3 NFL Trades that still need to happen

This NFL offseason is far from over.

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

June 1st is a key date on the NFL offseason calendar. Players that are either cut or traded after this date require less dead cap money for their former team in the current year. This is why teams often wait until after June 1st to move on from certain players on the roster. Now that the date has passed, some of the big names on the trade market have a much better chance of actually being moved. Blockbuster deals can now transform from rumors to stories. Let’s take a look at three trades that need to happen.

Aaron Rodgers to the Broncos

There is no name bigger than Aaron Rodgers when it comes to players that could potentially be traded before the start of the upcoming 2021 season. He is the reigning NFL MVP and one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. At 37 years old, he is still in the prime of his career and would give any team a realistic shot to win a Super Bowl immediately. He has spent his entire career with the Packers, but he has grown increasingly upset with the organization and has demanded a trade.

Whether or not the Packers actually trade him is yet to be seen. They technically do not have to but if Rodgers is serious that he would rather sit out than play for them, they should maximize his value and a get huge haul in return via trade. The Broncos are one team that would almost definitely be interested and would likely give up whatever is necessary to get it done. They have been searching for an answer at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired and this would more than solve that problem.

The Broncos are a destination that makes sense not only because of their desire for an elite quarterback but also because they are a complete team everywhere else and ready to win now. QB is the only real thing that is missing so with Rodgers they would immediately become a Super Bowl contender. He would have plenty of weapons on offense including Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Melvin Ingram, and Javonte Williams. Pair that with their very solid defensive unit and they are a real threat to win it all this year if Rodgers is playing quarterback.

Julio Jones to the Titans

It appears almost certain that Julio Jones is going to be traded away from the Falcons. He is being openly shopped around for the best potential deal that would both benefit his future and what the Falcons receive in return. One team that Jones has admitted that he is very interested in joining is the Titans. This destination makes a ton of sense because the Titans lost Corey Davis to free agency and have a bit of a need at wide receiver. Few are capable of filling that hole better than Julio Jones. Pairing him with superstar AJ Brown would be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.

Brown and Jones are both physically dominating wide receivers with deep threat abilities as well. They both usually require double teams or safety help at least, so it would be a major problem for opponents trying to scheme up ways to keep both of them covered. To further complicate things, they still have Derrick Henry at running back who absolutely destroys defenses that don’t load the box. All of these reasons combined would make the Titans offense an extremely difficult puzzle to solve if they do indeed trade for Julio Jones. It could realistically boost them from a playoff team to a real Super Bowl contender.

Zach Ertz to the Cardinals

There are two main reasons why the Eagles may be looking to trade their superstar tight end, Zach Ertz. First, they are a rebuilding team and Ertz is a veteran that could bring back draft capital in the trade market. Second, they already have the younger Dallas Goedert on their roster who is a very talented tight end. All things considered, it makes sense why the Eagles would deal him and the Cardinals are a team that just may be interested.

The Cardinals have fully committed to surrounding their young star quarterback Kyler Murray with as many weapons as possible to give him the best chance to succeed. They traded for Hopkins last year and followed that up this year by adding AJ Green and James Conner. Their offense is loaded but the one thing missing is a reliable tight end so that is where Ertz could come in. The Cardinals do not necessarily need another offensive weapon but they have already shown that they are willing to go above and beyond for Murray. Therefore, it would not be surprising at all if they made this move.

The Seahawks are the most logical fit for Julio Jones

By: Noah Nichols

Imagine Julio Jones, lined up next to D.K. Metcalf, with Tyler Lockett behind both of them. You can hear the announcer already…

Oh, the possibilities. The Seattle Seahawks would have the best receiver core in the NFL. And it might not be close. Jones is one of the best receivers to ever play in the NFL. He is closer to the end of his career than he is his prime, but he still commands tremendous respect from defenses.

An offense with Metcalf to take the top off the defense, and Locket the stud slot receiver is already pretty good. Throw Julio Jones in, and it becomes an abundance of riches.

But, how do the Seahawks make this happen? They certainly are not going to trade almost any player on their roster, unless it would be someone who doesn’t start. The Seahawks just don’t have enough talent to be able to afford that. The Atlanta Falcons are going to be looking for players, or a good number of picks.

