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.
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.
Patriots acquire C Russell Bodine from Bills for 2020 6th-round pick
It makes sense that the Patriots would continue to add offensive line depth. As mentioned below, New England lost two blockers from last year, tackle Trent Brown to free agency and center David Andrews to blood clots in his lungs. While Ted Karras is expected to step in for Andrews, the Patriots needed to find a viable backup at center, which would explain this trade.
Russell Bodine is obviously not a good offensive lineman; otherwise, he would have been way more expensive than a sixth-round pick. However, Bodine has plenty of experience, and he's not a poor pass blocker. He can't open up running lanes to save his life, but Tom Brady won't be in serious trouble if Bodine needs to start.
This seems like a fair trade for both teams. The Patriots are getting an experienced center at a reasonable price, while Buffalo is obtaining a draft pick for a player it ideally wasn't going to use this year in the wake of the Mitch Morse signing.
Broncos acquire CB Duke Dawson and 2020 7th-round pick from Patriots for 2020 6th-round pick
The Patriots spent a second-round pick on Duke Dawson in the 2018 NFL Draft. I went back and looked what I wrote in my NFL Draft Grades, and I gave New England a "C" because it committed a slight reach for Dawson.
We still don't know if Dawson was a reach or not because he didn't even play last year. He missed a chunk of the season with an injury, but didn't see the field at all once he was healthy again. I imagine that this means Dawson looked terrible in practice, which might be why Bill Belichick was so willing to move Dawson for barely anything. Moving up one round in the final two frames of the NFL Draft is mostly insignificant.
I like this trade for the Broncos because of the upside. Dawson was good enough to be chosen in the second round, so why not take a flier on him? I'd be dubious about acquiring someone Belichick was so eager to dump for almost nothing, but it's not like Denver is really giving up anything.
Browns acquire G Wyatt Teller and 2021 7th-round pick from Bills for 2020 5th- and 6th-round picks
I never thought that Wyatt Teller would fetch two draft choices in a trade, yet here we are. I wonder if the Bills are just as shocked in obtaining fifth- and sixth-round choices for a backup offensive lineman.
This is a slam-dunk trade for the Bills, as they're getting two assets for a bench player. That said, it's not like the Browns are making out poorly with this deal. They need offensive line depth, and they apparently believe that Teller could start for them. Teller is actually a decent pass protector, and he's young (24), so he has upside. There's a decent chance Teller out-performs his trade compensation, so I'm going to grade Cleveland favorably.
Patriots acquire G Jermaine Eluemunor from Ravens and OT Korey Cunningham from Cardinals for late-round picks
The Patriots suddenly have offensive line issues. They saw Trent Brown depart for Oakland in the offseason, and now they'll be without stellar center David Andrews because of his blood clots. They needed offensive line depth, so they made a couple of trades.
New England acquired guard Jermaine Eluemunor from Baltimore and Korey Cunningham from Arizona for late-round selections. We know the Cunningham pick was a sixth-rounder, though we're unsure of what the Eluemunor compensation is yet. I'd be shocked if it's anything more than a sixth, so with that in mind, I think these two trades are solid for New England. The team had a need for depth, and it acquired two guys who are decent enough to make a 53-man roster. The Patriots will be in a bad spot if they had to start either, but it makes sense depth-wise.
The Ravens and Cardinals are making out well, too. They're getting some compensation for pedestrian players, which is nice.
Neither of these trades are going to move the needle at all, but the Patriots, Ravens and Cardinals deserve decent grades, as they all made moves that made sense for them.
Grade for Patriots - B
Grade for Ravens - B
Grade for Cardinals - B
Vikings acquire K Kaare Vedvik from Ravens for 2020 5th-round pick
It's unreal that the Ravens were able to turn a backup kicker into a fifth-round pick. They automatically win this trade and deserve an A+. Getting a substantial asset for a kicker, let alone a reserve at the position, is a huge victory.
Kaare Vedvik was 4-for-4 in the opening preseason game, drilling one attempt from 55 yards. It's clear that he has kicking talent, but he's never done it in real action. I have to really question Minnesota's decision to give up a fifth-round pick for a kicker with no proven track record. This isn't a horrible move, but it's not something I can grade highly.
Texans acquire RB Duke Johnson from Browns for 2020 conditional 4th-round pick
The Texans waived D'Onta Foreman a few days ago, so they were looking for another running back to play behind Lamar Miller. I figured they'd pursue someone who could challenge Miller, given that they don't believe he can handle a full workload over an entire season. They obtained a runner after all, but one of another sort.
I like this move for Houston. The team didn't have a potent receiving threat out of the backfield, so Johnson will be able to take over that role. Johnson is not a good rusher, but he'll be a great third-down option for Deshaun Watson. The compensation - this pick can turn into a third-rounder - seems about right for Johnson. I think I would have given up a fifth that could turn into a fourth, but Johnson is a player who can put the Texans over the top against a playoff opponent, so he could easily end up being worth it.
As for the Browns, they made out well in this trade, too. Johnson was being phased out of the offense, especially with Kareem Hunt due back in the middle of the season, so it's nice that the Browns were able to get something substantial for him.
Jets acquire G Alex Lewis from Ravens for 2020 conditional 7th-round pick
The Jets lured Ryan Kalil out of retirement last week, but they weren't done finding help for their offensive line. They traded for Alex Lewis, a 2016 fourth-round pick, on Monday afternoon. In exchange, they surrendered a conditional selection in the seventh frame of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Lewis has been terrible as a pro thus far, but he's still young enough to turn his career around. I don't think that's very likely to happen, but the Jets aren't really giving anything up for this possibility. In fact, if the Jets end up cutting Lewis before the regular season, they won't even have to surrender their seventh-round pick, as the condition is for Lewis to make the 53-man roster.
As for the Ravens, they were expected to waive Lewis, so getting something - or to be more accurate, the possibility of something - is a bonus.
This trade almost certainly won't have any effect on the 2020 NFL season. The most likely outcome is Lewis failing to make the 53-man roster, meaning Baltimore won't receive any compensation.
Chiefs acquire LB Darron Lee from Jets for 2020 6th-round pick
It's no surprise that one of Mike Maccagnan's draft picks was shipped off the day he was fired. Maccagnan selected Lee with a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and for a while, it appeared as though Lee was a major bust. He struggled mightily in his first two years, and it wasn't even clear that he would make the 53-man roster ahead of the 2018 campaign.
Lee, however, finally lived up to expectations in 2018. He played very well this past season. However, the Jets still want to move on from him, as he was tied to the old regime. It makes sense to trade Lee, as the Jets have a crowded linebacking corps with C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson slated to started next year. The Jets probably should've gotten more than a sixth-round pick for Lee, but at least they obtained something for a third player at a position on their depth chart.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, easily won this trade. Lee is only 24, so it's possible that he could parlay his improved 2018 campaign into an even better 2019 season. The Chiefs don't have a good linebacking corps, so Lee should be able to win a starting job in training camp. Getting him for only a sixth-round pick is a steal. I love this move for Kansas City.
Bears acquire K Eddy Pineiro from Raiders for conditional 2021 7th-round pick
The Raiders won an award for their previous trade with the Bears, so I imagine they're attempting to repeat the success they had from that transaction. Unfortunately, something tells me that there won't be another shiny trophy that accompanies this move.
Laugh all you want about the Bears making trades for a kicker; Eddy Pineiro is tied for being the most-accurate field goal kicker in preseason games in NFL history. It's true, look it up. Pineiro is 3-for-3 in career preseason games, giving him an accuracy percentage of 100. There is nothing above 100-percent accuracy as far as kicking is concerned, which bodes well for the Bears in 2019.
Even better, the Bears may not have to surrender a single pick in the 2021 NFL Draft for Pineiro. To turn the 2021 seventh-round pick from conditional to guaranteed entails that Pineiro is on Chicago's active roster for five games. The Bears would be wise to use Pineiro for four games, then stash him on injured reserve, preserving him until 2020, when they can use him for any number of games without surrendering a precious draft choice.
Seahawks acquire TE Jacob Hollister from Patriots 2020 7th-round pick
Jacob Hollister is not a good football player. He can play on special teams and block a little bit, but he probably should be on the practice squad. I don't know why the Seahawks would give up a seventh-round pick for him. It's not a horrible decision, as seventh-round picks aren't valuable, but it's still a wasted resource. The fact that New England got something for Hollister makes it the winner of this trade.
The significant outcome of this trade is that the Patriots dealt a tight end despite being very thin at the position on the depth chart. I imagine this means one of two things: New England expects Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement, or a potential trade could be coming for a tight end like Kyle Rudolph.
Chiefs acquire DE Frank Clark from Seahawks for 2019 first-round pick, 2020 second-round pick, swap of 2019 third-round picks
So much for the Seahawks only acquiring a second-round pick for Frank Clark. They obtained the No. 29 overall selection in Thursday's draft, as well as a second-round choice in next year's stacked class. The teams will also be swapping third-round choices, meaning Seattle moves down from No. 84 to 92.
Clark is an extremely talented edge rusher who accumulated 13 sacks last year. He notched 19 total sacks in the two seasons prior to 2018. He's also just 26 (in June). The sky is the limit for him, and he could ultimately become one of the top defensive ends in the NFL. However, Clark has a low floor as well because of off-the-field problems. I'm a bit surprised that the Chiefs used so many assets to acquire him, given the trouble they've had with Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill lately.
This trade will look terrible if Clark gets into trouble again, but I'm not going to grade this poorly for the Chiefs. They have a 3-year window in which they'll be paying Patrick Mahomes rookie-quarterback money, so they need to go "all in" now. They traded away both Justin Houston and Dee Ford because they're not great fits for the new 4-3 defense, but Clark obviously is, having played in it at a very high level in Seattle. Clark's presence will give the Chiefs hope of actually stopping some opponents next year.
That said, I think the Seahawks won this trade. They were desperate for draft choices, having just four overall and only two in the top 120. They're losing a talented player, but this draft class is stacked at defensive end. Also, they're getting great value for player who could sabotage his career at a moment's notice, which sounds like a good idea to me.
Chiefs acquire DE Emmanuel Ogbah from Browns for S Eric Murray
No one should be surprised that the Browns moved Emmanuel Ogbah. Not only did he lose his starting job in the wake of the Olivier Vernon trade; he was a holdover from the previous regime. General manager John Dorsey has been dumping players drafted in the Sashi Brown era, and understandably so. Here, he traded Ogbah to the Chiefs for safety help.
Ogbah is a middling talent who recorded 12.5 sacks in his first three seasons in Cleveland. He has struggled mightily to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, to say the least, but he's been fine in run support. The Chiefs are desperate for 4-3 defensive ends in the wake of the Dee Ford and Justin Houston departures, and Ogbah would ideally provide quality depth for his new team. It wouldn't be great if he were named a starter, however.
The Browns will be getting safety Eric Murray in return. They needed someone new to play next to Damarious Randall after trading Jabrill Peppers. Murray isn't as good as Peppers, but he's a better-quality player than Ogbah. There's also familiarity with Murray, given that Dorsey drafted him while serving as the Chiefs' general manager. Thus, I believe the Browns won this trade.
Eagles acquire RB Jordan Howard from Bears for 2020 6th-round pick
These 2020 sixth-round picks are sure in high demand today. Hours after the Dolphins acquired one from the Cowboys in exchange for Robert Quinn, the Bears did the same when they dealt Jordan Howard to Philadelphia.
The Eagles needed an inside grinder who could score on the goal line. That's exactly what Jordan Howard will provide for them. Howard is a bit overrated because of his 1,300-yard rookie campaign, as his production has fallen off since, but he's definitely worth more than a 2020 sixth-round choice. Howard is still young - he won't turn 25 until November - so he could bounce back with a decent season. I like this trade for Philadelphia, as it's filling a need with a known commodity for a cheap price.
The Bears, meanwhile, can't be graded very favorably because a 2020 sixth-rounder doesn't mean much. I thought they could get a 2019 fifth-rounder for Howard. At any rate, they'll have to move on with a new running back from this draft class, which is deep at the position. Here are the 2019 NFL Draft Running Back Prospect Rankings.
Cowboys acquire DE Robert Quinn from Dolphins for 2020 6th-round pick
Robert Quinn was once a dominant edge rusher; he accumulated 19 sacks in 2013, as this was in the middle of a 3-year span in which he collected double-digit sacks each season. Things changed after 2014, however, as Quinn played in just 17 of his next 32 games because of injuries. Quinn finally played a (mostly) full season in 2017, but struggled in the Rams' 3-4. He was moved to the Dolphins last offseason, where he was expected to rebound in a 4-3. This did not happen, as he registered only 6.5 sacks. Quinn didn't play poorly, but he was far from the dominant force we saw in 2012-14.
That said, Quinn is still just 28. There's definitely a chance that he'll be able to get to double-digit sacks again if he can stay healthy, given that he'll remain in a 4-3. He'll fill a need on Dallas' defensive line across from DeMarcus Lawrence, who will draw lots of attention away from Quinn.
This looks like an outstanding move by the Cowboys. Quinn is a high-upside acquisition, yet Dallas is surrendering just a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Dolphins, meanwhile, aren't being stupid for this move because they're getting something for an expensive player they were going to cut. The Cowboys won this deal, but it makes sense for Miami as well.
Titans acquire QB Ryan Tannehill, 2019 6th-round pick from Dolphins for 2019 7th-round pick, 2020 4th-round pick
The Titans will sign Ryan Tannehill to a 1-year, $7 million deal in the wake of this trade, which is for a swap of late third-day picks as well as a 2020 fourth-round choice.
This trade makes sense for both sides, and I'm not sure I can find a clear winner. The Titans absolutely had to find an insurance policy for Marcus Mariota, who has yet to play a full season in his career. Mariota has been very good when healthy, but he's been completely unreliable. Mariota's reluctance to play through an injury in the 2018 season finale could be the camel that broke the straw's back, to quote a Hall of Fame running back.
Tannehill failed as Miami's potential quarterback after being chosen eighth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. However, he can be an excellent backup who will provide the Titans with somewhat decent quarterback play in the event of Mariota's next injury. I don't think it's out of the question that Tannehill could become a starter again in the NFL. Tannehill has a ton of talent, so perhaps he can be a late bloomer on his new team. It's more likely that he'll be a strong backup for the rest of his career, much like Ryan Fitzpatrick, but either way, Tennessee will have one of the top No. 2 quarterbacks on its roster, which is necessary, given Mariota's dubious health history.
The Titans should get a good grade for this trade, as the only thing they're really giving up is an early third-day choice next year. The Dolphins, meanwhile, did very well to get something for a player they were likely to release.
49ers acquire DE/OLB Dee Ford from Chiefs for 2020 2nd-round pick
You can tell if a new coach is going to succeed if he prioritizes players over scheme, rather than the opposite. There has been an extensive history of coaches failing when they try to install their own system and have to get rid of talented players to accommodate that strategy.
Steve Spagnuolo appears to be guilty of this. While the Chiefs didn't have a good defense last year, they still had a few stellar players on that side of the ball in Dee Ford and Justin Houston. Both are obvious fits for the 3-4, but neither translates to the 4-3. Thus, the Chiefs cut Houston before trading Ford. I can understand getting rid of Houston for financial reasons, but dealing Ford, a rising edge rusher with a bright future, seems like a huge mistake.
The 2020 NFL Draft class figures to be loaded, but only getting a second-round pick a year from now doesn't seem like enough compensation for Ford. The 49ers, meanwhile, are getting a dynamic edge player that they've sorely needed for a long time. San Francisco clearly won this trade.
Browns acquire WR Odell Beckham Jr. from Giants for 2019 1st-, 3rd-round picks, S Jabrill Peppers
When the Odell Beckham Jr. trade rumors were swirling, I thought Beckham actually being traded was a long shot, especially when there was a report that said the owner didn't actually want to trade Beckham. Well, here we are, as Beckham has been sent to the Browns for 2019 first- and third-round picks, as well as Jabrill Peppers.
This is a huge acquisition for the Browns. They needed a No. 1 receiver for Baker Mayfield, and I thought they could select Ole Miss' A.J. Brown, which is what I have happening in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft. Beckham is obviously a much, much better option than Brown, and he makes Cleveland's offense so explosive. Between Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, David Njoku and potentially Kareem Hunt, Mayfield has so much firepower to work with. He was already great at times last year without a legitimate No. 1 threat, and now he has Beckham at his disposal. It'll be very disappointing if the Browns don't put up tons of points next year.
