Buyer or Seller: Which Role Should Every NFL Team Take at Trade Deadline

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2021

Buyer or Seller: Which Role Should Every NFL Team Take at Trade Deadline

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The 2021 NFL trade deadline is roughly a week away, and at 4 p.m. ET on November 2, the market will officially close.

    Over the next week, we're likely to see multiple players on the move, with perhaps a few notable names among the group. For some teams, however, the challenge won't be figuring out whom to target and what sort of deals to strike. It will be deciding if they should be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

    The picture is more clouded than one might think for some franchises. Naturally, we're going to try to clear things up a bit before Week 8 arrives.

    Here, we'll examine each franchise and determine its trade-deadline role based on factors like record, divisional competition, roster health and outlook—and for parity's sake, we'll place 16 teams in each category. We'll also dig into some potential trade chips and potential targets for each team.

    Cap space isn't a factor here—two-thirds of the league has less than $10 million available, according to Spotrac—as franchises regularly find creative solutions when making win-now moves.

    Teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Arizona Cardinals: Buy

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    Darryl Webb/Associated Press

    On the surface, this is a pretty easy one. The Arizona Cardinals rank fourth in scoring, first in points allowed and remain the NFL's last undefeated team. They should be all-in on winning the Super Bowl and interested in improving the roster at the deadline.

    The bigger unknown is where Arizona might be able to get better. The Cardinals have arguably the most complete roster in the NFL, and just about any addition would be a luxury.

    Arizona's only tangible weakness is its run defense, as the Cardinals rank 31st in yards per carry allowed. Adding another run-stuffing linebacker to the defense wouldn't hurt, and the Cardinals might be able to snag one from a nonconference opponent they have already played.

    According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, teams are "monitoring" the status of Cleveland Browns linebacker Mack Wilson, who was "considered available" in the preseason. Cleveland may be less inclined to move Wilson after placing Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) on injured reserve, but it's worth noting that Wilson played only 34 percent of the defensive snaps Thursday against Denver.

Atlanta Falcons: Sell

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Things are a little trickier with the Atlanta Falcons, who moved to 3-3 in Week 7 and remain in the playoff conversation entering November.

    The reality, however, is that Atlanta simply doesn't look like a contender in the top-heavy NFC—or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-led NFC South, for that matter. Atlanta's wins have come against the New York Giants, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

    The Jets and Dolphins are both one-win clubs, while the Giants notched just their second victory in Week 7.

    While Atlanta shouldn't be inclined to throw in the towel on the season, moving an pending free agent or two could make sense. Two names that stand out are pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr., who has disappointed in Atlanta, and tight end Hayden Hurst.

    With fourth overall pick Kyle Pitts at tight end, Hurst's future in Atlanta is uncertain at best. Fowler has just five sacks since joining the Falcons as a free agent last offseason. However, he had 11.5 sacks with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. The Falcons haven't gotten the most out of him, but another team could be interested in trying.

Baltimore Ravens: Buy

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Baltimore Ravens were the hottest team in the AFC. Then, they ran into the buzz saw that is the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati trounced the Ravens 41-17 in Baltimore and exposed a major flaw in the process.

    While the 5-2 Ravens can be a title contender this season, their pass defense is a significant liability.

    With Marcus Peters (ACL) on injured reserve, the Ravens secondary has struggled. The Bengals dropped 409 passing yards on Baltimore in Week 7, and the Ravens now rank 29th in pass defense and 27th in yards per attempt surrendered.

    It would behoove Baltimore to consider cornerback options at the deadline—perhaps the Miami Dolphins' Xavien Howard, who requested a trade in the offseason, or recently benched Denver Broncos corner Kyle Fuller.

Buffalo Bills: Sell

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Like the Ravens, the Buffalo Bills have only two losses. Unlike the Ravens, Buffalo doesn't have a clear weakness on its roster. The Bills rank second in both scoring and points allowed. They rank in the top 10 in rushing yards, passing yards, run defense and pass defense.

    Buffalo stumbled in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It lost again in Week 6 when the Tennessee Titans stuffed Josh Allen's fourth-down quarterback sneak. Buffalo wanted to drive for a game-winning touchdown instead of a game-tying field goal.

    "We're this far from winning the game," coach Sean McDermott told reporters. "I owe it to my players. I believe in my players. I believe in my quarterback. I trust my guys. Obviously we didn't get it done in this case, but I trust my players."

