Buying or Selling NFL's Latest Trade Rumors

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2022

Buying or Selling NFL's Latest Trade Rumors

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    NFL fans are going to look back on the 2022 offseason as one highlighted by blockbuster trades. We've already seen the likes of Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and Khalil Mack moved, and we still have several months before the start of the regular season.

    While this year's biggest trades have likely passed, more wheeling and dealing could happen in the coming weeks and months. As roster holes and surpluses begin to reveal themselves in offseason workouts and injuries inevitably occur, trades often follow.

    Which players could be on the move next? Let's dive into some of the latest trade buzz and try deciphering which rumors are worth buying and which are pure smoke.

Buy: 49ers Hoping to Move Jimmy Garoppolo Before Training Camp

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    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is one player many expected to be traded this offseason. He's set to earn $27 million in 2022, and the 49ers have 2021 third overall pick Trey Lance waiting in the wings.

    Garoppolo is still a 49er, though, despite the fact that San Francisco has apparently entertained fair offers. According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, general manager John Lynch was "telling interested teams" that he had an offer of two second-round picks for Garoppolo on the table in March.

    However, offseason shoulder surgery has prevented teams from flipping the switch on a trade.

    "The biggest problem, as one league source explained it on Saturday, is the shoulder surgery Garoppolo underwent earlier this month," Florio later wrote. "No one will trade for a quarterback with a $25 million compensation package after he underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his throwing shoulder, the source explained."

    Once Garoppolo is healthy enough to be on the field, the 49ers will reportedly revisit his trade market.

    "Garoppolo's shoulder is slated to get the all-clear in late June or early July, at which point the Niners will again seek a trade partner," ESPN's Nick Wagoner wrote.

    There's nothing sketchy here. Garoppolo has always been an offseason trade candidate, and if the 49ers can move him before camp—thereby eliminating any potential quarterback controversy—they will.

    The big question is whether San Francisco will find a buyer at a price it deems acceptable. With notable quarterback trades and the draft already in the rearview, Garoppolo's market may be limited enough that the 49ers are better off keeping him.

Buy: Panthers Wanted Browns to Take on Majority of Mayfield's Contract

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    The 49ers can likely count the Carolina Panthers out of the Garoppolo market.

    "The Panthers want no part of [Garoppolo's] $26.9 million salary, and the 49ers haven't shown a willingness to take to carry those payments in a trade," Jonathan M. Alexander of the Charlotte Observer wrote.

    Carolina, however, was interested in acquiring Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Money was reportedly an issue there, too, as Mayfield is due $18.9 million in 2022. Alexander wrote the following:

    "The Panthers had conversations with the Browns during the draft last month, according to two sources with knowledge of those discussions. But those conversations didn't get far because the two parties couldn't agree on the right price. In a trade, Carolina wanted Cleveland to pay the majority of Mayfield's $18.9 million guaranteed salary, somewhere in the range of $13-14 million."

    This feels like an unreasonable ask by Carolina—depending on the compensation, of course—but it's believable. The Panthers are set to pay Sam Darnold the same $18.9 million on his fifth-year option, and Mayfield is coming off of surgery to repair a torn labrum.

    While Mayfield has flashed high-end potential as a pro—he set a since-broken rookie record with 27 touchdown passes in 2018 and won a playoff game in 2020—the injury and his up-and-down play are concerning.

    Carolina also lacks an "organizational consensus" on Mayfield's ability, according to Mary Kay Cabot of

    "Some are much higher on him than others, which has been an issue, a source said," Cabot wrote.

    The Panthers probably weren't interested in investing $37.8 million in a quarterback competition that might not yield a long-term answer. Unable to find a compromise with Cleveland on Mayfield's compensation, the Panthers instead turned to rookie third-round pick Matt Corral.

Sell: Seahawks, Panthers in 'Holding Pattern' with Baker Mayfield

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    While the Panthers didn't acquire Mayfield during the draft, they reportedly still have some interest in doing so. According to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, the Seattle Seahawks are still open to the idea of dealing for Mayfield as well:

    "The Panthers and Seahawks still haven't ruled out acquiring Mayfield, but they'll need the Browns to take on a much greater portion of his contract than they’ve offered so far. It's unclear how far apart the sides have been, but the Browns want their contractual intake to be commensurate with the asset they receive in return. ... Therefore, everyone remains stuck in a holding pattern."

    It feels extremely far-fetched at this point that either Carolina or Seattle is monitoring Mayfield's situation with the Oklahoma product in their 2022 plans. Carolina has Matt Corral, and the Seahawks seem content with a battle between Drew Lock and Geno Smith.

    "I don't see us making a trade for anybody at all. I don't see that happening," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, per ESPN's Brady Henderson.

    Rather than being in any sort of "holding pattern," the Panthers and Seahawks are likely to move forward with their respective quarterback competitions. They may be open to adding Mayfield if, say, the Browns are willing to absorb $16 or $17 million of his contract.

