6 Trades We Wish Went Down at the 2022 NFL Trade Deadline
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The 2022 NFL trade deadline did not disappoint for those who love the intrigue of a midseason trade.
In addition to names like Christian McCaffrey and Robert Quinn getting traded before the deadline’s actual day, a record 12 trades went down on Tuesday.
It was hard to keep track, as teams wheeled and dealt throughout the day.
Yet there are always sensible moves that are left on the table. In-season trades have become more frequent (as evidenced by the new record), but not all teams have bought in.
These six trades would have made sense for the players and teams involved. Whether they would have addressed a potential contender’s glaring weakness or might have given a fresh start to a promising player who needs a new opportunity, these trades would have been fun.
Denver Broncos Trade for RB Kareem Hunt
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There are several things ailing the Denver Broncos offense, and Chase Edmonds will not solve any of them. The Broncos received the return from the Dolphins on Tuesday in the trade that sent Bradley Chubb to South Beach.
Edmonds has the worst rushing yards over expected per attempt (minus-2.38) in the league by a wide margin, per Next Gen Stats. Cam Akers is next at minus-0.98.
So Edmonds isn’t going to be an answer for a team that is desperate for running back help. Javonte Williams’ season-ending injury has left the Broncos relying on Melvin Gordon III (3.5 yards per carry) and Latavius Murray (3.7) to carry the rushing attack.
Hunt would have been a much better option to provide some spark for the offense. He has the 13th-highest juke rate in the league, which is a measurement of evaded tackles per touch, per Player Profiler.
Unfortunately for Hunt, he’s second fiddle to one of the best pure runners in the league in Nick Chubb. His role in Cleveland’s offense is going to be capped, and the team was reportedly willing to capitulate to Hunt’s trade request.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the Browns would have taken a fourth-round selection or something better than the compensatory pick they will receive in 2024.
That means a fourth-rounder would likely have gotten the deal done, and there’s a possibility the Broncos could have acquired him for even less. That would have been worth a shot given how poorly the offense has performed to this point.
Green Bay Packers Trade for WR Brandin Cooks
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Perhaps fans in the NFC North are glad this didn’t happen, but those who like elite offenses might have enjoyed seeing the Green Bay Packers give Aaron Rodgers a legitimate deep threat at the deadline.
The Packers’ plan to simply replace one of the most prolific receivers in football with a cast of rookies (Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs), a careerlong secondary option (Allen Lazard) and aging veterans (Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins) hasn’t gone well.
The Rodgers-led passing attack is 26th in yards per pass (6.1), and Rodgers’ QBR is at a career-low 38.9 through eight weeks.
Some of that falls on Rodgers. After all, he’s the one with the massive contract, and it’s up to him to get the most out of what he has.
However, it doesn’t help that his top receiver, Lazard, is only on pace for 55 catches and 723 yards through eight weeks.
The trade deadline was an opportunity to get an upgrade. Brandin Cooks would have been an ideal target. The Packers were reportedly in the Chase Claypool market, offering a second-rounder, but the Steelers ultimately preferred the Bears’ offer because they anticipate their second-round draft pick will be a better selection, for Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
There’s not much that could be done about that, but the Houston Texans’ Brandin Cooks would have made sense, too. Rodgers’ ability to throw the deep ball would have been a much better use of Cooks’ 4.33 speed than anything he’ll do with the 1-5-1 Texans.
Houston and the Dallas Cowboys negotiated a deal that would have sent Cooks to Dallas up until the 4 pm deadline on Tuesday, for And Werder of ESPN. The Packers would have made more sense as a team that has to win now while Rodgers is still playing.
Kansas City Chiefs Trade for Edge Josh Allen
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One of the best moves the Kansas City Chiefs could have made in closing the current gap between them and the Buffalo Bills would have been acquiring Josh Allen. The other Josh Allen, that is.
The Chiefs remain one of the top threats to the Bills’ Super Bowl hopes. The two have seen each other five times since 2020, and the series stands at 3-2 in favor of the Chiefs.
However, it’s the Bills that won the regular-season contest this season (24-20) and hold the No. 1 seed in the conference right now. The trade deadline only served to widen the chasm between the two teams.
Buffalo’s offense arguably got better with the addition of running back Nyheim Hines. Meanwhile, the Chiefs traded away some cornerback depth in Rashad Fenton without adding anyone.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported the Chiefs were at least “monitoring” Jacksonville Jaguars edge-rusher Josh Allen. The 25-year-old only has three sacks, but he has 28 total pressures, which ranks him fifth among outside linebackers, per Sports Info Solutions.
