The Ideal Offseason Trade Scenario for Every NFL TeamFebruary 19, 2022
The Ideal Offseason Trade Scenario for Every NFL Team
The vast majority of player acquisition this offseason will take place through the draft and free agency, but trades remain one of the most intriguing things about the NFL offseason.
The Los Angeles Rams have heavily utilized trades to craft their Super Bowl team. They mortgaged future picks for the likes of Matt Stafford, Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey.
The NFL is a copycat league. There will undoubtedly be some teams that will at least include some of the Rams model into their own roster-building approach.
For some, the best trade scenario is bringing in a player who could help them get to the next level. For others, it's moving on from a player or contract that has become untenable.
For this exercise, we'll keep the hypothetical trades as grounded in reality as possible while focusing on each team's ideal scenario. Trade fits are based on each team's needs and financial situation.
Let's get to the trades.
Arizona Cardinals Trade for WR Chase Claypool
Kliff Kingsbury's offense requires multiple receivers who can make plays. The Cardinals utilized more four-receiver sets than anyone in the league in 2021.
A.J. Green is 33 years old and a free agent. Christian Kirk is also set to become a free agent with a market value of $11.8 million a year, per Spotrac.
In a recent article outlining "under-the-radar" trade candidates, ESPN posited the idea of the Steelers trading Chase Claypool. Jeremy Fowler noted that head coach Mike Tomlin had to "address" maturity concerns with the receiver.
With general manager Kevin Colbert retiring, the Steelers might be looking to move some players from that regime.
Claypool is the kind of big-bodied downfield threat the Cardinals were looking for when they acquired Green. Unlike the veteran receiver, he's only 23 years old and heading into the third year of his rookie contract that will pay him just $1.8 million next season.
Atlanta Falcons Trade QB Matt Ryan
Trading Matt Ryan—even with a post-June 1 designation—would cost the Falcons $24.9 million in dead cap charges in 2022 followed by $15.6 million in 2023.
From a financial standpoint, that is still preferable to letting Ryan play out the rest of his days in a Falcons jersey at his current cost. Ryan's cap hits for 2022 and 2023 are an astronomical $48.7 million and $43.6 million, respectively.
It's a ton of money to pay for a quarterback who will be 37 next season. The Falcons have gone 11-22 across all of his starts over the past two campaigns.
Ryan is still playing at a respectable level. He passed for nearly 4,000 yards this season with a passer rating of 90.4. Chris Mortensen of ESPN already reported that Falcons coach Arthur Smith wants Ryan back.
However, they'd be better off parting ways with the longtime quarterback and utilizing the $24 million they would save toward their continued rebuild.
Baltimore Ravens Trade for Edge Danielle Hunter
The Ravens fell well short of expectations this season at 8-9. While there will be a lot of talk about the weapons surrounding Lamar Jackson and the offense, the truth is the defense was behind its fair share of issues.
Most notably, the Ravens were without a dominant pass-rusher.
With Matthew Judon off to New England, the pass-rush was led by Tyus Bowser (seven sacks) and ranked in the bottom third of the league when it came to pressure percentage. Odafe Oweh had a promising rookie season with five sacks and Bowser has room to grow as well, but this defense needs a force coming off the edge that can get to double-digit sacks.
Danielle Hunter has proven to be that guy when healthy. He missed all of 2020 because of neck surgery and only played in seven games this season before suffering a torn pectoral muscle that ended his season.
But in those seven games, he had six sacks—enough to rank No. 2 on the team in Baltimore. The Vikings are going into the offseason at $14 million over the cap, and trading Hunter would save them $18.6 million of his $26.1 million cap hit.
Buffalo Bills Trade for C Erik McCoy
The Buffalo Bills could save themselves money and upgrade a key position on the offensive line with two moves that make a lot of sense.
The first is to cut Mitch Morse. The center is set to be the fourth-highest-paid at his position in 2022, but the majority of his cap hit ($8.5 million) would become cap savings if they release him.
