I've listed all of the NFL Free Agent Signing Grades here, which included the trades. Because I've begun posting polls for the trades, I thought it would make sense to list just the NFL trades here, so archiving the voting would be easier.
Broncos acquire QB Teddy Bridgewater from Panthers for 6th-round pick
Let's be clear: This trade does not preclude the Broncos from selecting Justin Fields or another quarterback with the ninth-overall pick, which is what I have occurring in my 2021 NFL Mock Draft. This is merely an insurance policy. If the Broncos can't land their desired quarterback in the first round, they now don't have to waste a second-day selection on a signal-caller they like much less. They can go into 2021 with Bridgewater at the helm, with the hopes that he can pilot a team with a dynamic receiving corps and great defense to the playoffs.
I also should note that I still have a sour taste in my mouth when thinking about Bridgewater because all of the red-zone interceptions he threw in Week 17 cost me $20,000 because I would have finished fourth instead of seventh in the SuperContest had the Panthers covered. Still, I can acknowledge that Bridgewater is a major upgrade over the 2020 version of Drew Lock, who was incredibly inconsistent.
Bridgewater, in a vacuum, is worth more than a sixth-round pick, but this didn't seem like a slam-dunk trade for the Broncos because they had to take on his terrible contract. However, Broncos reporter Mike Klis noted that the Panthers will pay $7 million of Bridgewater's $10 million salary in 2021, which makes this a terrific deal for Denver.
Redskins acquire OT/G Ereck Flowers from Dolphins for a swap of late-round picks
I gave the Dolphins an "F" grade for signing Ereck Flowers to a 3-year, $30 million contract last offseason. Flowers struggled with the Giants, but then had an adequate year with the Redskins when he moved inside to guard. The Dolphins apparently thought he would perform at a higher level, but he continued to be a slightly sub-par guard.
It took one year, but Miami realized that it overpaid Flowers. The Dolphins were able to unload him, creating $8 million in cap space. It's unclear what the late-round pick swap is, but given that the selections were in the final rounds, saving $8 million is worth it.
As for the Redskins, it's nice that they'll be getting some offensive line depth, but they'll now have to pay Flowers too much money. I don't think it's worth it, but perhaps Flowers will perform well in Washington once again.
Update: Further details have emerged where the Dolphins have agreed to pay a chunk of Flowers' salary for 2021. This obviously makes the trade better for the Redskins.
Chiefs acquire OT Orlando Brown, 2021 2nd-rounder, 2022 6th-rounder from Ravens for No. 31, 2021 3rd- and 4th-round picks, 2022 5th-round pick
We knew Orlando Brown would be traded, and Kansas City is a very logical destination for him. Brown, who has been a stellar right tackle for Baltimore, wanted to switch to the blind side in order to increase his worth on the open market. He'll have a chance to do this in Kansas City, where he'll replace the recently cut Eric Fisher.
Brown figures to be a big upgrade over Fisher, and he is almost certainly better than any tackle the Chiefs could have drafted at No. 31. This would obviously be a different case if they were in position to draft one of the first-round tackles like Rashawn Slater, Alex Leatherwood or Alijah Vera-Tucker, but they were out of position to do so. If Brown, 25 in May, were eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft, he would definitely not be available at No. 31. So, the Chiefs are getting a bargain for him, especially when considering that they get to turn their third- and fourth-round picks into a second-rounder as well.
The Chiefs won this trade, which is not a surprise because Baltimore had no leverage. It was known that Brown would be dealt, so it's commendable that the Ravens were able to get some value for him. They'll likely address the offensive line with one of their opening-round selections.
Panthers acquire QB Sam Darnold from Jets for 2021 6th-round pick; 2022 2nd- and 4th-round picks
This is far less exciting than getting Deshaun Watson! The Panthers were rumored to be highly interested in Watson, but acquiring him became impossible at the moment in the wake of his legal battles. Carolina had to settle for Sam Darnold instead.
I think this trade is fine for the Panthers. Darnold had a great start to his career, but has faded since. His lowlight was the admission that he saw "ghosts" while playing against Bill Belichick. He also contracted mono, which may have been a first for an NFL quarterback. However, Darnold is still very young (24 in June), and he was coached by Adam Gase. He'll automatically improve with another coach guiding him.
That said, I think the Jets won this trade. The Cardinals were able to obtain just a second-round pick for Josh Rosen, yet the Jets received that, as well as two other selections for Darnold.
Dolphins acquire Nos. 6 and 156 overall picks from Eagles for Nos. 12 and 123 picks, 2022 1st-round pick
There are a couple of things that are interesting about this trade, beyond the picks involved. First, it's amazing how quickly this deal occurred right after the 49ers-Dolphins transaction. How did the Eagles even know that the Dolphins would have the 12th pick? Second, Philadelphia reportedly tried to trade up to No. 3 with the goal of obtaining Zach Wilson. It apparently gave up because it knew Wilson wouldn't be available. Yet, the 49ers traded up to No. 3 for a quarterback the Eagles didn't want at all. I'd say San Francisco would feel silly for doing this, but given the Eagles' recent track record, perhaps that's a good sign.
At any rate, this trade is confusing for Miami. It made sense for the Dolphins to move out of the No. 3 spot, but what are they trying to do at No. 6? Why surrender a first-round pick to move up six spots for a player who doesn't provide a logical fit? There's a good chance Penei Sewell will be off the board - the Bengals will almost certainly draft him if he's available - and if so, do the Dolphins draft another receiver? Do they go with Kyle Pitts to pair with Mike Gesicki? It seems as though their options were better at No. 12 when factoring in having an extra 2022 opening-round selection.
With that in mind, the Eagles won this trade, even if they lose out on landing Ja'Marr Chase, Devonta Smith and Pitts. They have so many holes on their roster that one player can't even come close to fixing all of their problems. They're also in full rebound mode, so acquiring an extra first-round pick in the future is a great move. Besides, they could still land someone like Jaylen Waddle at No. 12 (I have him available at No. 21 in my 2021 NFL Mock Draft, which will be updated shortly.)
49ers acquire No. 3 overall pick from Dolphins for No. 12, 3rd-round pick, 2022 & 2023 1st-round picks
A month ago, it seemed as though there was a good chance the Dolphins would move this selection for Deshaun Watson. That was no longer a possibility in the wake of Watson's legal issues, so Miami traded with the 49ers, who returned the 12th-overall pick, a third-round compensatory choice, and two future first-rounders.
The Dolphins are the clear winners of this trade, so let's just get that out of the way. It made no financial sense for them to draft Penei Sewell because they spent a first-round pick on a tackle last year. They also didn't need a receiver in the wake of the Will Fuller signing. Thus, they were smart to move down, and they received two first-round picks, plus a third to slide down just nine spots. That's insane value. The Dolphins get an A+.
The 49ers are more interesting to discuss because of the ramifications involving Jimmy Garoppolo. Adam Schefter reported that the 49ers have no plans to trade Garoppolo, but that's complete nonsense. The 49ers simply leaked that so they can gain some leverage in negotiations, but they won't fool anyone. It's obvious San Francisco is trading up for a quarterback. It's not for Sewell because they paid Trent Williams an absurd sum of money, and it won't be a receiver because they just drafted Brandon Aiyuk. They clearly want a signal-caller. Whether that's Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones is anyone's guess. It's most likely Fields, but you can't count out the other two. Crazier things have happened than a team opting for Lance or Jones over the vastly superior Fields.
Now that we've established that the 49ers have moved up for a quarterback, we can discuss if this was a good decision. The 49ers paid a steep cost to move up to No. 3, but a franchise quarterback is priceless, especially if he's on a rookie contract for four years. Garoppolo is clearly not the answer, so if the 49ers can shave off a huge chunk of their cap to potentially upgrade quarterback and have enough money to spend on more talented players, that's a win. I'll grade this favorably for the 49ers, but they won't get as high of a mark as the Dolphins will.
Vikings acquire C Mason Cole from Cardinals for 6th-round pick
The Cardinals made a great trade when they acquired Rodney Hudson from the Raiders. They were given an "A" for obtaining Hudson, as discussed in the write-up below this grade. Having Hudson on the roster allowed them to move Mason Cole, whose services were no longer needed.
Cole has starting experience, but he was one of the worst centers in the NFL last year. Getting a sixth-round pick for a bad player of no use was a great move by the Cardinals. Conversely, the Vikings can't be graded too harshly for this. Their offensive line isn't in good shape, and it's in dire need of a guard. It seems as though Cole will have a chance to start at the position. Perhaps he'll do better there, but probably not. Still, for a sixth-rounder, this isn't the worst trade.
Seahawks acquire G Gabe Jackson from Raiders for 5th-round pick
Mike Mayock, what are you doing!? Hours after it was revealed that the Raiders tried to cut Rodney Hudson when they could've gotten a third-round pick for him, we've discovered that yet another NFC West team wanted to trade for another player Mayock attempted to release.
Gabe Jackson was once one of the best guards in the NFL. He was so great that the Raiders gave him a $56 million contract. His play has fallen off lately, so the Raiders wanted to cut him to save money. Jackson is only 30, so he could rebound.
