NFL Trade Deadline 2021: Date, Top Rumors and Latest Predictions
With the season at the halfway mark, the NFL trade deadline looms as a final opportunity for teams to make major moves.
In-season trading has become another tool that teams have become more willing to use to get better in recent times. Already this season we've seen Zach Ertz, Mark Ingram, Stephon Gilmore and C.J. Henderson on the move.
If the rumors are to be believed, those won't be the last impact players to swap teams. There could be more than one major move made before the deadline passes.
If teams are looking to make one of those transactions they will need to work the phones quickly. The deadline is set to pass on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. ET.
So here's a rundown of some of the biggest rumors churning their way through the mill right now and some predictions for what will actually happen by Tuesday afternoon.
Before we hit the top rumors and make some predictions, here's a look at some of the rumors floating around the league with some quick thoughts.
This makes a lot of sense as the 34-year-old has showcased that he's still capable of making game-changing plays, but he has a small role in the Rams offense. He has only been targeted 15 times this season but has hauled in eight of them for 221 yards and a touchdown.
It's hard to imagine there are a lot of teams willing to take on his $3.26 million salary at his age, particularly when the Rams will reportedly release him if no trade partner is found, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
> Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has reported a wide array of names who have come up in trade talks. Among those is Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson. The 33-year-old is a big name to hit the rumor mill, but a deal seems unlikely.
Rapoport reported the Broncos would be seeking a "strong offer." Given the current cap situation of many contenders, and the fact that he has just been "so-so" this season (49th among 87 safeties at Pro Football Focus), it's hard to see a team taking a big swing for him.
> The New England Patriots have been a popular destination for receiver help on the rumor mill. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN put the odds of a deal happening for the Patriots at "30 percent" because the team as just $3 million in cap space.
In short, financial restrictions are likely going to take one perceived "buyer" out of the market.
With a few of the smaller ticket items out of the way, here are some predictions for the bigger rumors out there.
Deshaun Watson Stays in Houston for Now
It isn't often that a team is desperate to get rid of a top talent at quarterback, but that could be where the Houston Texans are with Deshaun Watson.
The team already ripped the roster down to the studs this offseason. They are in a full-on rebuild. Even Watson, a premier talent at the most important position in football, would not have this team contending this season.
The latest on Watson comes from Adam Schefter of ESPN who reported that team owner Cal McNair would like the team to deal the quarterback by the trade deadline, but the ultimate decision lies with the team's general manager Nick Caserio.
Additional reporting makes that deal look even less likely. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported the Carolina Panthers ended their talks with the Texans, citing a "lack of clarity with his legal situation and Watson's plans with his no-trade clause."
So not only do the Texans have to find a team Watson is willing to waive his no-trade clause for, they may have to wait on Watson's legal situation to be resolved. The three-time Pro Bowler is facing 22 lawsuits stemming from allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Ten women have filed formal complaints with Houston police as well.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Dolphins and Texans are still having conversations, and Watson would waive his clause to play in South Beach.
However, the Texans may have to keep having Watson on the roster throughout this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Will Add a Cornerback
It's well established that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are an aggressive bunch. Since signing Tom Brady, they have not shied from making moves to ensure they are a Super Bowl contender.
They're all-in on competing right now, and that's why it makes a lot of sense that their name has come up as an active shopper at the deadline.
ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio reported the Bucs are in the market for a cornerback. Sean Murphy-Bunting is on injured reserve, and aging veteran Richard Sherman is dealing with an elbow injury.
The Bucs are a team with few flaws, but depth at cornerback is a glaring one. Losing to the Trevor Siemian-led New Orleans Saints on Sunday is the latest example the team needs reinforcements in the secondary.
Fortunately for the Bucs, it isn't too hard to find a list of candidates who make sense as trade targets.
Kyle Fuller of the Denver Broncos and Cameron Dantzler have both been mentioned in Bleacher Report's trade block big board.
Of the two, Fuller seems like the better match. The 29-year-old has a lot of experience and has taken a minimized role in Denver, meaning they might just be glad to get him off the books at this point. Fuller's play hasn't been great this season, but he was All-Pro in 2018 and is a two-time Pro Bowler.
The Bucs have shown they are willing to take shots on previously successful veterans. Fuller could become the latest at the deadline.
Clelin Ferrell Gets a Fresh Start with a Contender
Clelin Ferrell has become the odd man out in Las Vegas. The Arizona Cardinals just lost a huge piece of their defense in J.J. Watt. It's time to connect the dots.
Alber Breer of Sports Illustrated reported the Raiders have "had discussions" about Ferrell leading up to the deadline. Ferrell, who was the fourth pick in the 2019 draft, has seen his smallest share of snaps yet as a Raider with Maxx Crosby having a dominant season and Yannick Ngakoue playing a large role opposite him.
When asked about a trade to help deal with the recent loss of Watt to a series of upper body injuries, general manager Steve Keim said, "we're always open for business."
Ferrell hasn't lived up to the hype of being a top-five selection. He has yet to register a sack this season, but in 2020 his average tackle depth was 1.2 yards and his pressure percentage on all pass rushes was a respectable 11.8 percent, per Sports Info Solutions.
Perhaps a change of scenery and a chance to step into a larger role with a hot team like the Cardinals would get him to tap into his potential while giving the Cards a boost in their post-Watt efforts.