The second would be to call up the New Orleans Saints and work out a trade to bring in Erik McCoy.
The Saints face an uphill climb in creating cap space now and in the future. They are currently slated to be more than $75 million over the cap. McCoy doesn't make a ton of money. He's only owed $3.4 million in the final year of his rookie deal, but the Saints would save nearly $3 million by trading him.
That might not seem like much, but it also takes off the pressure to sign him to a long-term deal. The Bills, meanwhile, would get a reasonable replacement for Morse at a much cheaper price. McCoy has only allowed two sacks over his first three seasons in the league, per PFF.
Carolina Panthers Trade Down in the 2022 NFL Draft
The Panthers are in a tough spot. After a 5-12 season, there are obviously quite a few holes to fill on the roster. The problem is, they don't have a ton of cap space ($18 million) to improve the roster through free agency.
Instead, they have a series of their own free agents that will be difficult to retain, including Stephon Gilmore, Haason Reddick and Donte Jackson.
Perhaps most concerning, though, is their lack of draft capital. Thanks to trades for Sam Darnold and C.J. Henderson, the No. 6 pick they hold is their only one in the first three rounds.
Draft picks are vital to both talent acquisition and financial stability. Early draft picks not only allow the Panthers to acquire a player who could blossom into a real asset, but they also allow them to fill needs on the cheap.
There are already rumors connecting the Panthers to quarterback Kenny Pickett. But this isn't a team that is just a quarterback away from being a contender. They would be better off exploring avenues to move down the board and acquire some additional picks.
Chicago Bears Trade for OT Andre Dillard
If we learned anything from the past two Super Bowls, it is the importance of protecting your franchise quarterback. Both Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow were able to lead their teams to the big game only to have the offensive line exposed in a loss.
Justin Fields hasn't proven he's in the same tier as those quarterbacks, but that has to be the hope in Chicago.
If that hope is going to have any chance of coming to fruition, the Bears will need to make a real investment up front to ensure Fields has the protection he needs. The Eagles don't necessarily need former first-round pick Andre Dillard. The emergence of Jordan Mailata and the presence of Lane Johnson leave Dillard as the odd man out.
The Bears went with Jason Peters at left tackle this year and spent a second-round selection on Teven Jenkins. However, Jenkins only played in six games as a rookie because of a back injury.
Dillard would give the Bears a more experienced tackle who is still only 26 years old. He gave up just one sack in 340 snaps this season, per PFF. They could slot Dillard in as Peters' replacement and move Jenkins over to the right side.
Cincinnati Bengals Trade for CB James Bradberry
The Bengals are in a position to aggressively upgrade their roster. The offensive line is an obvious area of concern after Joe Burrow absorbed 70 sacks. However, that help is more likely to come from free agents like Terron Armstead or draft prospects like Zion Johnson (scouting report).
Most teams don't have starting-caliber offensive linemen they are willing to part with in trades.
While Eli Apple was decent during the regular season, the fact that he gave up two touchdowns in the Super Bowl should have Cincinnati looking at bringing in more competition at cornerback.
James Bradberry had an off year in 2021, but he still put up solid production. His PFF grade of 62.8 was a hair higher than Apple's 61.0 from this season.
The difference is Apple has never scored higher than the 64.5 he earned in 2017. Bradberry had a Pro Bowl season in which he had a grade of 79.8 while holding opposing passers to an 81.2 rating in 2020.
Chidobe Awuzie put together a great season for the Bengals, and they should be looking to bring him back. Mike Hilton was a quality signing as the slot cornerback in last year's free-agent class.
They are one solid outside cornerback away from having a great group. The Giants could be looking to move on from Bradberry because they could save $12.1 million which would be passed off to the Bengals.
Cleveland Browns Trade for WR Amari Cooper
The Cleveland Browns are in for a shakeup at the receiver position this offseason. Regardless of whether Baker Mayfield is the long-term answer at quarterback, general manager Andrew Berry has to make Cleveland a place where a quarterback can thrive.
