2021 NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 8

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2021

2021 NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 8

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    Darryl Webb/Associated Press

    We're now less than a week from the NFL's November 2 trade deadline, and the activity is beginning to pick up. Players like Stephon Gilmore, Zach Ertz and CJ Henderson have already been dealt, and on Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles sent quarterback Joe Flacco to the New York Jets.

    As injuries continue to mount and the playoff-caliber teams continue to reveal themselves, the lists of buyers and sellers are becoming more defined.

    It would be a shock if a few more players aren't dealt before next Tuesday.

    Here, 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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    Justin Rex/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.

    This week, we're finally adding Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to the list. Watson hasn't played this season, as he faces 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints from women who have accused him of sexual assault or misconduct. He faces legal repercussions and potential league discipline. Trading for Watson before the lawsuits and complaints are resolved has seemed, at best, risky and borderline irresponsible. 

    However, the trade buzz has become too loud to completely ignore.

    "The Texans remain hopeful of moving former Pro Bowler Deshaun Watson and several veteran players ahead of the NFL's looming trade deadline, with Miami still the most aggressive suitor for the quarterback," CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported.

    Coming off the list is Pittsburgh Steelers wideout James Washington. Pittsburgh is 3-3 coming out of the bye, and with JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) done for the season, the Steelers should be inclined to keep Washington for the rest of the year. Steelers pass-rusher Melvin Ingram, meanwhile, joins the list, while struggling New England Patriots receiver N'Keal Harry departs.

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

    The five players who just missed the cut are, in no particular order:

    • Trevor Siemian, QB, New Orleans Saints
    • Clelin Ferrell, edge, Las Vegas Raiders
    • Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
    • Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears
    • Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets

10. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Watson resides at the bottom of our board because he represents a massive risk. If the allegations against him are proven to be true, his football career could be over. He still may not play while they remain unresolved.

    "The NFL could place Watson on the commissioner's exempt list should a team acquire him with the intent of playing him," La Canfora wrote.

    If Watson avoids jail time and significant punishment from the NFL, though, a team acquiring him would be getting a legitimate franchise quarterback. Watson is a three-time Pro Bowler and was a viable MVP candidate last season.

    In 2020, Watson led the league with 4,823 passing yards to go with 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 444 rushing yards and three scores on the ground. That's what teams are looking at when they weigh the possibility of trading for Watson.

    From a talent standpoint, there isn't a better player on this list. The Miami Dolphins appear to be his most likely landing spot.

9. 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 a variety of reasons this year.

    Dantzler 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. There's no telling what role the Vikings have in store for him coming out of the Week 7 bye.

    With Patrick Peterson (hamstring) heading to injured reserve, though, it could be a big one.

    "I always had to be prepared when my name would be called, so I'm very excited for the moment to be back out there with the guys," Dantzler said, per Lindsey Young of the team's official website.

    This bumps Dantzler down our list, though his future in Minnesota still appears cloudy at best. Teams seeking cornerback help—like the Tennessee Titans, who lost rookie Caleb Farley to a torn ACL in Week 6—should still show interest in him.

8. Andre Dillard, OT, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Andre Dillard is back on the list proper following new trade buzz. Injuries along the Eagles line—starting left tackle Jordan Mailata, guard Brandon Brooks and guard Isaac Seumalo have all missed time—knocked him off for a time, but Dillard's name has resurfaced in the rumor mill.

    "The Eagles won't give him away, and there are scenarios where he's a part of their future, anyway," NFL Media's Ian Rapoport wrote. "But teams believe a quality second-day pick would be enough to pry Dillard away."

    Dillard hasn't lived up to expectations as a 2019 first-round pick, but he's only 26 years old and carries the allure of being a high selection.

    This season, Dillard has appeared in all seven games and made four starts. According to Pro Football Focus, he has been responsible for six penalties and one sack allowed.

7. Ty'Son Williams, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    While the Baltimore Ravens may not be eager to sell after getting embarrassed by the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, it's worth keeping an eye on running back Ty'Son Williams.

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

    And Williams remains the most logical trade option for Baltimore. Recently, the Ravens have leaned more heavily on veteran backs Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell. Williams did see two carries against Cincinnati, but he was inactive in Week 6.

    Running back-needy teams should be interested, though. Williams started early in the season, racking up 142 rushing yards and a touchdown in the first two weeks. The Kansas City Chiefs would be a logical landing spot with Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) on injured reserve. The Seattle Seahawks are another potential destination, as starter Chris Carson (neck) is also on IR.

6. Melvin Ingram, Edge, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Justin Berl/Associated Press

    The Steelers signed Melvin Ingram during the offseason to help bolster their pass rush. However, they could be interested in moving him this week, according to Rapoport.