I love this trade for the Seahawks. Russell Wilson complained about his poor blocking, and Jackson is sure to help. Even if he doesn't become a dominant blocker again, he'll be an upgrade over what Seattle had last year. The Raiders, meanwhile, will be graded similarly to the Hudson deal, though with a worse grade because they got a fifth-round pick this time instead of a third-rounder.
Cardinals acquire C Rodney Hudson from Raiders for swap of 3rd- and 7th-round picks
If you want to know how inept of a general manager Mike Mayock is, he was willing to thoughtlessly cut Rodney Hudson without even realizing he could have called around and obtained anything of value for him. This seriously is a bad look for all NFL Draft analysts, who now stand no chance of being general managers in professional football (not that I have any interest in doing so.)
Luckily for Mayock, the Cardinals were able to call in at the 11th hour and offer a swap of picks for Hudson. The Cardinals will surrender their third-round pick, and they'll get a seventh-rounder in exchange.
It's unbelievable that the Raiders were able to get anything for Hudson despite Mayock's incompetence. Given that they were willing to cut Hudson for nothing, this has to be considered a good trade for them because they obtained a valuable draft asset. I don't want to grade the Raiders favorably, but I almost have to do so. I marked down "A" for them, but I'll attach a minus to it because of how horrible Mayock looks right now.
I like this trade for the Cardinals, too. Center was their biggest need, and now they've filled it beautifully. Hudson turns 32 soon, but he's still one of the better centers in the NFL. Centers can play at a high level into their mid-30s, so Hudson should still have several strong seasons remaining. He's a great addition, as Arizona looks like a stronger bet to make the playoffs in Kyler Murray's third year.
Lions acquire DT Michael Brockers from Rams for 2023 7th-round pick
The Lions didn't even give up a 2021 or a 2022 seventh-round pick. They surrendered a seventh-round choice two years from now in exchange for Michael Brockers.
How can you not like this trade for Detroit? The Lions had a huge hole on the defensive line, which would explain why they were so miserable against the run last year. Brockers will help in that regard. He's a well-rounded defensive lineman who will greatly outproduce his price.
This trade makes far less sense for the Rams until the financials are considered. The Rams are way over the cap, so they may have cut Brockers if they didn't move him. By trading Brockers, they saved $6 million in cap space, so at least they got something for him.
Texans acquire OT Marcus Cannon from Patriots for swaps of picks in 4th, 5th and 6th rounds
The Trent Brown trade was confusing, but it all makes sense now. The Patriots were planning to move Marcus Cannon all along, so they were able to obtain an upgrade in Brown in another deal.
Cannon was a very solid right tackle for the Patriots before opting out of the 2020 season. There's a chance he could continue to play well, but there are two things to consider: One, Cannon turns 33 in May, so he was bound to regress anyway. There's a good chance his performance will plummet even further than normal because he skipped a year of football. Second, Cannon has only played well under offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. His two worst seasons came when Scarnecchia stepped away from the Patriots, and he began playing well when the great coach returned. The Texans do not have an offensive line coach of that caliber, so Cannon probably won't be as good in Houston.
Despite these concerns, I can understand the trade for the Texans. They're moving a dozen or so spots in three rounds, but those rounds are all on Day 3, so it's not a huge deal. I think this is a fine trade for them because they potentially fill a big need on the offensive line, but I suspect that the Patriots won this transaction.
Dolphins acquire LB Benardrick McKinney from Texans for DE Shaq Lawson
In a trade between the Texans and anyone else, the likely winner of the deal is going to be the other team. This, of course, is because the Texans are so woefully mismanaged. This is another example of a negative transaction being made, though it's not nearly as egregious as usual.
Benardrick McKinney is a better player than Shaq Lawson. He's slightly older, but that's not a big deal because both are in their mid-20s. McKinney only played four games in 2020 because of a shoulder injury, but he's actually a solid starter when healthy. He'll fill a huge hole for the Dolphins in their weak linebacking corps.
Meanwhile, the Texans acquired a pedestrian pass rusher in Lawson. The former Buffalo edge player logged just four sacks in 2020, and he's never had more than 6.5 in a single season. He's a fine rotational player, but unlike McKinney, he's not a solid starter. That's unlikely to change under a dubious coaching staff in Houston.
Patriots acquire OT Trent Brown, 2022 7th-round pick from Raiders for 2022 5th-round pick
This trade is surprising for multiple reasons. First of all, I didn't realize the Patriots were in the market for an offensive line upgrade. They had a stellar blocking unit last year when everyone was healthy. Still, Trent Brown will be a welcome addition to the front. He's an exceptional tackle when he can take the field. His issue is his durability, but it's still shocking that the Patriots were able to obtain him for just a swap of third-day selections in the 2022 NFL Draft. Given that this move carries no risk, the Patriots must be graded very highly.
Second, it was unexpected that the Raiders would unload yet another offensive lineman. They've gotten rid of Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito already, and now they'll be without Brown. The primary reason why the Raiders were able to nearly sneak into the playoffs last year despite their atrocious defense was their exceptional offensive line. Now, their blocking will be much worse, and for no good reason. They didn't have to get rid of their talented blockers, and they certainly didn't have to get no value for Brown. They're selling Brown at the lowest, which is a horrible idea.
I'm giving the Raiders a "D" grade for this move, but only because of Brown's poor durability. This easily could be an "F," as it seems as though Mike Mayock is doing a poor job of managing the Raiders' roster.
Dolphins acquire OT Isaiah Wilson from Titans for swap of 7th-round picks
Isaiah Wilson was seen as a boom-bust prospect entering the 2020 NFL Draft. He was all bust for the Titans. Thanks to injuries and lethargy, Wilson played a grand total of three snaps in his rookie year. Those were three incredible snaps, mind you, but they were just three snaps nonetheless.
The Titans just wanted to move on from Wilson, and I can't blame them. They were going to cut him, yet they were able to get a swap of seventh-round choices from the Dolphins, which is at least something. It's not all good for the Titans because they're selling Wilson at the absolute lowest. If he pans out, they'll definitely be sorry they didn't stick with him.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, are getting a potential starting tackle for nothing. That has to earn a high trade grade. It's more likely that Wilson will do nothing in Miami, but the Dolphins aren't risking anything, so this is all upside for them.
Colts acquire QB Carson Wentz from Eagles for 2021 3rd-round pick, conditional 2022 2nd-round pick
The Eagles planned to trade Carson Wentz for two first-round picks. So much for that! They couldn't even get a guaranteed, single second-round selection for Wentz, instead settling for a third-round choice and a conditional second-round pick in 2022. The condition is that the pick becomes a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75 percent of his snaps in 2021 (or 70 percent if the Colts make the playoffs.) Given Wentz's injury history, that's far from a guarantee.
Those who support the Eagles have to be demoralized by what transpired. Wentz was the frontrunner for MVP in 2017 prior to his knee injury late that year. He bounced back in 2019 and led the team to the playoffs despite his supporting cast being ravaged by injuries. However, Wentz had his worst season in 2020 - his only bad year in the NFL - and the Eagles quickly gave up on him. Had they gotten at least a first-round pick for him, that would have been fine, but the Eagles sold at the very bottom because they ruined all of their leverage. Howie Roseman used to be recognized as a genius, but this was a panic move. Roseman created a bad situation with Wentz's contract, and he only made things worse by not getting full value.
The Colts, meanwhile, obtained a potential franchise quarterback over the next dozen years for a pair of second-day picks. It's not completely free because Wentz has an albatross of a contract, but Indianapolis had the second-most cap space in the NFL. It could take on Wentz's contract and still have plenty of money to spend on complementary pieces around its new quarterback. If Wentz can bounce back to pre-2020 form, the Colts will be the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, save for the Chiefs.
Rams acquire QB Matthew Stafford from Rams for two first-round picks, third-round pick, Jared Goff
The Rams finally have a quality starting quarterback. They've been one of the better teams in the NFL since 2017 - three playoff trips, one appearance in the Super Bowl - but they've been weighed down by poor quarterback play. Jared Goff has been horrible unless he's been put into ideal situations by his excellent coaching staff. When this hasn't been the case, he has imploded. He even forgot his own snap count in the Super Bowl.
Matthew Stafford is a huge upgrade over Goff. The stats may not show it, but Stafford had to endure horrible management and coaching in Detroit. Everything will be better around him with the Rams. Sean McVay will enhance Stafford's performance, while the offensive line and weaponry will allow Stafford to produce better numbers.
The question is, did the Rams have to surrender two first-round selections and a third-round pick to upgrade from Goff to Stafford? The answer is probably yes, and it's because of Goff's contract. The numbers on Goff's deal are ridiculous, so the Lions are eating a terrible contract in exchange for draft capital. Plus, the Rams don't have a first-round choice this year, so they'll be giving up picks in 2022 and beyond. Giving up two first-round selections will hurt in the long term, but the Rams are putting themselves in position to win now.
I like this trade for both teams. The Rams are suddenly one of the Super Bowl LVI favorites, while the Lions will be able to rebuild with tons of early-round picks. Goff's contract will hurt their cap situation, but it's not like they're ready to win now.