That shakeup likely includes parting ways with wide receiver Jarvis Landry. The Browns could save nearly $15 million by releasing or trading him. They could also use that newfound cap flexibility and some draft picks to acquire a true No. 1 receiver.
Amari Cooper stands out as a potential fit. The Dallas Cowboys have some choices of their own to make, as they are $21.1 million over the cap to start the offseason. Trading Cooper would help them clear $16 million.
A swap for Cooper would give the Browns a player capable of posting WR1 numbers. He had three campaigns in a row with more than 1,000 yards until this season when CeeDee Lamb's rise and three missed games contributed to a dip in output (68 catches, 865 yards and eight touchdowns).
Dallas Cowboys Trade for DT Michael Pierce
The Cowboys are in need of defensive tackle help, particularly a run-stuffing nose tackle.
Dan Quinn's defense was much improved this season, but Dallas still struggled to get stops in the run game while allowing 4.5 yards per carry. Though Osa Odighizuwa is a promising three-technique, the Cowboys could use a veteran in the middle.
Pierce is coming off a season in which he only played in eight games because of injury, but he looked good when he was on the field. He had a career-high three sacks and a 78.5 grade from PFF, and at age 29, he should still have some good seasons in him.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, their cap situation could make it difficult to keep Pierce. They are $14 million over the cap and could save a little over $6 million by trading or releasing him.
That would allow the Cowboys to get a valuable piece for a discounted price. With the Vikings still taking on $4 million in dead cap, the Cowboys would just have to figure out how to take on around $6 million worth of salary for this season.
Denver Broncos Trade for QB Aaron Rodgers
The Denver Broncos have been a speculative fit for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a while. That speculation only intensified when the Broncos hired former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to replace Vic Fangio as their head coach.
However, things are beginning to look like Rodgers might be back in Green Bay after all. He was sure to mention important members of the Packers front office, including team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst, in his MVP acceptance speech.
The Packers have made it known they intend to go all-in on building a contender around Rodgers.
Still, the Denver make sense for him if he still wants out, and the Broncos would become an instant contender with the move. They were second in scoring defense and have a strong cast of young skill players in Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and running back Javonte Williams.
Rodgers would come in right away and put that team in contention. That's tough to do with one trade in a division that features Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.
Detroit Lions Trade for QB Kyler Murray
The relationship between the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray appears to be strained.
After the star quarterback scrubbed his Instagram of any mention or photos referring to his team, Chris Mortensen of ESPN confirmed there is tension between the passer and his current employer.
The acrimony between the two sides could be great news for a franchise like the Detroit Lions. The Lions are in a position where they have few quarterback options outside of sticking with Jared Goff for another year. They can walk away from his contract next season and only incur $10 million in dead-cap charges.
Murray is going into the fourth year of his rookie deal, which will pay him around $11.4 million this season. From there, he'll likely get his fifth-year option before seeking a massive payday.
The Lions are in a prime position to trade for a quarterback like Murray. They have five picks in the top 100, including the second and 32nd selections in the first round.
With $21.0 million in cap space right now and surplus draft stock, the Lions have the asset mobility to put a package together for Murray that would expedite their rebuild process without completely depleting their resources.
Green Bay Packers Trade OLB Za'Darius Smith
A wide group of teams might like to see Aaron Rodgers or Davante Adams in this spot, but the Packers' best path forward is retaining their star QB-WR duo.
That is going to create difficult decisions elsewhere on the roster, though. Specifically, the team is likely going to have to choose between Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith. The Smiths have been a prolific tandem on the edge, but they are set to take up 22 percent of the team's cap space.
Trading Za'Darius Smith would bring a considerable amount of cap savings, as doing so would take $15.3 million of his $27.6 million cap hit off Green Bay's books.
Finding some value for Smith would be an ideal scenario for the Packers. They are going to need to clear space to retain Adams and other key free agents, but Smith missed all but two games this year with a back injury.
