I’ll be keeping track of the various NFL trades that occur throughout the remainder of 2022 on this page (most recent first). For every trade, I will list the assets each team received, analyze the trade, and provide trade grades for each team. For free agent signings and extensions, see this page.
November 1, 2022
Falcons Trade CB Dean Marlowe to Bills for 2023 7th-Round Pick:
Atlanta gets a CB, Atlanta gives a CB. There’s really not much difference between the two players, though Marlowe probably gets burned in coverage a bit less. Marlowe became superfluous for Atlanta once they traded for Rashad Fenton, so they traded a conditional 7th-round pick for a guaranteed one. That makes this essentially a zero-sum trade for the Falcons. Buffalo sends a throwaway pick to Atlanta to supplement their CB depth. Tre’Davious White is finally returning this week, but it would be wise to ease him back slowly. Thus, having a player who can take some of those snaps while providing a quality reserve during a deep playoff push is ideal.
Grades: Falcons: B ; Bills: A+
Chiefs Trade CB Rashad Fenton to Falcons for Conditional 7th-Round Pick:
The Chiefs must be really happy with rookies Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson. This move essentially amounts to a salary dump, with KC shedding $1.4M in 2022 salary. For Atlanta, they acquired Fenton while shipping Dean Marlowe to Buffalo with 7th-round picks involved in both trades. The secondary in Atlanta goes as AJ Terrell goes, but having a veteran with playoff experience is good for a team undergoing a youth movement. The Chiefs had very little cap space (under $3.5M last I checked), so this gives them a bit of breathing room to extend their current players or sign a free agent closer to the playoffs. Not a bad swap all around.
Grades: Chiefs: B; Falcons: B
Colts Trade RB Nyheim Hines to Bills for Conditional 2023 6th-Round Pick and RB Zack Moss:
I didn’t like the contract Indy gave Hines (3 years and $18.6M), and 2 years remain on that deal. However, the guaranteed money runs out after this season. Hines is a mediocre runner but is a very good receiver out of the backfield and returns punts. Moss is a bruiser back who has fallen out of favor in Buffalo. He’s 3rd on the depth chart behind Devin Singletary and James Cook, but he can grind out tough yards when Jonathan Taylor needs a breather. It’s the presence of Cook that makes this trade peculiar for Buffalo. The team spent a 2nd-round pick on Dalvin’s younger brother, and he’s essentially the same kind of back as Hines but isn’t making $6M or costing an additional pick. I don’t think they needed a punt returner either, as rookie Khalil Shakir was doing that job already. Indianapolis definitely wins this trade, as they rid themselves of a bad contract and acquire a pick.
Grades: Colts: A+; Bills: C-
Jets Trade DE Jacob Martin and 2024 5th-Round Pick to Broncos for 2024 4th-Round Pick:
Denver has already acquired a piece to replace the traded Bradley Chubb. Obviously Martin does not compare to Chubb, and he’ll likely be a backup rotational rusher. The cost to obtain him reflects that fact. It doesn’t move the needle very much. The Jets more or less recover the pick they traded last week for James Robinson in exchange for an expendable player, so that’s definitely good work.
Grades: Jets: A-; Broncos: B-
Falcons Trade WR Calvin Ridley to Jaguars for Complex Conditional Pick Package:
I had completely forgotten about Ridley due to his 1-year gambling suspension. The Falcons are getting at worst a 2023 6th rounder. If Ridley is reinstated by a certain date, that becomes a 5th rounder. Should Ridley make the Jaguars’ team in 2024, a 2024 4th-round pick is added. A play time incentive can bump that to a 3rd, while a long-term deal between him and JAX boosts the 2024 pick to a second rounder. I love this for Atlanta, because they must be thrilled to get rid of this headache. He missed time due to supposed mental health issues, and I’m very sympathetic to that, but during his leave, he gambled on games and got caught. Ridley isn’t reliable, and the Falcons drafted his replacement in Drake London. For Jacksonville, Ridley certainly has upside. He was a first-round pick who has demonstrated #1 receiver ability in the NFL. Trevor Lawrence would love him…if he can stay on the field. The conditions attached to these picks make me much more comfortable with the Jags making this move. In a worst-case scenario, they’re only down a 6th-round pick.
Grades: Falcons: A; Jaguars: B
Commanders Trade CB William Jackson III and Conditional 2025 7th-Round Pick to Steelers for Conditional 2024 6th-Round Pick:
I was giving Washington a flat A no matter what for this trade. They already made it known that if no trade materialized, they were releasing Jackson. Getting ANYTHING for a player you want to cut while also shedding his salary is excellent. The reported trade compensation is practically nothing, but who cares. The Steelers wanted Jackson in the draft, but the Bengals snagged him. He played well enough to earn a $40.5M deal with Washington in free agency, but he hasn’t been nearly as good in DC. That said, he still has talent, and he’ll likely be better with Mike Tomlin coaching him. This is a very reasonable flier considering next year’s salary isn’t guaranteed.