Reportedly the Falcons are willing to take a second-round pick. If that is the case, then the Seahawks should pounce. They could make an offer like this: a 2022 second-round, fourth-round, and a sixth-round pick for Julio Jones, and a 2023 fifth-round pick. The Seahawks don’t have to trade a first-round pick, and they get Julio Jones. The Falcons in turn receive some valuable picks, and more importantly, more than two.

The Falcons want as many picks as they can get because they will soon be rebuilding. They can use those extra picks to draft a player, or to trade up and draft a quarterback that either sits behind Matt Ryan, or takes his place. Seattle will have to make some financial decisions though.

This is by far the Seahawks’ biggest hurdle when it comes to trading for Julio Jones. The Seahawks have about eleven million dollars in cap space right now. And that is not enough to take on Julio Jones’ contract. However, the Seahawks have almost $50 million in cap space in 2022. The Seahawks can restructure some players and move money into next year, opening up room for Julio Jones’ contract. Jones’ current contract is for $15 million, leaving the Seahawks $4 million over the cap.

On the schematic side of the ball, Julio Jones ensures that Russel Wilson will pretty much always have a mismatch. Perhaps four defenses can provide the cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers needed to cover the threats that Seattle would trot out. The passing game would be such a threat that the run game should open up, even if Seattle’s line does not play well. Why? No defense will stack the box when Julio Jones and D.K. Metcalf can burn anyone in your secondary. And the duo of Jones and Metcalf would immediately compete for the best receiver duo in Seahawks history.

The top four receiving duos in Seahawks history would look like this, though the order could arguably be changed. Golden Tate & Doug Baldwin at number one and Darrell Jackson & Bobby Engram at number two.
Steve Largent & Sam McCullum and Doug Baldwin & Tyler Lockett at three and four respectively. Julio Jones and D.K. Metcalf could be ranked in the top three immediately, and after a year or two of production, they could easily take the number one spot. Not to mention Tyler Lockett rounding out the group, which would be the best trio of receivers in Seahawks history.

So Seattle would have a loaded offense. They can restructure some contracts and will be able to afford Jones. And Russel Wilson will be happy. If Seattle is able to trade for Jones, there is no way that Wilson asks for a trade. In fact he would probably be willing to take less money in the future to keep the team, and the receiving core, together. If Seattle wants to add bring their offense up to the next level, and keep Wilson happy, they should trade for Julio Jones.

It makes sense for the Seahawks. And it makes sense for Julio. He does not have to be the number one receiver. That job is taken by Metcalf. He would still receive his money. And he would go from Matt Ryan, who probably won’t make the Hall of Fame, to Russel Wilson, who will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. And playing with the best deep-ball passer in the NFL would sound pretty good to Jones. Wilson ranked 1st in 2019 in deep-ball passing, and 8th in 2020 by PFF and Pro Football Reference. In 2020 Wilson threw more touchdowns on deep passes than twelve quarterbacks had in total. That’s pretty good.

And compared to other teams’ offers, Seattle makes the most sense. The Patriots have a rookie at quarterback. They don’t have a very talented offense, anywhere you look. And the all-work-no-play culture in New England is probably not what Jones is looking for. Tennessee seems like a fine fit at first. However, the Titans have only $3 million in cap space, compare to the Seahawks $11 million. That would require more extensions and/or cutting of players to fit Jones’ contract into the Titans cap space. And the Titans have a question mark on offense, with Arthur Smith’s departure the Titans have a new offensive coordinator. Jones would probably prefer to go to a team where he already knows what the offense looks like, instead of something brand new.

Will it happen? It seems like it has legs, as Seattle has been reportedly looking at trading for Jones. It just remains to be seen when it will happen. The Titans are reportedly strong contenders but again, they have much less cap space to afford Julio than do the Seahawks. It’s a better fit and win-win-win for all three parties if Jones were to be traded to Seattle. The Seahawks get a great receiver and keep their quarterback happy. The Falcons receive the draft picks they want, and the cap relief that they desperately need. Julio Jones will still get his money, he will have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL throwing to him, and he won’t have to worry about being the number one receiver. Everyone gets what they want.

