2021 NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 7

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2021

2021 NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 7

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Week 6 was an eye-opener around the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens thumped quality opponents, the Buffalo Bills showed they are fallible, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs took steps back toward respectability.

    And hey, the Jacksonville Jaguars got their first win of the campaign while snapping a 20-game losing streak.

    With 12 weeks left in the 2021 season, we're looking at a handful of elite teams, a wide swath of could-be contenders and a few franchises gunning for the No. 1 pick. In short, we're finally starting to get a solid idea of who the buyers and sellers will be at the Nov. 2 trade deadline.

    Each week until then, we'll examine the NFL's top 10 trade targets based on each team's on-field and salary-cap situations, players' roles, any relevant trade buzz and a little common sense.

The Selection Process

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    To reach our top 10, we've gathered 15 players who are likely to be on the trade block based on prior reports and logic.

    Off the list is tight end Zach Ertz, who was traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Arizona Cardinals late last week. Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson also departs. With Kareem Hunt (expected to miss "several weeks" with a calf injury) on injured reserve and Nick Chubb nursing a calf injury, the Browns need Johnson.

    Joining the list are Denver Broncos cornerback Kyle Fuller and New York Jets safety Marcus Maye, and we'll dive into their situations further below.

    Once the top 15 was established, we ranked players on talent level, positional value and their likelihood of being dealt.

    These five just missed the cut, in no particular order:

    • Andre Dillard, OT, Philadelphia Eagles
    • James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
    • Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
    • Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears
    • Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets

10. N'Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    New England Patriots wideout N'Keal Harry formally requested a trade in the offseason, and the team is probably wishing it had granted the request. Harry opened the season on IR with a shoulder injury, and in his three appearances, he has just two catches for 19 yards.

    During Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Harry was visibly lost on a critical fourth-quarter play. It's becoming clear the 23-year-old still doesn't grasp or have a place in New England's offense.

    Still, there should be a team out there willing to take a flier on a young, physically gifted pass-catcher. Harry, after all, did rack up 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns during his final season at Arizona State.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers could make for one logical landing spot. They have lost wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster for the season to a shoulder injury and have an excellent track record of developing young receivers.

    If a team is interested in developing Harry, it sure feels like the Patriots would be happy to give him up.

9. Ty'Son Williams, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    While the Baltimore Ravens' top running backs to start the season—J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards—are all out for the year, the team's rushing attack has been rolling. With quarterback Lamar Jackson leading the way, Baltimore ranks fourth in rushing yards and sixth in yards per attempt.

    Baltimore's running backs are also drawing trade interest.

    "[The Ravens] have received trade inquiries from teams interested in their current group of running backs, league sources told ESPN," Adam Schefter wrote.

    Of Baltimore's backs, Ty'Son Williams appears to be the most likely to be moved. He has fallen out of favor, as Baltimore has leaned more heavily on veteran backs Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell.

    Williams was inactive again in Week 6. However, he started early in the season, racking up 142 yards and a touchdown in the first two weeks.

    The Chiefs could be a landing spot, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) on injured reserve. The Browns could use a fill-in as well, but Baltimore isn't likely to deal Williams to an AFC North rival.

8. Trevor Siemian, QB, New Orleans Saints

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield aggravated his shoulder injury in Week 6 and is seeking a second opinion following MRI results. This potentially places Mayfield on a growing list of sidelined starting quarterbacks—a list that includes Seattle's Russell Wilson (finger), Houston's Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) and Washington's Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip).

    While New Orleans Saints backup Trevor Siemian might not be a first-choice replacement option, teams could do worse—and he could, at the very least, help fill a vacancy on the depth chart.

    Siemian has plenty of backup experience to go with a 13-12 starting record. He also doesn't have a defined future in New Orleans with Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill and rookie Ian Book on the roster.

    The caveat here is that Hill suffered a concussion in Week 5, so the Saints may be inclined to hang on to Siemian for now.

    However, if Hill is cleared before the deadline, moving Siemian would make sense for New Orleans. The Browns and Seahawks have quality spot-starters in Case Keenum and Geno Smith, respectively, but they could show interest in adding their next "next man up."

7. Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Las Vegas Raiders

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    Pass-rushers are always in high demand, which is why a team could come calling for Clelin Ferrell of the Las Vegas Raiders. The fourth pick in 2019 hasn't lived up to his draft status, but he has untapped potential.

    Teams are often willing to take fliers on first-rounders, and he did

    The Raiders, though, seem to have given up on the Ferrell experiment. Las Vegas acquired Yannick Ngakoue and Solomon Thomas in the offseason, and Ferrell has played just 19 percent of the defensive snaps this year.