Teams constantly have a need for pass-rushers, so the Packers should be able to find a market.
Houston Texans Trade QB Deshaun Watson
The Houston Texans are going to be working with diminished resources until they determine what to do with Deshaun Watson.
Nothing about Watson's situation with Houston is good. The quarterback was disgruntled before last season started and sought a trade. Then came 22 civil lawsuits by women who have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct. He also faces 10 criminal complaints, including two from women who haven't filed lawsuits.
The quarterback did not play a snap in 2021. Yet, his four-year, $156 million contract still puts a sizable dent in Houston's ability to move on from him and build a competitive roster.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the allegations and investigations "resulted in him not getting traded" at the deadline. However, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported there is a league-wide sense the Texans will look to trade him again in the offseason, and the quarterback has the Buccaneers and Vikings on his radar.
The Texans are in desperate need of a fresh start. Finally moving on from Watson should bring back a good enough to return to help in rebuilding.
Indianapolis Colts Trade QB Carson Wentz
It certainly looks like Carson Wentz could be playing for his third team in as many seasons. Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported on Super Bowl Sunday that Wentz's chances are "bleak" to return to the Indianapolis Colts.
Once something like that goes public, it's hard to put the genie back in the bottle. When teams know you've essentially committed to getting rid of an asset, that can have a negative impact on the trade value.
According to Mortensen (h/t Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus), the team will probably trade or release Wentz before March 19 when his $15 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. It would be a big win for the Colts to recoup some draft picks in a potential deal.
When they acquired Wentz last offseason, the Colts gave up a third-rounder and a conditional pick that became a first-rounder since Wentz played more than 75 percent of the snaps this season. However, Indianapolis missed the playoffs, and Wentz had two turnovers and no touchdowns in a win-and-in game in Week 18 against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
Starting over at the quarterback position would be understandable, but doing so while getting nothing in return would be a tough pill to swallow.
Jacksonville Jaguars Trade for WR Michael Thomas
After unsuccessfully pairing him with Urban Meyer in his first season, the Jacksonville Jaguars owe it to No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence to give him every chance to succeed.
That includes giving him as many weapons as possible. Lawrence was a bit disappointing in his rookie season with 12 touchdowns to 17 interceptions and a 3-14 record as the starter, but his top receiver was 31-year-old Marvin Jones.
Michael Thomas represents a potential high-risk, high-reward acquisition. He still has three years left on his contract with each season carrying a cap hit around $25 million. That's a lot of money for a player who only played seven games in 2020 then missed all of 2021 with an ankle injury.
The Jaguars are in a position where the risk is worth it. They have the third-most cap space in the league, a new coaching staff that will look for immediate improvement and a long way to go in catching up to the Titans and Colts in the AFC South.
If Thomas is healthy, he could still be a top-10 receiver in the league. The opportunity to add that kind of playmaker would be a big step in the right direction—both for the team and Lawrence.
Kansas City Chiefs Trade for DE Dawuane Smoot
The Kansas City Chiefs have $108 million committed to the offensive side of the ball in 2022. They should be on the lookout for affordable solutions that allow them to put together the best defense possible.
One affordable option that would fill a clear need could be Dawuane Smoot. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a prime opportunity to add a premier edge-rusher with the No. 1 overall pick. The latest B/R mock draft has the Jags taking Alabama tackle Evan Neal (scouting report), but edge-rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux (scouting report) and Aidan Hutchinson (scouting report) remain in play.
Smoot would become expendable if Jacksonville selects either edge prospect. The soon-to-be 27-year-old has been a consistent player for the Jaguars over the past three seasons, posting six, 5.5 and six sacks in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons, respectively.
Most importantly, Smoot has remained healthy. He missed just one game in that time span, and while his pass-rush production isn't incredible, he would have been second on the Chiefs in sacks last season.
