The NFL off-season is getting ready to kick off. In the coming week we have the Combine, free agency and the Draft. Every year during free agency teams make all kinds of crazy deals and over pay for free agents in order to improve their team. However, we rarely see a high number of trades.
That might change this year, as several times have limited cap space and could look to move players in order to open up more. I offer seven possible trades ideas that should be considered. These are not reports or even rumors, they are just hypotheticals.
Trade 1: Seahawks trade Richard Sherman to the Raiders for a third round pick (#75) and two sixth round picks (#118, #218).
The sad truth is “The Legion of Boom” is old and over with. The Seahawks need to get younger and cheaper and that could play a big role in how they attack the first round of the draft. Richard Sherman is in the last year of his deal, coming off a torn Achilles, and turns 30 years old in March. The team has limited cap space and can open up $11 million in space by trading Sherman. The Seahawks don’t have a third round pick thanks to the Duane Brown trade.
Big splashes; that’s what the Raiders do best. Last year it was bringing Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and this year it was bringing John Gruden back to Oakland. Why not add Sherman too? The Raiders have cornerback issues and Sherman would be a clear upgrade. The Raiders are likely to release Sean Smith and Cordarrelle Patterson. Assuming they do, Sherman’s $11 million cap hit would slide in perfectly. The Raiders are projected to have 11 draft picks including six in the sixth round. Giving up three for a Pro Bowl cornerback is well worth it.
Trade 2: Broncos trade C.J. Anderson to the Jets for a seventh round pick (#235).
Reportedly the Broncos plan to move on from C.J. Anderson this off-season either by trading or releasing him. With this move they would save $4.5 million against the cap. The team wants to hand over the starting job to Devontae Booker and select a running back at some point in the draft. With his high cap number, there is no chance Anderson returns to Denver in 2018.
Considering the other 31 NFL clubs know the Broncos will release Anderson if a trade can’t be made, the market for him should be very soft. However, Anderson was one of just nine running backs who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season. With Matt Forte and Bilal Powell turning 33 and 30 years old this season, the Jets are likely to release both and go younger at the position. By releasing both the Jets will save $7 million against the cap. Anderson just turned 27 years old about a week ago and would provide a proven option at the position to pair with a rookie.
Best FA QB market in recent memory once Tyrod is eventually released
— 🏈🏈🏈 (@CrobNFL) February 16, 2018
Trade 3: Bills trade Tyrod Taylor to the Cardinals for a third round pick (#97).
Cardinal fans can rejoice now that Larry Fitzgerald announced that he will return for the 2018 season. However, who is going to throw him the ball? While fans are hopeful to sign Kirk Cousins, that isn’t likely. The back up plan should be to acquire a veteran and draft a quarterback. Tyrod Taylor has only one year remaining on his deal and would be a good “bridge gap” quarterback for the Cardinals should they draft Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson.
The Bills reportedly don’t plan on releasing Taylor but are aggressively trying to trade him. However, they have a March 16th deadline when his $6 million dollar roster bonus kicks in. If the Bills are able to trade him before then they would save $15.4 million against the cap. Adding the third round pick would give the Bills six picks in the top 100 to use to move up for a quarterback in round one. The latest rumor is the Bills are hopeful to trade with the Giants in order to grab Josh Rosen.
Trade 4: Seahawks trade Earl Thomas and a fifth round pick (#170) to the Chargers for a second round pick (#48).
This is a big offseason for the Seahawks front office. Like Sherman, Earl Thomas is in the last year of his deal, will turn 29 right after the draft, and his contemplated retirement in the past year. With one year left on his deal, the Seahawks have to decide if investing in him long-term is a good idea given their cap situation. By trading Thomas, the Seahawks would save $8.5 million against the cap. Getting back the second pick is key, as they traded their own second round pick to the Jets back in the preseason for Sheldon Richardson.
The Chargers already have a good defense but Thomas can put them over the top. At age 29, Thomas still has some good years left in him assuming he doesn’t decide to retire early. Current starting free safety Tre Boston and reserve safety Adrian Phillips are both pending free agents. Pairing Thomas with their great cornerback trio of Casey Hayward, Trevor Williams and Desmond King might give the Chargers the best secondary in the league. Also, the Chargers can easily create the $8.5 million in cap space for Thomas by trading Jason Verrett.
Trade 5: Chargers trade Jason Verrett to the 49ers for a fifth round pick (#130) and a 2019 conditional fourth draft pick.
Speaking of Verrett, the Chargers are likely to move on from him this off-season, as they love their current cornerback trio. The Chargers have better ways to spend that $8.5 million in cap space to improve the team, like going after Thomas. Verrett has struggled with injuries, playing in just five games over the past two seasons.
However, back in 2015 Verrett played in 14 games and made the Pro Bowl. The 49ers lack starting-caliber cornerbacks and should be interesting in kicking the tires on Verrett. If he returns to his 2015 form, the 49ers got a steal. If he struggles with injuries again, they can move on after the season. The 2019 conditional pick would be based on the number of games Verrett played, giving the Chargers another draft pick if Verrett can stay healthy.
Trade 6: Packers trade Randall Cobb and a fifth round pick (#152) to the Colts for a fourth round pick (#106).
After giving Davante Adams that huge contract extension, the Packers will reportedly move on from either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson. Given his decline in production the past few years, Cobb is the more likely choice. If the Packer trade or release Cobb, they will save a much-needed $9.5 million against the cap. The Packers are also reportedly considering moving Ty Montgomery back to wide receiver. Instead of releasing Cobb the Packers should look to trade him. For anything at all.
Cobb has been dealing with injuries, and that is a factor in his drop in production. He is still a great locker room guy and could help a team out. The Colts have two of their top three wide receivers — Donte Moncrief and Kamar Aiken — scheduled to be free agents in March, and neither is expected to return. With plenty of cap space, the Colts could bring in Cobb and hope a fresh start helps. If he struggles, his contract expires after the 2018 season and all it cost the Colts was a flip of middle round picks.
Trade 7: Rams trade Tavon Austin and a fifth round pick (#162) to the Browns for Sammie Coates.
It’s been widely reported that the Rams will release Tavon Austin in the coming weeks, and that isn’t surprising given how little he did for the team this year. However, releasing him will only save $3 million against the cap and the Rams need to save all the money they can. The Rams are hopeful to bring back several of their own free agents like Sammy Watkins, Lamarcus Joyner, and John Sullivan. That doesn’t even including getting an extension done with Aaron Donald that is expected to make him the highest paid defensive player in the league.
However, if the Rams can trade Austin they will save the full $8 million dollars against the cap. That extra $5 million could be critical in resigning their own free agents. Last season the Browns got a second round pick to pay Brock Osweiler $17 million dollars. With all their cap space the Browns should be happy basically buying a fifth round pick for $8 million dollars. Maybe a change of scenery will help Austin and he can provide the Browns will some kick/punt return ability. If not, release him and move on. Coates is on a league minimum contract and is sent back to the Rams only to complete the trade.