    A contender with pass-rushing issues—such as the Dallas Cowboys, who have only 11 sacks—could look to see what it can unlock in Ferrell.

6. Cameron Dantzler, CB, Minnesota Vikings

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    After starting 10 of 11 games as a rookie in 2020, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler has been in and out of the lineup for various reasons this season.

    He missed Week 5 while on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He didn't play in Week 1 and played only special teams snaps in Week 3. He returned for Week 6 and played just 34 percent of the defensive snaps.

    It's becoming clear that the Vikings don't value Dantzler as much as they did a year ago. However, he does have value.

    In 15 career games, the 23-year-old has logged six passes defended and two interceptions while allowing an opposing quarterback rating below 93.0.

    There is no shortage of teams that could use cornerback help, both because of ineffective play and injuries. The Tennessee Titans, for example, lost rookie cornerback Caleb Farley to a torn ACL during Monday night's win over the Buffalo Bills.

5. Marcus Maye, S, New York Jets

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    Stew Milne/Associated Press

    While the New York Jets may not be looking to move Marcus Maye, the 28-year-old safety wouldn't mind being in a different uniform.

    According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Maye "would welcome" a trade to a contender.

    He has been sidelined with an ankle injury but could return in Week 7, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Last season, he started all 16 games and finished with 88 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and an opposing passer rating of only 80.4.

    If the Jets are willing to move Maye—and with a 1-4 record and considering his impending free agency in 2022, they should be—he would be a fine fit for any team needing safety help.

    The defensively challenged Chiefs would be an ideal landing spot, but with their mere $2.3 million in cap space, making the financials work could be problematic.

4. Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    There hasn't been any real buzz to suggest the Houston Texans are looking to move wideout Brandin Cooks. However, it would make a lot of sense for them to do so.

    The one-win Texans are in rebuilding mode, and the 28-year-old doesn't seem thrilled with how the season has unfolded.

    "We're an undisciplined team," Cooks said, per Aaron Wilson of FanNation. " ... I'm not surprised as far as why it's been going on. It's been going on since Game 1, and we still haven't fixed it."

    He has 40 receptions, 481 receiving yards and a touchdown this season and should interest receiver-needy teams. One NFL executive suggested to The Athletic's Mike Sando that Cooks would be a good target for the Saints—coincidentally, the team that drafted him 20th in 2014.

    Seeing as how he has been traded three times since being drafted, Cooks knows the drill.

3. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2019 but suffered an Achilles tear in 2020 and has since fallen on the depth chart. With Jonathan Taylor emerging as a star and receiving back Nyheim Hines in tow, Mack has become more of a bit player.

    He was inactive in Week 3 and has seen only limited action since. In four games this season, the 25-year-old has carried 25 times for 97 yards.

    According to Fowler: "The feeling around Indianapolis is the Colts want to do right by running back Marlon Mack, who has requested a trade, but there is not much interest just yet. Things could pick up closer to the deadline, and a conditional late-round pick probably gets it done."

    Mack should be the top target for any running-back needy team, and according to Fowler, the Chiefs have already looked into the idea of adding him.

2. Nick Foles, QB, Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Chicago Bears third-string quarterback Nick Foles falls a spot this week, both because of an addition to the list and because teams simply haven't bitten on a deal. The Bears, though, are willing to move Foles, according to Fowler.

    "They've leaked that they'd listen to offers. They might as well have sent flares into the sky with the message 'Call us' in orange letters above each NFL team facility," Fowler wrote.

    We've already discussed the quarterback injuries around the league, and Foles remains the best realistic trade option—he has 55 regular-season starts and a Super Bowl MVP.

    With Justin Fields and Andy Dalton on the roster, Foles is expendable.

1. Kyle Fuller, CB, Denver Broncos

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    Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    Kyle Fuller debuts in the top spot. He's a high-end cornerback and has drawn trade interest since before the season.

    According to Fowler: "The Denver Broncos, armed with four good cornerbacks, received calls on Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan in the preseason. What they wanted in return wasn't cheap: roughly a third- or fourth-rounder, multiple teams told me."

    That's a high price for a player on a one-year deal. Now that it's clear 3-3 Denver isn't a legitimate contender, though, he could be a much more realistic trade target.

    "Fuller would be someone to keep in mind. The Broncos are loaded at corner, so they can stomach taking something less for Fuller than, say, the Dolphins with Xavien Howard," one executive told Sando.

    The Miami Dolphins have given no indication they're willing to move Howard—they restructured his contract rather than entertaining his trade request in the offseason—which leaves Fuller as the top realistic cornerback acquisition.

    Teams such as the Titans and Buccaneers—who have allowed 12 and 14 passing touchdowns, respectively—should already be on the phone with Denver.

          

    Contract and cap information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.

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