But did the Browns give up too much for Beckham? I really don't think so. If you think about it, Beckham is way better than anyone Cleveland could've obtained at No. 17 overall. So, this is essentially for an upgraded No. 17 pick, a third-rounder and Peppers. Third-round picks have a 70-percent failure rate. Peppers is a very good safety, but he's not the sort of difference-maker Beckham is. I think the compensation in this trade is fantastic for the Browns, who now have to be considered a Super Bowl contender. Their grade for this trade is worthy of an A+.
As for the Giants, I really don't know what they're doing. Why would they want to trade Beckham? Unless there's something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about, there's no logic to this deal. Getting a replacement for Landon Collins is nice, but Peppers is not as good as Collins. Meanwhile, there's no receiver anywhere close to Beckham's talent level who would be available with the 17th-overall pick. New York is not going to be able to replace Beckham's production anytime soon, and that's a big problem.
Eagles acquire WR DeSean Jackson, 2020 7th-round pick from Buccaneers for 2019 6th-round pick
When news broke that the Buccaneers were trying to shop DeSean Jackson, I was skeptical that they'd be able to get anything for him. It turns out that they really didn't, as they just swapped sixth- and seventh-round picks with the Eagles across two drafts.
Because the Eagles are giving up nothing as far as draft capital is concerned, this is a nice trade for them. Giving Jackson $10 million for 2019 is another matter, which is why this won't get an A+ grade, but Jackson will help Philadelphia's offense, which sorely needed a deep threat. Jackson, who thrived with Ryan Fitzpatrick last year, can still serve well in that role.
As for the Buccaneers, it's nice that they were at least able to obtain something for a player they were going to cut. I know I just said that they didn't really get anything, but it's worth noting that a 2019 pick is much more valuable for them than a 2020 selection than they both are for Philadelphia because their front office is under fire and needs to win this year to avoid mass firings. A 2019 pick can perhaps help, while a 2020 selection will not if everyone's fired after this year.
Jets acquire G Kelechi Osemele, 6th-round pick from Raiders for 2019 5th-round pick
The Raiders dealt a fifth-round pick, along with a third-rounder, to the Steelers for Antonio Brown Saturday night. They recouped their fifth-rounder less than 24 hours later by shipping Kelechi Osemele to the Jets.
Osemele, when healthy, is one of the better guards in the NFL. He was injured all last year, however. His knees gave him problems, forcing him to miss five games and play poorly in other contests. The Raiders actually believe that Osemele nursed his injuries too much, and that he should've missed fewer games, but his performance on the field said otherwise. However, it's also possible that Osemele just quit on the Raiders, which is something numerous veterans did last year, including Bruce Irvin and Amari Cooper.
Osemele will almost certainly rebound in 2019 unless his knees continue to be problematic. He'll be on a rising roster with a promising, young quarterback. The Jets desperately needed offensive line help to protect Sam Darnold, and Osemele will go a long way in accomplishing that. Osemele will cost a lot - he's due more than $20 million over the next two seasons - but the Jets entered this offseason with the second-most cap space in the NFL, so they can afford to pay him.
This is an "A" trade for the Jets, and the only reason it's not an A+ is because of Osemele's potential knee problems. As for the Raiders, they were going to cut Osemele, so the fact that they were able to get something for him - even if it's a swap of fifth- and sixth-round picks - can be seen as somewhat of a positive.
Raiders acquire WR Antonio Brown from Steelers for 2019 3rd- and 5th-round picks
When it was announced that Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders, I thought that it would be a good deal for Oakland if it surrendered a second-round pick instead of one of its three first-rounders. It turns out that I severely underestimated Pittsburgh's asking price this late in the process, as the Raiders didn't even have to relinquish their second-round choice.
Oakland will send third- and fifth-round selections to the Steelers for Brown. This is an absolute steal. The bad opinion sports media is already finding a way to bash this trade because they inexplicably hate Jon Gruden, but it's illogical to think that this is a bad deal for Oakland. Last offseason, the Raiders also acquired a receiver from the Steelers. That was Martavis Bryant. They gave up a third-round pick for him. So, how is Brown worth just a fifth-round choice more than Bryant was? Granted, the Bryant trade ended up being horrible, but I feel as though Pittsburgh should've been able to obtain a second-rounder for Brown. This is bad value for Brown, and I have to dock the Steelers appropriately.
The Raiders, on the other hand, got a major steal. That said, I have to question if we'll see Brown's full effort in Oakland, as he's an aging, diva receiver. But Brown at 75 or 80 percent is still much better than what Oakland had at receiver last year, and that includes Amari Cooper, who wasn't trying very hard for the Silver and Black prior to the trade with Dallas.
The Raiders have to receive a great grade for this trade. Brown's contract, on the other hand, doesn't seem very good, and I'll cover that next on the NFL Free Agent Grades page.
Patriots acquire DE Michael Bennett, 2020 7th-round pick from Eagles for 2020 5th-round pick
As with the Marcus Gilbert trade, this deal occurred very quickly following reports about a player being placed on the trade block. A report said Friday morning that the Eagles were eager to move Bennett, and yet a deal got done hours later.
Bennett played well for Philadelphia last season, but the team wanted to shed his $7.2 million cap charge in an attempt to make other moves this offseason. Plus, with Brandon Graham extended, there just wasn't enough room for Bennett, a regressing, soon-to-be 34-year-old. If the Eagles didn't find a buyer for Bennett, they likely would've released him, so it's nice that they at least got something for him. The only danger I see is that if the Eagles reach Super Bowl LIV, the Patriots are a very likely opponent of theirs, so strengthening New England's roster isn't ideal.
As for the Patriots, it sounds like they're going to lose dynamic edge rusher Trey Flowers this offseason, so finding a replacement was key. Bennett was obviously obtained as a short-term solution, but he'll be good enough for 2019, as Tom Brady chases his seventh Super Bowl ring. Getting Bennett just for dropping back two rounds on the third day of the draft seems like a great deal.
Cardinals acquire OT Marcus Gilbert from Steelers for 6th-round pick
It was announced Friday morning that the Steelers were seeking to trade Marcus Gilbert. It didn't take Pittsburgh long to find a buyer, though the compensation isn't for very much.
Gilbert has been a stout right tackle throughout this decade, but he's in decline now that he's in his 30s. Gilbert, who turned 31 in February, has played in just 12 games over the past two years because of injuries. He has played well when on the field, but that has been a rare occurrence of late. That said, it's definitely worth it for Arizona to risk a sixth-round pick on Gilbert. They've had a massive hole at right tackle, so if Gilbert can even play 10 games, that'll be a huge boost in their efforts to protect Kyler Murray/Josh Rosen.
As for the Steelers, they've done well despite Gilbert's rare availability over the past two seasons. There hasn't been much of a downgrade from Gilbert to their backup right tackles, so it makes sense to trade him while they still can. Getting a sixth-round pick isn't going to make a huge difference, but at least it's something.
Browns acquire DE Olivier Vernon, 2019 4th-round pick from Giants for G Kevin Zeitler, 2019 5th-round pick
This was initially announced as a one-for-one trade, but the Browns will be moving up a round early on Day 3 in this exchange, which makes sense because they're getting the less-desirable asset.
Both Kevin Zeitler and Olivier Vernon are very talented players. Vernon is perhaps the better known of the two, as he signed a 5-year, $85 million contract with the Giants during the 2016 offseason. Vernon played very well for the Giants, but wasn't consistently great. In fact, he failed to reach double digits sacks in each of his three seasons in New York. Zeitler, conversely, is one of the top guards in the NFL. Vernon is a year younger than Zeitler, who was actually traded on his birthday, but guards can play at a high level into their mid-30s. Zeitler turned 29 on the day of the trade, so he has at least four or five more great seasons remaining in his career.
Zeitler is a better, more reliable player than Vernon, so that was a strike against the Browns to begin with. Now, consider this: The 2019 NFL Draft class is stacked on the defensive line. If the Browns wanted to obtain a talented edge rusher, they could have done so this April. Getting a Pro Bowl guard will be much more difficult. So, even though the prospect of pairing Myles Garrett with Vernon is appealing - and it'll give Cleveland a great pass rush - I think the Browns should've gotten more in this trade than just a one-round swap.
As for the Giants, Zeitler will go a long way in curing their offensive line woes. New York has had offensive line issues for several seasons, but those won't be as prevalent with Zeitler up front. With Zeitler starting at right guard, the only true hole the Giants will have on the line is at right tackle. Offensive line play correlates to success more than anything in the NFL outside of quarterback performance, so New York definitely won this trade.
Redskins acquire QB Case Keenum, 2020 7th-round pick from Broncos for 2020 sixth-round pick
Bruce Allen has gotten lots of flak from the bad opinion sports media, but he handled his quarterback situation very well. He correctly refused to pay Kirk Cousins the money Minnesota was willing to give him, but then just acquired the second-best quarterback free agent from last offseason, all for the low price of moving down a round late on Day 3 in the 2020 NFL Draft.
This is a smart move by the Redskins. With Alex Smith certainly out for 2019 and beyond, the Redskins needed to acquire both a veteran quarterback and a signal-caller for the future. Keenum, who obviously fits the former need, is a pedestrian as they come as far as starters are concerned, but he's an excellent backup and spot starter. He has proven that he can take a team deep into the playoffs, provided that team has an excellent defense and offensive line. The Redskins are strong in both categories, so Keenum should have some success in Washington if he's asked to start (though the Redskins will need to give him a No. 1 receiver.)
Keenum will also serve as a mentor to the young quarterback the Redskins manage to obtain. That could be Josh Rosen, potentially for a third-round pick, or it could be someone like Duke's Daniel Jones, whom I have the Redskins selecting in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft. This trade just makes so much sense for the Redskins, who were 6-2 prior to Smith's injury last year. If they get somewhat decent quarterback play in 2019, they'll be able to make the playoffs.
As for the Broncos, this is nothing special. However, it's at least nice that they get at least something for a player they no longer have any use for.
Broncos acquire QB Joe Flacco from Ravens for 2019 fourth-round pick
Wow. This came out of nowhere. Joe Flacco is not nearly the same quarterback he was in the early part of this decade. Despite working hard last offseason in the wake of the Lamar Jackson selection, Flacco completed just 61.2 percent of his passes - his worst such figure since 2013 - and his YPA was a mediocre 6.5. That said, his touchdown-to-interception ratio was a solid 12:6, so he was somewhat decent.
Despite Flacco's regression, he's still better than Case Keenum. I would have assumed that upgrading Keenum to Flacco would cost Denver a fourth-round pick, and that's exactly the price John Elway paid. It's not even as bad as it may sound to some, as the Broncos had a pair of fourth-rounders in the wake of the Demaryius Thomas trade.
Flacco should help a very good defense reach the playoffs. At the very least, he can play just as well as a decrepit Peyton Manning did in 2015. Also, this trade won't preclude the Broncos from taking a quarterback like Drew Lock in the opening round this April, which I have happening in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft. Flacco is 34, so he's just a short-term care-taker.
I think this is a decent move by the Broncos. Unlike Keenum, Flacco can challenge defenses downfield with his big arm. Denver's offense was so limited last year because of Keenum, so this is a clear upgrade despite Flacco's regression and injury history. By giving up one of their fourth-round picks, the Broncos aren't taking too much of a risk. And as a bonus, the bad opinion sports media hates this trade, so it's probably a good one for Denver.
That said, the Ravens deserve the better grade in this trade, as this is all upside for them. They were going to move on from Flacco anyway, so they were able to shed his bad contract and receive a fourth-round selection in return, so this is a great deal for them.
Redskins acquire S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Packers for 2019 4th-round pick
I don't understand this trade from Green Bay's perspective. There must be something internally wrong with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Perhaps he's a bad presence in the locker room, or maybe he clashed with coaches. I don't know, because a non-seller shouldn't be surrendering a talented 25-year-old safety for a mere fourth-round pick.
Without knowing the full situation, it's easy to say that the Redskins won this trade. They now have two amazing safeties with Clinton-Dix joining D.J. Swearinger in a loaded defensive backfield. The Redskins' defense has improved substantially in the wake of this deal, and they're a legitimate threat to now reach the second round of the playoffs before Alex Smith sabotages everything. I suppose the only question is what sort of interns Clinton-Dix will hire now that he's in Washington.
The Redskins will earn an A+, while the Packers get a C-. It could be worse for Green Bay, but I'm going to assume that Clinton-Dix did something to deserve getting shipped off because the Packers just severely downgraded their secondary.
Rams acquire DE/OLB Dante Fowler from Jaguars for 2019 3rd-round pick, 2020 5th-round pick
This is a big price to pay for a player who was seeing about a third of his team's defensive snaps. Dante Fowler is very talented - he was the third-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft - but hasn't lived up to it in Jacksonville. His workout habits and effort have both been criticized. He logged eight sacks last year, but lucked into them, as the opposition was concentrating on Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and the Jaguars' many other talented defensive linemen.
Having said that, Fowler potentially fills a huge need for his new team. The Rams have a massive hole as far as their edge rushers were concerned. Their defensive line is incredible, but they weren't getting much production from their edge players. And, if there's a defensive coordinator who can turn Fowler's career around, it's Wade Phillips. It's possible that Fowler will finally live up to his potential on a new team, especially considering that his contract is set to expire in March.
I'm grading this as a "B" for the Rams. Fowler could push them over the top, but there's also a good chance that he continues his sloth-like tendencies and struggles. Plus, the Rams paid a high price. Conversely, the Jaguars made out like bandits, acquiring a substantial draft choice and a mid-rounder on top of that for an impending free agent they were barely using.
Ravens acquire WR/KR Ty Montgomery from Packers for 2020 7th-round pick
If the Packers informed Ty Montgomery that he was being traded, I'm sure all they said was "good riddance." Montgomery disobeyed orders during the loss to the Rams. He was told not to take the ball out of the end zone because it would chew up the 2-minute warning. He did so anyway, and he fumbled the ball to boot. Montgomery also blew an assignment in pass protection on the preceding drive, resulting in a sack. He was the sole reason for Green Bay losing to the Rams.
That said, Montgomery has some talent. He can catch the ball effectively - he caught 44 passes in 2016 - and he's had a couple of big games in his career. The Ravens need help in the backfield, and Montgomery will be useful on some snaps. Baltimore is effectively giving up nothing for Montgomery - the seventh-round pick isn't even for this year! - so it's no big deal if he doesn't pan out.
Meanwhile, this is tough to grade for the Packers. They're not getting anything in return, but I don't know if they could've allowed Montgomery to stay on the roster.
Eagles acquire WR Golden Tate from Lions for 2019 3rd-round pick
It's unusual to see Eagles general manager Howie Roseman pay above market value for a player. The Lions were reportedly shopping Golden Tate for a fourth-round pick, but Roseman raised the price to a third-round choice, as Detroit was likely going to take a fourth from another team that was going to have a higher projected selection in that particular frame.
Despite Roseman overpaying by a bit, this is still a fantastic trade for the Eagles. They needed one more weapon for Carson Wentz, and Tate is a great fit. He'll replace the disappointing Nelson Agholor in the slot, though he could also play outside. The Eagles have a very talented play-making group now with Tate, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz posing as dynamic threats for Wentz, whose health is improving each week. Tate is also a great guy to have in the locker room, and I don't think he'll have much of an issue transitioning into Philadelphia's offense.
The Lions, meanwhile, made out extremely well. They wanted a fourth, yet they got a third. Tate was still an excellent player for them, but he was also a 30-year-old entering his contract year. The 2019 NFL Draft class is looking like a great one, so it was important for the Lions to obtain another second-day selection.
Texans acquire WR Demaryius Thomas from Broncos for 2019 4th-round pick
This is a weird trade in that the Texans and Broncos will be playing each other on Sunday. Teams will usually talk and make a deal after they battle each other, but that wasn't an option with the trade deadline being today. I just hope the Broncos change up their signals!
This trade makes sense for the Texans. They just lost Will Fuller for the year, so they needed a short-term rental to help them clinch the division and advance in the playoffs. Thomas can help them do that. He's a regressing player, but he's still a way better option than what the Texans had otherwise. Besides, Thomas will see way more favorable coverages than he did in Denver, as DeAndre Hopkins will serve as a huge distraction on the other side of the field.
Denver, however, won this trade. Thomas, at his current state, is not worth a fourth-round pick. I understand why the desperate Texans made the deal, but the Broncos were able to obtain more compensation than they deserved for a declining player in his 30s.
Lions acquire NT Snacks Harrison from Giants for 2019 5th-round pick
The Lions are in the playoff race, as they're just one game behind the Vikings. However, they really needed to improve their atrocious defense. They've struggled against both the run and the pass, but at least the former aspect will be helped by this trade.