He's the kind of under-the-radar trade target that could make a difference as the Chiefs push for another Super Bowl next year.
Las Vegas Raiders Trade for WR Davante Adams in Tag-and-Trade
There has been a lot of talk and speculation over the past two offseasons surrounding Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. The dynamic duo have been mainstays in the rumor mill since last offseason when the star quarterback expressed his frustration with the team.
The two sides have seemed to mend some fences. But even if the Packers can convince Rodgers to make one more run at a Super Bowl in Green Bay, Adams' future is still an issue. He and the team have not come to terms on a long-term deal, and the star receiver is headed toward the franchise tag, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The franchise tag is a short-term fix that is projected to cost $19.1 million. It could force the receiver to stay with the Packers, but it isn't likely to mend the relationship when his projected market value is a five-year, $129.3 million contract, per Spotrac.
If they aren't willing to give him the kind of contract he's looking for, the tension between the two sides could get worse. At that point, an alluring package of draft picks could look like the better option.
There is not an extensive history of players being tagged and traded in the NFL, but there is precedent. Frank Clark, Dee Ford and Jarvis Landry are all players who were franchise-tagged and promptly sent off to other teams.
Adams has said that it would be a dream to reunite with Derek Carr, his college quarterback at Fresno State. That sounds like an ideal situation for new head coach Josh McDaniels, who will look to take the Raiders offense to new heights.
Los Angeles Chargers Trade for LB Bobby Wagner
Just how far the Chargers are going to go with Justin Herbert at quarterback is going to depend on the type of defense they can put around him.
The young quarterback is exciting, and the Chargers have plenty of weapons and a good offensive line. It was the defense that held them back in 2021. They ranked 29th in scoring defense, 29th in yards allowed per rush and 21st in yards per pass.
Bringing in a veteran linebacker like Bobby Wagner would help tremendously. Wagner will be 32 next season, but he's still playing at a high level, ranking as the 15th-highest-graded linebacker by PFF.
At this point, Wagner is probably overpaid. He's set to carry the highest cap hit of any middle linebacker at $20.4 million. That's a high price to pay for the Seahawks, which are starting the offseason over the cap.
The Chargers are among the teams with the most cap space, so it would be easier for them to build a roster even while overpaying Wagner.
Los Angeles Rams Trade for LB Anthony Hitchens
The Rams have already proven they are willing to part with draft picks if it means putting their team in a better position to contend.
Assuming they are able to convince Aaron Donald to run it back and can move some contracts around to get under the cap, they will have a roster that includes very few holes.
One hole exists in the second level of the defense, though. Troy Reeder was graded by PFF as the 74th linebacker in the league. Kenny Young only played in seven games after playing six in 2020. The rest of the group is incredibly young.
Hitchens has plenty of playoff experience. He's made 11 playoff starts with the Kansas City Chiefs and had a good season in coverage in 2021, only allowing a passer rating of 83.4 when targeted.
The Chiefs might be eager to move on from Hitchens with both Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. on the roster. If anything, he gives the Rams a veteran at the position who should jell with an already veteran-laden defense.
Miami Dolphins Trade for RB Christian McCaffrey
New head coach Mike McDaniel is going to be expected to transform the Miami Dolphins offense. If he's going to do that, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a transformative talent like Christian McCaffrey.
McDaniel comes from the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree, which means he can get production from hidden-gem types at running back. But McCaffrey isn't just a running back. He's an offensive weapon.
When healthy, McCaffrey is the league's most well-rounded back. The last time we saw him healthy, he had 116 catches for more than 1,000 yards and had 19 total touchdowns. Despite injuries that forced him to miss 10 games last season, he still averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 8.4 yards per target.
That's a yard more per carry than Myles Gaskin and more than double his yards per target. The offensive line needs a lot of work, but that can be addressed through the draft and free agency. There are no options like McCaffrey through the draft or free agency.