    The Bills are still one of the best teams in the AFC, and they, in fact, have several quality players they cannot get on the field. Wideout Isaiah McKenzie, for example, had 282 receiving yards and five touchdowns last season. He's played all of 59 offensive snaps in 2021.

    The Bills have no glaring holes to fill at the deadline, and while they don't have to be sellers, they can afford to part with depth players.

Carolina Panthers: Sell

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The Carolina Panthers fell to 3-4 on Sunday and benched quarterback Sam Darnold against the New York Giants. Since opening the season 3-0, the Panthers have dropped four in a row and placed star running back Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) on injured reserve.

    As is the case with Atlanta, Carolina seems outmatched in the NFC South.

    While head coach Matt Rhule has insisted Darnold will be back in the starting lineup this week, his benching is an ominous sign of what could unfold this season. In short, the Panthers could be looking at another lost campaign.

    Carolina probably won't give up on Darnold midseason—it picked up his fifth-year option after acquiring him—but impending free agents like cornerback Stephon Gilmore and pass-rusher Haason Reddick are potential trade chips. The Panthers should look to get something in return for players who might not be around after the season anyway.

Chicago Bears: Sell

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    A little over a week ago, the Chicago Bears were battling the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC North. After back-to-back lopsided losses against Green Bay and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however, it's clear that Chicago isn't a viable contender in the NFC.

    It's also becoming clear that Matt Nagy's time as head coach of the Bears is likely nearing its end. Chicago has regularly appeared unprepared, and Nagy has done little to set up rookie quarterback Justin Fields for success.

    Fields was sacked nine times in his NFL starting debut in Week 3. On Sunday, he was sacked four times and had five turnovers.

    Chicago is almost certainly approaching another rebuild, and parting with wideout Allen Robinson II could help the Bears get an early start. Robinson was a 1,250-yard receiver last season but has just 250 yards in 2021, is playing on the franchise tag and may want no part of starting over in Chicago.

Cincinnati Bengals: Buy

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    The Bengals are the AFC's new hottest team, thanks in no small part to the emergence of rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase and the continued growth of quarterback Joe Burrow.

    "As someone who knows Burrow better than I told me Sunday night, he's a gym-rat savant," NBC Sports' Peter King wrote. "Nobody intimidates him, no defense surprises him."

    Chase is on a record pace with 754 receiving yards and six touchdowns, Burrow has been unfazed by opposing defenses, and Cincinnati has staked its claim as one of the conference's most balanced teams. The Bengals rank fifth in points allowed and seventh in scoring.

    While the Bengals are a bit of a surprise story, they are legitimate contenders and should go all-in at the trade deadline.

    The only real weakness in Cincinnati appears to be an offensive line that has allowed 17 sacks and has struggled to create running lanes for a backfield that has averaged just 4.0 yards per carry. The Bengals should swing for the fences and try acquiring a player like perennial Pro Bowl Washington Football Team guard Brandon Scherff, who is playing on an expiring contract.

Cleveland Browns: Sell

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    Sorry, Browns fans, but this probably isn't the year that Cleveland finally reaches the Super Bowl. The 4-3 Browns have beaten the teams they're supposed to and lost to the Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers and the surprisingly inconsistent Kansas City Chiefs.

    More importantly, though, injuries threaten to derail Cleveland's season. Kareem Hunt and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are on injured reserve, and quarterback Baker Mayfield is dealing with a fracture and a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

    "Unless the doctors feel that Mayfield has the necessary physical wherewithal to 'adequately protect himself' from further injury, he will not return," CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora wrote.

    The banged-up Browns showed Thursday that they can navigate injuries and still win games, but they're looking like the No. 3 team in the AFC North at best. Trading a player like linebacker Mack Wilson or struggling wideout Odell Beckham Jr. should be firmly on the table as Cleveland looks to survive the season and likely reload in 2022.

Dallas Cowboys: Buy

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    Greg M. Cooper/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys narrowly lost to the Buccaneers in Week 1, and they haven't lost since. They're threatening to run away with the NFC East and should be considered one of the teams to beat in the NFC.