Grades: Commanders: A; Steelers: B+
Niners Trade RB Jeff Wilson Jr. to Dolphins for 2023 5th-Round Pick:
Wilson became expendable the second SF acquired Christian McCaffrey, so teams came calling for a runner who is averaging more than 5 yards per carry. I did not expect Miami, who just traded Chase Edmonds, to be the team to acquire him. Mike McDaniel worked with Kyle Shanahan, so he should know better than anyone that you can get away with UDFAs at RB in that system. He can see it right now with Raheem Mostert! A 5th rounder isn’t a lot for a quality back though, so in a vacuum, this is a fine trade. SF did decently themselves. Wilson is worth a bit more than this, but two things are working against the team. First, the McCaffrey trade destroyed their leverage; everyone knew Wilson was trade bait. Second, RBs don’t often look as good once they leave SF due to the aforementioned system. That obviously won’t be a problem for Miami. Flipping a former UDFA into a pick is never a bad thing, especially at a low-value position.
Grades: Niners: A-; Dolphins: B-
Broncos Trade Edge Rusher Bradley Chubb and 2025 5th-Round Pick to Dolphins for 2023 1st-Round Pick, 2024 4th-Round Pick, and RB Chase Edmonds:
This is a rare win-win trade. I have been complaining about Miami’s pass rush, and this instantly gives it a jolt. Chubb is a strong rusher on the #3 defense in the NFL, and he already has 5.5 sacks this year. I’ll grade the inevitable extension that comes, but he’s worth the first-round pick. They also get to shed Edmonds’ salary. He was a bust free agent signing and was relegated to the bench due to Raheem Mostert’s quality play. Denver gets a strong return for a player they weren’t necessarily going to hand a massive contract to, and they recoup some of the draft capital they sent out for Russell Wilson. Edmonds might actually be useful to them due to Javonte Williams’ injury and Melvin Gordon’s fumbling problem. Denver is going nowhere this season, so this is good for Chubb too. The Broncos get a worse grade because they are still losing an extremely talented player, but they did well. I’m not sure how Miami fits Chubb’s expected deal in with the Hill contract plus eventual deals for Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle, but that’s not my job.
Grades: Broncos: B+; Dolphins: A
Steelers Trade WR Chase Claypool to Bears for 2023 2nd-Round Pick:
Note: this is Chicago’s own 2nd rounder, not Baltimore’s (so they sent the better one). Now Chicago is buying at the deadline? It took about a year and a half too long, but the Bears finally got WR help for Justin Fields. The team has had difficulty evaluating Fields’ passing ability because of the dearth of receiving options. Claypool pairs with Darnell Mooney to fix this. A second-rounder for Claypool is a little higher than I would’ve gone, as he’s a big-bodied receiver that isn’t a true mismatch, but they absolutely needed weapons. He has 1 year remaining on his rookie deal, so an extension should also be imminent. For Pittsburgh, the receiver room is still alright with Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, and Pat Freiermuth is an ascending TE, but you want to surround your young QB with as much talent as possible. I do like this deal though, as they got strong value for Claypool, who they didn’t seem like they were going to re-sign. Perhaps they can spend this new premium pick on an offensive lineman.
Grades: Steelers: A-; Bears: C+
Lions Trade TE TJ Hockenson, 2023 4th-Round Pick, and Conditional 2024 4th-Round Pick to Vikings for 2023 2nd-Round Pick and 2024 3rd-Round Pick:
The Lions and Vikings seem to trade with each other more than any other pair of division rivals. Once again, it looks like Vikings got the better end of a complicated pick swap. Hockenson was viewed as the next great TE out of Iowa, and while he’s been solid, he hasn’t been elite. Tight ends are known to develop slowly, and he seemed to be improving. Jared Goff has never effectively used TEs, but that’s not going to be true for Kirk Cousins. This gives Minnesota a good weapon for the middle of the field, and Hockenson should open things up for Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. He’s also a fantastic blocker. He has only the 5th-year option remaining on his rookie deal, so he’ll need to be extended soon. That’s my biggest concern for Minnesota. It’s not good business to pay big bucks for a TE that’s not at Travis Kelce’s level, but TE Irv Smith’s placement on IR with an ankle injury necessitates this move. If you’re Detroit, why hand your rivals another weapon? All you got were a couple of pick upgrades (two 4ths for a 2nd and a 3rd, supposedly worth one 2nd rounder), so was there no other team that would offer you a comparable package? Hockenson likely wouldn’t have been around to see the Lions finish their rebuild though, so I’m not too down on the deal, but it will hurt if he does well with the Vikings.