Dolphins acquire RB DeAndre Washington, conditional 2021 7th-round pick from Chiefs for conditional 2021 6th-round pick
This trade was a bit of a head-scratcher when it happened. Hours later, Myles Gaskin was placed on injured reserve, and it all made sense. The Dolphns wanted a pass-catching back to serve as a short-term replacement for Gaskin, so they traded for DeAndre Washington.
Washington has had a few bright moments in his career, most notably in 2017 and 2019, when he caught 34 and 36 passes, respectively. He touched the ball a grand total of four times this year, but only because he was buried on the depth chart in Kansas City. The Dolphins aren't giving up anything of note to get him, so this is a fine move for them.
As for the Chiefs, well, why not? Washington was doing nothing but collecting dust, so why not move him to potentially move up a round late on Day 3?
Patriots acquire WR Isaiah Ford from Dolphins for 2022 7th-round pick
Thirteen years ago, the Patriots obtained a receiver from the Dolphins. His name was Wes Welker, and he helped his new team notch a 16-0 record. Will lightning strike twice? Have the Patriots obtained the next Welker?
Most likely, no. However, I like this trade. Isaiah Ford has flashed some ability, and he can serve well as a slot receiver. This was needed in the wake of Julian Edelman's injury. Ford could take over that role full time once Edelman moves on to another team in the near future.
Given that the Patriots obtianed Ford for virtually nothing, I have to grade this favorably. They won this trade, while the Dolphins apparently wanted to try some other options in the slot.
Steelers acquire LB Avery Williamson, 2022 7th-round pick from Jets for 2022 5th-round pick
Hey NFL, can we stop it with trades during the Sunday NFL games? I completely missed this until Tuesday morning because I was busy watching football! That's why I'm writing about this now. Better late than never, I guess.
This is an outstanding trade for the Steelers. Avery Williamson is a solid linebacker who will fill a huge need. Pittsburgh suffered a huge loss when Devin Bush went down for the year. This echoed what happened with Ryan Shazier in 2017, and that Steeler team fell apart. The Shazier injury occurred late in the year, so the Steelers couldn't do anything to offset the injury because the trade deadline had passed. This time, they obtained a viable replacement for next to nothing. Moving back two rounds at the end of Day 3 in the 2022 NFL Draft isn't a big deal.
It's not a surprise that the Jets made this move. They're in tank mode in an attempt to land Trevor Lawrence, so there's no point in keeping an expensive Williamson. I would've liked to have seen them get a bit more for him, however.
Titans acquire CB/S Desmond King from Chargers for 2021 6th-round pick
I don't get it. When I heard that the Titans acquired Desmond King from the Chargers, I assumed they surrendered a third-round pick for him. King is an extremely talented defensive back who can play numerous positions in the secondary. He's also just 25, so he's entering the prime of his career. Even better, he's not injury-prone at all. He has missed just one game in his career due to injury.
So, why did the Chargers accept just a sixth-round pick for him? Did they hit the "Accept" button by accident? I don't understand why they would deal such a talented, young player for a mere late-round choice.
The Titans are the clear winners of this trade. Their pass defense has been putrid this season. Adoree Jackson's impending return will help, but Tennessee needed more assistance in the secondary. King is the clear answer, and yet the Titans got him for nothing. Well done, Tennessee.
Saints acquire LB Kwon Alexander from 49ers for LB Kiko Alonso, 2021 5th-round pick
The Saints needed to upgrade their linebacking corps, so it makes sense that they would have interest in trading for a player who could help at the position. Thus, they dealt a fifth-round pick and a backup for Kwon Alexander.
Despite the Saints addressing the need, I'm not a fan of this trade. Alexander has not played well at all this year, thanks in part to injuries. This isn't anything new for Alexander, who has been very injury-prone throughout his career. Alexander has missed 21 of 40 possible games over the past two-and-a-half years. These injuries have clearly taken a toll on Alexander, who doesn't seem like the same player he once was.
Moreover, Alexander is very overpaid. He received a 4-year, $54 million contract from the 49ers last spring, so I don't like that the Saints are taking on his deal. Conversely, the 49ers should be rewarded with a good grade for getting out of this contract, all while obtaining a fifth-round pick in return.
Seahawks acquire DE Carlos Dunlap from Bengals for C B.J. Finney, 2021 7th-round pick
The Seahawks have lost just one game this year, but it's become clear that they're flawed. They haven't been able to stop the pass at all, and a major reason for that has been Jamal Adams' absence since Week 3. However, another catalyst for the poor aerial defense has been a lack of a pass rush. The Seahawks haven't had anyone to rush the quarterback consistently, but that may have changed in the wake of this trade.
Carlos Dunlap has one sack this season as a result of being benched, but he logged 17 total sacks in the two years prior. Dunlap is now 31, so there's a chance this regression is permanent. However, giving up a mere seventh-round pick and an offensive lineman who hadn't seen a single snap this year is not any sort of risk. It's a great bargain for the Seahawks. If it pays off, it could help them win the Super Bowl. If not, they haven't lost anything.
I like this trade for the Bengals, too. Dunlap has been a distraction in the locker room, and Cincinnati needed help on the offensive line. B.J. Finney had performed well as a backup for the Steelers, so he'll provide much-needed depth to a front that suffered two injuries this past week.
Lions acquire DE Everson Griffen from Giants for 2021 6th-round pick
It's nice to see that the Lions are buyers in the NFC playoff picture. They were once 1-3, but after victories over the fearsome Jaguars and Falcons, they're definitely in the hunt.
One of Detroit's weaknesses was the pass rush, as the team had very little outside of Trey Flowers. Everson Griffen isn't the complete answer, but he can be part of the solution. He's no longer the player he once was - he turns 33 in a couple of months - but he can still be a solid contributor in a rotation.
The Lions made a nice move with this trade. They're not giving up anything of consequence for a player who could help them reach the playoffs, and they're not financially locked into Griffen because he'll be a free agent in March. The Cowboys, meanwhile, basically paid part of $6 million - Griffen's contract - for a sixth-round pick. Jerry Jones has the money to spend on draft capital, so why not?
Cardinals acquire DE/OLB Markus Golden from Giants for 2021 6th-round pick
When Chandler Jones went down, I speculated what the Cardinals could do to bolster their pass rush. I thought they could potentially trade a mid-round selection to the Redskins for Ryan Kerrigan, given that Kerrigan is in his contract year and happens to be on the roster with two younger, talented edge rushers.
Well, I got the division right, at least. The Cardinals shipped a sixth-round pick to the Giants for Markus Golden, who used to play for Arizona from 2015 to 2018. Golden notched 19 sacks with the Cardinals, 12.5 of which came in 2016. He also had 10 sacks for New York last year. Golden hasn't done anything this year, but he has the potential to be a decent role player. I like this move for Arizona.
The Giants, meanwhile, need pass rushers, but they're better off losing gams by trading away veterans for draft picks. This deal makes sense for them as well.
Buccaneers acquire NT Steve McLendon, 2023 7th-round pick from Jets for 2022 6th-round pick
These teams are swapping late-round picks in the future, so the Jets effectively gave Steve McLendon to the Buccaneers for free. You have to like that deal for Tampa Bay, as McLendon, despite his age (34), is steal a decent run-stuffer. The Buccaneers needed another body up front to replace Vita Vea, who is out for the year. McLendon is a good, short-term option who didn't cost anything.
The Jets, meanwhile, aren't getting anything for McLendon, so it would be difficult to grade them, except for this fact: The Jets knew they were going to trade McLendon the day they decided to play him. In other words, they risked McLendon getting injured and potentially negating the trade, just to have him on the field in a meaningless game they were going to lose anyway. Unbelievable.
Ravens acquire DE/OLB Yannick Ngakoue from Vikings for 2021 3rd-round pick, conditional 2022 5th-round pick
How do the Ravens keep getting away with this? Seriously, it seems like they're always able to acquire Pro Bowl talents for insanely cheap prices. Just look at their previous two deals:
Ravens acquire DE/DT Calais Campbell from Jaguars for 5th-round pick
Ravens acquire CB Marcus Peters from Rams for LB Kenny Young, 2020 fifth-round pick
I gave the Ravens an A+ for each of those trades, and this one might be better than both! Baltimore is giving up a third-round choice instead of a fifth-rounder this time, but Yannick Ngakoue comes with no baggage. Campbell, while stellar, was in his mid-30s when the Ravens acquired him, while Peters was struggling with the Rams before playing great for the Ravens following the trade. Ngakoue, conversely, is just 25. He could be one of the top edge rushers in the NFL over the next half-dozen seasons. His presence fills one of the two holes the Ravens had on their roster (receiver being the other), and he'll give them a better chance of beating the Chiefs because they won't have to blitz as often with him rushing Patrick Mahomes.
As for the Vikings, they severely downgraded the pick they dealt for Ngakoue in the first place. They traded their second-round pick, which will be in the mid-30s, and they obtained Baltimore's third-round choice, which will be in the 90s. Ouch!
Still, I get it. The Vikings' 2020 season has been a failure. The Vikings need to tank in order to obtain Justin Fields so they can finally get rid of Kirk Cousins and move forward with a much better (and cheaper) option at quarterback.