    However, Dallas is not a perfect team. It has combined an explosive offense—one ranked first in both yards and points—with an opportunistic defense headlined by cornerback Trevon Diggs. The Cowboys defense has forced 14 turnovers in six games, while Diggs has seven picks and two defensive touchdowns. But opposing offenses have found success against Dallas' secondary when avoiding Diggs.

    The Cowboys rank 28th in both passing yards allowed and yards per pass attempt surrendered.

    Adding another starting-caliber cornerback to the mix would help Dallas field a more complete defense. Players like Xavien Howard and Kyle Fuller should be atop the Cowboys' wish list.

Denver Broncos: Sell

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The Denver Broncos opened the season 3-0, but that early run is looking like a mirage. On Thursday, Denver was physically controlled by the injury-hindered Browns and fell to 3-4 on the season. Denver's wins came against the Giants, Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars—three teams with four wins between them.

    Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's hot start also looks like an anomaly. Denver's offseason acquisition threw four touchdowns and no interceptions during the three-game winning streak. He's since thrown eight touchdowns but has also tossed five picks.

    Denver's offense now ranks 22nd in yards and 24th in scoring. The Broncos' fifth-ranked defense is still solid, but it's not going to carry them to a division title.

    We've already mentioned Kyle Fuller as a potential trade candidate, and the cornerback drew interest during the preseason.

    "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," ESPN's Fowler wrote.

    Trading other impending free agents like pass-rusher Von Miller and wideout Tim Patrick should also be central to the discussion in Denver.

Detroit Lions: Sell

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The Detroit Lions have shown a lot of fight under new head coach Dan Campbell, but wins continue to elude them. Detroit hung with the Rams throughout Sunday's contest but ultimately fell to 0-7 on the season.

    Unfortunately, even a midseason surge wouldn't be enough to get Detroit into the postseason. This latest Lions rebuild is going to carry into 2022, and it's time for them to try moving players who may not be around for the second stage of the process.

    The Lions have a realistic shot at the No. 1 pick next spring, but they should still be looking to add to their 2022 draft capital.

    Notable Detroit veterans scheduled to hit the open market next year include defensive end Charles Harris, linebacker Alex Anzalone and safety Tracy Walker III. The Lions also might want to consider moving running back Jamaal Williams, who is firmly entrenched in a change-of-pace/backup role behind D'Andre Swift.

Green Bay Packers: Buy

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    The 6-1 Green Bay Packers stumbled in their season opener against the New Orleans Saints. They haven't stumbled since—aside from perhaps a missed-kick-filled game against the Bengals, which still resulted in an overtime win.

    With this potentially being the last run with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wideout Davante Adams—Adams will be a free agent in 2022, while Rodgers' offseason uncertainty was well-documented—Green Bay should be all-in at the deadline.

    The Packers could look to add another wide receiver to complement Adams and Randall Cobb. Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr. are possible big-name targets. Green Bay could also use pass-rush and cornerback help with players like Za'Darius Smith (back), Preston Smith (oblique), Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and Kevin King (shoulder) injured.

    Green Bay recently signed linebacker Whitney Mercilus, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Packers dip another toe into the pass-rushing pool. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Pittsburgh Steelers have received calls on edge-defender Melvin Ingram III, and if they're willing to deal, he could make sense.

    Cornerbacks like Kyle Fuller and Xavien Howard should also be on Green Bay's radar.

Houston Texans: Sell

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    The Houston Texans are also in the mix for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft, which could be used to select another quarterback.

    Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who faces 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints from women who have accused him of sexual assault or misconduct, hasn't played this season and remains the biggest name in the trade rumor mill.

    According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, "momentum appears to be building" on a Watson trade with "multiple teams" among the possible landing spots.

    If Houston can convince a team to take on Watson midseason, it would be wise to do strike a deal. The one-win Texans haven't looked competitive since quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a hamstring injury midway through Week 2. Houston ranks 30th in total offense, 26th in total defense, 31st in scoring and 27th in points allowed.

    In addition to Watson, the Texans should consider moving oft-traded wideout Brandin Cooks and impending free agents like linebacker Christian Kirksey, running back David Johnson and cornerback Desmond King.

Indianapolis Colts: Buy

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    The Indianapolis Colts are only 3-4, but they carry the aura of a team ready to surge down the stretch. Indianapolis has won three of its last four games, barely losing to the Ravens in overtime.