Grades: Lions: C-; Vikings: B+
October 31, 2022
Bears Trade LB Roquan Smith to Ravens for 2023 2nd- and 5th-Round Picks, LB AJ Klein:
So much for Chicago’s asking price of two 1st-round picks. That was never going to happen, but this is still a meager sum for a player like Smith. Smith is a divisive player in league circles. Pro Football Focus isn’t a fan, and he’s never made a Pro Bowl. However, he’s been voted second-team All Pro twice. I happen to fall in the latter camp. This is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with great tackling ability. His 83 total tackles lead the league. He usually contributes a couple of sacks each year, and he’s never gone through a season without an INT; he already has 2 in 2022. Smith can cover and stuff the run, and he’ll be a huge help for Baltimore. The only question here is the inevitable contract extension. Smith held in during training camp because he and the Bears could not agree to a new deal. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens fit that contract in with Lamar Jackson’s looming megadeal. Ideally, they’ll agree to a deal as part of this trade (if they do, I’ll grade it separately). For Chicago, this might sap the fight out of their team. Trading both Smith and Robert Quinn is a clear sign of tanking (for a questionable QB prospect?), even if the coaches don’t want to do so. I don’t blame them for acquiring picks for a player they weren’t going to retain, but Smith should be a franchise cornerstone, not a bargaining chip. It should also be noted that the teams on the other side of these trades keep winning them.
Grades: Bears: D; Ravens: A
October 27, 2022
Giants Trade WR Kadarius Toney to Chiefs for 2023 Compensatory 3rd-Round Pick and 2023 6th-Round Pick:
I find this trade very interesting because it involves a team that shouldn’t be selling and a buyer that doesn’t need a receiver. The Giants took Toney at #20 overall just last year, but the relationship between player and team never meshed. Toney was often injured and had maturity issues, which prevented NYG from utilizing his high-end speed. He has played in just 2 games this year and has a paltry 2 catches for 23 yards. It says a lot that a team with a dearth of receiving options would cut bait so quickly. However, the current regime didn’t draft him, and that may have immediately put him on thin ice. The Chiefs are taking a low-risk gamble on a player with first-round talent in the hopes that he can put it all together in a better setting. I have no doubt that he’ll look better with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, but will he play? Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Skyy Moore are the clear top-3 guys, and I’d imagine that Mecole Hardman is ahead of Toney as well. You can never have too many weapons though; injuries and hot streaks will necessitate the use of players you weren’t depending on before. I imagine the Giants will learn that soon enough with their own receiver room, plus I have to knock them for the wasted first-round pick.
Grades: Giants: C-; Chiefs: B-
October 26, 2022
Bears Trade Pass Rusher Robert Quinn to Eagles for 2023 4th-Round Pick:
Quinn is likely the top edge rusher that can be acquired before the trade deadline, so it’s fitting that the lone 6-0 team won the bid for his services. It was reported recently that the Bears weren’t shopping Quinn, but they clearly felt fine being on the receiving end of calls. Philadelphia already has a strong defensive line, but its power is mostly at DT. Their edge rushers are a bit lacking. Quinn instantly improves that, as he consistently posts strong pass rush win rates. He isn’t off to a great start this year with just 1 sack so far, but he had 18.5 sacks a season ago and is playing pretty much the same on tape. Regression to the mean, plus the fact that teams are likely to have to throw to come back against the Eagles, should boost his counting stats. The Eagles get to keep Quinn through 2024 at salaries of just under $13M/year, so the value is quite good. For Chicago, don’t let their 3-4 record cloud your judgment. They’re one of the worst teams in the league, so acquiring a decent pick for a player likely to decline soon is just fine, though it might deflate the locker room.
Grades: Bears: B; Eagles: A
October 25, 2022
Raiders Trade DT Jonathan Hankins, 2024 7th-Round Pick to Cowboys for 2023 6th-Round Pick:
In recent years, the Raiders have shipped out quite a bit of talent on the offensive and defensive lines. As before, I don’t know why they’re doing this. This is slightly below market value for Hankins, but that’s not the point. The Raiders started 0-3 due in part to unlucky breaks, and they’re clearly better than a 2-4 squad. With so much parity around the league and the plethora of middling teams, the Raiders should be adding, not subtracting. For Dallas, this is fantastic. Their only defensive weakness is stopping the run, and that’s Hankins’ specialty. This trade was likely made with the Eagles in mind, and it’s a very smart move to make.