    Cleveland isn't likely to offer that until it knows the fate of trade acquisition Deshaun Watson, who still faces 22 civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct and could face league discipline under the personal conduct policy.

    The Panthers and Seahawks are just as unlikely to wait on Mayfield to map out their quarterback plans for this season.

Buy: 49ers Were Open to Trading Deebo Samuel Before the Draft

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    Garoppolo isn't the only 49er generating trade buzz this offseason. All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel requested a trade earlier this offseason and hasn't been involved in organized team activities (OTAs). However, the 49ers believe they'll get things worked out with Samuel this summer.

    "Yeah, of course I do," Kyle Shanahan told reporters (at the 2:52 mark). "And I felt that last time I talked to you guys at draft time, and I feel the same if not stronger."

    However, this doesn't mean San Francisco wasn't open to trading Samuel before. According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, the 49ers were open to moving the 26-year-old prior to the draft but never received a favorable offer.

    "The 49ers were open to the idea of dealing Samuel for the right price leading up to the first round of the draft," Maiocco wrote. "But there was never an offer that made general manager John Lynch seriously consider getting rid of the team's best offensive player."

    Lynch dismissed the idea of shopping Samuel before the draft.

    "I can't ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo," Lynch said, per The Athletic. "He's just too good of a player."

    However, one can buy that San Francisco was at least open to the idea. A big part of Samuel's value in San Francisco has been his ability as a ball-carrier—he carried 59 times for 365 yards last season—but he's unhappy with that dual role, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

    Given the skyrocketing price point of wide receivers, the 49ers are faced with a situation in which they may have to guarantee Samuel $25-plus million annually and guarantee that he isn't heavily involved in the run game. San Francisco probably would have dealt Samuel during the draft if the price was right. It wasn't, so now the 49ers are faced with simply trying to get him on the field in 2022.

    A trade could still happen, but future draft capital won't help the 49ers—who came within one win of Super Bowl LVI—this season, so a deal feels less likely now than it did a month ago.

Buy: Daron Payne Made Available, Currently Unhappy with Contract Situation

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    Though not as prolific as a big-time receiver or potential starting quarterback, Washington Commanders defensive lineman Daron Payne is a reliable and productive young defender. The 25-year-old started all 17 games last season, played 76 percent of the defensive snaps and finished with 61 tackles, six tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

    It's hard to believe teams weren't interested in Payne if he could be had for anything resembling a reasonable price. However, Ben Standig of The Athletic reported last month that the Commanders "quietly" let other teams know Payne was available.

    Perhaps the asking price was far beyond reasonable, because moving Payne would make some sense. He's in the final year of his rookie contract, and Washington also has marquee players in Montez Sweat, Chase Young and Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. A team can only invest so much in one area and still field a balanced roster.

    According to Standig, Payne is not happy with his situation.

    "Payne walked off the practice field and skipped team drills on Tuesday over his anger with the lack of a new extension entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, a source told The Athletic," Standig wrote last week.

    Payne took to Twitter to deny walking off the practice field, but he didn't deny being unhappy with his contract. It's easy to see why Payne wouldn't be thrilled, too. He's an above-average player set to earn just $8.5 million in 2022 with no financial security beyond that.

    A holdout might not be in Payne's immediate future, but he'd probably be much happier with a team that is willing to grant him an extension. The big question is whether such a team exists that is also willing to give Washington what it wants in a trade.

Sell: Robert Quinn 'Wants out of Chicago'

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    Chicago Bears pass-rusher Robert Quinn had a phenomenal 2021 campaign, finishing with 18.5 sacks and 34 quarterback pressures. The Bears, on the other hand, were far less spectacular. Chicago won just six games and fired head coach Matt Nagy after the season.

    The Bears could be in even worse shape this season. They got their new coach in Matt Eberflus but traded Khalil Mack and did little to improve their lackluster receiving corps and offensive line. Therefore, the idea that Quinn would prefer to play elsewhere has some merit.

    "I continue to hear that Quinn wants out of Chicago—and who could blame him?—and there are a host of interested teams," CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora wrote. "Bears brass has told everyone he ain't going anywhere, but they will keep asking and that's not lost on the veteran defensive end."

    Would Quinn rather play for a contender than a rebuilding team? Probably, but here's the thing. If he was actually adamant about getting out of Chicago, he'd be gone already.

    By trading Mack and allowing wideout Allen Robinson II to walk in free agency—and to a degree, by not re-signing defensive lineman Akiem Hicks—the Bears have made it clear they're willing to part with key contributors as part of the rebuilding process.

    The 32-year-old would likely bring a tremendous trade package if the Bears were to move him. There's little reason to believe Chicago wouldn't have already traded Quinn if he truly "wanted out."

    The three-time Pro Bowler is well compensated in Chicago—he has three years left on a five-year, $70 million deal. That's reason enough for him to accept playing in Chicago, even if he'd prefer to be chasing Super Bowls instead of opposing NFC North quarterbacks.


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