NFL Trade Deals We’d Like to See This Off-Season

The NFL has always been described as “trade unfriendly” and given factors such as salary cap issues, compensation and often the reason why players are on the trade block in the first place, it’s probably true. Despite these factors, there are always teams interested in getting deals done. This was highlighted this week, with the news that the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars were locked in talks over the futures of Dolphins left tackle Brandon Albert and Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas.

Here are seven trades that we’d like to see this off-season, ranked in order of possibility:

The Big One

Cowboys QB Tony Romo to New York Jets

Offensive rookie of the year Dak Prescott had one of the all-time great seasons by a first-year quarterback and the starting gig in Dallas seems to be his to lose for the foreseeable future. That leaves Dallas with a $19M backup quarterback in Tony Romo and someone they will be hoping to get some form of compensation for. The New York Jets would be a sensible career move for Romo should they decide to pull the trigger on a trade. The Jets could test the Cowboys nerve by seeing if they cut him, but that would mean Romo hitting free agency and having the pick of what would be a bunch of teams.

Houston Texans v Dallas Cowboys

What would it cost?

Given Romo’s long history of injuries and 2017 $19M cap hit, the Jets could try their luck with a 6th round pick. Dallas could be holding out for slightly more in a 5th, or maybe swap draft positions in the 2nd or 3rd round. (I’ll explain how the Jets work Romo into their dire cap situation further down.)

Should happen:

Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco 49ers

While Tom Brady was serving a four-game suspension, former second-round pick Garoppolo was admirably filling in for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. The Texans will tell you to be wary about piling your future on a young quarterback with little experience in the league and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan himself has played down rumours that he will gamble the teams future on one player. However, given that Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick look to be on their way out in San Francisco, Garoppolo looks like a perfect fit to replace them in Shanahan’s locked-and-loaded offence.


What would it cost?

The Patriots might hope that they can somehow recoup the second-round pick they spent on Garoppolo in 2014, but a third-rounder might be more realistic given that he will be playing on the final of his $1M salary. That way, the ‘Niners get to see a full-season of Jimmy G before deciding if they should pay him a big-bucks contract.

Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks to Indianapolis Colts

It’s not quite the secret that Philly were hoping it would be, but they are actively shopping 6th-year linebacker Kendricks, and could find a suitor at Indianapolis. Kendricks was one of the few players that thrived in Chip Kelly’s 3-4 defence that he employed during his stint in Philadelphia, and would be an athletic improvement on what the Colts have. He stands to earn around $8M in 2017, leaving the Eagles looking for a trade partner.


What would it cost?

Given that there isn’t much of a natural fit for Kendricks with the Eagles anymore, he would probably be acquired for a 7th-round pick, maybe even a 6th.

Bengals QB AJ McCarron to Cleveland Browns

Rumour has it that McCarron is one of the hottest names on the trade block this off-season and that could bode well for the Bengals compensation package. The Browns struggles at quarterback are well documented, and head coach Hue Jackson isn’t scared to roll the dice at the position after handing RGIII the starting role last off-season. McCarron, though, is a player Jackson coached during his stint as offensive coordinator with Cincinnati and a one he rates very highly. The move would mean Cleveland can focus on taking two talented players at the top end of the draft (#1 & #12), instead of gambling on what looks like a weak QB class.

NFL: Preseason-Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What would it cost?

Like Garoppolo, there isn’t a lot of tape on McCarron, but he has shown solid ability in the limited snaps he has received. He will also play the final year of his rookie contract with a cap hit of just over $750K, meaning the Browns yet a year to evaluate him before deciding on future commitment. The move might cost them a 6th or 5th round pick, but he’s a much better option than any of the quarterbacks there in this year’s draft.

Makes sense:

Jets DT Sheldon Richardson to Washington Redskins

I flirted with the idea of sending Richardson to Tampa Bay but given the scheme fit at Washington, the ‘Skins seem a more realistic prospect. Outgoing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick takes $10M off the salary cap, and Richardson stands to earn over $8M in 2017, leaving enough room for Tony Romo to come in. Washington might be put off by Richardson’s statistical decline since his Pro Bowl selection in 2014, but he would probably be the best they would have on the defensive line.

NFL: OCT 26 Bills at Jets

What would it cost?

The emergence of Leonard Williams paired with the ongoing contract situation of Muhammad Wilkerson could force the Jets hand here, particularly if the Redskins want to offer a fifth or even fourth-round pick for 2017.

Viking RB Adrian Peterson to New York Giants

Running backs aren’t quite the commodity that they once were, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth looking at. Adrian Peterson has made a case as the best player in Vikings franchise history, but at 31 years old, Minnesota could look to shop him following a 2016 season ravaged by injuries. The Giants are already making moves at running back after cutting Rashad Jennings, and were desperate for a back they could lean on down the stretch in 2016. Peterson still has some fuel left in the tank, and would instantly improve the Giants rushing attack.


What would it cost?

This deal could hinge on whether the Giants are willing to sacrifice their #23 overall pick so the Vikings can get back into the first round following the Sam Bradford trade last pre-season, but that would mean Minnesota probably giving them their 2nd rounder. Giving Minnesota a 2nd round pick might do the job.

There’s always a chance:

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski to Arizona Cardinals

Hear me out on this one. The Patriots, as shown by their trade of Jamie Collins to the Browns, aren’t scared about dealing away their franchise players. While Gronk has been a favourite target of Tom Brady’s since being drafted 42nd overall in 2010, he has been plagued by several injuries. Pats fans would be sad to see him go, but any player not named Tom Brady is expendable in New England, and the move would mean Gronk goes to a Super Bowl contender in the same state that he went to college. The thought of Gronkowski, Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson in the same offence is enough to get anyone going, let alone Cardinals GM Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians.


What would it cost?

Surprisingly, probably not as much as they might think. Swapping first round picks from #13 to the Pats #32, and maybe a 2nd or 3rd rounder.

Are there any trades you’d like to see? Get in touch with me on Twitter @jakecbonnettNFL


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