Post NFL draft Winner and loser from each division

By: Gladys Louise Tyler

In every endeavor, there is a winner and a loser.  The repercussions from the 2021 NFL Draft are no different.  Of course, who won and who lost is all subjective until the playing actually starts.  But some teams did do better than others, and here they are.

AFC EAST

WINNERS: MIAMI DOLPHINS

It remains to be seen whether letting Ryan Fitzpatrick go handing the team completely over to Tua Tagovailoa was the right move.  However, the Dolphins did little wrong elsewhere. 

Drafting Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle should help settle Tagovailoa and the offense.  But having the sixth-ranked scoring defense return in a division that has to deal with quarterback Josh Allen and newly arrived gunslinger Zach Wilson just seems good business.

LOSERS: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Yes, the Patriots are loaded up from their spending spree in free agency, including returning quarterback Cam Newton. 

Drafting their presumptive franchise quarterback, Mac Jones feels right.  But now the Patriots have two quarterbacks with diametrically opposite skill sets. 

So what do you do? It could work, and of course, you never count the Patriots out, but….

AFC WEST

WINNERS: LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

The Chargers solidified and added depth to their offensive line.  They added Larry Roundtree in the sixth round, who may prove what the Chargers offense needs behind Austin Ekeler to round out what was already a very good offense.

LOSERS: DENVER BRONCOS

If the Broncos passed up their chance to draft a franchise quarterback because they know something we don’t, my apologies.  But under current conditions, it appears to be an omission that will come to bite them in the ass.

AFC NORTH

WINNERS: BALTIMORE RAVENS

In two of the past three drafts, the Ravens have taken a wide receiver.  It has not helped.  The third time is the charm?  Rashod Bateman has the skill set to be WR1 in the Ravens offense (albeit a low bar), but if he can help the Ravens pass/run ratio become more equitable, it is a win.

In a division historically known for its defense, adding edge Odafe Oweh to their top-ranked defense is a bonus.

LOSERS: PITTSBURGH STEELERS

It could all work out; after all, tight end Pat Freiermuth is known for his blocking skill set.  But the offense, which finished last season 32nd in rushing yards per game (84.4) and yards per attempt (3.6) per teamrankings.com, needed to improve the 31st ranked run-blocking offensive line.

Fun fact Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 676 more rushing yards than the entire Steelers team in 2020.

AFC SOUTH

WINNERS: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

With the number one pick and nine total picks, the Jaguars got their franchise quarterback and seemingly faster on offense. 

There was really nowhere to go but up.

LOSERS: HOUSTON TEXANS

They could not have won this.  The Texans needed a lot.  Their first pick was not until round three, and they managed only five total picks.  Thanks to Bill O’Brien, the Texans did good with what they were given, but winning wasn’t an option.

NFC WEST

LOSERS: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks had the 30th ranked defense in passing yards last season.  They lost Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar in free agency.  And they only had three picks in this year’s draft. 

Their first pick was a wide receiver, D’Wayne Eskridge.

WINNERS: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

It may be more accurate to say winner Trey Lance.  Going to a team that, but for injuries, is a playoff contender is a win. 

Now Kyle Shanahan has the quarterback of his dreams, and the 49ers are back in playoff contention.

Can we just acknowledge that this might be the most competitive division in the NFL?

NFC EAST

This was the hardest division to project a loser because basically, they all got what they needed.  However, it must be done.

LOSERS: WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Depending on Ryan Fitzpatrick this season, okay, I get it.  But not getting a quarterback for the future may prove costly.

WINNERS: NEW YORK GIANTS

It remains to be seen if stockpiling 2022 NFL Draft picks will win the day.  Not getting offensive line help for quarterback Daniel Jones may hurt this season.

NFC SOUTH

LOSERS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Saints needed a cornerback.  Their first two picks were defensive end and linebacker.  There is also the questionable acquisition of quarterback Ian Book in the fourth round. 

It all seems so muddled. 

WINNERS: ATLANTA FALCONS

Taking arguably the best player on the board seems like a smart choice.  Adding him to an already prolific offense is a no-brainer.  Picking up much-needed help in a secondary that allowed 293.6 passing yards per game, check.