49ers acquire DE/OLB Jordan Willis, 2021 7th-round pick from Jets for 2022 6th-round pick
Jordan Willis was selected as a third-round pick out of Kansas State in the 2017 NFL Draft. He has logged just three sacks in his career, and never more than one in any given season.
There's not much to say about this trade, which seems even for both teams. The 49ers need edge-rushing depth because of all their injuries, and Willis has done nothing in the NFL thus far, he's only 25, so perhaps he can grow with some better coaching.
The Jets, meanwhile, are moving up a round by giving up a player they're barely using. Given that the Jets are about to rebuild with Trevor Lawrence, they can afford to wait a year to cash in their draft pick.
Dolphins acquire RB/WR Lynn Bowden and 6th-round pick from Raiders for 4th-round pick
You can't say the Raiders got much value with their pick of Lynn Bowden. They used a third-round selection on Bowden, which seemed strange at the time because they had already used draft choices on Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. It was eventually revealed that the Raiders had plans on using Bowden as a running back, which apparently didn't work.
While the Raiders wasted a draft pick, it's important to identify a sunk cost when you see one. That's apparently the case here, as Bowden struggled in training camp. The Raiders could've kept Bowden and got nothing out of him, or they could at least jump up two rounds in the 2021 NFL Draft. It's not a win, but the Raiders shouldn't get an "F" for this trade.
That said, the Dolphins are the winners in this deal. Bowden is a talented prospect, and perhaps Miami will find a way to use him properly. The team's not surrendering anything, really, as moving down two rounds on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft isn't a huge deal.
Browns acquire S Ronnie Harrison from Jaguars for 5th-round pick
The Jaguars' fire sale continues. The team unloaded Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Fournette, among others, since the middle of last season. General manager David Caldwell did a poor job of obtaining value for most of those players, but that's not the case in this instance.
Harrison was a third-round pick out of Alabama in the 2018 NFL Draft. He didn't live up to that billing, struggling mightily in both seasons. He also failed to complete both years, missing four games in the two seasons.
That said, Harrison is still young and has some potential. The Browns lost fellow former SEC safety Grant Delpit to a season-ending Achilles injury, so they needed to add another safety. Harrison almost certainly won't be as good as Delpit would have been, but Cleveland could have done worse. I'm fine with the Browns surrendering a fifth-round pick for Harrison, but I think the Jaguars may have won a trade for once, albeit by the slimmest of margins.
Vikings acquire DE Yannick Ngakoue from Jaguars for 2021 2nd-round pick, 2022 conditional 5th-round pick
The Jaguars are so completely inept. They had an offer from the Raiders for the No. 19 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They were greedy and asked for No. 12 instead, so the Raiders declined. Jacksonville was willing to bet that it would get a better offer from another team, but that was not the case. Instead, general manager David Caldwell settled for a second-round choice in the 2021 NFL Draft, a class that will be difficult to scout properly because some dumb conference commissioners canceled their seasons.
Caldwell must be fired for this. The Vikings have a better chance of winning their division now, so it's likely that this pick for Ngakoue will be in the 50s. So, because of Caldwell's ineptitude, the Jaguars went from having the 19th-overall selection to 50-something. That's ridiculous.
Meanwhile, this is a huge win for the Vikings. They lost Everson Griffen to free agency and Michael Pierce to an opt-out, so it seemed as though their usually dominant defensive line would be worse in 2020. That's no longer the case, as Ngakoue will give Minnesota one of the top edge-rushing tandems in the NFL. This will be a huge edge in the division, as the Vikings will apply way more pressure on talented quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and, umm, whatever the Bears have.
Grade for Vikings - A+
Grade for Jaguars - (F)ire David Caldwell
Raiders acquire LB Raekwon McMillan from Dolphins for swap of 4th- and 5th-round picks
The Raiders obtained a pair of talented linebackers, Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, in free agency this offseason, but I thought they needed to add one more solid player to the group. They didn't do this in the 2020 NFL Draft, so it makes sense that they would trade for a third new linebacker.
Raekwon McMillan is a nice buy-low player for the Raiders. He was a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but hasn't been able to stay healthy for the most part. He missed his rookie campaign with a torn ACL, then wasn't 100 percent the following year. He was having a quality 2019 season before being lost in December to a hamstring injury. McMillan played well in run support and looked like he could be a good, two-down linebacker. The Raiders don't need him to be on the field for all three downs because of Littleton and Kwiatkoski.
I like this trade for the Raiders, as they're not giving up much for McMillan. They're sending a fourth-round pick to the Dolphins and are getting a fifth-rounder in return, so there's not much of a downside. They easily win this deal, as I'm a bit surprised the Dolphins are giving up on McMillan so quickly.
Jets acquire RB Kalen Ballage from Dolphins for conditional late-round pick
We all know by now that Adam Gase hates talented players. The inverse is true, as Gase is a huge fan of terrible players. That would explain this trade.
The Dolphins planned on waiving Kalen Ballage, but the Jets jumped in at the 11th hour to acquire him. The former Sun Devil has been one of the worst running backs in the league; not just talent-wise, but also based on effort. There was one instance last year when a Miami quarterback threw a pass in Ballage's direction, only to have Ballage duck out of the way because he wanted no part of that reception.
The Jets could've just claimed Ballage on waivers, so I'm not sure why they wasted any resource on him. Even if this conditional selection ends up being in the 24th round, it's still way too much.
Vikings acquire DT P.J. Hall from Raiders for conditional 7th-round pick
The Vikings suffered a big loss a week ago when monstrous nose tackle Michael Pierce opted out of the 2020 season. Pierce was deemed an important signing during the offseason, but he decided not to play. He was expected to be a replacement - even an upgrade - over the departed Linval Joseph, but Minnesota's run defense took a huge hit in the wake of Pierce's decision.
P.J. Hall won't be nearly as good as Pierce, but he's at least a body in the interior. He offers nothing as a pass rusher, but he can stop the run somewhat well. He's definitely a downgrade from Pierce, but it's not like the Vikings have any other options. A seventh-round pick is a fine price to pay for Hall. Meanwhile, the Raiders were going to waive Hall, so it's nice that they got at least something for him.
Update: This trade has been voided because Hall failed his physical.
Seahawks acquire S Jamal Adams and 2022 4th-round pick from Jets for 2021 1st- and 3rd-round picks, 2022 1st-round pick, S Bradley McDougald
It's hard to believe the Jets actually traded Jamal Adams. I know it's been a rumor that has circulated for quite some time, but I thought that the Jets would either find a way for Adams and beleaguered head coach Adam Gase to reconcile, or just outright fire Gase for not being able to generate any sort of enthusiasm from his players.
The Jets have obtained two first-round picks for Adams, but I can't say they won this deal. They'll be drafting in the 20s because the Seahawks always find a way to reach the playoffs with Russell Wilson, and that was before Adams. It's likely their two choices will be in the 25-32 range, so that's not enough for Adams, who is arguably the best player at his position in the entire league. It's disappointing that the Jets didn't fire Gase instead. Barely anyone on the Jets' roster likes Gase, and now the players will have even less respect for their coach. Gase will probably be axed after the 2020 season, so why not just get rid of him now and retain Adams?
I've seen the argument that the Jets won this trade because they acquired two first-round picks. I'd ordinarily agree, but two things must be considered: First, both choices, as mentioned, will be toward the end of the opening round. Second, the Jets have a small window to win during Sam Darnold's tiny rookie contract. Trading Adams away will negate that.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, have given themselves a much better chance of winning the Super Bowl. With Adams joining Quandre Diggs, Shaq Griffin and potentially Quinton Dunbar, they may just have assembled the Legion of Boom 2.0. If Dunbar can get past his legal issues, it'll be extremely difficult to throw on the Seahawks.
Dolphins acquire TE Adam Shaheen from Bears for conditional 6th-round pick
It's been one of the league's greatest mysteries this offseason: What are the Bears going to do with all of their tight ends? It's now become clear, as it seems as though their goal is to accumulate third-day conditional draft selections for them. Ryan Pace is a cunning general manager.
Chicago selected Shaheen in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He's been an utter failure thus far, accumulating just 26 receptions through three seasons. He has missed at least eight games in two of those three years, so his health has been a factor in his bust status. However, he has some great athleticism, so perhaps he can emerge into a viable player if he can remain healthy. The Dolphins aren't really giving up anything for him, so why not take a shot on his upside?
In all honesty, this trade will likely be irrelevant. It's quite possible that Shaheen won't even make the final roster. This is about an even move for both teams for that reason.
Falcons acquire DE Charles Harris from Dolphins for 7th-round pick
Charles Harris was a major bust for the Dolphins. Despite being the 22nd-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Harris has logged 3.5 sacks in three years, including just half of a sack in 2019. There's a chance he wouldn't have made Miami's final 53-man roster, so it makes sense for the Dolphins to trade him for anything, even a lowly seventh-round choice.
The Falcons, meanwhile, need all the pass rushers they can get. Marooned in a division with Drew Brees and Tom Brady, anyone who can possibly get to the quarterback will benefit them. There's an argument to be made about Harris' ability to pressure opposing signal-callers, but the fact remains that he once had the talent to be considered a first-round selection. He could be a late bloomer, and if so, the Falcons will be getting a steal. Then again, he could do absolutely nothing in Atlanta, but it's not like the Falcons are risking anything by trading for him.