Snacks Harrison is a 350-pound run-stuffing nose tackle. He's excellent at what he does, as he's the primary reason why the Giants were so good at defending ground attacks this year. He'll help the Lions clamp down on the run when they battle Dalvin Cook/Latavius Murray, and his presence will be huge in other matchups. A fifth-round pick for him is well worth it, though the Lions still need to figure out how to improve their linebacking corps and secondary.
The Giants, meanwhile, need to rebuild. Their season is over, so acquiring draft picks for veterans is the correct course of action. An extra fifth-round pick seems like fair compensation for Harrison.
I love this trade for both teams. I'd say the Lions get the slight edge because Harrison could help put them over the top in a tight divisional race, but the Giants did a good job in helping their rebuilding efforts.
Saints acquire CB Eli Apple from Giants for 2019 4th-round pick, 2020 7th-round pick
Now this is what the going rate for an underachieving first-round pick should be. When it was announced that Eli Apple was traded, I quickly wondered what the compensation would be. I came up with a fourth-round selection, and that's exactly what it was.
Eli Apple was the 10th-overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he looked awful Monday night trying to defend Atlanta's receivers. However, he has loads of talent, and he's only 23. He still has time to find himself, and it's possible he could be a late bloomer. The Saints have terrific coaches who should get the most out of him. Trading a first-round choice for Apple would've been a disaster, but a fourth-rounder is totally worth it.
The Giants, meanwhile, made out well in this trade, too. Apple had been a major disappointment for them, and it sounded like they would consider parting ways with him following the 2018 campaign. Thus, getting a fourth-round selection for him is a great move.
Unlike the Amari Cooper trade, this one is close to even. I'll give the Giants a slight edge, but if the Saints get the most out of Apple, they'll be seen as the winners in this deal.
Cowboys acquire WR Amari Cooper from Raiders for 2019 1st-round pick
There's an inexplicable amount of hatred for Jon Gruden in the media. The Raiders are terrible right now, but the plan that Gruden has with owner Mark Davis is to rebuild this team for them to be in playoff contention by the time they get to Las Vegas in 2020. With all of these first-round selections, that's definitely a possibility.
Even the most ardent detractors of Gruden can't hate this trade. It's a great one. If you were to ask me, "What round selection did the Cowboys surrender for Cooper?" I would've guessed fourth. If you asked me to guess again, I would've said third. If you asked me to guess again, I would've gone to fifth. Definitely not even a second. I don't think that would've even popped into my head.
Cooper is not worth a first-round pick. Not even close. He's an injury-prone, overrated receiver who can't stay healthy. He has fourth-round value, yet the Raiders stole a first for him. This is an unbelievable trade for Oakland, especially considering that the 2019 NFL Draft class is packed with great talent. If the Cowboys keep losing, the Raiders could end up with Nick Bosa, one of the stud defensive tackles, and a talented receiver as well. Check out my 2019 NFL Mock Draft for more.
While the Raiders get an easy A+, the Cowboys don't deserve an "F." Cooper is an overrated commodity, and Dallas has gotten fleeced in this trade, but the team was desperate for a young receiver. Cooper is still just 24, so there's still time for him to turn his career around. That said, the Cowboys shouldn't have surrendered a first-round pick. A third-round selection would've been more appropriate for Cooper.
Jaguars acquire RB Carlos Hyde from Browns for 2019 5th-round pick
It seems odd that the Jaguars would spend a mid-round pick on a running back with Leonard Fournette on the roster, but Fournette hasn't been able to get healthy after suffering a hamstring injury at the beginning of the season. There was a report that said Fournette wouldn't return until Week 10 or so, and at 3-3, Jacksonville can't afford too many losses with two divisional opponents in their next three games. The Jaguars' previous opponents haven't had to respect the run at all with just T.J. Yeldon in the backfield, but that will now change in the wake of this deal.
Hyde wasn't playing particularly well for the Browns this year, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, but he's a rushing upgrade over Yeldon, who can focus on receiving duties. Hyde-Yeldon is a decent one-two punch for Jacksonville until Fournette returns, so getting that for a fifth-round pick seems fine.
That said, the Browns won this trade. Hyde had been less impressive than second-round rookie Nick Chubb, so it made sense to give Chubb way more touches anyway. That will now obviously happen with Hyde gone. The Browns will have a better threat in the backfield on most downs, and they picked up a fifth-round pick to boot, so this is definitely a sweet deal for them.
Update: I forgot to note that the Browns will save a substantial amount of money with this deal. Hyde had a $6 million cap hit for 2019, so freeing up that money and giving better running backs more opportunities is a terrific move.
Patriots acquire WR Josh Gordon from Browns for conditional 2019 5th-round pick
The Patriots have officially acquired Josh Gordon for a conditional 2019 fifth-round pick. The condition is that Gordon will have to be on the field for 10 games, so they're protected in case Gordon ends up being a bust for them.
This is an awesome addition for the Patriots. New England lost Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola this offseason, so the team is devoid of weapons outside of Rob Gronkowski. A No. 1 receiver was needed, and Gordon is talented enough to fill that role. This is almost like the Randy Moss addition that the Patriots made prior to 2007. Moss was considered a talented trouble-maker prior to that year, yet he turned his career around in New England. Gordon could do the same.
Gordon is a similar reclamation project. He has off-the-field problems regarding substance abuse, and he's been poor in Cleveland's locker room, but the Browns have a culture of losing. The Patriots don't. They have strong leadership, and Gordon will greatly benefit from that.
I love this move for the Patriots, as they acquired a very talented play-maker for Brady. There's no risk here, as the mid-round pick is conditional. It's all upside, so this is an unquestionable A+.
For the Browns, it's nice that they got at least something for Gordon considering that they announced they wanted to cut him. If they end up getting a fifth for a player they wanted to release, that's a good move.
Bears acquire DE/OLB Khalil Mack, 2020 2nd-round pick, conditional 2020 5th-round pick, from Raiders for 2019 1st-round pick, 2020 1st-round pick, 2020 3rd-round pick, 2019 6th-round pick
Adam Schefter reported this morning that the Bears and Raiders have a trade involving Khalil Mack in place. It's unknown when the deal will be official, or what the compensation will include, but it's known that the Raiders have been asking for two first-round picks.
The Raiders have been heavily criticized for not paying Mack what he wants, but after asking around, I learned that the Raiders simply do not want to get locked into a huge contract the likes of Albert Haynesworth and Ndamukong Suh received. They don't believe that a non-quarterback deserves more than $100 million overall, and they'll have to give that sort of money to Derek Carr soon. Instead of paying $100 million to Mack, they could be giving that money to four or five other good starters. Conversely, if they cave to Mack's demands, they'll be stuck with a roster that has no depth.
That said, Chicago fans should be excited to acquire Mack. The Bears have Mitchell Trubisky on his rookie contract for several more years, so they can afford to pay Mack tons of money. Chicago has a stellar defense, but the one thing it lacked was a potent edge rusher to play across from Leonard Floyd. That would obviously change with Mack on the roster. Giving up two first-round picks and paying Mack $100 million is a steep price, but this could put the dark-horse Bears over the top in the tight NFC North race (I took a bet on the Bears to win the NFC North at 12/1 odds per my 2018 NFL Season Betting Props page.)
Update: The trade is now official. The Bears have landed Mack, while the Raiders have acquired Chicago's first-round picks over the next couple of seasons. The teams are also swapping second- and third-day selections as well, but the first-rounders are more significant than anything else.
The media and fans will remark that the Bears are getting the better end of this trade, and it may seem that way because Mack is a tremendous edge rusher in his prime. However, the Raiders do not believe in paying non-quarterbacks $100 million, and I believe that their opinion is correct on the matter. No team that has paid that much money to a non-quarterback has ever made a deep run into the playoffs except for the 2017 Eagles (Fletcher Cox), and Oakland would have drained itself of too many resources had it caved to Mack's demands. Thus, trading him was the right thing to do.
This is quite the haul for the Raiders. They're getting two first-round picks, and while it's unknown how good the 2020 class will be, the 2019 NFL Draft class is loaded with stellar defensive linemen - go here for my 2019 NFL Mock Draft - so the Raiders will be able to replace Mack next year.
The Bears, meanwhile, were able to find the missing piece of their defense. I already liked their chances of making the playoffs, so this could boost them to a divisional title, though getting by a potentially healthy Aaron Rodgers will still be an issue. That said, the Bears' window will close quickly when they have to pay Mitchell Trubisky - especially with the lack of first-round picks - so they better make it count now.
Raiders acquire QB A.J. McCarron from Bills for 2019 5th-round pick
If you're a crazy loon like me, and you watched the Week 4 preseason games, you may have seen A.J. McCarron struggle mightily against Chicago's practice-squad fodder. Here's how I described McCarron's performance:
McCarron gave Chicago seven points on a pick-six, which was a weak toss toward the sideline. That was one of two interceptions, as the other one occurred because the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. McCarron made numerous other mistakes. He overshot a receiver downfield. He missed a running back for a short gain. He threw the ball at the feet of another runner in the flat. McCarron was atrocious for most of this game.
McCarron played well in the fourth quarter, especially when scrambling. He's not a good quarterback by any means, but I think he's better than Connor Cook, whom the Raiders just cut, and E.J. Manuel. I wouldn't have given up anything more than a sixth for him, but a fifth isn't the worst price to pay. After all, the Raiders could've pulled a Cleveland Browns move and tried to trade a second-rounder for him!
The Bills won this trade, as they were able to obtain something for a quarterback who was going to be their third-stringer, had he made the roster.
49ers acquire OT Shon Coleman from Browns for 2019 7th-round pick
Shon Coleman was a starter last year, but was a miserable one. The Browns were planning on cutting Coleman, so this is a good move for them, as they're getting at least a seventh-round pick for free.
The 49ers needed a backup behind Joe Staley, and Coleman, a third-round pick from the 2016 NFL Draft, at least has some potential. Still, I wonder why the 49ers didn't just wait for Coleman to hit the market and just sign him or someone comparable.
Falcons acquire S Jordan Richards from Patriots for conditional 2019 7th-round pick
It's never a good sign when a franchise acquires a player, only to have that player's original fans be absolutely grateful to see him go. Patriot supporters are thrilled to see Jordan Richards depart even though Richards was almost certain to be cut.
Richards is fine on special teams, but was atrocious at safety for the Patriots last year. I can't imagine Richards playing much on first through third downs for the Falcons, barring injury, but he'll be able to contribute on special teams. Given that seventh-round choices are frequently used on special-teamers, this makes sense for Atlanta. That said, I think the Patriots won this trade by a slight margin, as they received possibly something for a player they were just going to release.
Saints acquire QB Teddy Bridgewater, 6th-round pick from Jets for 2019 3rd-round pick
Prior to Teddy Bridgewater's strong preseason, I discussed possible landing spots for Nick Foles in a trade, as Foles was the most prominent quarterback on the trading block. Two of the teams I mentioned most often were the Saints and Chargers. Both franchises have perennial Pro Bowl quarterbacks in the twilight of their careers, yet lacked successors for either.
New Orleans is such a logical landing spot for Teddy Bridgewater. He's great for the present because he gives the Saints a tremendous insurance policy in the event of a Drew Brees injury. He's even better for the future, as the Saints couldn't count on Taysom Hill replacing Brees in a couple of years, despite his outstanding performance in the third preseason game. Bridgewater is a starting-caliber quarterback, and he can learn from both Brees and Sean Payton. This will make him even better when he's asked to start in the future.
For the Jets, it's nice that they were able to acquire an asset for a signing they made in March. They didn't need Bridgewater at all, thanks to Sam Darnold's impressive summer, so they did well to unload Bridgewater.
We don't know the compensation yet, so I can't grade this trade yet. I just wanted to post my initial thoughts on this deal. I'll have an update when compensation is revealed.
Update: The compensation is a 2019 third-round pick. I think this an outstanding trade for both teams. I wouldn't have blamed if the Saints had surrendered a second AND a third for Bridgewater, as potential quality starting quarterbacks are worth way more than just a third-round choice. The Jets, meanwhile, are getting a free third-round selection, basically for nothing. I'm giving both teams an A+ for this transaction.
Seahawks acquire QB Brett Hundley from Packers for 6th-round pick
It's been clear that the Seahawks needed a better veteran quarterback after what we've seen this preseason. I like rookie Alex McGough, but he has no experience. Austin Davis is terrible, and it's clear that Brett Hundley, despite his struggles last year, is a clear upgrade.
With that in mind, this seems like a logical trade for both sides. If a good backup quarterback is worth a fourth-round pick, then a mediocre reserve warrants a sixth-rounder. Hundley had some crappy performances last season, but he also flashed at times - particularly in games against the Bears and Steelers - and he's only 25, so I don't think he's a lost cause. The Packers, meanwhile, are getting something for a mediocre backup signal-caller when they already had one in DeShone Kizer, who has more upside than Hundley.
Titans acquire LB Kamalei Correa from Ravens for 6th-round pick
Kamalei Correa was a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but failed to do anything in the pros in his first two years. He has 18 career tackles and no sacks. However, he finally flashed this preseason, allowing the Ravens to acquire something for him.
I like this move for Tennessee for a couple of reasons. First, Correa still has potential to evolve into a capable starter, or at least a strong backup. He's only 24, and based on his strong preseason performance, he could be a viable rotational player for the Titans. Second, Tennessee has injuries at outside linebacker right now; Brian Orakpo has missed practice, while Derrick Morgan is considered questionable for Week 1. Correa will be a valuable depth player for them, at least in the early portion of the season.
As for the Ravens, I think they would've been better off keeping Correa, but they were at least able to salvage something for a player who didn't do anything in his first two years.
Steelers acquire KR Ryan Switzer, 6th-round pick from Raiders for 5th-round pick
This trade was announced this morning, but we finally have full details of the deal. The Raiders have transformed their sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft into a fifth-rounder for trading Ryan Switzer to the Steelers.
I'd say that the swap makes sense for both parties. The Steelers have acquired a capable return specialist so Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster don't have to fill that role. The Raiders, meanwhile, already had an effective returner, so it sounded like they were going to cut Switzer anyway. The Steelers jumped the line to get him, and Oakland was able to move up a full round in the 2019 NFL Draft just for dealing someone they were going to release.
I'd say the Raiders got a bit more value out of this deal than the Steelers, but Pittsburgh certainly helped itself by acquiring Switzer.
Vikings acquire C Brett Jones from Giants for undisclosed 2019 draft pick
It's unclear what the Giants received for Brett Jones, but I imagine it's a conditional late-rounder. Nothing else would make much sense. Jones is a pedestrian center who was outplayed by a wide margin in training camp by someone named Jon Halapio.
Assuming the Vikings didn't give anything more than a conditional sixth- or seventh-round choice for Jones, this trade makes sense for them. Their current center, Pat Elflein, is likely to miss the first few games of the year. They had no logical replacement, so Jones can fill in. He won't be a good substitute, but he'll at least be functional. It's a small price to pay for what could be a significant improvement over the short term.
Lions acquire LB Eli Harold from 49ers for conditional 7th-round pick
Eli Harold was a third-round pick in 2015, but never developed. He started 10 games for the 49ers last year, but was a liability, especially in coverage. Based on his weakness, he won't help the Lions, who are in desperate need of linebackers who can cover in space.
That said, this isn't a bad trade. Harold had some potential coming out of Virginia, which is why he was graded as a third-rounder by some teams. He's only 24, so perhaps he can be a late bloomer. I think he's worth a shot for a conditional seventh-round pick, as it's possible that the condition will never be met. It's also possible that Harold won't even make the team if he disappoints in practice, and thus this trade will be meaningless, but I'll give the Lions the slightest edge in this deal because they're at least getting a tiny bit of upside. The 49ers, meanwhile, deserve a standard "B," as they might be getting something for a player they were going to cut anyway.
Bills acquire WR Corey Coleman from Browns for 2020 7th-round pick
It's amazing to look back and remember that the Browns obtained Corey Coleman with the pick they acquired in the Carson Wentz trade. Fans often want their team to trade down, but sometimes it's better to remain at a spot and select the best player available, especially if that prospect happens to be a potential franchise quarterback.
It hasn't been reported what the compensation is for Coleman yet; all we know is that it's an undisclosed 2019 draft pick. Assuming it's a thid-day choice - Coleman has yet to eclipse 33 receptions in a season - it's a nice flier for the Bills, who have no receiving talent outside of Kelvin Benjamin. Coleman has been a bust thus far, but he's only 24 and hasn't been able to stay healthy for a full year yet. If he can avoid injuries, he might become a decent No. 2 option for Josh Allen.