There's no disputing that McCaffrey is one of the league's most versatile weapons. However, he's only played in 10 games over the last two seasons and has $44 million left on his contract. Joe Person of The Athletic reported the Panthers will "listen to offers" this offseason.
The Dolphins have plenty of cap space, so taking on McCaffrey's contract—which carries cap hits of at least $13.6 million over the next four seasons—wouldn't be a problem.
Minnesota Vikings Trade QB Kirk Cousins
Given the exorbitant price tag ($45 million) for Kirk Cousins this season, the Vikings have two realistic options: Sign him to an extension that includes making his price more manageable this season, or find a team willing to take on some of that salary in a trade.
With the team $14 million over the cap, it isn't feasible to just let his contract play out. Signing him to an extension might not be ideal, either, considering the Vikings have made the playoffs just once in Cousins' four seasons in Minnesota.
Finding someone who will take on Cousins' contract would be difficult. The Vikings are on the hook right now for $10 million even if he's traded, leaving the team receiving him responsible for $35 million.
The Vikings would likely be able to get more out of the trade if they were willing to pay additional salary in the form of a bonus, as suggested by Chad Graff of The Athletic. Doing so would likely net the Vikings a premium draft pick while putting the Cousins contract behind them once and for all.
New England Patriots Trade for WR Brandin Cooks
The New England Patriots need a No. 1 wide receiver if Mac Jones is to take the next step in his development, and the organization has seen firsthand the skills Brandin Cooks brings to the table.
This offseason could be the perfect time for a reunion.
Cooks played for the Patriots in 2017. He posted 1,082 yards on 65 catches and seven touchdowns before the Pats sent him to the Rams in a 2018 trade.
Despite that, Cooks has good things to say about playing in Foxborough.
"I have to say that's one of my favorite places that I've ever played. Especially when you're winning, how is it hard to play there? I've got a lot of respect for Coach Belichick and, at the time, Tom [Brady] and Josh McDaniels," the receiver told NBC Sports last year.
Since the trade, he's gone on to post 1,000 yards or more in three of the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans. His contract is palatable as well. The Texans would still have a $7.5 million cap hit and Cooks is in the last year of his contract, so the Patriots could extend him to save money in 2022.
Cooks would give the Patriots a dynamic receiving threat and someone who is familiar with the organization.
New Orleans Saints Trade WR Michael Thomas
Yet again, the New Orleans Saints have a lot of work to do just to get under the cap. In 2020, they cleared over $110 million to get under the limit. Even with the cap rising, they are set to be $76.2 million over going into this offseason.
The team has declared it wants Thomas back in 2022 and isn't expecting to trade him. However, without a clear answer at quarterback and Sean Payton gone, now is the time to make the hard choices and get the team in a better position to build long-term.
That makes shipping off Michael Thomas a no-brainer. Thomas's talent isn't in question. In 2019, he was dominant in leading the league with 149 catches and 1,725 yards. However, he has only played seven games since then.
The star receiver missed all of 2021 with an ankle injury and there has reportedly been some tension between him and the franchise.
Trading Thomas away would allow the Saints to clear $15.8 million if the deal happens after June 1. That's a significant number for a franchise that is going to have to get creative to clear cap space again.
New York Giants Trade for OLB Za'Darius Smith
Za'Darius Smith broke out and earned himself a big contract with 8.5 sacks in his final season with the Baltimore Ravens. That also happens to be the year that Don "Wink" Martindale made the move from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.
Martindale now happens to be the new defensive coordinator with the New York Giants.
The Packers find themselves in a position where they are paying Za'Darius and Preston Smith nearly a quarter of their salary-cap space. With Rashan Gary proving he's ready to take over one of their spots, it makes sense they would want to move one of the Smiths.
Giants outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari had a strong rookie campaign with eight sacks. That led the team, and Leonard Williams was next with 6.5 on the interior.
Smith would instantly enhance New York's pass-rush. He spent most of the 2021 season on injured reserve, but he had a sack on just 19 snaps in Green Bay's lone playoff game. That's a good sign he'll be ready to produce again in 2022.