I think this trade makes sense for both teams. There's more upside for the Falcons, but it's most likely that neither Harris nor the seventh-rounder will amount to anything.
Buccaneers acquire TE Rob Gronkowski and 7th-round pick from Patriots for 4th-round pick
That was fast. It seemed like hours ago when Rob Gronkowski told the Patriots that he wanted to return to the NFL, but only if he could play with Tom Brady. The Patriots granted his wish, moving him to the Buccaneers for a swap of fourth- and seventh-round picks.
It's hard to dislike this trade for the Buccaneers. Gronkowski was a shell of his former self in 2018, but he was still a great presence in the red zone. It remains to be seen how he'll perform after a year off, but I imagine Brady will continue to utilize his favorite tight end when throwing touchdowns. Moving down three rounds to make Brady happy and more efficient in the red zone seems worth it.
Meanwhile, the Patriots obviously won this trade because they're effectively moving up three rounds for nothing. They never anticipated Gronkowski playing for them in 2020, so this is a nice bonus. The Patriots still need to replace Gronkowski, which is what I have happening in my 2020 NFL Mock Draft.
Texans acquire WR Brandin Cooks and 2022 4th-round pick from Rams for 2nd-round pick
The pick the Texans dealt for Brandin Cooks is not the one they acquired for DeAndre Hopkins; it's the 57th-overall choice; not the 40th, which means it's theirs. This means that the Texans ended up trading Hopkins and 17 spots in the second round for Brandin Cooks and David Johnson.
This trade would've made sense a couple of years ago when Cooks was seen as a very promising, young receiver, and Johnson didn't need a walker. However, Johnson is an injury waiting to happen, while Cooks has been a huge disappointment for his recent teams. He's been a problem in the locker room, and he has also greatly underperformed lately. He caught just 42 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games last year, as he was phased out of the offense late in the season. Even worse, Cooks has a dubious history of concussions, so one or two more could cause him to miss an extensive period of time.
Bill O'Brien is the dumbest man in the NFL, so it's only natural that he'd squeeze out one more bad trade prior to the draft. This isn't as bad as the Hopkins deal, but it's still terrible. If anyone in Houston is listening, please contact owner Cal McNair and send him this link so he can learn the harm O'Brien is causing to his franchise. I think McNair is spending too much time combing his mustache to pay attention to what's happening with his franchise, so he needs to be made aware of how awful O'Brien is.
Meanwhile, the Rams obviously won this trade. Cooks no longer had much of a role on offense, so getting a second-round choice for him is a steal, especially when considering how bad his contract is.
Seahawks acquire CB Quinton Dunbar from Redskins for 5th-round pick
I know firsthand that many Redskins fans wanted changes to the front office this offseason, but imagine they may now have second thoughts. It seems as though the Redskins are in more turmoil than ever now that they don't have smart people making decisions any longer.
This might be the most lopsided trade we've seen this offseason without Bill O'Brien being involved. It makes zero sense. Quinton Dunbar was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL last year. The Redskins, who were already in dire need of cornerback help, practically traded Dunbar for nothing, netting just a fifth-round pick in return. The Redskins should've gotten much more for Dunbar, but it appears as though the new front office can't evaluate talent properly. Be careful what you wish for.
The Seahawks are huge winners. They've needed a No. 1 cornerback to replace Richard Sherman for a couple of years now, and they finally have one. Dunbar is good enough to get the team over the hump in regard to advancing deep into the playoffs. This is a no-brainer A+ for them.
Grade for Seahawks - A+
Grade for Redskins - O'BRIEN
Redskins acquire QB Kyle Allen from Panthers for 5th-round pick
The Redskins and Ravens play in close proximity to each other. The Ravens used a fifth-round pick to acquire Calais Campbell. The Redskins used a fifth-round pick to obtain Kyle Allen. You can see why these franchises experienced far different levels of success last decade.
That said, the Campbell trade was amazing, while this one is still OK. A fourth-round selection is the average going rate for premium backup quarterbacks, so a fifth can be used on a quality reserve at the position. That's exactly what Allen is. He did a good job for the Panthers last year before things fell apart because of injuries. Allen, who played for Ron Rivera last year, can fill in well in the event that Dwayne Haskins gets hurt. Conversely, the Panthers didn't need Allen after signing XFL MVP Phillip Walker, so they're basically getting a fifth-round choice for nothing.
Steelers acquire DL Chris Wormley from Ravens for an exchange of 5th- and 7th-round 2021 picks
It's not often that you see a trade between two teams in the same division, especially if they happen to be bitter rivals like Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Yet, that's exactly what happened, as it seems as though the Ravens don't hold Chris Wormley in very high regard, and rightfully so.
Wormley was chosen in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has failed to live up to his potential. He stops the run fairly well, but offers nothing as a pass rusher. However, he can provide fine depth for the Steelers' defensive line. He's also just 26, so perhaps he can improve as a late bloomer. Moving down two rounds at the end of the third day of the 2021 NFL Draft could be worth it.
I'd say this trade is even. The Steelers are getting OK depth, while the Ravens turned their 2021 seventh-round pick into a 2021 fifth-round choice, which could make a difference if Baltimore uses that selection and others to trade up even further.
Lions acquire S Duron Harmon from Patriots for an exchange of 5th- and 7th-round picks
Duron Harmon was a versatile player in New England's secondary, so it's not a surprise that Matt Patricia was interested in acquiring him. Harmon is yet another former Patriot to join the Lions, as Patricia obtained him in a swap of fifth- and seventh-round choices.
I love this move for the Lions. It's not a huge deal to move down two rounds at the end of Day 3, so the price is very well worth obtaining a skilled player like Harmon. I really don't understand why the Patriots decided to trade him for nothing, outside of Bill Belichick trying to help Patricia keep his job.
Browns acquire FB Andy Janovich from Broncos for 2021 7th-round pick
I have a feeling the Broncos will miss Andy Janovich. The solid fullback was out of the lineup at the beginning and the end of the 2020 season, and Denver was able to run better when he was on the field to pave the way for Phillip Lindsay. The Broncos have decided to trade Janovich because new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur doesn't like to utilize fullbacks. I can understand why Denver made this trade for that reason, but I have to imagine that Lindsay won't be as effective without Janovich.
Apparently, one Shurmur's trash is another team's treasure, as the Browns' running game will be much better with Janovich blocking for Nick Chubb. I'm sure Chubb will appreciate Janovich's presence, which makes the price for acquiring Janovich - a 2021 seventh-rounder - a great bargain.
Eagles acquire CB Darius Slay from Lions for 3rd- and 5th-round picks
The Eagles had interest in Byron Jones, but understandably weren't willing to meet the price tag that the cap-rich Dolphins gave to him. They instead focused on acquiring Darius Slay from the Lions, which they managed to do for third- and fifth-round picks.
While it's not ideal that Philadelphia had to surrender draft capital to upgrade its cornerback situation, it had to be done. Cornerback was a major weak point for the Eagles last year, as they had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Slay is a true No. 1 cornerback who travels with everyone; even slot receivers. He also has a great history of shutting down Amari Cooper, which really has to appeal to Philadelphia. The Eagles, who received three combined compensatory picks in the third and fourth rounds, suddenly had ample resources to make this move, which is a very good one.
The Lions, meanwhile, could afford to trade Slay after they signed Desmond Trufant to be their new No. 1 cornerback. Given that it was known that they wanted to trade Slay, it's nice that they were able to get this package for him despite the lost leverage. Still, I never really understood why they wanted to trade Slay, given that this current coaching staff needs to make the playoffs to avoid getting fired.
Bears acquire QB Nick Foles from Jaguars for 4th-round pick
This reminds me of one of those genie movies where a character gets three wishes, but when they get what they desire, it comes with negative ramifications. This is like the Bears fans finding a magic lamp and wishing for an upgrade over Mitchell Trubisky. Well, they got one, but in doing so, they had to take on a horrible contract and surrender a fourth-round pick. Oh, and the upgrade is Nick Foles.
When Jacob Camenker and I discussed the possibility of Foles being traded to the Patriots on our video podcast yesterday...
...we assumed that the Jaguars would have to give up a pick to New England because of how bad Foles' contract is. It would be similar to the Brock Osweiler trade from a few years ago. The Bears apparently didn't get the memo, as they were the ones to surrender a draft choice for Foles and his horrific deal.
That said, this isn't all bad because the Bears won't have to deal with Trubisky's incompetence any longer. Foles isn't very good, but at least he's not a turnover machine like Trubisky, who doesn't seem to understand that throwing off the back foot is a bad idea. Foles, if healthy, will be an upgrade over Trubisky; there's no question about that. The problem was the price, which seems unnecessary to pay when there were better options out there, like Cam Newton or Jameis Winston.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, will have $18 million in dead money, but it's worth it. They're getting rid of a horrible contract, and they're tanking anyway. This will all be worth it when they manage to secure Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft and have more money to build around him.
Broncos acquire DT Jurrell Casey from Titans for 7th-round pick
I can't believe the Titans didn't get more than a seventh-round pick for Jurrell Casey. It's baffling to me. Casey is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. He's terrific in run support, and while he's not the same pass-rusher as he once was, he can still generate good pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If you were to ask me what compensation a team would have to surrender for Casey in a potential trade, I would have guessed a fourth-round pick, or perhaps a third.