That said, if the Bills surrendered anything more than a fifth-round choice, then the Browns will have prevailed in this swap. Cleveland didn't need Coleman anymore, as the team possesses Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon in addition to rookie Antonio Callaway, who has been outstanding in training camp thus far.
Not knowing the details of the trade, I'm going to mark this down as even for both teams because this deal seems logical for both Buffalo and Cleveland. I'll re-grade this once we know the actual compensation.
Update: The Bills surrendered just a 2020 seventh-round pick for Coleman, which seems like a great deal. Coleman, as mentioned, has plenty of potential, so this seventh-rounder is definitely worth it. He also comes with substantial risk, so it's nice that Buffalo didn't give up anything substantial for him.
Raiders acquire QB Christian Hackenberg from Jets for 2019 conditional 7th-round pick
This might just be the most meaningless trade that involves a well-known player in NFL history. In fact, I don't think it's even worth the paperwork.
Christian Hackenberg has been such a bust as a former second-round pick that he couldn't even earn a chance to get on the field for the miserable Jets. New York was willing to give up on him, yet was somehow able to find a suitor in the Raiders. The thing is, however, that Oakland surrendered a conditional seventh-round pick, and I can't imagine Hackenberg meeting the conditions for the Raiders to give up their last-round selection. It might have something to do with Hackenberg making the 53-man roster, and I just can't see that happening.
Like I said, this was not worth the paperwork.
June 13 Update: The Raiders have already waived Christian Hackenberg, which is not surprising whatsoever. The Jets will miss out on the conditional 2019 seventh-round pick, which was seen as a steal for Hackenberg. Poor Jets.
Cardinals acquire CB Jamar Taylor from Browns for 2019 6th-round pick
Jamar Taylor was chosen in the second round of the infamously horrendous 2013 NFL Draft, and he was considered one of the many busts from that class when the Browns acquired him in a swap of late-round picks two offseasons ago. Taylor played much better in Cleveland, performing as a solid starter after getting torched for three seasons in Miami.
Taylor, however, was deemed expendable after the Browns obtained Denzel Ward, E.J. Gaines and T.J. Carrie this spring. They're all projected upgrades over Taylor, so Cleveland's ability to get a sixth-round pick for him isn't bad.
That said, the Cardinals won this trade. They desperately needed a No. 2 cornerback across from Patrick Peterson, and Taylor is a big upgrade over what they had. He's well worth the sixth-round choice they surrendered to acquire him.
Dolphins acquire DT Akeem Spence from Lions for undisclosed 2019 pick
Last spring, I gave the Lions a "D" grade for signing Akeem Spence to a 3-year, $10.5 million contract. He had been awful in the past, thanks to lethargy, injuries and some off-the-field problems. He remained clean in 2017, however, and he put together a half-decent campaign. He was still overpaid, but not egregiously.
The Dolphins needed defensive tackle help in the wake of Ndamukong Suh's departure, and Spence should help. Spence, if healthy and focused, isn't very good at any one thing, but he's not a liability anywhere either. He's a serviceable rotational player, so this is a potentially decent move for the Dolphins, assuming this undisclosed pick isn't higher than a sixth-round choice. I'm going to assume that it's not; otherwise, I'll re-grade.
As for the Lions, it made sense to trade Spence because he doesn't fit Matt Patricia's defense very well. I like that they're getting rid of an unfavorable contract, so I think they win this small swap.
Cowboys acquire RB/WR Tavon Austin from Rams for 2018 6th-round pick
The Rams have tried for years to make Tavon Austin into an offensive weapon, and they've failed every single time. Going into each season, there would be stories about how they'd use Austin differently, yet it would always have the same ending.
Los Angeles finally threw in the towel on Austin and passed the burden on to the Cowboys, who are now discussing the possibility of having Austin play running back. It almost certainly won't work; if brilliant offensive coaches like Sean McVay and Greg Olson couldn't figure out how to use Austin properly, there must be no way to do it.
I'd criticize this trade if it was for anything more than a sixth-round pick. For a late-rounder, why not take a chance, right? I guess, but I still feel as though Dallas is wasting its time.
Cowboys acquire DT Jihad Ward from Raiders for WR Ryan Switzer
The Cowboys and Raiders swapped players during the third day of the draft. One has been a draft bust, while the other is primarily a special-teamer.
Jihad Ward was a second-round pick out of Illinois in 2016. He hasn't done anything in the pros, however. He's had foot problems, which have limited him to 21 of 32 possible games. He's registered just one sack. Perhaps he'll be able to finally live up to his draft billing if he can stay healthy, so Dallas could provide a fresh start for him.
Ryan Switzer, meanwhile, should be able to become Oakland's new return specialist in the wake of Cordarrelle Patterson's departure. Switzer could also be the Raiders' primary slot receiver, but his potential is limited.
This seems like an even trade. The Cowboys are getting more upside with Ward, but Switzer has a better chance of contributing.
Patriots acquire OT Trent Brown, 2018 5th-round pick (No. 143) from 49ers for 2018 3rd-round pick (No. 95)
Something seemed fishy when the 49ers selected Mike McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall pick. The strength of San Francisco's roster last year, prior to Jimmy Garoppolo starting, was the tackle position, as both Joe Staley and Trent Brown played extremely well. McGlinchey didn't make any sense unless the 49ers were going to trade Brown, and that's exactly what happened.
I don't know why San Francisco was so willing to give up on Brown. He's a talented right tackle, and he's very young. He won't even turn 26 until a couple of weeks prior to the 2019 NFL Draft. Sure, Brown was heading into a contract year, but the 49ers had the cap space to re-sign him; they currently have the third-most cap room in the NFL.
The Patriots should be thrilled with the 49ers' poor decision-making regarding this matter. They're getting an upgrade at tackle for the mere price of dropping from the end of the third round to the fifth frame. The difference between picks 95 and 143, per the trade value chart, is a fourth-round choice, and I'd say Brown is well worth that.
Raiders acquire WR Martavis Bryant from Steelers for 2018 3rd-round pick
A third-round pick for Martavis Bryant!? What the hell did Bryant do to deserve a team giving up a third-round selection for him?
Bryant has been in the NFL for four years. In those four seasons, he has yet to register more than 50 receptions. He scored just three touchdowns last year. He missed all of 2016 because of a suspension. Does that sound like someone who should be acquired for a third-round pick?
The one positive thing I can say for the Raiders is that they're getting a player with immense upside and athleticism. However, Bryant hasn't been able to put it together quite yet. Perhaps he'll do that in Oakland, but I have my doubts. The Steelers seemingly won this trade by a mile.
Giants acquire P Riley Dixon from Broncos for 2019 7th-round pick
When Daniel Jeremiah tweeted that there were some crazy trade rumors circling about, I never imagined he meant something like this. Wow, talk about a draft-changing deal. I'm going to have to start my mock over from scratch.
In all seriousness, the Giants needed a punter, and Denver had no use for Riley Dixon after signing Marquette King. Dixon is a downgrade from King, hence the signing, but he's a mediocre punter who is worth this price tag. This seems like a fair trade for both teams.
Redskins acquire QB Kevin Hogan, 6th-round pick from Browns for 6th-round pick
The Browns have shipped off another quarterback, this time sending Kevin Hogan to the Redskins for an exchange of sixth-round picks. Washington will end up moving down 17 spots in return.
While moving down 17 picks in the sixth round isn't a big deal, it's about 17 spots too many for Hogan. The former Stanford product is horrible and doesn't belong in the NFL. He has thrown more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (4) in his brief career thus far. He can scramble around a bit, but that's it. When Hogan was coming out of the draft, Charlie Campbell described him best, saying something like: "This is what Andrew Luck will look like when he's 45."
The Browns won this trade despite the minimal return. It's nice that they can get at least something out for Hogan. I don't even think Hogan will end up making the Redskins' 53-man roster.
Rams acquire WR Brandin Cooks, 4th-round pick from Patriots for 1st, 6th-round picks
I don't know what's more surprising: The Rams trading for a receiver not named Odell Beckham Jr., or Brandin Cooks being dealt for the second year in a row. There's also a third option: Cooks being traded for a first-round pick.
I was leaving the gym when I saw an alert that Cooks was traded to the Patriots. I didn't see the compensation, so I thought about what it could be on the drive home. I thought a second-round pick seemed fair. Maybe a second and a fourth; something like that. The problem was that the Rams don't have a second-rounder, and that's when I realized that the first-round pick may have been involved.
This is too much for Cooks. There's no doubt that Cooks is a talented player, and he's still just 24, but it's very telling that two smart teams have given up on him already. Not only that, but they've done so in consecutive years!
Cooks is a problem in the locker room, no doubt, and the added caveat is that he's played exclusively with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Tom Brady throughout his career. Jared Goff has great physical talent, but he's a young quarterback who isn't the sort of team leader Brees and Brady are at this stage of their careers. If Goff doesn't get Cooks the ball enough - a problem that occurred with Sammy Watkins last year - will Cooks cause major problems? It's certainly possible.
I don't hate this deal for the Rams because they're getting a very talented, young play-maker. However, I feel that they've overpaid for a big risk, so I can't grade this favorably for them. The Patriots, meanwhile, get to use the 23rd pick to either replace Cooks or select a left tackle like Kolton Miller. There's also a possibility that the Patriots could use Nos. 23 and 31 to trade for something - perhaps even Odell Beckham! I'd say New England clearly won this swap.
Jaguars acquire QB Cody Kessler from Browns for conditional 2019 7th-round pick
Former Browns general manager Sashi Brown did a good job of acquiring assets, but he didn't execute the draft very well. One of his many blunders was spending a third-round pick on Cody Kessler. We had Kessler pegged as a "6th-FA" player in our 2016 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospect Rankings. It was absolutely stunning that Brown took him in the third round.
Kessler went on to struggle, as expected. He wasn't horrible, and he did a decent job of managing some games as a rookie, but he was ultimately benched because he couldn't complete routine NFL throws. He barely played last year.
The Browns are lucky that they're getting anything for Kessler, who wouldn't have made a roster comprised of Sam Darnold/Josh Allen, Tyrod Taylor and Drew Stanton. Meanwhile, the Jaguars needed a backup for Blake Bortles, and Kessler is a very cheap option. Thus, I think this trade makes sense for both teams, with Cleveland coming out on top by just a bit.
Broncos acquire LB/S Su'a Cravens, 2018 4th- and 5th-round picks from Redskins for 4th-round pick, two 5th-round picks
This seems like a lot, but to simplify this trade, the Broncos are really just giving up is a fifth-round pick for Su'a Cravens. The swap of fourth-rounders is just Denver moving down from either No. 106 or 109 to 113, so that's not really a big deal.
So, the question is if Cravens is worth a fifth-round pick. I'm not so sure. He didn't even play last year because he pseudo retired. He left the Redskins because of health and personal issues. Apparently, he's going to play in 2018, but he's obviously not a very reliable person to have on a team if he can just quit on a whim. That said, Cravens is a talented player - he was a second-round pick in 2016 - and so he could fill the need the Broncos have at linebacker if he dedicates himself to football again. It's just a matter if he wants to play or not.
The Redskins definitely won this trade. They couldn't count on Cravens moving forward, so getting a fifth-round choice, plus the ability to move up a bit at the beginning of Day 3, is a nice deal for them.
Broncos acquire OT Jared Veldheer from Cardinals for 6th-round picks
Jared Veldheer was once a solid starting left tackle in the NFL. He was never an elite player, but he was in the second tier of blind-side protectors for a while. That hasn't been the case recently, as he was atrocious last year. There were rumors that Veldheer wanted to retire prior to 2017, and he certainly played like he hung up the cleats. I figured Veldheer would call it a career after his awful 2017 campaign, but apparently not.
Not only is Veldheer a shell of his former self, he also carries a $10.2 million cap hit. The Broncos are eating it in exchange for a sixth-round pick, which doesn't seem right. You'd think they'd get a sixth-rounder to take on the Veldheer money in an NBA-style deal. Thus, I'd say the Cardinals won this trade because they got rid of a terrible contract.
However, this isn't a complete loss for Denver. Veldheer is still just 31, so there's still a chance, albeit a small one, that he would bounce back. The Broncos are desperate for right tackle help, and as bad as Veldheer was last year, he would be an upgrade over what they had there last year.
Buccaneers acquire DE Jason Pierre-Paul, 4th-round pick from Giants for 3rd-round, 4th-round picks
When the Giants hired former Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher to man the same post, I thought Jason Pierre-Paul would make sense for Bettcher's 3-4. My reasoning was that Arizona tried to sign Pierre-Paul a few years ago. Well, apparently Bettcher has changed his mind about Pierre-Paul because the Giants shipped off the talented edge rusher to the Buccaneers for a swap of third- and fourth-round picks.
Pierre-Paul's career was potentially derailed a few years ago in the infamous fireworks explosion, but he rebounded since, generating 15 sacks in the past two years. Now 29, Pierre-Paul should be able to play well for the next two or three seasons. He's also cheap this year; he counts just $2.5 million against the cap. This, however, will change quickly, as Pierre-Paul has an unfavorable deal after this season, but the Buccaneers currently have the eighth-most cap space in the NFL, so perhaps they'll be able to manage it.
This is a fine acquisition for the Buccaneers. Moving down a whole round hurts a bit - the No. 69 overall pick is a valuable one - but they need to win now for everyone to keep their jobs, and Pierre-Paul can help them do that. With Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry rushing the quarterback, Tampa Bay certainly won't have the worst sack total in the NFL anymore.
As for the Giants, if they thought Pierre-Paul didn't fit well into their new 3-4, this trade makes a ton of sense. In fact, I'd say they won the deal. Obtaining the 69th-overall selection is a nice move for a team trying to rebuild. They're also getting rid of a bad contract - it gets ugly after 2018, as Pierre-Paul will eat up $27 million over two seasons - and they can take a younger edge rusher in the opening round as a replacement. The low-hanging fruit is to project Bradley Chubb to them at No. 2 overall, but it's likely that New York trades out of the spot. It's possible the Giants and Broncos could swap, and that Chubb is the fifth-overall choice. What I have happening in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft is the Giants trading down to No. 12 and selecting Marcus Davenport to replace Pierre-Paul.
Cowboys acquire FB Jamize Olawale, 6th-round pick from Raiders for 5th-round pick
This is a small trade that seems to make sense for both sides. The Cowboys lost their fullback, Keith Smith, to the Raiders, so they needed to replace him. They're doing so with former Raider Jamize Olawale, moving down a round in the process.
While this swap is logical, it's also a bit odd. The Raiders wanted to upgrade Olawale, and they did so with Smith, so it's strange that Dallas would trade for the fullback Oakland didn't want. Still, it's not a big deal, but I think Oakland wins the trade for that reason.
Patriots acquire WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, 6th-round pick from Raiders for 5th-round pick
The Patriots, once upon a time, traded for a receiver who played for the Vikings, then the Raiders. That was Randy Moss. Somehow, I don't think Cordarrelle Patterson is going to have that same sort of impact, at least on offense.
Patterson is a bust as a former first-round wide receiver, but he's been a dynamic return specialist. That in itself makes him worth a late-round pick swap, whatever it may be. Patterson will need several injuries to occur on offense to make an impact with Tom Brady throwing the ball to him, but he should help Brady score more often by giving the Patriots favorable field position quite often.
I'm going to assume that this is an exchange of sixth- and seventh-round picks; something of that nature. If more is involved, I'll adjust the grades, but I'd have to think the Patriots won this trade.
Update: The late-round swap referenced earlier is actually a trade of fifth- and sixth-round picks. This seems very reasonable, and I still think the Patriots won this trade.
Jets acquire No. 3 overall from Colts for Nos. 6, 37 and 49, and 2019 2nd-rounder
Wow, that's two teams trading up frantically to land quarterbacks! The Bills moved up to No. 12 several days ago, and now the Jets have jumped up to the third-overall selection.
The Jets got ripped off. The Colts won this trade by 610 points, which is the equivalent of the 31st-overall pick in the NFL Draft. In a sense, Indianapolis obtained a free first-round choice for moving down just three spots! Better yet, there's still a chance the Colts get their man at No. 6. They're out of the Saquon Barkley sweepstakes, but Bradley Chubb could be there. If three quarterbacks and Barkley are the top four picks, and the Broncos take Quenton Nelson, Chubb will still be on the board. Either way, it seems as though the Colts will have their choice between Chubb and Nelson. Thus, this is a genius trade by Indianapolis.
