The NFL trade deadline falls on Nov. 2 this year, the Tuesday after Week 8. We’re four weeks through the 2021 season, with the fifth on deck, meaning we’re right at the halfway point between the start of the season and the trade deadline. Plenty of teams won’t know whether they’re truly buyers or sellers until October comes to a close, but we’re taking an early look ahead.
Which big names could be on the block this fall? Here are 19 who may well be trade chips in the coming weeks:
It’s Justin Fields’ show in Chicago now, and this staff has shown way too much love to Andy Dalton to bump him below No. 2 duties. Trading Foles, who still has something in the tank as a legitimate backup, would save the Bears $4 million.
Normally, you wouldn’t be in the business of dealing your young QB’s No. 1 pass target. And that may well prevent A-Rob from being moved. But he’s on the tag and has never seemed close to a long-term deal in Chicago. Contenders would surely be up for a rental.
The former Rams and Cowboys standout is off to a hot start rushing the passer this year, but the Bears would happily accept offers. They need any cap space they can get, Quinn is already 31, and he’s due $16+ million in each of the next three seasons.
The Dolphins are going nowhere fast, and Jones is one of their biggest investments. He’s not a bad corner, but at 29 and commanding $16M per year through 2024, they can afford to auction his talent in what seems like an inevitable future search for a new QB.
He successfully negotiated a raise this year, but he’s basically had one foot out the door for a few seasons, publicly touting the idea of changing scenery. Someone would pay for his ball skills, and the Dolphins would instantly save almost $14M by letting them.
Ertz genuinely prefers to stay in Philly, and he’s split duties with no fuss this year, but if the wins don’t accumulate in a hurry, the Eagles could justify giving him another/better chance at a title while finally passing the torch to Dallas Goedert.
The former first-rounder has failed to emerge in the wake of Brandon Graham’s injury, and his knack for ill-advised penalties has already grated the new staff, which just paid Josh Sweat. A 2022 free agent, he could still appeal as a pass-rushing flyer.
Selling him after losing Graham to injury wouldn’t necessarily warm the locker room, and Cox would prefer to be a lifelong Eagle. But Javon Hargrave is balling, while Cox is approaching 31, not currently living up to his big deal and could be Howie Roseman’s best asset for 2022 restocking, should Nick Sirianni’s squad struggle to stack wins before November.
They wouldn’t deal him now, with Matt Ryan still talking about a late run, but a few more losses would demand their eyes turn to 2022. He’s been a true multipurpose weapon, but he’s also a 30-year-old journeyman on a one-year deal. Maybe the 49ers come calling?
He’s already on pace to surpass his disappointing 2020 numbers, and at 27, he could still lead their pass rush for a while. But trading him would save Atlanta some much-needed cash, with a potential QB change — and more — coming after this season.
Even if Trey Lance earns the No. 1 job in his absence, we’d bet Kyle Shanahan would rather keep him around as insurance for a playoff run. But if someone gets desperate, they’d listen. (What about the Dolphins, whose Brian Flores was with Jimmy on the Pats?)
Facing DUI charges complicates his status a bit, but Maye feels like one of the surest trade possibilities. A year after the Jets dealt Jamal Adams, he’s on the tag with no long-term deal in sight, and New York could use plenty more assets for its rebuild.
Things have gotten progressively worse for Flowers since his arrival from New England despite a decent Lions debut in 2019. Starting next year, Detroit will owe him $20+ million per year. If they can absorb some of that, maybe a team with space to spare will call.
This all depends on where the Saints are at in November. He’d certainly enable the staff to let Jameis Winston throw it more. But his relationship with the club has been shaky before, and a trade would give them tens of millions down the road, amid a likely rebuild.
They won’t do this unless Ben Roethlisberger is benched (unlikely) or eventually lands on “injured reserve” (possible), and the return might not be big (his free agent market was so-so). But JuJu, on a one-year deal, would surely appeal as a rental for a contender.
No smart team is offering much here, but the Steelers would be foolish not to sell. A 2022 free agent, his successor is already on the roster in Pat Freiermuth, and his production and durability have never been particularly reliable. As a TE2, he’d be a decent add.
Both he and the Steelers would love for the marriage to last forever, and like JuJu, he probably won’t be auctioned until it’s clear Big Ben is out of the equation, but at least a half-dozen playoff teams would likely call about his availability, even at 32.
He is the Texans offense, but Houston hasn’t shied away from parting with important pieces this year. They need draft picks more than anything. Cooks’ resume is also littered with relocation, and you can bet a contender would welcome his proven speed.
Should Minnesota fail to regain its footing in the NFC North, Mike Zimmer’s restocked defense could be destocked, starting with the former Pro Bowler. The Vikings have let Barr test the market before and restructured his deal this year.
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