The Titans apparently wanted to shed Casey's salary to re-sign Derrick Henry. If this is true, it's a huge mistake. Tennessee will be paying on past production for Henry, who handled close to 400 touches last year. Henry is due for regression or injury, based on his 2019 workload. Giving him a big-money contract is a huge mistake, and it's magnified further by giving up Casey to make it happen.
Meanwhile, this is an A+ grade for Denver. The team is getting a colossal upgrade on the defensive front. Casey turned 30 recently, but he's still a huge difference-maker in the trenches. The Broncos' defense was already stellar, and now it's much better.
Bills acquire WR Stefon Diggs and 2020 7th-rounder from Vikings for No. 22 overall pick, 2020 5th- and 6th-rounders, 2021 4th-round pick
I can almost imagine Bill O'Brien looking at the news and thinking, "Oh wow, I could've gotten a first-round pick for my receiver like the Vikings did?" Except, he's not doing that. I have it on good authority that O'Brien is currently gazing upon his reflection in the mirror and telling himself how smart he is at football.
The Vikings are getting appropriate compensation for Diggs. A first-round selection is essential for a No. 1 wideout like Diggs - Hopkins is even better - and the Vikings are also getting a package of picks on top of that. Diggs has made it known that he doesn't want to play with Kirk Cousins, so despite this apparent lost leverage, it's nice that the Vikings were able to obtain fair market value for him.
Meanwhile, the Bills are getting the No. 1 they sorely need. They have John Brown and Cole Beasley on their roster, but they are No. 2 and 3 receivers, respectively. Diggs theoretically will make everyone better, and that includes Josh Allen, who suddenly has a very potent arsenal at his disposal. My one concern here is that Diggs will continue to create problems in the locker room because he's a drama queen, but I like this move overall for both teams.
Colts acquire DT DeForest Buckner from 49ers for No. 13 overall pick
This is the third NFL trade we've had on March 16. The first two were heavily lopsided, particularly the ridiculous DeAndre Hopkins deal. This trade, however, took place between two sharp general managers, so it's not a surprise that this is way more fair.
I like this move for both teams. The 49ers re-signed Arik Armstead, so they couldn't really afford to pay DeForest Buckner in the near future. Had they kept Buckner instead, they couldn't have obtained a first-round selection from the Colts. San Francisco can use their new first-round pick on a replacement for Buckner - perhaps Javon Kinlaw - or find some help at receiver. CeeDee Lamb would make a ton of sense.
The Colts, meanwhile, are ready to win now if they can land Philip Rivers. Buckner will help them do that, and he'll fill a huge void on the defensive line. I've had Indianapolis selecting Kinlaw at No. 13 in my 2020 NFL Mock Draft, so Buckner is a guaranteed better version of Kinlaw. Buckner is still young - he turns 26 tomorrow - and Indianapolis has tons of cap space to pay him.
Falcons acquire TE Hayden Hurst from Ravens for 2nd-round pick (plus swaps of 4th- and 5th-rounders)
It's only the first day of free agency, and yet Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta would have already locked up the Personnel Man of the Year award if it wasn't for Steve Keim acquiring DeAndre Hopkins for nothing. Amazingly, DeCosta dealt a fifth-round pick for
Calais Campbell and obtained a second-rounder for Hayden Hurst. This is a huge steal, as the Ravens will likely obtain a significant player in exchange for a marginal tight end.
That's exactly what Hurst is. He was a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the selling point with him was that he would become a solid player right away because of his age (24 at the time). Hurst, however, struggled to become a consistent presence in Baltimore's offense. Turning 27 soon, Hurst likely is not going to develop into anything special. I imagine his fantasy output will increase with Matt Ryan, but that doesn't mean he's worth a second-round pick.
The Ravens obviously won this trade. If you were to ask me what I thought Baltimore would get from Atlanta for Hurst, I would have guessed a fifth-round selection. The Falcons were robbed.
Cardinals acquire WR DeAndre Hopkins from Texans for RB David Johnson, 2nd-round pick
These teams will also be swapping fourth-round picks, as if that matters. What's important is that Bill O'Brien pulled off one of the most lopsided trades we'll see in a long time.
O'Brien is the dumbest person in the NFL, and he's running an entire franchise. I mean, ruining an entire franchise. He just traded his second-best player (behind Deshaun Watson), who happens to be one of the top receivers in the NFL, for a decrepit running back and a second-round pick.
How the hell does something like this happen, and how does O'Brien still have a job? It's ridiculous. Knowing the mindset O'Brien has, he shouldn't even be allowed to be a quality control coach. I don't understand what he's thinking. When I initially heard the Hopkins and Johnson swap, and I stopped gagging, I assumed Houston had obtained Arizona's No. 8 overall pick. Instead, the Texans secured just a second-rounder for one of the top receivers in the NFL in his prime. Oh, and let's not forget Johnson, who gets injured every single week and no longer has any sort of explosion!
The Cardinals, meanwhile, are getting a new No. 1 receiver in Hopkins, who will exponentially improve Arizona's offense. Both Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk will greatly benefit from Hopkins drawing coverage, and let's not forget Kyler Murray, whose development will benefit from Hopkins' presence.
I'm hereby re-naming all "F" grades to O'Brien from this point forward. It's amazing how this man is allowed to make horrible move after horrible move, and yet the Texans keep promoting him for some reason. It's unbelievable.
Grade for Cardinals - A+
Grade for Texans - O'BRIEN
Ravens acquire DE/DT Calais Campbell from Jaguars for 5th-round pick
A fifth-round pick? That's it!? The Ravens are getting an absolute steal for Calais Campbell. Granted, Campbell turns 34 in September, so it's possible he could regress, but he still performed on a Pro Bowl level in 2019. Even if he plays at 75 percent of that level in 2020, this trade will be worth it. Campbell is a force in the trenches, and he'll help a Baltimore defense that struggled to get to the quarterback when not blitzing this past season.
The Ravens obviously deserve a much higher grade than Jacksonville. It's clear that the Jaguars are in full tank mode - I have them selecting Trevor Lawrence first overall in my 2021 NFL Mock Draft - but they should have been able to obtain more for Campbell. I think they could have gotten a late third-round pick from some team, so I don't know why they made this deal.
Panthers acquire OT Russell Okung from Chargers for G Trai Turner
I don't quite understand what the Panthers are doing. This makes it seem as though they are tanking. Russell Okung is an injury-prone, soon-to-be 32-year-old whose career was nearly derailed by a pulmonary embolism. He's not nearly the same player he used to be. Trai Turner is younger and better. Thus, the goal of this trade is that the Panthers are taking on Okung's contract, which expires after this season. They want to free up cap space for the 2021 offseason, which would make sense if they didn't already announce that they were going to keep Cam Newton. Perhaps that was a lie to maintain leverage in a possible trade, but it doesn't make sense to retain Newton and tank at the same time.
Conversely, the Chargers definitely won this deal. As mentioned earlier, Turner is younger and better. He'll be a colossal upgrade in the interior, which is something the Chargers sorely needed. The Chargers can now select Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa at No. 6 overall and then obtain a left tackle like Ezra Cleveland or Austin Jackson in Round 2.
Broncos acquire CB A.J. Bouye from Jaguars for 2020 4th-round pick
I can understand why the Broncos made this trade. They are desperate at cornerback, especially with Chris Harris slated to perhaps leave via free agency. They even tried to acquire Darius Slay at the trade deadline last year, but the Lions were asking for too much.
A.J. Bouye will help at the position, but I don't think this deal will work out like the Broncos think it will. Bouye is a declining player who struggled in 2019. He's not especially old - he turns 29 in August - but he's a No. 2 corner paid to be a No. 1. He's playing on a big contract, so he'll be a drain on Denver's salary cap situation. Surrendering a fourth-round pick isn't a huge issue in a vacuum, but it is when considering how much the Broncos will have to pay Bouye.
With that in mind, I think the Jaguars won this trade. Considering how much they were paying Bouye, and how much he struggled last year, a case could've been made for them to just outright release him. Instead, they obtained a fourth-round pick for him, which is a huge win.
Dolphins acquire CB Aqib Talib and 2020 5th-round pick from Rams for future considerations
This is an NBA-type trade where a horrible team takes on a terrible contract and receives compensation for doing so. We saw this a couple of years ago in the Brock Osweiler deal, and that's exactly what's happening between these franchises.
I think this is good trade for both teams. The Dolphins are effectively just paying money for a fifth-round pick, while the Rams are clearing needed cap space, perhaps because they have their eye on someone else today during the trade deadline.
Eagles acquire DE Genard Avery from Browns for 2021 4th-round pick
Genard Avery was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He slipped a bit because of knee concerns, but those haven't been prevalent in the NFL yet. Perhaps that's because Avery has barely played this year.
Still, Avery collected 4.5 sacks as a rookie and has some potential. He wasn't going to move ahead of the talented edge rushers the Browns have, so he'll see more snaps with the Eagles.
