After seven weeks, a lower class of NFL teams has emerged. This group of ten or eleven teams could offload some talented veterans at the NFL trade deadline as they set up for next year’s cap situation. Several players in need of fresh starts might push to find new homes as well, creating an exciting dynamic near the mid-way point of the 2020 season.
The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. Any trades submitted after that time during the season are invalid. The deadline represents a final chance for contending teams to fill in one or two gaps on their roster, while it gives struggling organizations a jumpstart on their rebuilds.
We could see these players switch teams this year as organizations scramble to secure their futures.
Brandin Cooks, WR Houston Texans
Cooks strung together four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2015 through 2018, but fans couldn’t figure out why teams seemed so eager to trade him. Maybe we’ve found out. Cooks isn’t producing at a high enough level alongside one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson. He’s not productive enough to justify the $16 million he makes annually.
Sam Darnold, QB New York Jets
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport seems reasonably confident that the Jets won’t trade Darnold at the deadline, but we’ve seen more surprising moves in the past. The Jets are frontrunners for the No. 1 overall pick in 2021, which most analysts assume will be Trevor Lawrence. Darnold is a good quarterback, but he isn’t a generational prospect and hasn’t thrived in New York. A fresh start might help the 23-year-old.
Carlos Dunlap, DE Cincinnati Bengals
The veteran defensive end is frustrated with his role and playing time on Cincinnati’s defense. Along with Geno Atkins, Dunlap is one of the longest-tenured players on the Bengals. In his 155 games with Cincinnati, Dunlap has amassed 82.5 sacks and two Pro Bowl selections. The 31-year-old is the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks since they became an official stat in 1982. Dunlap has one year remaining on his contract.
Julian Edelman, WR New England Patriots
The Patriots probably don’t want to trade Edelman considering he’s their only proven receiving threat, but the 34-year-old is showing signs of regression. He’s dropping passes and struggling to create separation. Bill Belichick almost always trades veterans away before they drop off entirely. We could see him part ways with Edelman at the trade deadline.
Zach Ertz, TE Philadelphia Eagles
When the Eagles put Ertz on injured reserve (IR), they designated him as having a minor injury. Teams can’t trade players with that designation, meaning Ertz’s time in Philadelphia won’t end this season. However, I wouldn’t put it past the Eagles to trade him in the offseason. Ertz has one more year on his deal plus a club option in 2022.
Anthony Harris, S Minnesota Vikings
Last season, Harris tied for the league-lead with six interceptions. Pro Football Focus (PFF) even selected him as a First-Team All-Pro. After one year of elite play, the Vikings hit Harris with the franchise tag. Considering Minnesota’s subpar performance this year, it’s unlikely Harris gets a lucrative long-term extension this offseason. Instead, Minnesota can trade the 29-year-old and hope to get something in return.
Dwayne Haskins, QB Washington Football Team
If Darnold needs a fresh start, Haskins needs a full reset. His career is quickly heading the way of Paxton Lynch and Josh Rosen. After starting Washington’s first four games, Haskins headed to the bench in favor of Kyle Allen. Ron Rivera seems disinterested in the Ohio St. product and could bring in a new quarterback in 2021.
If Washington is already done with Haskins, they could dangle him out there at the trade deadline and hope some team bites on a deal. Washington might get a second-round pick, considering that’s what Miami traded for Rosen.
Jordan Howard, RB Miami Dolphins
Miles Sanders replaced Howard in Philadelphia, and the 25-year-old former Pro Bowler is already on his way out in Miami. The Dolphins gave Howard a two-year deal this past offseason, but he’s only taken 18 carries for 14 yards this season. It’s clear he doesn’t have a significant role on the offense, and his contract is too big to justify keeping around for long.
Ryan Kerrigan, OLB Washington Football Team
Rapoport believes Kerrigan won’t switch teams at the deadline, but a change of scenery might help the 32-year-old. Kerrigan is only playing a token percentage of Washington’s defensive snaps this season. The franchise’s all-time leader in sacks is getting pushed behind younger players on the depth chart, but he’s still a capable pass rusher. Other teams would use him more than Washington.
John Ross, WR Cincinnati Bengals
Ross holds little value in Cincinnati. Last season, he flashed some signs of improvement, averaging 63.3 yards per game before succumbing to injuries again. For a team lacking wide receiver depth, Ross might be worth a fifth or fourth-round pick at most.
Kyle Rudolph, TE Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings could turn into sellers at the deadline. Rumors about Minnesota cutting ties with Rudolph began circulating when the Vikings drafted Irv Smith Jr. in the second-round last year. However, Smith hasn’t caught on yet, and Rudolph remains the team’s top tight end.
Rudolph’s production took a major hit last season, and he’s already 30 years old. Three years remain on the Notre Dame product’s deal after this season. That’s a lot of time and money for an aging tight end. Rudolph is top-five in franchise history in receptions and receiving touchdowns.
Brandon Scherff, OG Washington Football Team
Washington is an absolute mess. While Scherff is one of the team’s best players, he’s rarely healthy. The three-time Pro Bowler is currently making roughly $15 million this year under the franchise tag. However, Washington shouldn’t commit money long-term to the often-injured lineman.
Justin Simmons, S Denver Broncos
Simmons is in the same boat as Harris. The former third-round pick experienced a breakout season last year. He intercepted four passes and earned All-Pro selections from the Associated Press (AP) and PFF. Denver franchise tagged Simmons, meaning the 26-year-old hits free agency in 2021. If Denver doesn’t want to give him an expensive deal, the Broncos could move Simmons at the trade deadline.
Adam Thielen, WR Minnesota Vikings
While a Thielen trade seems unlikely, the Vikings might turn into the league’s biggest sellers at the deadline. The 30-year-old is recovering well after only averaging 41.8 yards per game and battling injuries last season. However, he’s no longer the team’s best receiver. That title belongs to Justin Jefferson. Four years remain on Thielen’s contract.