When late June/early July rolls around NFL teams are in camp and getting ready for the upcoming season. Meanwhile the NBA is just coming off the finals and hitting it’s busiest time of the year. With the draft and free agency, the NBA hits a roughly three week period of crazy! Between draft day trades and teams moving their star players before they leave in free agency for nothing, twitter and reporters are in a non stop-frenzy. But that’s enough basketball talk.
Now this is an NFL based website so I’m not going to go into the NBA mega trades that have happened over the past few weeks. But it got me thinking, what NBA-esque trades could NFL teams make? Is there any team with an established starter that they could move in a return for young players or picks? For the purposes of this article we aren’t going to worry about fitting salaries into available cap space as there are many ways teams can rework contracts to make the needed cap space.
None of these trades are likely to happen as NFL teams don’t have the same mindset NBA teams do about tanking and rebuilding. But what if they did? Would the NFL be better or worst for it? We may never know.
Let us know some of your own blockbuster trades that you would like to see happen in the comments below!
Trade one: Browns trade Joe Thomas to the Seahawks for Frank Clark, Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 first round pick.
It seems like the Browns have been in rebuild mode forever and Thomas is their best player. However, Thomas turns 33 years old during the 2017 season and likely will be past his prime once the Browns are ready to contend, assuming that ever happens. To move their best player they get another critical first round draft pick. With this trade the Browns would have three first and three second round picks in the 2018 draft. Plus they net themselves a young pass rusher, Clark, and a veteran locker room presence, Kearse. Adding Clark with Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah would give the Browns one of the best young pass rush trios in the league. Kearse provides veteran leadership to a young locker room.
Russell Wilson has got to be tired of running for his life on every pass play. Adding Thomas would instantly give Wilson the best offensive line he has ever played with. The Seahawks have shown to be willing to trade their first round draft picks for a pro bowl talented player; having traded past first round picks for Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham. Giving up Clark hurts but with Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril as the starters, Clark is currently stuck in the third pass rusher role. Kearse is solid but the team has drafted several receivers in the past few drafts and with the expanded role for Doug Baldwin, Kearse’s value to the offense is limited.
Trade two: Bears trade Pernell McPhee and Kyle Fuller to the Cowboys for Darren McFadden and a 2018 fourth round pick.
With the Bears trading up to draft Mitch Trubisky it shows the team realizes it’s not ready to push for the playoffs this season. With an out in his contract, the Bears wouldn’t keep McPhee past the 2017 season. Moving McPhee would open up more playing time for 2016 first round pick Leonard Floyd. Fuller has battled injuries his entire career and just had his fifth year option declined; he is on the roster bubble and would be best served getting a fresh start somewhere else. McFadden would improve the backup running back spot and the draft pick helps them get back some draft capital they lost in the Trubisky trade.
Recently David Irving was suspended the first four games of the 2017 season due to a failed drug test. Pass rush was already the Cowboys biggest weakness and now it has gotten worst. McPhee would give the Cowboys the best pass rusher they have had since Demarcus Ware. Once Irving returns, pairing him with McPhee would give the Cowboys two consistent pass rushers. While the team did spend a few draft picks on the secondary, you can never have enough cornerbacks in the NFL today. Fuller, a former first round pick, just needs to stay healthy and play. Losing McFadden isn’t much, with Ezekiel Elliott as the starter and Alfred Morris as the backup, the Cowboys have a strong back field combo.
Trade three: Jets trade Sheldon Richardson to the Redskins for Trent Murphy and a 2018 fifth round pick.
Buckle up Jet fans, the 2017 season is about to get ugly! The Jets are one of the favorites to land the top pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Richardson has been the on the trading block for a while now and the interest has been minimal. With Muhammad Wilkerson and young stud Leonard Williams entrenched as the starters, Richardson is taking up more cap space than he is providing value in his play. With no legit pass rush threat, adding Murphy would at least provide a solid starter. Rebuilding teams covet draft picks; more draft picks mean more shots at young players, the fifth round pick has more value than you would think.
With a poor defense in 2016, the Redskins spent the offseason determined to improve it. After adding two defensive lineman in free agency the team spent their first round pick adding Jonathan Allen; however, that still isn’t enough to fix the problem. Pairing Richardson with Allen would give the team two excellent defensive ends and substantially improve the defense. Murphy is currently the team’s fourth best pass rusher and could easily be moved. In the past few years the Redskins have been one of the better teams to add draft picks so giving up a fifth round pick can easily be replaced.
Trade four: 49ers trade Vance McDonald and a fifth round pick to the Ravens for Kamalei Correa.
New head coach Kyle Shanahan has praised rookie George Kittle in offseason workouts. McDonald was at risk to make the roster before this and now his roster spot seems less and less secure. It’s better to trade him and get something in return verse releasing him. With a switch to a 4-3 defense the team lacks true base defensive ends. Adding Correa, a 2016 second round pick, would give this young defense another young talented player to mesh with.
After the sad news that Dennis Pitta re-injured his hip, forcing an early retirement, leaves the Ravens with no starting caliber tight end on the roster. McDonald would instantly becomes the best tight end on the roster. After the Ravens spent second and third round picks on pass rushers, Correa is fighting for playing time this season and may end up being released at some point. To flip him to solve a major problem at tight end would seriously help the Ravens offense this season. In addition, the Ravens love draft picks and adding a fifth rounder just sweetens the pot.
Trade five: Rams trade Trumaine Johnson, Pharoh Cooper and Tyler Higbee to the Cardinals for Andre Ellington and a 2018 second round pick.
For the second season year in a row, Johnson will play the season on the franchise tag. The relationship between him and the Rams front office seems beyond repair. Instead of letting him play on the tag than leave as a free agent and wait for a 2019 third round compensatory pick; why not get more value for him now? Pharoh Cooper and Tyler Higbee were draft picks made by former head coach Jeff Fisher. Both are on the roster bubble thanks to new head coach Sean McVay spending three of the team’s first four draft picks this year on two receivers and a tight end. If Jared Goff continues his struggles again in his sophomore season, McVay may tell the front office that he wants to move on from Goff and draft “his guy”. Having an extra second round pick would provide critical draft currency to get the quarterback of McVay’s choice. Ellington would be an upgrade over Malcolm Brown, as the team’s back up running back.
The 2017 season may be the last for Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. The team owes it to them to make a serious push for the Super Bowl this season. However, the Cardinals did nothing in the offseason to improve the starting cornerback spot opposite of Patrick Peterson. Bringing in Johnson would put the Cardinals’ secondary on the same level as the Broncos. Both Higbee and Cooper were 2016 fourth round picks and would give the Cardinals some young depth. The key to this trade for the Cardinals is to take that defense to the next level, putting less pressure on the offense and giving them a serious shot at a Superbowl ring.