I think acquiring Avery was a fine move for the Eagles, but I wouldn't have surrendered anything more than a sixth-rounder. The Browns will win this trade as a consequence, as they effectively upgraded a fifth-round pick to a fourth-round choice across three seasons.
Giants acquire DE/DT Leonard Williams from Jets for 2020 3rd-round pick, 2021 4th-round pick
This is the first trade to ever happen between the Giants and Jets, and it's quite the deal. The Jets will shockingly move Williams over to the Giants for a third-rounder in 2020 and a fifth-rounder in 2021 that will turn into a fourth if Williams signs an extension, which I assume will happen because it's not like the Giants are buyers for this season.
It's weird at first thought that the Giants would be buying, period, but it makes sense for them to stock up for 2020, as they'll have Daniel Jones entering that season with more experience. Williams is young (25), so it's not like the Giants are adding some aging veteran for a steep price.
New York has struggled to consistently rush the passer, so Williams will provide a big boost in that regard, and he'll also help the team improve versus the run. He's one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL, and I think he's a bargain at this price, especially considering that the Jets will be paying $4 million of his remaining $6 million salary this season.
There's obviously risk involved for the Giants if they can't agree to terms with Williams on an extension, but I'll be surprised if they don't get that done. If so, Williams will provide them with a far-better talent than they could obtain for a 2020 third and a 2021 fourth, combined. The Jets, meanwhile, should have gotten more for Williams. I understand that they didn't have great leverage, but I must believe that there's a team that would have at least given a second-round pick for someone as great as Williams.
Cardinals acquire RB Kenyan Drake from Dolphins for 2020 6th-round pick
This is a difficult trade to grade because we don't know exactly what these conditions are for the Dolphins to receive a sixth-round pick for Kenyan Drake. However, they're getting at least something - maybe - for a mediocre running back who is not capable of handling a full workload. I think that has to be a win of sorts, though not really if the conditions will be difficult to meet.
For the Cardinals, I look at it this way: If Drake is good enough for them to meet the conditions of a sixth-round pick, he'll be well worth it. If not, then Arizona won't have to surrender this draft choice. So, we can assume that this is all upside for them. Drake should serve as a backup running back who can be a decent receiver out of the backfield. If he doesn't see the field, however, then the Cardinals don't have to sweat surrendering their sixth-rounder.
Update: It turns out that the condition is not a sixth or nothing; it's a sixth that could become a fifth. In that case, the Dolphins have clearly won this trade. The Cardinals could have gotten a slightly lesser running back via a free agency, so why waste a sixth (or even a fifth!) on Drake?
Cowboys acquire DE Michael Bennett from Patriots for 2021 7th-round pick
Michael Bennett spoke up about not being used very much in New England's defense, so it's not a surprise he was dealt. The Patriots barely got anything for him, as the seventh-rounder they obtained isn't even for this year! It can be adjusted to a sixth-rounder, based on Bennett hitting certain benchmarks.
The Patriots will survive without Bennett, but the Cowboys obviously deserve to be graded higher. Dallas' pass rush has been mediocre this year, so Bennett will help. He costs nothing, so this is a stellar move for them.
Seahawks acquire S Quandre Diggs, 2021 seventh-round pick from Lions for 2020 fifth-round pick
This isn't a blockbuster deal by any means, but it's a trade that makes sense for both sides. The Seahawks have endured some major issues at safety, so they found a short-term solution in exchange for a swap of fifth- and seventh-round picks across two drafts.
Diggs is a solid player. He's dealt with multiple injuries this year, but he performed well in 2018. If he can get healthy, he'll provide the Seahawks with a much-needed upgrade at safety. Seattle barely surrendered anything for him, so this is a quality move.
As for the Lions, they have a couple of young safeties in Will Harris and Tracy Walker, making Diggs expendable. It's nice that they at least got something for him, as he wasn't being very productive this year because of his injuries.
49ers acquire WR Emmanuel Sanders, 2020 fifth-round pick from Broncos for 2020 third- and fourth-round picks
San Francisco's fourth-round pick and Denver's fifth-round choice won't be very far apart unless the Broncos have a sudden surge in the second half of the year, so let's just focus on the third-round selection. That's effectively all the 49ers are surrendering for Sanders.
This is definitely more reasonable than what the Patriots gave up for Mohamed Sanu. Sanders, unlike Sanu, is not a mediocre slot receiver. Granted, Sanders is a couple of years older (32), but he has shown that he can still be very productive this year despite being paired with decrepit quarterback Joe Flacco. Sanders will be an instant upgrade in a San Francisco receiving corps that has underwhelmed this season. His presence will open things up for George Kittle and the two running backs.
I like this trade for both teams. I'll give the Broncos the edge because they just acquired a second-day pick for a 32-year-old receiver, but Sanders is someone who could put San Francisco over the top.
Patriots acquire WR Mohamed Sanu from Falcons for 2020 second-round pick
I keep thinking this says "Patriots acquire Mohamed Sanu for seventh-round pick" because that would actually make more sense than Sanu being acquired for a second-round pick.
The Patriots are amazingly coached and extremely well prepared every single week, but they've made some dubious moves over the years regarding personnel moves with receivers. They struck gold with Randy Moss and Wes Welker ahead of 2007, but many mistakes have been made since.
This can be added to the list. Sanu is just a mediocre slot receiver, and it's not like you can say that he's never played with a good quarterback throughout his career. Tom Brady is obviously better than Matt Ryan, but Ryan has gotten the most out of Sanu, who tends to be inconsistent. Even worse, Sanu just turned 30 (today, actually), so he's not some young receiver who will improve.
This is highway robbery by the Falcons. Sanu is worth a fifth- or a sixth-rounder, so they stole a second-round choice from the Patriots. I can't believe New England was ripped off like this.
Texans acquire CB Gareon Conley from Raiders for 2020 third-round pick
Gareon Conley was a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he had a solid rookie campaign. However, he has gotten progressively worse since. The problem is that he hasn't been able to stay healthy. Constantly banged up, Conley hasn't been able to play up to his talent level.
There's some merit to buying low on someone like Conley. However, I don't know if the Texans are necessarily buying low. A third-round pick seems like a round too high for someone who has struggled as much as Conley. Houston should've been able to acquire him for a fourth.
The Raiders won this trade, but I don't think is a horrible move for Houston. Conley is still very talented and young (24), and his presence can't hurt a secondary that can't stop anyone.
Rams acquire RB Jalen Ramsey from Jaguars for 2020 first-round pick, 2021 first-round pick, 2021 fourth-round pick
The Marcus Peters trade suddenly makes more sense. I still think the Rams should've gotten more for Peters, but we can suddenly understand why they were clearing a roster spot at cornerback.
While the Peters deal has become more logical, this one doesn't make sense to me. Jalen Ramsey is a fantastic player, and he's worth two first-round picks, but he doesn't solve the issue the Rams have. They can't block whatsoever. Their offensive line is an abomination. In fact, it's the worst in the NFL except for what the Dolphins have. So, while Ramsey will certainly be a big upgrade over Peters at cornerback, I'm still concerned about Los Angeles' offense. I don't know if Ramsey will be enough to get them over the top, especially considering that they're behind two teams in their division by multiple games.
I can't fail the Rams for this trade, but they're certainly getting graded worse than the Jaguars. It seemed as though Jacksonville had little leverage with Ramsey because he didn't want to be there, and yet the front office recouped two draft picks for him, which is huge. The Jaguars deserve an "A," as they definitely won this trade.
Rams acquire G/OT/C Austin Corbett from Browns for 2021 fifth-round pick
This trade actually makes sense for the Rams. They've been a disappointment this year, but not because of Jared Goff, or Todd Gurley's knees, or Sean McVay. And no, Bill Simmons, McVay's career is not like M. Night Shyamalan's. Stop overreacting to everything.
The Rams have been atrocious this year because they have the worst offensive line in the NFL, not counting the Dolphins. They needed to take a chance like this, and I like this gamble. Austin Corbett was the top pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, so Los Angeles is buying low on him. Corbett hasn't been able to crack the starting lineup, but perhaps Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens is too stupid to realize what he has in Corbett. The Rams have a far superior coaching staff, so perhaps they'll be able to get Corbett to perform well. At the very least, Corbett should be a decent backup, given that he can play every position up front.
I'd say the Rams won this trade. It's possible that Corbett will be a bust for them, but they aren't risking much. The Browns, meanwhile, won't be graded very poorly, but it's disappointing to see them sell low like this.
Ravens acquire CB Marcus Peters from Rams for LB Kenny Young, 2020 fifth-round pick
When I saw that the Rams traded Marcus Peters to the Ravens for Kenny Young, I scratched my head and said, "There have to be draft picks involved, right?" I imagined that the Ravens would have to throw in a second-rounder.
Apparently not. The selection was just a fifth-rounder, making this completely one-sided. Marcus Peters has had a couple of rough games this year, but he's still a very talented cornerback. He's also just 26, so he's going to play at a high level for the next five years or so. He's a tremendous upgrade for the Ravens, who have endured some serious injury issues at cornerback this year. Baltimore will earn an easy A+ for this deal.
The Rams, conversely, will get an O'Brien (F). I don't understand this move at all. Peters is far better than Young, who is just a two-down run defender, and a mediocre one at that. The Rams should have gotten a second-round pick thrown in, given the disparity of talent between these players, so this was an ultimate failure of a trade.