As for the Jets, I don't like it for multiple reasons. The first is that they surrendered too much value, as discussed. Indianapolis was aware New York was desperate and was able to acquire way too many assets. This deal would've been fair without the 37th-overall pick.
The second is that I don't think the Jets needed to make a move for a quarterback. I really liked the Teddy Bridgewater signing, as he's a young quarterback who can still be a franchise signal-caller if he can stay healthy. Granted, that's a huge question mark, but why even sign him in the first place if the Jets didn't think that was a possibility? He was worth gambling on for one year. If he failed, New York could've taken a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft (go here for my 2019 NFL Mock Draft.)
The third problem is that the Jets may not even get the quarterback they want at third overall. If they're targeting, say, Josh Allen (he's the sort of quarterback Mike Maccagnan seems to like), what happens if the Bills trade up to No. 2 and snatch Allen? The Jets will be stuck with a signal-caller they don't want, which would be a disaster.
The Colts obviously won this deal by a wide margin. I don't want to grade the Jets too harshly because I understand their desperation for a quarterback, and we don't have all the information yet (perhaps they'll swap with the Giants as well), but I just disagree with what they are doing.
Patriots acquire CB Jason McCourty, 2018 7th-round pick from Browns for 2018 6th-round pick
It was reported earlier in the day that the Browns cut Jason McCourty, but the Patriots swooped in and acquired McCourty before the paperwork was submitted. God bless the Browns and their penchant for filing paperwork at a snail's pace.
I listed the Patriots as the top possible destination for McCourty on my NFL Trade Block page, so I obviously love the fit. New England needed to replace Malcolm Butler, and McCourty isn't that much worse than the hero of Super Bowl XLIX. The primary difference is age - McCourty turns 31 in August - but he's also far cheaper. He's owed just $3 million for 2018, while Butler signed a contract with $30 million guaranteed!
New England won this deal by a mile. It's an obvious A+. The Browns, meanwhile, get a Millen. It's that bad for them. It can be argued that they were willing to cut McCourty, so getting something for him is a bonus, but the decision to release him was a moronic one in the first place. I'm not going to reward Cleveland for its incompetence in this matter.
Grade for Patriots - A+
Grade for Browns - MILLEN TWIN KIELBASAS FOR TWIN YOUNG STALLIONS
Dolphins acquire C Daniel Kilgore, 2018 7th-round pick from 49ers for 2018 7th-round pick
The Dolphins and 49ers are just swapping seventh-round picks in this trade, so it's not like Miami is giving up anything of significance for Daniel Kilgore. After cutting Mike Pouncey, they needed someone to compete for the starting center job with Jake Brendel. My money is on Brendel, who played very well in an upset victory over the Falcons. Brendel, in limited action, was better than the banged-up Pouncey this past season, so he's definitely superior to Kilgore, who is not a good blocker.
I was confused when the 49ers gave Kilgore a 3-year, $12 million contract on Valentine's Day, as he's not worth that salary. Kilgore is just a mediocre backup, at best, but does have experience, so that might be valuable for the Dolphins. Unfortunately for them, they must inherit his contract, which is far from ideal.
The 49ers apparently signed Kilgore as an insurance policy, just in case they couldn't make an upgrade to their big need at center. They did so, signing Weston Richburg, making Kilgore expendable. They didn't get anything of significance for him, but getting rid of his contract has to be considered a win.
Vikings acquire QB Trevor Siemian, 2018 7th-round pick from Broncos for 2019 5th-round pick
Trevor Siemian was the starting quarterback for the Broncos the past two years, but he was obviously miscast for that role. Siemian did an OK job at times, but failed too often. He ideally would have been the backup had Paxton Lynch developed properly. Siemian will now be the No. 2 signal-caller, but for a different team.
Some people may scoff at the Vikings acquiring Siemian, but I think they won this trade. The going rate for a solid backup quarterback is a fourth-round pick, yet the Vikings are giving up a fifth next year and getting back a seventh in next month's draft. That in itself is a bargain, as is Siemian's salary, which is just $705,000. Other reserve signal-callers are being paid anywhere from $3 million to $10 million, so Siemian is a very cheap solution.
I think the Vikings won this trade from a value standpoint. The Broncos, meanwhile, didn't really have room for Siemian, so it made sense to trade him. Denver signed Case Keenum and could spend the No. 5 overall pick on a quarterback, so why keep on Siemian for no reason?
Bengals acquire OT Cordy Glenn, No. 21 overall, 2018 6th-round pick from Bills for No. 12 overall, 2018 5th-round pick
This trade means so much for both teams, and there's a lot to talk about, so let's get right to it...
Cordy Glenn is a great talent. He's an excellent left tackle when healthy. Unfortunately, the "when healthy" stipulation is significant, as Glenn has missed 17 games in the past two seasons with various injuries, including foot problems. It's never great to hear that a big man has issues with his feet, as recovering from this sort of problem can be difficult for them. The good news is that Glenn is still just 28, so he's young enough to get healthy for 2018.
Buffalo didn't really have much use for Glenn, despite his talents. Dion Dawkins played well at left tackle as a rookie last year, so the Bills had an asset they could use in a trade. And they certainly did, as moving up from No. 21 to 12 is very crucial. It's an indication that it's the first of two or three trades to get the Bills into position to move up for a quarterback.
The Bills are now armed with the Nos. 12 and 22 overall selections, as well as 53, 56 and 65. If you add all of these up in the NFL Trade Value Chart, you get 2,955 points, just 45 shy of 3,000, which is what No. 1 overall is worth! The Bills could theoretically trade Nos. 12, 22 and 65 to get close to 2,200, which is what No. 3 is worth. The Colts might be very interested in trading down, as they have tons of needs. Thus, I have to think is a great trade for the Bills, as they shipped off an irrelevant player for them for a chance to get their franchise signal-caller.
Meanwhile, the Bengals have to be happy to get a much-needed upgrade on the offensive line. I just think they gave up a bit too much. The difference between Nos. 12 and 21 is 400 points, which is what the No. 50 overall selection is worth, and that seems like a bit too steep for such an injured blocker. Still, if Glenn is 100-percent healthy next year, Cincinnati won't be upset that it made this deal.
Patriots acquire DT Danny Shelton, 2018 5th-round pick from Browns for 2019 3rd-round pick
John Dorsey continues to wheel and deal. This time, he's the one shipping off a player for a draft pick. I loved what he did Friday night, and while this trade isn't as great as the Jarvis Landry deal, it also makes a lot of sense.
Shelton has been a stout run-stuffer for the Browns since they spent a first-round pick on him in 2015. However, they had a redundant player in Larry Ogunjobi, who is both younger and potentially better than Shelton. It didn't make much sense to have both on the field at the same time in most instances, so trading one was the logical move. Given that Ogunjobi has more potential, as well as more years remaining on his contract, Shelton had to go. Picking up a third-round pick in 2019 for the price of a fifth-rounder this year is a solid move.
The Patriots, meanwhile, needed someone to clog running lanes after what happened to them in the playoffs. Shelton is a great, young answer. The Patriots are moving back two rounds through two years, but that's a good price to pay for a talented defensive tackle.
Browns acquire WR Jarvis Landry from Dolphins for 2018 4th-rounder, 2019 7th-rounder
Are times changing in Cleveland? Will the Browns finally rise out of the NFL's cellar with John Dorsey as the general manager? We don't know for sure yet, obviously, but Dorsey is certainly off to a great start, wheeling and dealing like crazy on this Friday evening.
Jarvis Landry is the sort of player the Browns needed. Aside from Josh Gordon, they lacked proven receiving talent, and Gordon wasn't a reliable player because of his countless off-the-field issues. They now have a proven play-maker at receiver, and Landry will provide a huge boost for Tyrod Taylor and whomever Cleveland selects at No. 1 or 4 overall. Landry certainly has his detractors because he ran a 4.77 40, but that doesn't matter. He's a great route-runner, and he gets open very easily. Besides, Jerry Rice and Anquan Boldin both ran in the 4.7s. I don't know why NFL personnel people obsess over that time so much. It's irrelevant, and Landry is a dynamic slot receiver.
The only question was the compensation. We didn't know what it was for a couple of hours, but Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com broke the news. Miami obtained a fourth-round pick in 2018 and a seventh-round choice in 2019 for Landry.
Yes, that's it. This is a MAJOR steal for the Browns. Honestly, if they had given up their third second-rounder (No. 64 overall) instead of their fourth, I wouldn't have hated the trade. Landry should be worth way more than that, but the Dolphins almost didn't have a choice. They were in such a dire cap situation that they were forced into deal Landry, meaning they possessed very little leverage. Still, they should've been able to obtain something a bit more than this for their best offensive player.
Browns acquire CB Damarious Randall from Packers for QB DeShone Kizer
We don't have the details of the Jarvis Landry trade yet (edit: they just came in), and we don't possess everything for this deal yet either, but we know that Damarious Randall was traded to the Browns, and DeShone Kizer was shipped off to the Packers. For the sake of these grades, I'm going to assume that this is a one-for-one swap, but if details say otherwise, I'll make adjustments.
I'm assuming this is a one-for-one transaction because I think this is a very even trade for both sides. For the Browns, they're getting a much-needed new member for their secondary. Damarious Randall is still young (26 in August), and he was Green Bay's best cornerback in 2017. The Packers reportedly were willing to trade him because he clashed with the coaching staff. The Chiefs got rid of Marcus Peters for the same reason, so it's not like the Browns are necessarily acquiring a lemon. Randall should be able to help Cleveland's poor pass defense.
Kizer, meanwhile, was thrown into live action way too early. He wasn't ready to be a starter last year. He's still just 22 and possesses a great arm and mobility. If he's coached up extremely well, he might be able to become a viable starter one day. At the very least, he can eventually be a solid backup. The Packers needed a better No. 2 quarterback after what transpired with Brett Hundley last year, and that's exactly what they got in this trade.
Browns acquire QB Tyrod Taylor from Bills for 3rd-round pick (No. 65)
Cleveland has obtained Tyrod Taylor from the Bills for its own third-round pick (No. 65 overall). The Browns were rumored to be interested in A.J. McCarron, but it's now unlikely that McCarron will sign in Cleveland.
Also, this trade does not mean that Taylor will be starting for the Browns for all of 2018. In fact, Taylor may not start the season opener, depending on what transpires in training camp and the preseason. Taylor will be the starter heading into August, but there's a chance he could be beaten out by the first- or fourth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. If not, Taylor can provide a steady hand while the rookie signal-caller develops.
This isn't a great trade for the Browns, but it's not bad either. I think a fourth-rounder for Taylor would've been more correct, as that's the going rate for backup quarterbacks. Sure, Taylor is a bit more than a backup right now, but it'll be shocking if he's still starting after Halloween. That said, Taylor provides the Browns with some stability at the position, which is something they haven't had in a long time.
The Bills, meanwhile, are the clear winners of this deal. They didn't want Taylor anymore and had to find an alternative at the position. They could've easily cut Taylor loose, but they were able to net the opening choice in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, which is great value.
Panthers acquire WR Torrey Smith from Eagles for CB Daryl Worley
If I were an NFL general manager, I'd be terrified to make any sort of deal with Howie Roseman. The man is a wizard and somehow finds a way to win every trade. He just robbed the Seahawks, so did he do the same thing to Carolina?
Torrey Smith is the bigger name in the trade, but that doesn't mean the Panthers are the winners. Smith was great for the Ravens during their Super Bowl run in 2013, catching 65 passes for 1,128 yards. However, Smith hasn't topped 770 yards in a season since, and at 29, time is running out for him to rebound. Smith wasn't very productive this past season, hauling in 36 balls for 430 yards and two touchdowns. He made some clutch plays, but also was responsible for countless drops. Owed $5 million in 2018, Smith had to be let go, as the Eagles are over the salary cap. The fact that Philadelphia got anything for him is definitely a bonus.
The Eagles won this trade. They dealt an aging, pedestrian player for a young cornerback with promise, all while saving $4 million or so in cap space. Worley, a 2016 third-round pick, had a semi-decent rookie year, but struggled in 2017. However, Worley has a chance to play better in Philadelphia because the Eagles, unlike the Panthers, have a great pass rush, so he won't be exposed as much. Plus, Worley is just 23, so he has plenty of room for growth.
Rams acquire CB Aqib Talib from Broncos for 2018 5th-round picks
This trade pretty much mirror's yesterday's deal between the Eagles and Seahawks. Seattle was selling a 32-year-old defensive player without much leverage, and like Michael Bennett, Aqib Talib was expected to be released if his team couldn't trade him. This forced the Broncos into dealing him for just a fifth-round selection, which is pretty much what Seattle received for Bennett.
The Rams definitely won this transaction. Talib will rejoin Wade Phillips in Los Angeles, where he'll be a part of a terrific secondary. He'll start across from Marcus Peters, and they'll get great support from LaMarcus Joyner and John Johnson at safety. The Rams will arguably have the best secondary in the NFL, perhaps rivaling what the Broncos had in 2015 when they won the Super Bowl. Sure, Talib is on the downside of his career at age 32, but for just a fifth-round pick, he's totally worth it.
The Broncos, meanwhile, can't get a good grade for this, but it's not a failure either. They had to deal Talib because of cap restraints, and this new money will allow them to obtain a quarterback. Still, they could've waited and maybe gotten a fourth from some other team. If you recall, the Seahawks could have received a better deal from the Patriots for Bennett had they waited a bit. Perhaps the Broncos were in the same situation.
Giants acquire LB Alec Ogletree, 2018 7th-round pick from Rams for 2018 4th- and 6th-round picks
Leave it to two teams in the northeast part of the country to conduct two major trades on the day of a crazy nor'easter. How are they doing this without any electricity? I'm barely functioning!
This trade isn't nearly as lopsided as the other one, as it makes sense for both teams. However, I'd say the Giants are the winners. They're getting a linebacker upgrade in Alec Ogletree, who has been an inconsistent player for the Rams, looking great at times, but missing too many tackles in other games. Still, he's young (27 in September) and much better than the options they've had in recent years, and it's not like New York gave up a lot to acquire him. It's basically just a fourth-rounder, since the two teams swapped sixth- and seventh-round choices. Ogletree isn't a steal at that price, but he definitely provides good value.
The Rams, meanwhile, are clearing more cap space once again. Ogletree wasn't a great fit in Wade Phillips' offense, so it makes sense that they would deal him in addition to Robert Quinn, who also didn't take well to Phillips' scheme.
Eagles acquire DE/DT Michael Bennett, 2018 7th-round pick from Seahawks for 2018 5th-round pick, WR Marcus Johnson
What in the world does Howie Roseman have over other NFL general managers? It's almost like he has nude photos of them and threatens to release them to the public if they don't allow him to absolutely rob them in trades. That's exactly what happened here, as the Eagles are the clear winners of this deal.
Bennett is a tremendous defensive lineman. He's terrific as both a run defender and a pass rusher. He accumulated 8.5 sacks in 2017, all while clamping down well against ground attacks. He can play on the edge or in the interior, as he's been a flexible player who has been able to move around a lot on the line of scrimmage. The only downside with him is that he'll turn 33 prior to Thanksgiving, but he played extremely well this past season. He's owed just $1.5 million in 2018, so he won't hurt Philadelphia's cap situation at the current moment.
This makes the Super Bowl champion Eagles even better, all for the price of swapping fifth- and seventh-round picks. This is an absolute victory for them. The Seahawks, meanwhile, should've gotten more for a talented player, but it was leaked out that they would be trading him. Seattle could be letting go of Richard Sherman as well - go here to see which teams could sign Richard Sherman - so it looks like the team will be rebuilding this offseason.
Dolphins acquire DE Robert Quinn from Rams for 2018 4th-round pick, swap of 6th-rounders
I really wanted to hate this trade for the Dolphins when I first heard it. Already $8 million over the cap, they had to cut numerous players to not only get into the black, but to also have enough room to sign their rookies. Yet, they made a move to acquire Robert Quinn, and now they're going to be $20 million in the red.
However, this is a great bargain for Quinn. Once I saw the compensation - a fourth-round pick and a swap of sixth-rounders - I was confused as to why the Rams hadn't gotten more. Sure, Quinn didn't look great in their 3-4 last season, but he still accumulated 8.5 sacks. It's not like he played terribly. Trading him was still the right decision, but it seems like they should've been able to obtain a second-round selection for an extremely talented edge rusher who turns 28 this offseason.