The cost to add Allen likely would have been steep. But the Chiefs should be in the business of maximizing their Super Bowl chances as long as they have Patrick Mahomes on the roster.
Having someone like Allen to pair with Chris Jones on the inside to hunt down the other Josh Allen in the playoffs is the kind of move that would have done that.
It might have taken a first-round pick, but that’s a small price to pay when Allen could be the difference between a championship and a playoff exit.
Los Angeles Rams Trade for Edge Brian Burns
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The fact that this trade didn’t happen is downright baffling.
On one hand, you have a Carolina Panthers team that has already fired its coach and just dealt Christian McCaffrey for a boatload of draft picks.
On the other, you have the Los Angeles Rams, who have shown they will be as aggressive as necessary to stay in win-now mode. They’ve given up plenty of draft capital in trades for Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and Matthew Stafford in pursuit of their Super Bowl win last season.
Sitting at 3-4, it makes sense the Rams would go all-out to add a difference-maker. According to a report from Albert Breer of Sports Illustratedthey did just that, offering their first-round picks in 2024 and 2025 to acquire Brian Burns from the Panthers.
Unfortunately, the Panthers turned the deal down despite the fact that it would make both teams more intriguing moving forward.
From the Rams’ side, it would have been interesting to see what Burns could do playing alongside Aaron Donald. No one draws more double-teams than Donald on the interior, and it would have allowed Burns the freedom to rush on the outside in more one-on-one situations.
While the offensive line and a struggling offense are at the root of most of the Rams’ problems, it would have been fun to see how far a Los Angeles pass-rush featuring Donald, Leonard Floyd and Burns could have taken it this season.
For the Panthers, adding two first-round picks after the haul they got for McCaffrey would have made them one of the most interesting rebuilds in the NFL.
New York Giants Trade for WR Elijah Moore
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Elijah Moore is not being used by the New York Jets. Robert Saleh’s team is winning, but that hasn’t kept the receiver from requesting a trade and venting some frustration about his lack of touches after seeing one target in Week 8.
The one look was actually an improvement. Moore did not see a single target in Week 6 against the Packers.
Moore’s frustration is understandable. He showed promise as a rookie, scoring six touchdowns in 11 games and posting 538 yards on 43 receptions.
Now, he finds himself sixth on the team in targets with tight end Tyler Conklin and running backs Breece Hall and Michael Carter all getting more involved in the passing game. Among the receivers, Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis are the clear top options.
Meanwhile, the other team that calls MetLife Stadium home has a need for receivers. Brian Daboll has managed to guide the Giants to a 6-2 start, yet their leading receiver is Darius Slayton with just 232 yards on the season.
Kenny Golladay has not found a role in Daboll’s offense. Wan’Dale Robinson has dealt with injuries and appeared in just four games. The team just traded away Kadarius Toney.
The Giants could use more talent in the receiver room, and Daboll is equipped to come up with ways to take advantage of Moore’s explosive athleticism.
Unfortunately for Moore, Saleh stuck to his word that trading the receiver was “not an option.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trade for TE Mike Gesicki
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Mike Gesicki’s three touchdowns over the past three weeks have done a good job of masking the fact that the Dolphins aren’t likely to be his long-term home.
The Dolphins signed Gesicki to the franchise tag this offseason, meaning he can become a free agent after this season unless the team decides to tag him again.
In Mike McDaniel’s offense, Gesicki has been a bit of a square peg in a round hole. He has been a red-zone target recently, but he’s still on pace for just 45 catches for 499 yards and nine touchdowns.
Both the catches and yards would be his lowest output since his rookie season.
McDaniel used George Kittle in his offense in San Francisco, but Gesicki is not comparable as a blocker. He does his best work as a jumbo slot receiver, and the Dolphins have two target hogs in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady is missing Rob Gronkowski in Tampa Bay. TB12 has long been able to rely on Gronkowski to make plays in the middle of the field. However, Gronk’s retirement has left Brady leaning on Cameron Brate and Cade Otton, who largely haven’t been up to the task.
Neither has more than 200 yards receiving on the season.
As Omar Kelly of the I Am Athlete podcast noted, the Dolphins will likely have to wait for a compensatory pick in 2024 by holding on to Gesicki now. A 2023 third-rounder and 2024 fifth-rounder would have made sense in a trade with the Bucs, as the Dolphins would have gotten an additional pick a year earlier.