NFC NORTH

LOSERS: GREEN BAY PACKERS

I don’t know if further pissing off your reigning MVP quarterback counts as a loss, but it should.

WINNERS: CHICAGO BEARS Jumping up to #11 to pick up the second-best quarterback in the draft is a w

Landing Spots for All 5 of the Top QB Prospects

Who will Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Lance and Jones play for in 2021?

by Michael Obermuller

The lead-up to the NFL Draft is a sports process like no other. The speculation, the intrigue, the misinformation and strategy used by different franchises and general managers. Considering the diverse crop of quarterback talent available in 2021, this offseason has been as wild as ever. I mean, just look at this curveball from Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer a few days before draft night.

Trevor Lawrence has been the consensus number one pick for what feels like years, and Jags owner Shad Khan has seemed pretty intent on marketing the rebirth of the franchise around the Clemson star, so why then is Meyer still choosing between three players at No. 1 overall?

It could just be due diligence from a first year NFL head coach, or maybe Lawrence to Jacksonville isn’t as much of a lock as most people thought. After all, there is certainly no reason to play mind-games with opposing GM’s when you’re the one picking first. Yet here we are left with this mysterious quote.

Don’t you worry though, I’ve seen through all the GM mumbo jumbo of the past few months and I’m confident in saying that I have figured out where each quarterback will end up — I think. Either way, I’ll give it a whirl, starting with the aforementioned Jaguars.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (No. 1)

I know, after all that in the introduction, I’m still predicting T-Law to DUVAL? That’s right, because if Meyer wants to pull off the most shocking move in recent draft memory, he can do it without my blessing. There are a couple important things to note here though. One, Meyer is not considering Mac Jones or Trey Lance in the top spot. Could this have an influence on other franchises behind him? Urban was a premier college recruiter for a long time after all. Or perhaps he has yet to gain the respect of his fellow NFL peers, and his opinion means very little to them. Two, the former Ohio State HC and program director is likely passing on his former QB, Justin Fields. Meyer actually ranked the quarterbacks in a preseason show in June of 2020, with Lawrence first in his ranks and Fields second. His reasoning at the time was this;

[Lawrence] played one more year. That was it. The one thing I’ll say about Justin Fields because I’m very close to the situation, any concerns about him being a throwing quarterback are gone now. He’s developed, he’s outstanding.

– Urban Meyer, FOX College Football

The Jags could certainly throw a wrench in the entire draft by taking either Zach Wilson or Fields, which would probably send Lawrence to New York at No. 2, but it’s highly unlikely and I’m not buying it. Size, accuracy, speed, raw ability, intelligence, drive — Lawrence is the consensus number one for a reason. I’m not saying that he’s guaranteed to be the most successful NFL product, he’s not, but he is the safe bet for Jacksonville. For the sake of all our sanities, let’s move on and assume this sticks.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson (No. 2)

GM Joe Douglas and the New York Jets have traded 2018 first round pick Sam Darnold, so yes they are 100 percent taking a quarterback at two (for those who haven’t been paying attention). They have been linked to the BYU Cougars signal-caller more and more since Week 17, and I personally don’t see this changing on Thursday night. Wilson checks all the boxes for the Jets. He is an accurate passer and a competitive winner (albeit against lesser competition), known for his on-the-fly decision-making and pocket presence as well as an arm that throws just as far on the move as it does standing upright. Wilson has drawn recent comparisons to Patrick Mahomes for some of these intangible traits, but there’s a contingent of fans that still have doubts that scouts and GM’s are once again sleeping on in-your-face talent.

If Fields can translate his OSU skillset to the pros, it wouldn’t be the first time that the best and brightest NFL minds in the game are totally wrong. I mean he did run a 4.44 forty with a 70.2 completion percentage in 2020. For the record, as you’ll see throughout this article, Fields is my personal QB1 in this class, but that doesn’t mean he appeals to the teams picking in the top three.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones (No. 3)

Is the infamous “smokescreen tactic” being utilized by Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch and the San Francisco 49ers? It’s quite possible, in fact Joe Douglas and the Jets could be using it too for all we know. If Fields truly is the quarterback with the most upside potential, it would make sense that every GM behind the Jaguars is trying to keep Meyer off their trail by talking up Wilson, Jones and Lance. At the same time, it seems even more likely that the NFL brass are once again scared off by an Ohio State product who has been labeled as a runner that struggles with his progressional reads. If Lawrence and Wilson do indeed go one-two, Fields should be the pick at three in my opinion, but he may not be according to reports.