Going back to the Dolphins, I actually think they won this deal. Like I said, I wanted to hate this trade, but considering the lack of resources they surrendered, this was almost too good to pass up. They're going to cut a ton of players, but that was the idea anyway. They'll get rid of Ndamukong Suh, which will free up lots of money. Jarvis Landry, Ja'Wuan James and others will be gone as well. At the very least, Miami will have two talented edge rushers left over (Quinn and Charles Harris) to build around.
Rams acquire CB Marcus Peters, 2018 6th-rounder from Chiefs for 2018 4th-rounder, 2019 2nd-rounder
We finally have the details of the Marcus Peters trade. The Chiefs will be getting back a fourth-round pick this April and a 2019 second-round choice. They'll also be surrendering a sixth-rounder this year in addition to Peters.
I wrote that the Chiefs were likely getting back a second-day selection of some sort, but I thought it would be this year. I'm not sure why they have to wait until 2019 to get it. Peters is a terrific cornerback, and Kansas City should've been able to obtain more for him. However, teams were aware that the Chiefs were frustrated with Peters, so that killed his value. As a result, this is all Kansas City was able to obtain for him.
The Rams obviously won this swap. Peters will provide a great boost for their secondary, which will lose Trumaine Johnson to free agency. Giving up a second-round pick in 2019 is significant, but definitely worth it. They also have to move down two rounds this April, but that's not a big deal. The Chiefs, meanwhile, look bad, but they didn't want Peters around, and they acquired two talented corners (Kendall Fuller, David Amerson) to compensate for his loss, so I think they'll be fine. I just wish they could've gotten a bit more. Still, I don't think this trade is as bad as people are making it out to be. I still consider the Chiefs one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl out of the AFC.
Redskins acquire QB Alex Smith from Chiefs for CB Kendall Fuller, 2018 3rd-round pick
It's currently unknown what the Chiefs will be receiving for trading Alex Smith to the Redskins. Ian Rapoport is saying that this deal is for "picks and a player." Which picks and which player will obviously determine how good of a trade this is for both teams, but I can't imagine Kansas City being on the losing end of this trade.
The Chiefs had to move on from Smith. He's been a good quarterback for them, but never really a great one capable of leading a team deep into the playoffs. Smith turns 34 in May and will begin declining shortly. Kansas City spent last year's first-round pick on Patrick Mahomes, and by the way he played in Week 17 versus Denver's defense, it appears as though he's ready to be the starter. Thus, it's good that the Chiefs are going to move forward with him in 2018. The fact that they're getting resources for Smith is the cherry on top.
As for the Redskins, it's difficult to understand what they're doing. By acquiring Smith, it's basically official that Kirk Cousins won't be back next year. Cousins has been Washington's best quarterback since Joe Theismann, so why allow him to leave, especially if it's for a 34-year-old veteran quarterback with no track record of winning in the playoffs? This trade will be even worse for the Redskins if they surrendered significant resources. Stay tuned for a more definitive grade, plus a poll once we learn what the compensation was.
Update: The "picks and a player" turned out to be a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. The selection is a nice one, as the Chiefs don't have a first-rounder this year, so they need more resources to fix their defense. Fuller, meanwhile, is an excellent acquisition. He was terrific as Washington's slot cornerback last year. This fills a huge need for the Chiefs, whose secondary was awful last season outside of Marcus Peters.
The Chiefs are getting an A+ for this. For the Redskins, this is a disaster. They downgraded at quarterback, and to do so, they gave up a talented cornerback and a third-round pick. This is so dumb. When I heard "pick and a player," I assumed it was some backup and a sixth-round choice, or something. I never imagined the Redskins would give up so much to get older and worse at quarterback. I don't understand what the hell they are doing.
Grade for Redskins - STATE OF THE KIELBASA MILLEN
Grade for Chiefs - A+
Bills acquire WR Kelvin Benjamin from Panthers for 2018 3rd- and 7th-round picks
I didn't like the Jay Ajayi and Duane Brown trades for the Dolphins and Texans, respectively, but I could at least understand what those teams were thinking. This trade, however, makes absolutely no sense for the Panthers.
Marty Hurney is one of the worst general managers in the NFL, and it was irresponsible of the Panthers to allow him to be near a telephone on this day. Only he could make a ridiculously stupid move like this. He just traded away a very talented, young receiver for practically nothing, and for no reason.
Some Hurney loyalists might argue that the Panthers nearly won a Super Bowl without Benjamin in 2015, but the Panthers had the best defense in the conference that year. They also had Greg Olsen in his prime. Olsen is now 32 and coming off injury, so Carolina, now 5-3, doesn't have any viable downfield weapons for Cam Newton to work with. Why would the Panthers be sellers at 5-2? It makes no sense!
The Bills, meanwhile, won this trade very easily. It's an A+ deal, no questions asked. Benjamin can step in and become their new No. 1 receiver, which is something they sorely needed, and given the lack of receiving talent in the upcoming draft class - check out my 2018 NFL Mock Draft here - the Bills had to do something like this. Giving up just a third for Benjamin is a major steal.
Eagles acquire RB Jay Ajayi from Dolphins for 2018 4th-round pick
This isn't as shocking as the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, but it's up there. The Eagles, who didn't have very many weaknesses, just shored up one of them, fixing their running game by acquiring Jay Ajayi for a fourth-round pick.
You know this trade is good for the Eagles, given that Dolphin fans on Twitter are asking if Adam Gase is from Philadelphia. Ajayi rushed for 1,272 yards last year on 4.9 yards per carry. His numbers have plummeted this year - 465 yards on 3.4 YPC - but that's because Miami's offensive line is atrocious. Ajayi will strengthen Philadelphia's already-potent offense, and he'll make Carson Wentz more lethal because opposing defenses will now have to respect the running game. Better yet, Ajayi is just 24, and he doesn't even have 500 career carries under his belt, so it's not like he's a worn-out back, or anything. He's well worth this investment.
As for the Dolphins, they'll move forward with Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake as their two backs. I don't mind them trading Ajayi, especially with a running back-rich 2018 NFL Draft class coming up (check out my 2018 NFL Mock Draft here) as it was unlikely they'd make the playoffs this year, but they should've obtained more than a fourth-round pick for Ajayi. He's definitely worth more than that, and the paranoid Miami fans would agree.
Jets acquire CB Rashard Robinson from 49ers for 2018 5th-round pick
This is obviously a minor trade compared to the other blockbusters made during the trade deadline. The Jets acquired a depth player from the 49ers for a mid-round pick.
I'd say this makes sense for both teams. The Jets needed depth at corner, especially with Morris Claiborne now banged up. Rashard Robinson was a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but has struggled thus far. However, he has some natural ability and could perform well in his new home.
As for the 49ers, their current regime didn't select Robinson, so it's logical that they would cut ties with someone who was struggling. Obtaining a fifth-round pick for a poor perfomer is a solid move.
49ers acquire QB Jimmy Garoppolo from Patriots for 2018 2nd-round pick
Wow!!! This is crazy. The Patriots were so stubborn about not trading Jimmy Garoppolo last offseason, so this is certainly a shocker. They've agreed to send Garoppolo to the 49ers, who may have finally found their quarterback of the future.
Given New England's stance on Garoppolo, it seemed as though the team believed it could have obtained more from the former second-round pick. And I think they could have. This doesn't seem like appropriate value for a potential franchise quarterback. I wouldn't say Garoppolo is certain to be one, but he appears to have the ability of such a player. I like that the Patriots are acquiring a strong asset - this pick is certain to be in the 33-36 range - but they should have gotten more, even if it was just a 2019 third-rounder, or something, to sweeten the deal.
As for the 49ers, they are the clear winners. The upside of Garoppolo is tremendous. He could be their franchise quarterback for the next 10-12 years. And even if he fails, all they surrendered was a second-round selection. San Francisco can now focus on selecting Saquon Barkley, which is what I have happening in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
Seahawks acquire OT Duane Brown and 2018 5th-round pick from Texans for 2018 3rd-round pick, 2019 2nd-round pick
Duane Brown made it clear that he wanted out of Houston. He was vocal about Bob McNair's comments, and he held out for the first seven games of the year. With the Texans unwilling to give him a pay raise, the two sides were at a standstill, so it makes sense that he was traded.
Brown is 32, and he didn't play all that well in his return to the field against the Seahawks. Still, he's light years better than Seattle's previous left tackle, Rees Odhiambo, who probably shouldn't even be in the NFL. Besides, Brown will work his way into shape, so he'll perform better down the stretch and in the playoffs. Obtaining him is a huge boon for the Seahawks, who have endured major blocking issues. The offensive line will still be a problem, but Seattle now has two talented linemen in Brown and center Justin Britt.
As for the Texans, they lost this trade because they gave away the best commodity. However, I don't think this is a bad deal for them by any means. Jeremy Lane has struggled, but if he can get healthy, he can provide an upgrade in the secondary. A second-round pick will also help. Most importantly, Brown being off the books will allow them to add to Deshaun Watson's supporting cast next offseason.
Update: Jeremy Lane is no longer part of the trade because he failed his physical. So, instead of Lane, the Seahawks and Texans are swapping third- and fifth-round picks, which seems fair. My grades will remain as they were originally.
Jaguars acquire DT Marcell Dareus from Bills for conditional 6th-round draft pick
The great Bills fire sale of 2017 continues! This time, it was Marcell Dareus, who was dealt to the Jaguars in what effectively is a salary dump. Buffalo will save some money this year and next with Dareus no longer on the roster.
That said, it's still odd that the Bills are giving Dareus away for effectively nothing. Dareus hasn't played up to his ability this year, but he was still a solid player for the Bills after missing some action in September. Dareus clashed with the coaching staff, but you would think that's something that could've been worked out.
The Jaguars are the obvious winners of this deal. They're surrendering nothing but cap space to add an extremely talented player to their already-stacked defensive line. Dareus is still young as well - just 27 - so he'll be able to play on a high level for at least four more years. Also, there won't be an adjustment period for Dareus, given that Doug Marrone coached him in Buffalo several years ago.
Bears acquire WR Dontrelle Inman from Chargers for conditional 7th-round draft pick
Dontrelle Inman caught 58 passes for 810 yards and four touchdowns last year, but with Keenan Allen returning from injury and Mike Williams now on the roster, Inman was rotting on the Chargers' bench. He recorded just two catches in four games, so it's not a surprise that Los Angeles was willing to trade him.
The Bears need Inman much more than the Chargers do, obviously. They have nothing at receiver because of the Cameron Meredith and Kevin White injuries. Inman can step in and become a reliable target for Mitchell Trubisky once he learns the offense.
I like this move for the Bears, as Inman is a big target (6-3, 205) with solid ability. Chicago won't be able to get away with throwing just seven passes, so giving Trubisky a viable receiver to throw to was a nice decision. As for the Chargers, they weren't using Inman anyway, so it made sense to deal him.
Cardinals acquire RB Adrian Peterson from Saints for conditional draft pick
I'm surprised any team wanted Adrian Peterson at this point, but I guess the Cardinals were desperate enough to pull the trigger. Chris Johnson was starting for them, after all, and Peterson can't possibly be worse.
That said, Peterson is not going to be a substantial upgrade. He's averaged three yards per carry behind a New Orleans offensive line that is superior to Arizona's. Peterson has also had the luxury of playing with Drew Brees. Opposing defenses actually had to respect Brees. They aren't doing that with Palmer, who is decrepit.
Whatever the Cardinals gave up for Peterson, it's not worth it. They are horrible and won't compete for a playoff spot anyway. Their offensive line is atrocious and won't be able to open any holes for Peterson. The Saints, meanwhile, won this trade, even if they don't get anything. Letting Peterson go is addition by subtraction, as it'll allow Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to be on the field more often.
Dolphins acquire LB Stephone Anthony from Saints for undisclosed draft pick
Assuming that this undisclosed draft pick is a conditional late-rounder, I like what the Dolphins did with this trade. They're desperate for a linebacker in the wake of Raekwon McMillan's injury and Lawrence Timmons' personal problems, so why not acquire Anthony? He was a first-round pick in 2015, after all. Sure, he hasn't done much in the NFL, but he has potential. Plus, the Saints have a poor coaching staff, so perhaps that's the reason why Anthony hasn't been able to develop. It'll be interesting to see if the Dolphins can make something out of him.
Either way, the Dolphins aren't taking a risk, so I like the move. The Saints, meanwhile, are getting something for a player they haven't been using, so I guess that's a positive as well.
Cowboys acquire DE Jayrone Elliott from Packers for conditional 7th-round pick
The Cowboys need defensive depth for sure, and Jayrone Elliott can provide that. Elliott has logged four sacks over the past two years for the Packers. Plus, he improves special teams, as that will be his primary role.
I think this makes sense for Dallas, as a conditional seventh-round pick is effectively nothing. I'd say the Cowboys won this trade, as I think the Packers were better off keeping Elliott if they're just getting a conditional seventh in return. Dealing him, however, is not a big deal.
Steelers acquire S J.J. Wilcox, 2019 7th-round pick from Buccaneers for 2018 6th-round pick
This seems like a decent deal for both teams, though I'd say Pittsburgh is the clear winner. The Steelers needed a safety to upgrade the spot next to Michael Mitchell. Sean Davis is a young player with upside, but he struggled last year. J.J. Wilcox is coming off a career year after a mediocre start. He's only 26, so he should have a bright future ahead of him, though he still has a lot to prove.
As for the Buccaneers, they just signed T.J. Ward away from the Broncos, so they could afford to deal Wilcox. They're not getting much, moving up a round in the draft across two years. However, it's better than getting nothing and keeping Wilcox on the bench.
Patriots acquire DE Cassius Marsh from Seahawks for 5th- and 7th-round picks
Cassius Marsh was chosen in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he has recorded only three sacks in his career, all of which came in 2016. He has only been a rotational player, as he happens to be a liability against the run.
The Patriots were in desperate need of edge-rushing help, especially after losing Derek Rivers to a season-ending injury and then letting go of Kony Ealy. Marsh should help a bit, but he'll be more impactful on special teams. Getting him for two third-day selections seems like a fine move, but I would've liked it more if it were for sixth- and seventh-rounders.
I think the Seahawks won this deal by a bit. They didn't need Marsh anymore after bolstering their front with Sheldon Richardson, so getting a viable asset in a fifth-round pick for Marsh is a nice transaction.
Patriots acquire WR Phillip Dorsett from Colts for QB Jacoby Brissett
Phillip Dorsett had been viewed as a colossal bust prior to this preseason. Chosen in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Dorsett logged 18 and 33 receptions in his two NFL seasons. He hasn't been able to take advantage of opportunities when players ahead of him on the depth chart suffered injuries. This happened against the Chiefs in Week 8, yet all Dorsett did was log five receptions for 33 yards.
However, Dorsett looked functional in Indianapolis' preseason games, which enhanced his trade value. He's only a 24-year-old, third-year player, so perhaps he's just a late bloomer. If so, the Patriots could be obtaining a potential, legitimate offensive threat for the future.
As for Jacoby Brissett, he looked good in one of his two starts last year when he and the Patriots shut out the Texans. He also thrived in Thursday's preseason game against the Giants. However, we've seen a history of Bill Belichick and his staff getting the most out of quarterbacks. Then, once those signal-callers go elsewhere, they accomplish nothing. Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallett come to mind, so Brissett could be next.
Still, I don't mind the Colts making this move. Andrew Luck could miss a chunk of the 2017 season, and Indianapolis needs a better plan than Scott Tolzien. Brissett should be better than Tolzien once he learns the offense.
Rams acquire TE Derek Carrier from Redskins for 2018 7th-round pick
This deal makes sense for both sides. Derek Carrier played for Rams head coach Sean McVay in the past, so he can just slide in with his new team without having to learn the offense at all. Carrier won't contribute as a receiver, but the Rams won't need him to do that because of Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee. Instead, he'll serve as a decent blocker.
The Redskins, meanwhile, didn't need another tight end with Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Niles Paul and Jeremy Sprinkle on the roster. They were likely to cut Carrier, so getting a seventh-round pick is nice.
Cowboys acquire CB Bene Benwikere from Bengals for conditional late-round draft pick
Bene Benwikere once seemed like he would develop into a solid starter in the NFL. As a fifth-round rookie in 2014, he played well for the Panthers. It's unclear what happened to him, however, as he was frequently torched the past couple of years. The Panthers cut him during the 2016 campaign, and he's been on numerous teams since. His latest stop will be Dallas, as the Cowboys acquired him from Cincinnati for a conditional late-round selection.
It's possible that the Cowboys could get Benwikere back to playing at a steady level, and if so, this will turn out to be a major steal. If Dallas can't, which is the most likely scenario, the team probably won't surrender anything for Benwikere, so this seems like a good deal. The Cowboys needed to do something like this, given their issues in the secondary.