    If the Colts can knock off the Titans in Week 8, they'll be at .500 and closing in on first place in the division at the deadline.

    Just as importantly, quarterback Carson Wentz finally appears to be hitting his stride in Frank Reich's offense. He's thrown eight touchdown passes with no interceptions over the last four weeks and ran for a score in Sunday night's win over the San Francisco 49ers.

    Wentz boasts a career-high passer rating of 102.8.

    Trading for a pass-catcher to aid the Colts' 23rd-ranked aerial attack would make sense, though wideout T.Y. Hilton is waiting in the wings. Hilton missed Indy's first five games with a neck injury and missed Week 7 with a quad ailment. Might the Colts be able to snag tight end Mike Gesicki from the Miami Dolphins? It's worth exploring.

    Trading for a corner like Xavien Howard or the Minnesota Vikings' Cameron Dantzler would also make sense. The Dolphins seem to be going nowhere, and Dantzler has been in and out of the lineup in Minnesota after starting 10 games as a rookie in 2020.

    Indianapolis ranks 24th in yards per pass attempt allowed.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Sell

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    This was always going to be a transition year for the Jaguars, who added a new quarterback in Trevor Lawrence and a new head coach in Urban Meyer during the offseason.

    Meyer has already raised concerns, notably when he chose not to return with his players on a team flight and instead stayed in Ohio for a night on the town. However, the future with Lawrence should be bright, as the No. 1 overall pick entered the league as a generational prospect.

    The 1-5 Jaguars aren't going to come across many wins and 2021, though, and they're unlikely to be relevant until 2022 at the absolute earliest. Therefore, it makes sense to look to cash in on players who may not be around for the long haul.

    Several notable names are scheduled to hit the open market next offseason—including wideout DJ Chark Jr., defensive tackle Taven Bryan, cornerback Tre Herndon and left tackle Cam Robinson. If the Jags can move them for draft capital and/or developmental prospects, they should.

Kansas City Chiefs: Buy

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs have been arguably the biggest disappointment of 2021. They're 3-4 on the season, got blown out by Tennessee in Week 7 and have beaten just one opponent currently with a winning record.

    However, the Chiefs have the offensive firepower to get back into the playoff race—if they can find some semblance of defense and get Patrick Mahomes' turnovers under control.

    Mahomes is tied for the league lead with nine interceptions.

    Kansas City should be looking solely at defense at the deadline. The Chiefs rank 26th against the pass, 27th against the run and 27th in points allowed. Virtually every position should be a priority, too, meaning anyone from Xavien Howard and Mack Wilson to Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman L.J. Collier should warrant some consideration.

    Collier, a 2019 first-round selection, has seemingly fallen out of favor in Seattle after showing potential last year. He's played only 25 percent of the defensive snaps this season but did have three sacks and 17 quarterback pressures in 2020.

Las Vegas Raiders: Buy

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    The Las Vegas Raiders are now 2-0 in the post-Jon Gruden era. Instead of wilting in the wake of Gruden's resignation, the Raiders have been galvanized by interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. Las Vegas is a motivated contender eager to compete.

    "For us, that's the best part is actually getting to the game day," Bisaccia told reporters.

    The 5-2 Raiders have a path to the AFC West title. While the 4-2 Los Angeles Chargers are a factor, the stumbling Chiefs have opened the door. The Raiders should now be doing everything in their power to slam it shut.

    Acquiring a linebacker like Mack Wilson could help improve Las Vegas' 28th-ranked run defense. The Raiders might also want to look at former Chargers pass-rusher Melvin Ingram III.

    According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Pittsburgh Steelers have "listened and engaged" in trade conversations involving Ingram. The Raiders have a respectable 18 sacks on the season, but a Super Bowl hopeful can never have too many pass-rushers.

Los Angeles Chargers: Buy

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    Might the Chargers be interested in reuniting with Melvin Ingram III? It's worth considering, as Los Angeles has just 13 sacks on the season.

    It would also behoove the Chargers to consider boosting their 32nd-ranked run defense. Adding a player like Mack Wilson at the second level could help. Or the Chargers could swing for the fences and try to pry away a linebacker like Myles Jack of Jacksonville.

    There hasn't been any real buzz about Jacksonville moving Jack, but the Jaguars aren't contending this season and recently took away defensive play-calling duties from the sixth-year linebacker. For L.A., it's worth making a phone call.