Raiders acquire WR Zay Jones from Bills for 2021 5th-round pick
The Raiders were thin at receiver, so it's not a surprise that they made a move to acquire a player at the position. They opted to trade a 2021 fifth-round pick to the Bills for Zay Jones, who was a second-round choice in 2017.
Jones has never developed into the receiver the Bills envisioned he would become, but he's still young and has potential. I don't think I would have surrendered anything more than a sixth-rounder for him, but the difference between selections in the fifth and sixth rounds isn't overly substantial.
That said, the Bills have won this trade. It's nice that they could recoup something for Jones, who was going to be phased out of the offense with Duke Williams emerging.
Eagles acquire LB Duke Riley, 2020 6th-round pick from Falcons for S Johnathan Cyprien, 2020 7th-round pick
This trade may not ultimately impact these teams in any way, but I understand why they both did it. The Eagles needed linebacker depth, and Duke Riley is an athletic player with some upside. Johnathan Cyprien, meanwhile, will be able to provide the Falcons with a new, veteran backup in the wake of the Keanu Neal injury.
The problem is that neither player is any good. Riley hasn't shown any signs beyond his athleticism that he belongs on an NFL field. Cyprien, conversely, used to be a good player, but injuries have derailed his career.
This is about an even trade, but I'll give the Eagles a slight victory because they acquired the better draft choice.
Steelers acquire TE Nick Vannett from Seahawks for 2020 5th-round pick
Do the Steelers not like any prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft? I don't understand why they're so willing to trade picks like this. I imagine Pittsburgh is doing this because it expects Vance McDonald to miss several weeks, but what is this ultimately going to do? Improve their record from 3-13 to 4-12? Wouldn't it be worth it to use that selection on someone to help in 2020 and beyond, when the Steelers might have a chance to do something?
Nick Vannett is not a very good player anyhow. His career-best receiving stats are 29 catches, 269 yards and three touchdowns. He's a fine run blocker, but that's his only positive attribute. I don't think he's worth a fifth-round pick, so the Seahawks clearly won this trade.
Raiders acquire KR Trevor Davis from Packers for 2020 6th-round pick
Congratulations to the Packers for earning a free sixth-round pick. They acquired this for Trevor Davis, a miserable return specialist. While a sixth-round pick probably won't be franchise-altering in any sense, it's at least somewhat of an asset for a bad player.
I don't understand why the Raiders thought they needed to surrender a sixth-round choice for Davis. Fast players who don't know how to play football are a dime a dozen, and Davis will likely disappoint with the constant mistakes he commits on special teams.
Steelers acquire S/CB Minkah Fitzpatrick from Dolphins for 2020 1st-round pick
The Dolphins' tanking process continues. They've dealt Minkah Fitzpatrick, acquiring a third first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They have two second-round choices as well.
It's obvious why the Dolphins are doing this, as they want to obtain a franchise quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa and surround him with great talent. Assuming they draft relatively well, they'll be stacked in the future.
Conversely, this trade is a bit confusing for the Steelers on two fronts. First, with Ben Roethlisberger out for the year, I didn't recognize them as buyers on the market. If Mason Rudolph isn't very good, Miami could theoretically obtain a top-10 selection, which would be a steal. Second, I'm not sure if Fitzpatrick is worth a first-round choice at this point. Fitzpatrick has great raw talent, but he was so bad in the opener this year that he was benched. It would have made so much more sense had the Steelers surrendered a second-round pick.
I don't like this much for the Steelers. I understand the sentiment, but they gave up too much and are taking a huge risk. The Dolphins, meanwhile, won this deal by a wide margin.
Jets acquire WR Demaryius Thomas from Patriots for 2021 6th-round pick
The Patriots didn't make Demaryius Thomas part of their 53-man roster, opting to re-sign him afterward. They didn't dress him against the Steelers, then traded him two days later to the Jets.
New England is getting a free sixth-round pick. Thomas wasn't even playing for them, and that was even before Antonio Brown joined the team. Thus, they're the automatic winners of this deal, as they acquired a draft pick for nothing.
As for the Jets, they're not paying a steep price for Thomas, but they may have been able to obtain him after final cuts without surrendering a sixth-round choice. However, Thomas actually looked like a decent receiver in the preseason finale, so he could help Sam Darnold's development a bit.
Jaguars acquire QB Joshua Dobbs from Steelers for 2020 5th-round pick
It feels weird to write up an NFL trade grade that doesn't involve me talking about how stupid the Texans are. Instead, it's another AFC South team making a mistake.
This is a complete panic move by the Jaguars. They spent so much money on Nick Foles, only to see him suffer an injury in the season opener. They have to move forward with Gardner Minshew, but they should have signed a veteran to help him develop. Instead, Jacksonville nonsensically surrendered a resource for an unproven, raw quarterback who isn't any good! Dobbs can scramble well, but he's been abysmal as a passer in preseason action. I don't see why he would even be worth a seventh-round pick; let alone a fifth-rounder.
Jacksonville needs to be graded poorly for panicking. Conversely, the Steelers did a great job of turning a wasted resource into an asset.
Texans acquire OT Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills, 4th-round pick from Dolphins for two 1st-round picks, 2nd-round pick, OT Julie'n Davenport, DB Johnson Bademosi
Someone in the Houston area, please stop Bill O'Brien before he trades away Deshaun Watson and then acquires Blake Bortles for three first-round picks. O'Brien has made three trades today, and all of them have been losers. The Carlos Hyde deal wasn't horrible, but the Jadeveon Clowney and Laremy Tunsil trades are complete disasters.
If I saw that the Texans dealt just one first-round selection for Tunsil, I would have thought, "That's a bit too pricey, but I can see why they did it." Instead, they gave up TWO first-rounders and a second-rounder for Tunsil and Kenny Stills. It's unbelievable.
Tunsil is a good left tackle, so he'll automatically be an upgrade on the blind side. However, he's not a great player; at least not yet. He's still young, so he can improve, but Tunsil is not worth one first-round choice, let alone two. Stills, meanwhile, is a fine receiver, but the Texans already have a better version of him in Will Fuller.
As I wrote earlier, I was thinking about bringing back the Millen grade for what O'Brien did in the Clowney trade. Now, I'm really thinking about it, but Facebook friend Sam B. recommended that I now call "F" grades "O'Briens." I like it. The Texans get an O'Brien for this ridiculous trade.
Meanwhile, if you're a Dolphins fan, you have to feel very optimistic about the future. The team is already tanking for Tua Tagovailoa, and now it'll have three other first-round picks over the next couple of seasons - as well as an extra second - to surround Tagovailoa with great talent.
Grade for Texans - O'BRIEN (Z-)
Grade for Dolphins - A+
Texans acquire RB Carlos Hyde from Chiefs for G Martinas Rankin
I initially heard that the Texans acquired Carlos Hyde from the Chiefs for a third-round pick. I was ready to give Houston another Z- grade - see below - but then I learned that Houston surrendered former third-round pick Martinas Rankin rather than a future third-round choice.
This is a fair trade, in that both teams are getting bad players that the other squad didn't want. The Chiefs were going to cut Hyde, which was no surprise. Hyde hasn't played well in years. He had an opportunity last season in Jacksonville when Leonard Fournette got hurt, but he was a big disappointment. Before then, Hyde was far worse in Cleveland's offense than Nick Chubb. It wasn't even close.
Rankin, meanwhile, was an atrocious blocker last season, but he's still young (24) and can develop into a capable backup. He may always be terrible, but given that he's five years younger than the abysmal Hyde, I'd rather have Rankin.
Seahawks acquire DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney from Texans for DE/OLB Jacob Martin, DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, 2020 3rd-round pick
Bill O'Brien has ruined the Texans. O'Brien fired the entire scouting department, simply because he wanted "yes men" around him. Ever since, the scouting department was let go, the Texans made dubious draft picks, including reaching for Tytus Howard, a third-round prospect, in the opening frame. Now, with former general manager Brian Gaine also gone, Houston is also making stupid trades.
This might be one of the worst trades in NFL history, and I'm not exaggerating. Jadeveon Clowney is a premier pass rusher and should have been acquired for a first-round pick, at minimum. I know some Philadelphia fans who were fine with the Eagles surrendering a first-round pick as well as a couple of players (Nelson Agholor, Jordan Mailata) for Clowney. That's how good he is.
Instead, the Seahawks barely gave up anything. A third-round selection in the upcoming draft is substantial, but it's a small price to play for Clowney. Jacob Martin is a fine, young pass rusher who showed a bit of potential last year, while Barkevious Mingo is worthless. Surrendering these three items will not hurt Seattle in the slightest. Clowney, who is still young (26), will provide a huge boost for a Seattle defense that has weakened in recent years. He can spark them to make a repeat appearance in the playoffs and rack up some wins in January.
Going back to the Texans, this trade is so bad that I considered reviving the Millen for it. I don't understand why they made a move like this. They should have been able to obtain more, but if this is the best offer they got, they should have waited. Of course, a team with a competent general manager would have known this. But with O'Brien running the show, Houston will simply continue to get worse until it gets rid of him.