The NFL’s trade deadline will be here on Tuesday, November 1st and while the league doesn’t usually go nuts for deals on that day, it should this year. Plenty of teams can improve their fortunes this season by hitting the trade block hard and bringing in a premium player or two. Here’s a look at five deals that should happen before the deadline.
Cleveland LT Joe Thomas to Seattle for 2017 second-round Pick, 2018 fourth-round pick
The Browns are going nowhere fast this season, as they sit at 0-7 at the bottom of the NFL. It’s time to go into “asset collection mode” and unloading All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas has to be where that process starts.
Several teams are interested in Thomas, but the Seahawks have the most desperate need along the offensive line. Bradley Sowell is one of the NFL’s worst left tackles and suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday night. Undrafted rookie George Fant is now protecting Russell Wilson’s blindside. Normally, that wouldn’t be a death-blow because Wilson is a mobile quarterback, but this season he’s been hobbled and has only rushed for 33 yards. The ‘Hawks need to protect Wilson if they want to have a shot at the Super Bowl this year.
Thomas is the kind of guy who could immediately help the Seahawks. Given that he’s 31 and still has a few good years left, a second-rounder in 2017 and a fourth-rounder in 2018 is a worthy price.
Chicago WR Alshon Jeffery to Arizona for 2017 third-round pick
Arizona is a team that can compete for a championship now, but the Cardinals need to help quarterback Carson Palmer. Michael Floyd has had major issues catching the ball this season (19 receptions in 44 targets) and has not been able to complement Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer could use another big target and Alshon Jeffery is being wasted on the Bears.
Chicago is awful and wallowing at 1-6. The Bears have no use for a soon-to-be free agent wide receiver, when their quarterbacks can’t even get him the ball. Jeffery would give the Cardinals consistency on the outside and provide a solid second option for Palmer.
Several teams are sure to be interested in Jeffery but Arizona is the best fit. He would also net the Bears a solid pick to help their impending rebuild.
San Francisco LT Joe Staley to Minnesota for 2017 second-round pick
Sam Bradford has been outstanding for the Vikings since his arrival prior to Week 1. But while he’s been good, Minnesota’s offensive line has been a disaster. Bradford has been under near-constant pressure and the Vikings have allowed 14 sacks (including six on Sunday against the Eagles). With Matt Kalil on IR thanks to hip surgery, it’s time for Minnesota to upgrade at left tackle.
The 49ers are willing to part with Staley for the right return. He’s a 32-year-old veteran who won’t net the first-round pick price San Francisco has put out there, but a second-rounder in 2017 should get the deal done. The Central Michigan man is a five-time Pro Bowler who has spent his entire career in San Francisco, but it’s time for both parties to move on. The 49ers are 1-6 and need to give Chip Kelly time to implement his plan. Adding picks would be the best way to do that.
The Vikings already gave up their first-rounder in 2017 for Bradford, so this would rob them of their top two picks in this year’s draft. That said, they’re currently 5-1 and could make a big-time run this season. They’d be foolish not to take that chance.
Carolina DT Kawann Short to Oakland for 2017 first-round pick
The Panthers are the NFL’s biggest disappointment at 1-5 after winning the NFC last season, which means it’s time to trim some fat off that roster. Short is in a contract year and an extension doesn’t appear imminent. He’s a luxury at this point, and other teams would be salavating over the prospect of adding an interior force like the 27-year-old Purdue product.
The Raiders are 5-2, but their defense hasn’t lived up to expectations. Oakland currently ranks dead last in the NFL in total defense, allowing 430.4 yards per game. If the Raiders want a shot at the AFC West and beyond, they need to add an interior presence on defense. Short was a Second-team All-Pro in 2015 and is a difference-maker in the middle. Oakland should call up the Panthers, offer up a first-rounder, then work out a long-term deal with Short before pulling the trigger.
A marriage between Short and the Raiders would be perfect for all parties, and the Panthers could haul in a first-round pick and gain salary cap flexibility for next season.
San Francisco WR Torrey Smith to Philadelphia for 2017 fourth and fifth-round pick
Yep, the 49ers are unloading another player in this projection. Torrey Smith can’t do anything for you if you don’t have a quarterback to get him the ball, and the speedster has just 13 catches for 199 yards this season. With San Francisco wallowing at 1-6, they don’t need the speedy wideout.
The Eagles have been a big surprise this season, thanks largely to the league’s biggest shocker: the play of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. While Wentz has a pair of solid receivers in Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, he doesn’t have anyone with Smith’s burners. Adding a guy with Smith’s wheels and game-breaking ability wouldn’t just give him a deep threat, it would also open up the short and intermediate routes for Agholor and Matthews.
Smith isn’t a great technical receiver, but defenses have to respect his speed, that will make everyone around him better.
The 49ers obviously need to add picks to fuel a massive rebuilding project. A fourth-rounder would help that movement. The Eagles have an extra first-round pick in 2017 thanks to the Sam Bradford deal. They can afford to surrender a fourth-rounder for Smith.