    Strengthening the defensive front could also be an area of focus, and the Chargers could find a trade partner in a team loaded with young defensive linemen like Buffalo.

    Regardless of where they can find defensive help, the Chargers should be looking to add at the deadline. They're only a half-game behind Las Vegas in the AFC West, and they already own one head-to-head victory over the Raiders.

    Like the Raiders, the Chargers have a chance to swoop in and take the division away from Kansas City.

Los Angeles Rams: Buy

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    The Rams narrowly survived Detroit in Week 7, and they were dominated by Arizona in Week 4. At 6-1, however, Los Angeles is very much a contender in the NFC.

    While Los Angeles doesn't have many notable weaknesses, it should be looking to buy at the deadline. This is a championship-caliber roster with an elite passer in first-year Ram Matthew Stafford. Adding to a backfield that ranks just 28th in yards per rush could make sense—though L.A. has already traded for Sony Michel and could get Cam Akers back for the playoffs.

    "You don't want to be presumptuous, but if we are able to make the playoffs and give ourselves a chance to play after [the regular season], the expectation is that Cam would be available to play," coach Sean McVay said, per's Kevin Patra.

    L.A. might also look to add a cornerback like Xavien Howard or Kyle Fuller to complement star Jalen Ramsey. Even with Ramsey in the fold, the Rams rank 21st in passing yards allowed.

Miami Dolphins: Sell

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    The Dolphins have quickly become one of the league's most dysfunctional teams. After winning 10 games in 2020, Miami is one Damien Harris fumble away from being winless through seven weeks. While the franchise has publicly backed second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Miami continues to be linked to Deshaun Watson.

    "I do hear it. I just don't listen to it," Tagovailoa said of the Watson chatter, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

    The reality is the Dolphins aren't sold on Tagovailoa, and they shouldn't be sold on head coach Brian Flores, who now has a 16-23 record in Miami. Another rebuild is likely on the horizon for the Dolphins, and regardless of what they do on the Watson front, players should be available.

    Xavien Howard remains Miami's biggest trade chip, but he isn't the only one. Pass-rusher Emmanuel Ogbah could also generate a lot of interest. He's in the final year of his contract and has 2.5 sacks and 15 quarterback pressures on the season. Tight end Mike Gesicki and injured wide receiver Will Fuller V (finger) are also scheduled to hit free agency in 2022.

Minnesota Vikings: Buy

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    The Vikings might only be 3-3, but they have won two in a row and have not lost a game by more than a touchdown this season.

    Minnesota has every reason to believe that it can make a playoff push over the final 11 weeks. It should be looking to add players at the deadline instead of trading them.

    Bolstering the run defense would make the most sense, as Minnesota ranks 26th in rushing yards allowed and 29th in yards per attempt allowed. However, the Vikings might want to consider cornerback help with Patrick Peterson (hamstring) on injured reserve.

    Minnesota is set to lean on second-year corner Cameron Dantzler, but Dantzler has only played sporadically in his second season. Dantzler also received trade interest earlier in the season and could be a trade candidate given the team's reluctance to play him—he's been on the field for just 43 percent of the defensive snaps.

    It wouldn't be a shock to see Minnesota go after a player like Xavien Howard in the next few days.

New England Patriots: Buy

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    Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots are better than their 3-4 record might indicate. They narrowly lost to quality opponents in Dallas and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they likely would have beaten Miami if not for Damien Harris' untimely fumble.

    With a promising young quarterback in Mac Jones and the league's sixth-ranked scoring defense, the Patriots have the potential to make a late playoff push.

    New England went on a spending spree in free agency, and it should again be looking to buy now. The Patriots are the second-best team in the AFC East, and they still have a chance to push the 4-2 Bills for the division.

    Adding a receiver would make the most sense here, and guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks should be on New England's radar. While Jones has shown solid growth under center, he lacks a No. 1 target. Jakobi Meyers leads the Patriots in receptions (41) and receiving yards (390), but he's averaged just 9.5 yards per catch and has yet to find the end zone.

New Orleans Saints: Buy

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    The Saints moved to 4-2 with a critical win Monday night over the Seattle Seahawks. They should be looking to strengthen their roster ahead of this week's showdown with the Buccaneers.