New York Jets Trade for LB Dre Greenlaw
Heading into Year 2, head coach Robert Saleh will continue the process of building the New York Jets in his image. That could mean going to San Francisco to bring someone familiar into his linebacker corps.
Dre Greenlaw played his first two years in the league with the 49ers when Saleh was the defensive coordinator. During that time, he started 22 games and showed promise as an athletic linebacker who could contribute in coverage. He only allowed a passer rating of 83.0 when targeted his rookie year.
Most importantly, he proved to be a sure tackler. Greenlaw had 92 and 86 total tackles in his first two seasons and missed just 2.1 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
As he heads into the final season of his rookie contract, Greenlaw's future with the Niners could be shaky. They just gave Fred Warner a massive extension and Azeez Al-Shaair proved he could be a replacement for Greenlaw.
Meanwhile in New York, Saleh got disappointing seasons from C.J. Mosley, Jarrad Davis and Hamsah Nasirildeen. All three scored lower than 42.0 by PFF's grading.
Philadelphia Eagles Trade for WR Calvin Ridley
The Eagles may pop up as a popular destination for the big-name veteran quarterbacks who could be traded, but they would be better off building with the future in mind.
Jalen Hurts may or may not be the quarterback of the future. Either way, it's never a bad idea to make your offense as quarterback-friendly as possible. The Eagles have a solid foundation. Their offensive line finished fourth in PFF's final rankings, DeVonta Smith is a future star at receiver and Dallas Goedert is a weapon at tight end.
A receiver of Calvin Ridley's talents would allow them to move Quez Watkins into the slot. That would give Hurts every opportunity to prove he can be the franchise quarterback.
Adding Ridley would likely be a cheaper route than selling the farm for an aging quarterback, since the Falcons may be in a position where they are looking to shop Ridley. He posted 90 catches and 1,374 yards in 2020 but only played in five games last year as he stepped away to work on his mental wellbeing.
Bringing him together with former Alabama teammates Hurts and Smith could build a special offense in Philly.
Pittsburgh Steelers Trade for QB Gardner Minshew
Three seasons into his career, Gardner Minshew has thrown 41 touchdowns to 12 interceptions while averaging seven yards per attempt. Those are the kind of numbers that warrant at least one more shot at being a starting quarterback.
After suffering through two seasons in Jacksonville, Minshew found his way to Philadelphia. A cross-state trade that would send him to Pittsburgh would be a mutually beneficial situation.
The Steelers have a vacancy at quarterback after the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger. They could go with an incumbent in Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins, though neither has generated much excitement to this point.
Pittsburgh could opt to go the draft route, but it doesn't pick until No. 20 and this is already a draft class with questions at quarterback.
Minshew could be the best option. It likely wouldn't take much to pry him away from Philadelphia in a trade since the Eagles already have Jalen Hurts as their starter. Minshew would also come relatively cheap salary-wise, as he's only scheduled to make $2.5 million next season.
San Francisco 49ers Trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo
If the NFC Championship Game proved anything, it's that it's time for San Francisco to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo.
Sure, Garoppolo brings a lot of good things to the table, but he has also thrown four touchdowns to six interceptions while completing 60.6 percent of his passes in his two playoff runs with the 49ers. They went deep during both of those postseasons, but getting more out of their quarterback could have meant winning a Super Bowl instead of just contending for one.
The real heart of the issue, though, is Trey Lance. The 49ers gave up three first-rounders and a third-rounder to move up in the draft last year to take the North Dakota State quarterback. After letting him sit behind Garoppolo for a year, it's time to make him the starter and try to get some draft capital in return for Garopollo.
There's no guarantee Lance will be better than Garoppolo. But with the ability to save $25.6 million against the cap while recouping some draft capital, this is the best opportunity the 49ers will have on the trade market.