Browns acquire WR Sammie Coates, 2019 7th-round pick from Steelers for 2018 6th-round pick
Sammie Coates is an explosive athlete who was seen as a boom-or-bust prospect coming out of Auburn. The Steelers took a shot on him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but he hasn't lived up to his potential. Coates caught 22 passes in two years, as he dropped numerous passes and missed 12 games in that span because of injury. He appears to be a bust.
That said, I don't dislike this trade for the Browns. They need talent, and Coates has plenty of it. He's only 24, so he still has a lot of time to live up to his ability. For the price of exchanging late-round selections, I'd say it's worth it. This also makes sense for the Steelers, who had a log jam at wideout. This seems like an even deal for both teams.
Patriots acquire DE/DT ST Johnson Bademosi from Lions for 2019 6th-round pick
There have been several minor trades made today, so let's go through them quickly. Johnson Bademosi is a terrific special-teams player. He's also just 27, so it's not like he's going to become worse in that regard anytime soon.
This is a nice move by the Patriots to strengthen their special teams. The Lions are getting a 2019 sixth-rounder in return, but it doesn't seem worth it to deal Bademosi because he's very good at what he does. Getting compensation is nice, but the Lions just made themselves worse for 2017 in exchange for something that won't improve the roster until at least 2019.
Seahawks acquire DE/DT Sheldon Richardson from Jets for WR Jermaine Kearse and a 2nd-round pick
If I worked for an NFC West team not named the Seahawks, I would be extremely furious that Seattle was able to trade with the tanking Jets. The Seahawks have improved markedly as a result of this deal.
Sheldon Richardson is an extremely talented defensive lineman. He's also young, too, as he's just 26. Richardson has been playing out of position in recent years because of the presence of Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, but he's three years removed from registering eight sacks, a high number for a player at his position. He also happens to be terrific versus the run. This is a huge acquisition for the Seahawks, as their front seven is now packed with numerous Pro Bowl-caliber players. The only way this would've been better is if Seattle were able to obtain an equally talented offensive lineman, but the fans can't complain, as Richardson still improves the roster.
As for the Jets, it really depends on what this undisclosed draft compensation is. If it's a second- or third-round pick, as speculated, it's not a bad deal for them because they're rebuilding. Having an extra second-day selection in a terrific draft class - check my 2018 NFL Mock Draft here - is a huge boon for the future. They also needed a receiver, and while Jermaine Kearse isn't anything special, he's a steady guy who won't embarrass himself.
The Jets lost this trade, but given their situation, pulling the trigger on this was a logical decision.
Update: The Jets are definitely getting a second-round pick (plus, they're swapping sevenths), so I feel comfortable bumping this up from a B- to a "B" for the Jets. I still think the Seahawks deserve an "A" for this, however.
Titans acquire DE David King from Chiefs for conditional 7th-round pick
Unlike some of the trades made today, this deal won't have any sort of impact on the win and loss totals in the NFL. David King is a fringe NFL player who has barely played since being chosen in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
This deal makes sense for depth, as the Titans obtained a rotational player. He may not even play. I assume snaps have to do with the conditional part of this trade, so Tennessee may not have to give anything up. It's an even, meaningless trade as a result.
Vikings acquire CB Tramaine Brock from Seahawks for 7th-round pick
I gave the Seahawks an "A" grade for signing Tramaine Brock. It was a good deal; he was released earlier in the offseason because of domestic violence charges. Brock has since been cleared, so there aren't any ramifications for having him on the roster.
Brock provided great value as a signing, so it's strange that they'd just give him away for a seventh-round pick. The Seahawks appear to love both Shaq Griffin and Pierre Desir. That's the only thing that would explain it, but keeping Brock on the roster seems like it would have been the better move.
I'd easily give the Vikings the win for this trade. Trae Waynes has struggled, so Brock can challenge him and replace the departed Captain Munnerlyn. Getting Brock for just a seventh-round choice is a steal.
Seahawks acquire CB Justin Coleman from Patriots for late-round pick
Here's what Charlie Campbell wrote about Justin Coleman ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft: "Late in the process, a lot of teams have shown interest in Coleman. He is a sleeper who could end up being a third-day gem. Coleman was a 4-year contributor for the Volunteers who broke into the starting lineup as a freshman."
It's not a surprise that the Seahawks wanted to acquire Coleman, as he has some talent. He's been better as a tackler than a cover man thus far in his career, but he has some potential. It's a decent move to obtain him for a late-round pick. I also don't fault the Patriots for dealing Coleman, as they have lots of talent at the position. This is a deal that makes sense for both sides.
Falcons acquire OT/G Ty Sambrailo from Broncos for 5th-round pick
And yet another early-round offensive lineman has been dealt. Ty Sambrailo wasn't a first-round pick like Greg Robinson, Cameron Erving or Laken Tomlinson, but he was chosen in the second frame of the 2015 NFL Draft. Sambrailo has been an utter failure thus far, failing to see the field very often for the Broncos, who have endured major offensive tackle issues over the past couple of seasons. When Sambrailo has played, he's been worse than a turnstile.
I don't have much hope for Sambrailo succeeding in Atlanta. The Falcons have a strong blocking unit, save for right guard. Perhaps Sambrailo can be coached up and inserted into that spot. I don't think it's out of the question that he could provide the team with an upgrade there, though it's highly unlikely.
Though the Falcons are just taking a shot on a former second-round pick by only giving up a selection in the fifth frame, I think the Broncos won this deal. Sambrailo was so useless that he was unlikely to make the final roster, so it's great that John Elway was able to obtain something for him.
49ers acquire G Laken Tomlinson from Lions for 2019 5th-round pick
We've seen several first-round offensive linemen traded this offseason, and Laken Tomlinson is the latest player to join that exclusive club. Tomlinson, chosen in the opening frame of the 2015 NFL Draft, has been an utter failure thus far. In fact, he was projected not to survive final cuts.
The fact that the Lions obtained something for a player they had no intention of keeping makes them the winners of this deal. They effective obtained a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft for free, which was a good move by their front office.
As for the 49ers, they're desperate for offensive line help, so I can understand why they would make this trade. However, we've just seen the Lions revitalize Greg Robinson's career. If the Lions could transform Robinson from a colossal bust to a decent blocker, doesn't it speak volumes that they couldn't get anything out of Tomlinson? We'll see if Tomlinson can turn his career around, but I have my doubts.
Chiefs acquire OT/C Cameron Erving from Browns for 5th-round pick
The Chiefs weren't one of the teams I highlighted that could trade for Cameron Erving, as they didn't have a need at center or right tackle. However, Erving was acquired to serve as a versatile backup. He can play four of the five positions up front. He can't play those positions well, but he can at least be penciled into the lineup at four spots.
Erving has been a complete failure thus far as a former first-round pick, routinely whiffing on blocks and getting called for penalties. However, he does have talent, so motivation has been an issue. Perhaps being with a winning organization will help him make something out of his career. We've seen it with Greg Robinson, who has improved in Detroit after floundering with the Rams. For a fifth-round pick, why not take a chance on him?
As for the Browns, it's nice that they got at least something for Erving. I get the sense that they were going to dump Erving during final cuts, so it's great that they received a fifth-round pick for him.
Steelers acquire TE Vance McDonald, 5th-round pick from 49ers for 4th-round pick
The Steelers seemed like they had their answer at tight end when Ladarius Green dominated the Giants during a regular-season victory last year. Unfortunately, Green had major concussion issues he couldn't overcome, and once all three first-round tight ends - O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, David Njoku - were off the board by the time Pittsburgh was on the clock during the 2017 NFL Draft, it was apparent that the Steelers had to trade for someone if they wanted to improve upon Jesse James in the passing game.
Vance McDonald turned out to be the answer. San Francisco's old regime gave McDonald a 5-year, $35 million contract based on his potential, but he never lived up to it. However, McDonald, a 2013 second-round pick, has never played with a competent quarterback. Now, he'll have a future Hall of Famer throwing the ball to him, and I have to think Ben Roethlisberger will make good use of McDonald's talents. Better yet, the Steelers are surrendering next to nothing for McDonald. Pittsburgh will be selecting at the end of the fourth round, while San Francisco will be picking atop the next frame. Thus, the difference between the two selections will be a 3-5 choices, plus however many compensatory picks there are the end of Round 4.
The Steelers definitely won this trade. As for the 49ers, it didn't sound like they wanted to keep McDonald around at his price, so he likely was going to be a final cut. Moving up 6-12 spots in the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft is better than nothing.
Patriots acquire LB Marquis Flowers from Bengals for conditional 7th-round pick
This is a minor trade that seems to make sense for both teams. The Patriots like to collect mix-and-match linebackers they can use depending on the weekly matchup, so Marquis Flowers will provide depth and an option in that regard. He'll primarily serve as a boost on special teams. For a conditional seventh-round pick, he seems worth it.
As for the Bengals, they're deep at linebacker, so they probably figured they weren't going to have Flowers make the final 53-man roster. So, getting something for Flowers is a solid move.
Saints acquire LS Jon Dorenbos from Eagles for 7th-round pick
Jon Dorenbos has been a professional long-snapper in Philadelphia since 2006. He's also a magician, as he reached the finals of America's Got Talent a year ago. Now, general manager Howie Roseman can say that he's a magician as well, as he obtained a draft pick for a long-snapper.
There are two ways to look at this trade. On one hand, Dorenbos has been with the Eagles forever. Not only has he been terrific at his job, but he's also served as a great guy in the locker room for a long time. To trade him for a seventh-round pick seems callous. Is a seventh-round pick really worth getting rid of someone who has provided so many great years of service? On the other hand, getting any sort of compensation for a long-snapper has to be considered a win. The Eagles must have faith in replacement Rick Lovato to pull the trigger on this, so from a pure value perspective, the Eagles have won this trade.
As for the Saints, I don't know if it's worth giving up an asset, even if it's a seventh-rounder, for a 37-year-old long-snapper. I don't think it's a horrible trade, however, as they do improve at the position.
Chiefs acquire ILB Reggie Ragland from Bills for 2019 4th-round pick
The Bills continue to dump players acquired by the previous regime. This time, Reggie Ragland was dealt to the Chiefs. Ragland was chosen in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but never played a single down for Buffalo because of a torn ACL.
I think this trade makes sense for both sides. The Bills are tanking, and acquiring as many picks as possible in the next couple of drafts. While it would normally be logical to keep a young player around for the rebuilding process - Ragland turns 24 in September - he just wasn't a good fit for Sean McDermott's scheme. Ragland wasn't practicing or playing with the starters. In fact, he was demoted to the third-team defense in August.
However, he seems like he'd be a better fit for Kansas City's 3-4 scheme. The Chiefs also need linebacker help, as Derrick Johnson is coming off a torn Achilles. It's unclear if Ragland is over his own injury, but Kansas City will at least have a possible successor for Johnson whom defensive coordinator Bob Sutton can develop.
Jets acquire S Terrence Brooks from Eagles for CB Dexter McDougle
Everyone, stop your fantasy drafts right now! A big trade has been made, so you might want to restart all of your drafts!
This trade obviously isn't a big deal at all. Terrence Brooks is a pedestrian special-teams player, while Dexter McDougle is an oft-injured cornerback. McDougle has enjoyed a solid training camp, so the Eagles could get something out of him, depth-wise. I think Philadelphia won this deal, as I'd rather have the upside than a mediocre special-teamer. Still, this trade probably won't matter at all, as the most likely scenario is that neither player will do much for his team.
Seahawks acquire T/G Matt Tobin, 7th-round pick from Eagles for 5th-round pick
As a Hall of Fame running back once said, desperate times call for desperate measurements. The Seahawks measured the talent on their offensive line in the wake of George Fant's injury and determined that they had to be in desperation mode. Thus, they acquired Matt Tobin from the Eagles for a swap of third-day picks.
Tobin is not any sort of viable solution. He has never played well in his career. He's still somewhat young (27) and could be coached up, but his glaring lack of pass-protection skills would make it difficult for him to keep a plastic bag blowing in the wind from reaching the backfield. I feel like the Seahawks should've been able to do something better, even though I won't punish them too much because they aren't giving up a substantial amount.
The Eagles, however, won this trade quite easily. I don't know if Tobin would've even made their 53-man roster, so dealing a practice squad-caliber player to be able to move up two rounds is a terrific move.
Bills acquire WR Jordan Matthews, 3rd-round pick from Eagles for CB Ronald Darby
When I saw that Sammy Watkins was traded, I tweeted out a link to the NFL Free Agent Wide Receiver Rankings for a potential replacement. Little did I know that Buffalo also dealt for Jordan Matthews.
Matthews is not an adequate replacement for Watkins. The latter is a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL when healthy. Matthews is an above-average No. 2 and a solid slot option. He's definitely not a bad player to have in an offense, but he's the Bills' top wideout right now unless Zay Jones explodes as a rookie. As the Eagles learned last year, Matthews cannot be a No. 1.
That said, the Bills did not lose this trade by nearly as much as they did in the Watkins swap. Acquiring a third-round pick and Matthews for Ronald Darby isn't a bad deal. The 2018 NFL Draft class is loaded - check out the 2018 NFL Mock Draft - so it's nice that Buffalo has two selections in each of the first three rounds.
I still think the Eagles won this trade, however. They were going to get rid of Matthews one way or another, so effectively trading a third-round pick for Ronald Darby is a great move. Darby, a 2015 second-round pick, had an excellent rookie campaign. He struggled last year because of a lingering hamstring injury, but he has the talent to rebound. The Eagles were desperate for a cornerback, and Darby provides a major upgrade. With Sidney Jones coming back in 2018, Philadelphia could have an excellent cornerback duo next year.
Rams acquire WR Sammy Watkins, 6th-round pick from Bills for CB E.J. Gaines, 2nd-round pick
Wow, where did this come from!? Jordan Matthews was rumored to be available via trade, but not Sammy Watkins. Buffalo's star receiver was outstanding in last night's preseason game versus the Vikings, appearing healthy for the first time in a while. The Bills apparently didn't care, dealing him to the Rams for an exchange of draft picks and cornerback E.J. Gaines.
I suppose this is a sign that the Bills are tanking. Aside from LeSean McCoy, Watkins was the only proven play-maker they had on offense. Zay Jones is a mere rookie, while Anquan Boldin is on his last legs. They acquired Jordan Matthews, but he's a mediocre talent. Watkins, when healthy, gave the Bills a legitimate downfield threat, but they don't have that anymore unless Jones proves himself as a rookie.
I can't give the Bills a good grade for this trade. Gaines has some promise, but he struggled immensely last year because he was injured. He could rebound - he was halfway decent as a rookie in 2014, but then missed all of 2015 - but that's not something the Bills can count on. Getting a second-round pick for their sixth isn't enough. This is a solid move if the Bills plan to tank, but if that's the case, why did they re-sign Tyrod Taylor?
As for the Rams, this was an outstanding move for them. They lacked a No. 1 wideout - Robert Woods and Tavon Austin were battling for that distinction - but now Jared Goof has a lethal target at his disposal. Sure, Watkins has injury concerns, but he's absolutely worth it based on what the Rams gave up for him. Going from a second to a sixth and trading Gaines is not a big deal if it means adding a Pro Bowl talent. The Rams won this trade by a long shot.
Chiefs acquire LB Kevin Pierre-Louis from Seahawks for LB D.J. Alexander
I initially wasn't going to grade this trade, but I received multiple requests for it, so here I am. The reason I was reluctant to grade this deal is because both teams are receiving equal, yet partly insignificant assets.
When I say that Kevin Pierre-Louis and D.J. Alexander are the same player, I'm not exaggerating. Neither is a factor defensively, yet both are stellar on special teams. They're both 25, and they both earn somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000. I'm not even sure why the Chiefs and Seahawks made this deal. It's like when two owners in your fantasy league trade a running back for another running back, and you wonder, "Why the hell are they doing this deal?"
Chargers acquire QB Cardale Jones from Bills for conditional 7th-round pick
A couple of days ago, I commended the Chargers for working out Robert Griffin, a young quarterback who could, at the very minimum, serve as an upgrade over pedestrian No. 2 quarterback Kellen Clemens. The upside was developing Griffin to be the quarterback of the future. Perhaps that was far-fetched, but it was a possibility at the very least.
This trade is similar to the Griffin signing, except the Chargers are going younger for more upside but less certainty this year. It's unclear if Jones can unseat Clemens this year, but he's only 24, and with some great coaching, perhaps he can compete to be Philip Rivers' successor in a few years. It probably won't work that way, but the Chargers aren't really taking a risk by giving up just a seventh-round pick.