    A couple of key needs have presented themselves in New Orleans through the first seven weeks. The first is at receiver, where the Saints desperately miss injured wideout Michael Thomas (ankle). Jameis Winston has some decent options in Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris, but running back Alvin Kamara has seen nearly a third (25) of Winston's completions.

    The Saints rank 31st in passing. Now could be the time to bring Brandin Cooks back into the fold.

    New Orleans should also be in the market for a guard following Andrus Peat's Week 7 injury. According to Rapoport, the Saints believe Peat suffered a torn pectoral, which would be season-ending. Trading for franchise-tagged guard Brandon Scherff would be bold, but it's the sort of move that could positively alter New Orleans' season.

New York Giants: Sell

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    The Giants are dealing with multiple injuries and were without Kenny Golladay, Andrew Thomas, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley during their Week 7 win over Carolina.

    While buying at the deadline could help alleviate some injury concerns, the Giants don't appear interested in going that route.

    "I'm always thinking long-term," head coach Joe Judge told reporters. "I've said this from the beginning, I'm not about taking shortcuts into anything."

    If the Giants look to buy, they'll be scoping out players who can help in the future—and the future is what New York should be most concerned with. The Week 7 win was big, but the Giants are still 2-5 and haven't looked like contenders even with Barkley and Co. on the field. Making a splashy acquisition now isn't going to thrust New York into the playoff race.

    Instead, the Giants should consider dealing potential 2022 free agents like tight end Evan Engram and inside linebacker Reggie Ragland.

New York Jets: Sell

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    It's early in the Robert Saleh era, but the New York Jets look a lot like they did during the Adam Gase days. They've rarely seemed competitive, they are offensively deficient, and they seem completely incapable of developing a young quarterback.

    Rookie Zach Wilson has thrown for 1,168 yards, four touchdowns and a league-high nine interceptions while posting a passer rating of 63.5. Meanwhile, New York ranks 31st in total yardage, 27th in total defense, 32nd in scoring and 29th in points allowed.

    To make matters worse, Wilson suffered a sprained PCL on Sunday and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Jets acquired veteran quarterback Joe Flacco on Monday as a fill-in, but they should be looking to sell.

    To say that the 1-5 Jets are looking at a lost season would be an understatement. This team is at least a year away from being relevant in the AFC, and it wouldn't be a shock to see a sizable exodus of talent in free agency.

    Parting with pending free agents like inside linebacker Jarrad Davis, wideout Jamison Crowder and safety Marcus Maye could help increase New York's draft capital as it approaches year two of its latest rebuild.

Philadelphia Eagles: Sell

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles are already sellers ahead of the deadline. They traded Zach Ertz to Arizona earlier this month, and they sent backup quarterback Flacco to the Jets on Monday.

    At 2-5, the Eagles aren't relevant in the playoff race. This season is becoming all about evaluating second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.

    The Eagles should shop any players who aren't directly tied to his development.

    According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, "teams have been calling" with interest in backup tackle Andre Dillard. Now that starting left tackle Jordan Mailata is healthy again, Dillard should be expendable.

    The Eagles should also consider moving pending free agents like defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and cornerback Steven Nelson.

    It's time for Philadelphia to start plotting for a future that may or may not include Hurts. If it doesn't, any extra draft capital could be vital to the Eagles' search for a franchise quarterback.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Buy

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    Fred Vuich/Associated Press

    The Pittsburgh Steelers may be listening to offers for Melvin Ingram III, but they should otherwise be buyers at the deadline.

    While a 3-3 record is nothing to get excited about, it's never a good idea to count the Steelers out of the playoff race. If they can beat the banged-up Browns in Week 8, they'll be right back in the AFC North mix.

    It could make sense for the Steelers to add a receiver like Brandin Cooks or take a flier on New England's N'Keal Harry. They lost wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster to season-ending shoulder surgery a few weeks ago, and they're only 26th in net passing yards per attempt.

    They should also attempt to bolster their offensive line. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked  only 12 times, but the Steelers rank 29th in rushing yards and 27th in yards per carry.

    It might be smart to take a flier on a young lineman like Andre Dillard as Pittsburgh looks to find the best version of its rebuilt offensive line.

San Francisco 49ers: Sell

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    After losing to the Colts in a winnable weather-impacted game on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers should recognize that they aren't making a championship run this season.