Seattle Seahawks Trade for C J.C. Tretter
The pass-rush is an obvious need for the Seahawks, as they were 24th in sacks last season. However, the key to fixing their offensive woes and convincing Russell Wilson he needs to stay in Seattle will be the offensive line.
The guys up front finished 25th in PFF's final season rankings. While they Seahawks got solid play from Duane Brown at left tackle and Brandon Shell was OK at right tackle, the real area for improvement is on the interior.
Damien Lewis and Gabe Jackson both finished with grades under 65.0, and the unit gave up pressure on 37 percent of Wilson's drop backs according to PFF's numbers.
Ethan Pocic actually did well at center with a 68.0 grade, but he could be moved back to guard where he played early in his career. That would leave center open, and veteran J.C. Tretter would make a lot of sense there.
Tretter was PFF's sixth-highest graded center this season. However, the Browns could save $8.2 million by trading the veteran. Cleveland already has a replacement option in Nick Harris, who they drafted in 2020 and could step in to fill the void for much cheaper.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trade for QB Jimmy Garoppolo
For a while, the prevailing thought was that Jimmy Garoppolo would one day take over for Tom Brady in New England. Maybe that prophecy was right...but in the wrong city.
With Tom Brady's retirement, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all of a sudden in need of a quarterback. Even with several key free agents set to hit the market, the Bucs have a collection of talent that can still contend.
As previously outlined for the 49ers, San Francisco should be looking for a way to get something in return for Garoppolo while turning over the reins to Trey Lance.
For the Buccaneers, Garoppolo is a player who has flaws but has also twice led his team deep in the playoffs. With the potential to re-negotiate a contract with Garopollo, a trade gives Tampa Bay the best chance to get a competent quarterback and have enough cash to re-sign the likes of Chris Godwin, Jason Pierre-Paul and Rob Gronkowski.
Bruce Arians has proven he can get the most out of his quarterbacks. It's a safe bet he could still lead the team pretty far with Jimmy G and the cast they could put around him.
Tennessee Titans Trade for WR Jarvis Landry
The Titans have publicly backed Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback. Now they need to continue to look for ways to improve his supporting cast.
In recent years, they've drafted A.J. Brown and traded for Julio Jones. That gives them two big-bodied receivers who can win on the outside and down the field. The final piece they are missing to round out the unit is a chain-mover who can win in the slot.
Jarvis Landry fits that bill, and some of his most successful seasons have come with Ryan Tannehill as his quarterback.
Tannehill and Landry have great chemistry going back to their days in Miami. Their final season together in South Beach saw Juice pick up 131 targets which he turned into 94 catches for 1,136 yards and four touchdowns.
The Browns are in need of a remodel when it comes to receiver, and Landry's contract is trade-friendly. They would only have a dead-cap charge of $1.5 million, and his new team could easily sign him to an extension that would make him pretty cheap this season.
Washington Commanders Trade for QB Carson Wentz
Obviously, Carson Wentz's stock is pretty low right now. After a bad season in Philadelphia led to a trade to Indianapolis, he put up an absolute dud in a must-win game to close out this season, and the Colts missed the playoffs as a result.
However, Wentz finished this past season 13th among all qualifying passers in the league in passer rating. The last time Washington had a quarterback finish that high was Kirk Cousins in 2017.
With Chris Mortensen of ESPN reporting Wentz's future in Indy looks bleak, the Commanders should be interested in gauging the price tag. Given the report is already out there, it's likely Wentz wouldn't cost Washington as much as Indianapolis paid—a first- and third-round pick.
Ron Rivera needs to win now. He's only had seven wins in each of his first two campaigns with Washington. The Commanders pick 11th, and it's hard to have faith they will find a quarterback that will allow them to win now.
They can do that with Wentz. He could serve as the bridge to the future and either give time for a 2022 draft pick to develop or buy a year for the franchise to figure out the long-term future at quarterback.
All contract and salary cap information via Spotrac unless otherwise noted. All advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.