Bold trades are what make the NFL offseason one of the most exciting and interesting times of the year. When the season ends, it’s all doom and gloom as we count down the days until September and the return of football. Offseason trades keep us interested when there is no action to watch.
The bolder trade the better, obviously. When the Los Angeles Rams and the Detroit Lions agreed on a trade that sent both quarterbacks in opposite directions (as well as multiple draft picks), it set the tone for the 2021 offseason.
In a season where the quarterback carousel seems larger than ever, even franchise favorites like Russell Wilson have been linked to trades. The likelihood of Wilson getting traded is highly unlikely, but wouldn’t it be exciting? So, in a year that is shaping up to be filled with trades and players moving teams, let’s take a look at bold trades for all teams in the National Football League:
With Vance McDonald heading into retirement, the Steelers require a new tight end. Eric Ebron is under contract, but after watching him drop a few passes, Mike Tomlin will likely be looking for some competition for him. Now that they have managed to clear some space in the cap, Pittsburgh could send a mid-round pick to the Eagles in exchange for their big tight end, Zach Ertz. Two offseasons in a row where the Steelers pick up a new tight end.
Minnesota to Cincinnati
Joe Burrow is set to return for the 2021 season, and after what Bengals fans saw of him in 2020, they should be excited. Quarterbacks need weapons and you can never have too many of them. With the emergence of Justin Jefferson in Minnesota, Adam Thielen could find himself as the next wide receiver to leave Minnesota. A second and third-round pick would probably get the deal done, and the Bengals give Adam Thielen, a proven star, at the wideout position.
West to East
When the 49ers made Jimmy Garappolo the highest-paid quarterback in the league, they certainly turned a few heads. Since then, he led them to a Super Bowl and then spent the following year injured for most of the season. In the few games he did feature, he was benched and failed to recapture the form from their NFC Championship winning year. San Francisco has a high enough draft pick to find their new man and get out of that huge contract they have with Garoppolo.
With his former team, the New England Patriots, in the market for a new quarterback Garoppolo could be just the man to get the Patriots back in contention in the AFC East. He knows the system in New England and for a couple of mid-round picks the Patriots could get a quarterback who already has two Super Bowl rings as a Patriot.
Everything suggests that Deshaun Watson is on his way out of Houston. Everything except the staff in Houston. Since his trade request, the Texans’ board have stuck to their guns and said the star quarterback will not be traded. It is highly unlikely that they manage to come to sort this fractured relationship, and that is probably the biggest shock that can happen in Houston.
Big Apple to the Big Easy
The New Orleans Saints find themselves in cap hell before the start of the 2021 season. That being said, NFL teams always seem to find a way out of cap difficulty and I’m sure the Saints will be no different. With Drew Brees sailing off into the sunset and having missed their Super Bowl window, the Saints need to find a way to remain competitive.
Jared Cook has been a huge asset for the Saints for some time but he is closing in on the end of his career. Evan Engram from the New York Giants could be the new tight end in Louisanna. After having a less than productive year in 2020, the Saints would be able to get him on the cheap. With Sean Peyton’s genius playcalling and his ability to get everyone involved, Engram could be revitalized in New Orleans.
Money To Burn
The Jacksonville Jaguars have money to spend as they look to go from worst to first. Everyone knows that Urban Meyer will select Trevor Lawrence with the first pick of the 2021 draft, but if Jacksonville really wants to get back to the AFC Championship game, they need to improve their defense as well. Defense wins championships after all.
Jamal Adams has just become a Seattle Seahawk, but that won’t stop him from being on the move again. His sack total in 2020 set a record for a defensive back. If they really want to compete, Adams can help the Jaguars get their moniker of Sacksonville back.
Another aging Quarterback
Indianapolis decided to roll back the years in 2020 as they made a move and got Phillip Rivers. What’s to stop them from doing something similar for 2021? Atlanta isn’t quite in rebuild mode but will be soon so they should get it started now. Matt Ryan has led the Falcons for years now but has failed to secure a Super Bowl title.
With Indianapolis poised for a Super Bowl run, all they need is a quarterback. If they can come to terms on a deal for Ryan, they would still be in their Super Bowl window. Who knows, the Falcons might even send Julio Jones with him if the deal was sweet enough.
What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Stay in Vegas
Despite spending his career as a Raider, Derek Carr has always been linked to moves away. Whether it was Tom Brady coming to town or Marcus Mariota taking over for the 2021 season, Carr has never truly been considered the long-term option for Raider nation. It turns out the Carolina Panthers are the team to prise him away. After spending all of their picks in 2020 on the defense, it’s time for Carolina to focus on the offense. Carolina sends their first and a mid-round pick in exchange for his services.
Quarterback Switch Makes For Bold Trades
With the second pick in the draft, the New York Jets can basically do whatever they want. They could bolster the offensive line and stick with their current quarterback, or they could select another new quarterback. Instead, a deal could be struck with the Chicago Bears.
Chicago is in desperate need of a new quarterback and Sam Darnold would be a big upgrade from Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago gets a quarterback who is a former third pick in the first round. New York gets Mitchell Trubisky and some compensation in the form of draft picks. New York still has the choice of rolling with Trubisky or drafting a new quarterback. The only difference is they have a few more draft picks as a result of the trade.
Tennessee found themselves near the bottom of the list in the number of sacks per game during the 2020 season. With an offense that can both run and pass the ball, the defense is the last piece of the puzzle. Successful defenses are built on their ability to get to the quarterback, look at the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams. Za’Darius Smith of the Green Bay Packers. He finished the 2020 season with 12.5 sacks in a dominant year.
He carries a 22 million dollar charge in 2021, and with Green Bay over the cap, they could be poised to offload Smith. If Tennessee makes a move, it would be a strong one in solving some of their defensive issues.
A New Offensive Powerhouse
Justin Herbert has been a revelation in his first year as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Odell Beckham Jnr has been a revelation since he joined the league. After tearing his ACL and missing most of the season, Beckham watched on as his Browns went to the playoffs. With Cleveland operating close to the cap limit, they may look to offload the former first-round pick.
What better for the Chargers to add one of the best wide receivers in recent years to an already potent offense. Give Herbert another weapon and watch as the Chargers become the next Kansas City Chiefs.
Bold trades keep the NFL fan excited and intrigued even when there are no games to watch. An offseason that could be the best, has the potential for a plethora of bold trades. All of these could happen or none of them could, but it certainly makes for some interesting conversation.