    Injuries to players like cornerback Jason Verrett, running back Raheem Mostert and tight end George Kittle have taken their toll. What looks like Jimmy Garoppolo's final season in the Bay Area isn't going to end well.

    The 49ers sit at 2-4 and are looking up at both the Cardinals and Rams in the NFC West. It's time for them to turn the page to rookie quarterback Trey Lance and start planning for a future with him at the helm.

    San Francisco shouldn't rule out trading Garoppolo, though head coach Kyle Shanahan insists that he's still the starter for now. The 49ers should be more inclined to move pending free agents like guard Laken Tomlinson and cornerbacks Josh Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick.

Seattle Seahawks: Sell

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks are staring down a lost season, perhaps the worst of the Pete Carroll era.

    After dropping Monday night's game against New Orleans, Seattle has fallen into the NFC West basement. The Seahawks are 2-5 and sport an 0-3 record at home.

    Seattle's struggles largely stem from the absences of quarterback Russell Wilson (finger) and running back Chris Carson (neck). The Seahawks defense also ranks 31st in yards allowed.

    The Seahawks still have stars in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jamal Adams, but there isn't a lot else for them to hang their proverbial hat on as Week 8 approaches.

    Seattle is unlikely to completely blow things up at the deadline, so players like Wilson, Lockett and Adams are probably off the table. Granted, there were plenty of Wilson trade rumors circulating during the offseason.

    Instead, look for Seattle to field offers on bit players like L.J. Collier and pending free agents like offensive tackle Duane Brown and safety Quandre Diggs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Buy

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    As long as quarterback Tom Brady is healthy and playing at a high level, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be fully focused on winning a championship.

    Brady, who threw his NFL-record 600th career touchdown pass on Sunday, is playing as well as he ever has.

    The 6-1 Buccaneers are one of the best teams in football, but they do have injury issues in the secondary. Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Richard Sherman and Antoine Winfield Jr. have all missed time, and the Buccaneers have allowed 14 touchdown passes and rank 23rd in passing yards allowed.

    Murphy-Bunting (elbow) and Davis (hamstring) remain on injured reserve, while Sherman is expected to miss a "couple weeks," per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

    It wouldn't be surprising if the Buccaneers go hard for a top-tier cornerback like Xavien Howard. It would be even less of a shock to see them chase a second-tier corner like Kyle Fuller or Cameron Dantzler. And if the Panthers decide to sell, reuniting Brady and Stephon Gilmore might not be out of the question, though the chances of Carolina helping a division rival are admittedly slim.

Tennessee Titans: Buy

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    In back-to-back weeks, the Tennessee Titans have knocked off the Bills and the Chiefs. It's clear that their Week 4 stumble against the Jets was an aberration.

    The Titans are for real, and they should be looking to buy at the deadline.

    Cornerback is the Titans' most obvious need, especially after Caleb Farley's season-ending ACL tear. Kristian Fulton (hamstring) is also on injured reserve, and the Titans secondary wasn't great even with those two in the lineup.

    On the season, Tennessee ranks 24th in pass defense and 20th in net yards per pass attempt allowed. That's the only glaring weakness for a team that ranks 11th in total offense, sixth in scoring, ninth in run defense and 16th in points allowed.

    Tennessee should go after any top-tier cornerback on the market, such as Xavien Howard, Kyle Fuller, Cameron Dantzler or Stephon Gilmore. Strengthening the secondary could be critical to a Super Bowl run.

Washington Football Team: Sell

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    The Washington Football Team fell to 2-5 with their loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. A repeat as NFC East champion is looking unlikely, if not downright impossible.

    The struggles started when starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip injury in Week 1 that landed him on injured reserve. However, that's been far from the biggest issue in Washington's season. Fitzpatrick's replacement, Taylor Heinicke, has been serviceable with a passer rating of 86.8.

    The bigger and more baffling issue has been Washington's defense.

    Last season, Washington ranked second and fourth, respectively, in yards and points allowed. This season, it ranks 29th and 32nd in these categories.

    There's talent on this roster, but it's time for Washington to consider blowing it up and making moves for the future at the trade deadline. The Football Team needs a long-term answer at quarterback, and moving impending free agents like Brandon Scherff, left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and inside linebacker Jon Bostic might help land the draft capital needed to find one.


    Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.