As for the Bills, this trade isn't surprising, given that they selected Nathan Peterman in the middle rounds this past April. Buffalo should've gotten a bit more for Jones; he was a fourth-round choice in 2016 and flashed a bit in the preseason. However, he was part of the old regime, so dealing him made sense.
Broncos acquire G Allen Barbre from Eagles for conditional 2019 late-round pick
It was initially reported that the Eagles released Allen Barbre, but the Broncos weren't willing to risk losing him to another team on the open market. They ponied up by offering a conditional late-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft to acquire the 33-year-old guard.
This seems like a great move for Denver. The team spent a first-round choice on tackle Garett Bolles and signed Ronald Leary, but still had a major hole at left guard. Barbre, who was once a journeyman blocker, has worked hard and evolved into a capable starter. He'll be a definite upgrade for the Broncos, so it was a terrific decision by John Elway to acquire him, surrendering just a late-round conditional selection.
As for the Eagles, it's nice that they were able to obtain something for Barbre, considering that they were willing to release him. However, I still disagree with the decision to part ways with Barbre, so Denver is the clear winner of this trade.
Lions acquire OT Greg Robinson from Rams for 6th-round pick
It's amazing to think that Greg Robinson was once the second-overall pick in the NFL Draft. Robinson was seen as raw, but incredibly talented coming out of Auburn. Unfortunately, he has never developed. He's been awful in every facet for the Rams. They gave him numerous chances, and he has failed every time. He was recently beaten out at right tackle by someone named Jamon Brown, and there was some speculation that he would be released. Instead, he was dealt to the Lions.
There's a good chance Robinson won't make Detroit's final roster, so the front office may have just flushed a sixth-round pick down the toilet. However, I can't exactly blame the Lions for taking a shot on Robinson either. They won't have stud left tackle Taylor Decker for most, if not the entire year. They need to find a capable replacement. Robinson is highly unlikely to be capable in any sense of the word, but he at least has potential.
I won't give the Lions a poor grade for this deal because I understand where they're coming from. They're using a sixth-round pick in order to hit a home run. Unfortunately, this home run would be like a AAA player facing Roger Clemens in his prime, considering how horrendous Robinson has been in his career thus far. The Rams, meanwhile, deserve the higher grade, as they're at least getting something for a terrible player they were going to cut.
Browns acquire S Calvin Pryor from Jets for LB Demario Davis
The Browns and Jets have made a one-for-one swap on Thursday, exchanging defensive players. Both Calvin Pryor and Demario Davis have been disappointments in their careers, but this trade makes sense for both teams.
Cleveland needed a safety to start next to Jabrill Peppers. Pryor may not beat out the other safeties on the roster, but he'll have a shot. He was a first-round pick in 2014, so he at least has potential, despite the horrible start to his career. Davis, meanwhile, is back with the Jets after spending one season with the Browns. The Jets needed depth behind David Harris and Darron Lee, and Davis seems like he could be a passable third inside linebacker.
This trade seems about even, but I'm going to give the Browns a slight edge. Pryor is younger and has more potential than Davis. He's been terrible as a pro thus far, but he could turn things around and become a solid player in the NFL. It probably won't happen, but I can envision a scenario in which it does.
Raiders acquire RB Marshawn Lynch, 2018 6th-rounder from Seahawks for 2018 5th-round pick
Beast Mode is headed for Oakland. The Raiders acquired Marshawn Lynch for a swap of third-day selections in 2018, effectively giving up almost nothing to acquire the former Seattle runner.
If you're surprised that the Seahawks are receiving so little for Lynch, don't be. They weren't expected to really obtain anything of substance, as this trade was just a formality. Lynch was still under contract with Seattle and wasn't going to play for them, so the Seahawks did well just to receive anything.
As for the Raiders, it's unknown what they're getting with Lynch. He sat out all of 2016 after struggling the year before, failing to even average four yards per carry. Lynch looked done and worn out. Perhaps his sabbatical will give him fresh legs, and the Raiders were apparently fine with his conditioning; otherwise, they wouldn't have signed him. Lynch could do well in Oakland, as the Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Then again, he turned 31 this week, so no one should be surprised if we don't see the Beast Mode of old in 2017.
Overall, I like this move for Oakland. The Raiders needed a running back, and they're at least taking a chance on someone who was one of the best players at his position a few years ago. If Lynch struggles, the Raiders haven't really lost anything, so this is all upside.
Update: Having seen Lynch's contract, I'm downgrading this deal from an A- to a "B." Lynch could work out very well for the Raiders, but paying him $4.5 million per season seems like a lot for a 31-year-old running back who missed all of 2016 and struggled mightily the season prior to that. The Raiders overpaid, but not egregiously, so I have to drop their grade.
Patriots acquire RB Mike Gillislee from Bills for 5th-round pick
This isn't technically a trade, as the Patriots signed restricted free agent Mike Gillislee to a 2-year, $6.4 million offer sheet a week ago. The Bills had five days to match, but opted not to do so. Gillislee, as a result, is now a Patriot. New England, in turn, had to surrender a fifth-round pick to Buffalo.
I like this move for the Patriots. They wanted another running back despite signing Rex Burkhead, and Gillislee is likely better than anyone they could get in the fifth round. Gillislee is just 26, and he averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 101 attempts in 2016, scoring nine touchdowns in the process. Gillislee can take LeGarrette Blount's role, as Blount apparently was asking for more money than New England was willing to pay him. It shouldn't surprise anyone if Gillislee reaches the end zone 10-plus times in 2017.
As for the Bills, this all could've been avoided had they given Gillislee a second-round tender. Instead, they'll likely be punished for this move in their games versus New England. Sure, they're getting a fifth-rounder (No. 163 overall) back in return, but odds are that they won't be able to land a player who makes the roster with that selection.
Eagles acquire DT Timmy Jernigan, third-round pick (No. 99) from Ravens for third-round pick (No. 74)
Timmy Jernigan played extremely well as a second-round rookie in 2014. His play has regressed each year since, but wasn't a bad player by any means this past season. Jernigan notched five sacks and performed well when trying to stop the run. Still, the Ravens were frustrated by his declining performance, and Jernigan was upset about his reduced snaps, prompting this trade.
I love this move for the Eagles. They're moving down 25 spots in the third round, which isn't a huge deal considering that some of the players they're targeting in that particular round could be there at 99. Philadelphia needed defensive tackle help in the wake of Bennie Logan's departure, and Jernigan figures to fit in nicely. Jernigan is just 24, so he could turn things around and develop into a major asset for the Eagles.
The Ravens probably shouldn't have given up on Jernigan. He still has so much potential, so moving up 25 spots in the third round doesn't seem all that exciting. It's at least something though, so if Baltimore was considering cutting Jernigan, at least it got something for him.
49ers acquire C Jeremy Zuttah, 6th-rounder from Ravens for 6th-round pick
It was initially reported that the Ravens were going to cut Jeremy Zuttah, but the 49ers called in right away and asked if they could trade for him. Something like this happened earlier in the offseason when the Jaguars and Dolphins orchestrated a trade involving Branden Albert, so this sort of action is definitely not unheard of.
I like this trade for both teams. The 49ers couldn't count on courting Zuttah, so they've opted to slide down 12 spots in the sixth round to make sure they can obtain the 31-year-old. Despite being in his 30s, Zuttah is still performing on a high level. Centers typically play well into their mid-30s, so the 49ers don't need to worry about any sort of regression. He'll be a big upgrade over Daniel Kilgore, providing a much-needed boost for San Francisco's poor offensive line. That all sounds great, especially considering the price tag. Twelve spots in the sixth round is irrelevant.
As for the Ravens, they were going to release Zuttah anyway, so why not obtain something for him? Even if that something is moving up 12 spots in the sixth frame, it's at least something.
Patriots acquire WR Brandin Cooks, 4th-rounder from Saints for 1st- and 3rd-round picks
My apologies for being slow with these grades Friday evening. I just got home from a wedding rehearsal dinner (my fiancee's sister is getting married tomorrow), and I'll get to all of the grades shortly.
I have to say that despite it being speculated for days now, I'm still shocked that this deal went through. It's kind of crazy that the Patriots will have Brandin Cooks in their offense. I didn't even think they'd be in the market for a receiver because they had Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and maybe Michael Floyd on the roster (plus Rob Gronkowski), but Bill Belichick apparently thought differently.
It's going to be fun to watch Tom Brady have a new weapon like Cooks. He hasn't had a dynamic, downfield threat like Cooks since Randy Moss. It might be instinctive to point out that Cooks could decline because he won't be playing with Drew Brees anymore, until you remember that he'll now be paired with Brady, and there theoretically shouldn't be a drop-off. The price is a bit steep for my blood, but at least New England didn't have to surrender Malcolm Butler.
I like the move for the Patriots, but I think the Saints are the winners of this deal. Cooks made it known that he didn't want to be on the roster anymore, and the Saints have two strong receivers without him in Michael Thomas and Willie Snead. New Orleans now has two first-round selections in a very deep draft, so they can use those picks to improve their woeful defense.
Patriots acquire DE Kony Ealy, 3rd-rounder from Panthers for 2nd-round pick
The Patriots are involved in their second blockbuster trade of the offseason. They acquired Dwayne Allen from the Colts a few days ago, and now they've obtained a promising player on the other side of the ball.
Kony Ealy had a tremendous performance in the Super Bowl loss against the Broncos, and he was expected to have a huge 2016 campaign. That didn't happen, however. He recorded five sacks and happened to be a liability in run support. The Panthers were apparently so disappointed with him that they were willing to deal him to New England for a swap of second-day selections.
That said, there's definitely upside for the Patriots. Ealy was a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and he won't turn 26 until December. We've seen him play lights out on the biggest stage in football, so he's definitely capable of thriving in the NFL. Perhaps he'll do that under Bill Belichick's excellent tutelage. If so, Ealy would fill a huge need at defensive end, replacing Chris Long. If not, then New England sacrificed only eight draft spots, which is probably meaningless.
For the Panthers, it's a bit odd that they're giving up on Ealy so quickly. They're moving up from the beginning of the third round to the bottom of the second frame, which just doesn't seem worth it. Why not give Ealy another shot?
Dolphins acquire DE William Hayes, 7th-rounder from Rams for 6th-round pick
I don't understand what the Rams are doing. They spent countless millions on Robert Woods on Thursday, and then they sent William Hayes packing to Miami for almost nothing Friday morning. The Rams were apparently going to cut Hayes, so they at least got something for him. That part is at least logical. What doesn't make sense is why they'd want to release Hayes in the first place.
Hayes is a solid rotational defensive end. He can play about half the snaps and do everything pretty decently. He has recorded 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons and hasn't been a liability in run support. He's a nice player to have on the defensive line, so I don't understand why the Rams were so desperate to get rid of him.
I'm sure the Dolphins don't get it either, since, you know, they traded for him. As mentioned, the Dolphins are giving up almost nothing. They're moving down from the sixth to the seventh round, which is almost meaningless. They seem like the clear-cut winners of this trade.
Browns acquire QB Brock Osweiler, 2018 2nd-round pick, 2017 6th-round pick for 2017 4th-round pick
Wow, I don't ever recall seeing anything like this in the NFL. It happens all the time in the NBA, where one team sends a highly paid player and a draft pick to another franchise for cap relief, but this doesn't happen in football. It's prevalent in basketball because of guaranteed contracts, but the Texans effectively had to pay $16 million to Osweiler no matter what. Well, not anymore. They're completely off the hook.
I actually think this is a fantastic trade for both teams. For the Texans, they now have the cap space to either sign or trade for Tony Romo. Osweiler was a complete failure, and they already admitted that they made a mistake by benching him in favor of Tom Savage. I like that they're getting rid of him and just admitting that he's a sunk cost. That's the smart thing to do rather than to stubbornly keep him around. Sure, it has cost them a second-round pick in 2018, but if that means getting Romo and competing for the Super Bowl this year, then it's worth it.
As for the Browns, they had the most cap space in the NFL entering free agency, so they can afford to have Osweiler hang out for a year for $16 million. And for a second-round pick in a loaded 2018 draft class? Why not? On top of that, perhaps the Browns will be able to develop Osweiler. He was once considered a promising quarterback, and he's only 26. Perhaps he'll amount to something. And if not, well, the Browns can just cut him next spring and not worry about it.
Patriots acquire TE Dwayne Allen, 6th-round pick from Colts for 4th-round pick
I have no idea what's going on with the free-agency tight end market. It makes absolutely no sense. The Redskins are giving Vernon Davis $5 million per year. The Colts have paid Jack Doyle more than $6 million per year. And the Cardinals handed the pedestrian Jermaine Gresham $7 million per year. These contracts would be awful in a vacuum, and that's not even taking into account the incredible 2017 NFL Draft Tight End Prospects in this class. With so many great tight ends available, there's absolutely no reason for any team to overpay for sub-par talents like Gresham, Doyle and Davis.
While smart teams that need a tight end will draft one, the Patriots did something equally intelligent. They sent what's reported to be a late-round pick to the Colts for Dwayne Allen. Indianapolis signed Allen to a $29.4 million contract a year ago, but New England will only be on the hook for $2.5 million in 2017 and $4.5 million in 2018. Yes, Allen will be earning less than the three aforementioned tight ends, and it could be argued that he's better than all of them!
The one concern with Allen is that he's injury-prone. That'll keep New England from earning an "A" grade, but I still think they won this trade if all they're giving up is a late-round selection. They needed a replacement for Martellus Bennett, who will be set to earn a ton of money based on the other tight end contracts. The Colts, meanwhile, can't be graded harshly for getting a selection for Allen, given that they just overpaid for Doyle. It makes sense for them to get rid of Allen because of that contract, but this could've been avoided had they not overpaid Doyle.
Update: The compensation is Allen and a sixth for a fourth-round pick. That's not bad at all for the Patriots, as they obviously have a late selection in the fourth frame, so moving down a round-and-a-half for a decent tight end is pretty solid. The Colts, meanwhile, will save $3 million in cap space, but that's not important because they were in the top 10 in cap space entering this week.
Dolphins acquire TE Julius Thomas from Jaguars for 2017 late-round pick
So, why couldn't the Dolphins and Jaguars just make one trade that involved sending Julius Thomas in exchange for Branden Albert? Why construct two separate deals? Do they love paperwork, or something?
This trade is pretty much like the other swap, as one team is acquiring an overpaid underachiever for almost no compensation. The only difference in this situation is that Julius Thomas is still young - he's 28, while Albert is 32 - so he has a better chance of panning out in his new home.
That said, it'll take some work. Thomas has good talent, but he's never been productive without Peyton Manning. He's also very injury-prone. He's never played a full season, missing seven of 32 possible games as a Jaguar. He potentially fills a big need for the Dolphins, but he could very easily flop.
I'm willing to grade the Dolphins slightly better than I did the Jaguars, as Thomas has more potential. Plus, Miami didn't surrender much and had $42.4 million in cap space to pay Thomas, so I won't be giving its front office a bad grade for this trade.
Jaguars acquire OT Branden Albert from Dolphins for conditional 2018 late-round pick
It was reported last week that the Dolphins were going to cut Branden Albert. They then rescinded that transaction once they learned that a team was interested in trading for him. Of course, that was the Jaguars, who were rumored to be willing to deal Julius Thomas for him. Thomas wasn't involved in this transaction, however, as Jacksonville surrendered a conditional late-round pick in 2018 for Albert.
The Dolphins have to be considered the winners of this trade at the moment. They were going to release Albert for nothing, yet the Jaguars were willing to give them compensation for him. A 2018 late-rounder isn't much, but at least it's something.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, is getting a left tackle, which it sorely needs. The team just cut Kelvin Beachum, who was damaged goods. The problem is that Albert is damaged goods as well. Albert hasn't played a full season since 2011, missing 13 games in the past three years. Albert struggled mightily in 2016, as he was never healthy. He could rebound next season, but he's now 32 and may never be the same as he once was.
The Jaguars now have to pay Albert's contract, as he counts $7.2 million against the cap. Jacksonville had more than $67.2 million in cap space, so that's not an issue. My problem is the Jaguars not really changing anything. They couldn't count on Beachum, and they now are in the same exact situation with Albert. The only thing that's different is that they possibly don't have a late-round pick in 2018. That's not the worst thing to surrender, and I'm not going to grade the Jaguars too harshly, but it's difficult to understand the thought process, given that the Dolphins were so willing to cut ties with the player Jacksonville just acquired.