aren't going to give more than a third-round pick to offset what would be Chicago's compensatory pick if he leaves in free agency.
If Green Bay bumps that to a second-rounder—with the idea being it would extend Robinson for the long term—Chicago might have to swallow its pride and admit this is a rebuilding year anyway.
Dolphins Send Xavien Howard to Seahawks
The 1-4 Miami Dolphins look like a team that needs to start selling—and quickly—ahead of the deadline.
Thanks to a first-round trade in this year's draft, Miami doesn't even have its own first-round pick next year, which especially stings with it looking like a top-10 selection and quarterback apparently a need.
The Dolphins can stop the bleeding a bit by moving excess, possibly disgruntled talent. Corner Xavien Howard has openly asked for a trade in the past and the team has commented on it. He has a $15.2 million cap hit this year before a possible out in his contract; otherwise, he's under contract through 2024 making at least $12.3 million every year. Yet he's the second-highest-paid corner on the team behind Byron Jones, which is part of why he's unhappy in the first place.
Meanwhile, Seattle's usually stout cornerback room has been miserable to the point of likely desperation at the trade deadline. Sidney Jones, for example, has a 39.9 PFF grade (the "replaceable" cutoff starts at 59.0), and the team just cut ties with Tre Flowers.
If Miami has plans to let Howard go anyway, it might be better to squeeze a third-rounder out of a team like Seattle, although it would be the first admission this season is lost. Those Seahawks can hope for an upgrade, and if it doesn't work, they can lean into that out clause in his contract after the season.
49ers Send Jimmy Garoppolo to Texans
It didn't take long for the San Francisco 49ers to get third overall pick Trey Lance on the field, though it came at the expense of a Jimmy Garoppolo calf injury.
In his first start, Lance had 192 passing yards, 89 rushing yards and an interception in a Week 5 loss to Arizona. While his inaccuracy was notable at times, he showed upside worth developing on the fly.
San Francisco could admit this by dealing Garoppolo to a team like the Texans at the deadline. The 49ers (2-3) don't seem ready to go down that road yet, as head coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo is still the starter when healthy.
Garoppolo has been fine with five touchdowns against two interceptions while completing 66.1 percent of his passes, but he's hurt again already after appearing in six or fewer games in two of the prior three seasons.
Moving him now for a third-round pick at best, if nothing else, could mean no more interruptions for developing Lance and avoiding that $27 million cap hit he carries next season. They can cut him to avoid most of that number too, but getting something in return for his departure while he still carries value might make more sense.
Houston has plenty of cap space to inhale a bad contract, and general manager Nick Caserio has a prior connection with Garoppolo from their days in New England. Stability under center through at least 2022 would allow the Texans to focus on roster-building around the position.
Bears Send Robert Quinn to Saints
Now might be a good time for the Bears to sell high on defensive end Robert Quinn.
Quinn, a first-round pick in 2011, is still going strong at the age of 31 and has 4.5 sacks and 11 pressures over five games. While he's great, the combination of age and a contract that costs at least $16 million in each season through 2024 (provided the Bears don't use a built-in out this offseason) makes him an under-the-radar trade candidate.
Rest assured a would-be contender like the 3-2 New Orleans Saints would love to add Quinn to the mix. The defense has just eight sacks, with three of those from non-linemen. Marcus Davenport has just one and has struggled without Trey Hendrickson, a pass-rusher who left in free agency after recording 13.5 sacks last year.
Quinn wouldn't come cheap, but that's part of the allure for the Bears. Netting a draft pick in the second-round range to better build around Justin Fields for the long term makes it a viable option.