    "With inconsistent playing time, teams have begun calling the Steelers about potentially trading for Ingram, and it does appear the Steelers have listened and engaged," Rapoport wrote.

    Rapoport mentioned the Chiefs as a potential suitor, which makes sense. Kansas City has produced just eight sacks on the season as a team. The New Orleans Saints could also make sense for Ingram. While the Saints had five sacks on Monday night, they have only 13 total on the year.

    While Ingram hasn't been a game-wrecker with the Steelers, he has helped generate pressure. He has one sack and 11 quarterback pressures. Perhaps more importantly, the three-time Pro Bowler is a proven commodity.

5. Nick Foles, QB, Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Jets would have been a prime landing spot for Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles. Rookie Zach Wilson suffered a PCL sprain in Week 7 and is expected to miss multiple weeks. The Flacco deal hurts Foles' trade value significantly.

    And the Bears are eager to deal Foles before the deadline.

    "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," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler wrote.

    Still, Foles is arguably the best quarterback who can reasonably be had. He has 55 regular-season starts and a Super Bowl MVP award on his resume, and he is available.

    With the Jets out of the mix, teams like the Cleveland Browns and Seattle could be top destinations. Russell Wilson (finger) is on injured reserve, while Baker Mayfield is dealing with a torn labrum and a fracture in his non-throwing shoulder. If Mayfield is ultimately shut down for the year, Cleveland could use a proven backup behind Case Keenum.

4. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Marlon Mack tops the list of potentially available running backs. He 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 workhorse and receiving back Nyheim Hines also on the Indianapolis Colts roster, Mack has become more of a bit player.

    He was inactive in Week 3 and has seen only limited action since. In five games this season, the 25-year-old has carried 28 times for 101 yards.

    According to Fowler, the Colts are willing to move Mack into a different situation.

    "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," Fowler wrote. "Things could pick up closer to the deadline, and a conditional late-round pick probably gets it done."

    Teams like Kansas City and Cleveland—which has Kareem Hunt (calf) on injured reserve—would make sense here.

3. Marcus Maye, S, New York Jets

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    With Zach Wilson sidelined, the Jets are even more likely to be looking at a lost season. Safety Marcus Maye, meanwhile, "would welcome" a trade to a contender, according to Fowler. Maye, however, has publicly said otherwise.

    "They know I want to be here," Maye said, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. "They know I'm 100 percent with my guys."

    Whether Maye wants to be traded or not, he remains one of New York's biggest trade chips.

    Maye had been sidelined with an ankle injury but made his return in Week 7. Against the Patriots, he had seven solo stops, 12 total tackles, one pass defended and one tackle for loss. A year ago, Maye started all 16 games and finished with 88 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and an opposing passer rating of only 80.4.

    The fact that Maye is healthy again boosts his stock at precisely the right time.

    He would be a fine fit for any safety-needy team. Defensively challenged squads like the Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars come to mind. For a team like Jacksonville, though, any trade would have to come with the guarantee of a contract extension since Maye is playing on the franchise tag.

2. Kyle Fuller, CB, Denver Broncos

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    Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    Denver Broncos cornerback Kyle Fuller gets bumped from the top spot this week, but he remains high on our board. He was benched in Week 7, and it appears that Denver could be willing to move him.

    "Ronald Darby is healthy, and Fuller has been the odd man out," Rapoport wrote. "With so many cornerback-needy teams, could Fuller be a trade target this time? For the right price, perhaps."

    Fuller has played just two snaps over the last two games, but he's a two-time Pro Bowler who performed well last season in Chicago. Fuller finished his 2020 campaign with eight passes defended, one interception and an opposing passer rating of 89.8.

    Teams like the aforementioned Titans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—who have allowed 14 touchdown passes this season—could be interested in acquiring Fuller. If the Broncos aren't going to play him, someone else will.

1. Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    According to La Canfora, the Texans are looking to deal at the deadline.

    "Sources said that in general the Texans are looking to feature as many young players as possible (hence the release of former stalwart pass rusher Whitney Mercilus last week, with many of Houston's older players eager to be dealt by the deadline," he wrote.

    This report boosts wideout Brandin Cooks into the top spot on our board.

    Cooks has 45 receptions, 502 yards and a touchdown in a bad Houston offense. He's a five-time 1,000-yard receiver, and he's still only 28 years old. He is Houston's biggest trade chip, and he would help virtually any receiver-needy team

    Teams with injuries at receiver, like Pittsburgh, should be interested in Cooks. The Green Bay Packers might as well. The Packers could use another wideout to complement Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, and they recently placed Adams on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

    Even teams simply seeking a little more firepower should be kicking the tires on Cooks. He's a top-tier wideout, and he can probably be had for a fair price.


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


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