There’s something fishy about this developing story, because Jones and Lance couldn’t be more different as prospects. I can’t deny that Mac Jones makes sense as Shanahan’s favorite option. The Niners HC has highlighted his on-field and NFL-ready intelligence, citing that the Alabama product is the win-now choice for a team that was in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Jones is also the most similar to the quarterbacks that have flourished in Shanahan’s system in the past (Matt Ryan, Jimmy Garoppolo). Lance on the other hand makes me scratch my head. He’s from a small program that did not play against NFL-type talent, he’s not game-ready by most estimations, and he’s athletic rather than accurate or experienced. The fact that San Francisco is torn between these two, but not interested in the player that is pretty much the combination of both (Fields) is odd to say the least. For these reasons, I do think there’s a chance that the 49ers are under-selling Fields on purpose, but I’ll begrudgingly stick with Jones here anyway because of how well he fits the Shanahan mold.

4. TRADE — Denver Broncos: Trey Lance (No. 4)

Some have the Atlanta Falcons taking Lance at four, but in the end I think Arthur Smith’s new offense stands pat with the reliability of Matty Ice for a couple more seasons and trades down to reconstruct this roster from the inside out. That process may not start with an inexperienced QB, but it could begin with a haul of present and future draft picks. The next question is their trade partner, and although it has not been mentioned as much as a New England or Washington Football Team, the Denver Broncos are my under-the-radar candidate to make the jump from ninth to fourth. George Paton is taking over as GM for the Broncos, and he may try and make a splash in his first NFL Draft having the final say.

Everything about Paton’s thinking for his first draft screams Lance to me. It’s unexpected, out-of-the-box, and hopefully solves the problem that John Elway failed at for years in the same position — finding a franchise quarterback. Drew Lock has yet to display any qualities that separate him from the rest of the league, so I expect Paton to jump at the opportunity to bring in someone that can compete not only with Lock, but long-term with division rivals like Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Of course, the Broncos could also go with Fields here, but I’m sticking with my theme that this inexplicable stigma drops my QB1 down to QB5. I also like the fit for Lance in Denver. He played at North Dakota State, a similar climate, and his build and physicality as a runner bear some resemblance to Elway himself. Although I’m sure Broncos fans would also take his Josh Allen comp.

5. Detroit Lions: Justin Fields (No. 7)

So where oh where will Mr. Fields land? No he won’t fall out of the top 10, and I don’t expect the Cincinnati Bengals or Miami Dolphins to trade down either when they can grab the players they covet most (Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase by all reports) at five and six. That leaves the Detroit Lions, who could choose to trade down with the Patriots or the highest bidder, but honestly why would they? The Lions roster moves have signaled a total overhaul rebuild under the new regime of Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes, and they already have enough future draft capital from the Matthew Stafford trade where they don’t need more first round picks. They need a franchise quarterback. The wrinkle that you may point out is that they also received back Jared Goff and his contract in that same deal. Let’s be honest though, Goff is a placeholder in Detroit at best. At worst, he’s a cap casualty after 2022 (when cutting him would only cost $10 million). So why not accelerate the process if Justin Fields falls into your lap?

A player with as much potential as Fields could be a dream for Holmes at No. 7 in his first NFL Draft, and the young QB could even learn under Goff as a rookie before jumpining into the NFL head-first. He can truly do it all; whether it’s his accuracy as a passer or his agility as a runner, his escapability in the pocket or strong arm on the run, his competitiveness as an premier athlete or his confidence in primetime games. I’m not sure why every team is insistent on looking past Fields, and maybe it all is a smokescreen and he goes top three, but it just feels like the NFL scouts and decision-makers are talking themselves into passing on another superstar.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