Grades: Raiders: C-; Cowboys: A+
Jaguars Trade RB James Robinson to Jets for 2023 Conditional 6th-Round Pick:
Doug Pederson fielded questions after yesterday’s game about why Robinson received 0 total touches. The coach responded that Robinson did nothing wrong, but the game flow and Travis Etienne’s performance dictated the carries. One day later, Robinson is gone. The Jets have acquired him to replace the injured Breece Hall for a 6th-round pick that can become a 5th. I don’t know what the condition on the pick is, but it doesn’t matter. There was nobody better for the Jets to acquire, and this is a cheap price. I normally hate when overrated teams that have unexpectedly good starts due to weak schedules ship away draft capital, but the Jets haven’t had hope in years. I can’t blame them at all for wanting to try and push this season as far as it can go in spite of QB Zach Wilson’s poor play. This is a rental, however, as Robinson is a restricted free agent at the end of the year and Hall is clearly the future. This is an awful deal for the Jaguars. The compensation isn’t the problem; it’s the fact that they traded their most productive player. The former UDFA reminds me of another Jaguar back: Maurice Jones-Drew. They’re both undersized but sturdily built, they get what’s blocked plus a bit more, and they can catch. A telling stat is that JAX is 2-0 when Robinson gets 12 touches this year but 0-5 when he doesn’t. Etienne was a dumb pick because of Robinson’s presence (and his 4.5 yards per carry average), and the Jags are doubling down on that decision.
Grades: Jaguars: D; Jets: B
October 21, 2022
Panthers Trade RB Christian McCaffrey to 49ers for 2023 2nd-, 3rd-, and 4th-Round Picks and 2024 5th-Round Pick:
This was one team that I didn’t think would be in on McCaffrey. Kyle Shanahan’s zone running scheme is known for extracting great production out of late-round picks and UDFAs (see Jeff Wilson and Elijah Mitchell). Additionally, SF is without their first-round pick again as a result of the Trey Lance trade. As of right now, they will not pick in the 2023 draft until the 3rd round compensatory selections. McCaffrey is undoubtedly a phenomenal talent. He’s averaging 5.7 yards per carry, and he’s the best receiving back in the league. However, he has been injured quite often in recent years, and you’re taking on 3 years and $36.2M of his contract. I don’t understand why an oft-injured team would add another injury-prone player at an unneeded position while destroying their future depth. The only thing keeping the 49ers from a failing grade is that they kept McCaffrey away from the RB-needy Rams, who were supposedly sniffing around. Carolina comes out of this looking like bandits. RBs are rarely taken in the first round these days, and nobody was sending a 1st rounder to the Panthers for one on a large deal. This instantly replenishes the draft capital Carolina has traded away in failed deals for Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. As shown by this trade and the Robby Anderson deal, the Panthers are in fire sale mode, hoping to rebuild with a QB of the roster that’s likely not on the roster (sorry Matt Corral). The McCaffrey deal has been a bad one due to his injuries, so getting this kind of package for him is fantastic.
Grades: Panthers: A+; 49ers: D-
October 17, 2022
Panthers Trade WR Robbie Anderson to Cardinals for 2024 6th-Round Pick and 2025 7th-Round Pick:
Sometimes, you can see a trade coming a mile away. Not necessarily the recipient, but the team who wants to part ways with a player. That was the case here, as Panthers interim HC Steve Wilks threw Anderson out of the game yesterday. Anderson was already on the trade block, but that move made the relationship between team and player beyond repair. The Cardinals thus are able to obtain a potent deep threat at a bargain basement price. Anderson, who was coached by recently fired Panthers coach Matt Rhule at Temple, had a nice start to his career with the Jets. After signing with Carolina in free agency, Anderson posted his first 1000 yard season, but he wasn’t as productive in 2021 with a revolving door at QB. He has been even less active this year, leading to the team’s willingness to trade him. Due to a contract restructure, Arizona is on the hook for just $690k, the pro-rated portion of his remaining salary. I was going to write that Arizona didn’t need another WR with DeAndre Hopkins coming back, but it has been reported that the Cardinals made this move because Marquise Brown suffered a foot injury that could end his season. In that case, this is a good substitute at a super cheap price, even if I don’t think it will impact a bad Cardinals team. Carolina gets points for extracting anything out of a player it wanted gone, but I can’t forget that they’re the reason for this problem in the first place.
Grades: Panthers: C; Cardinals: A-
October 9, 2022
Falcons Trade LB Deion Jones, 2024 7th-Round Pick to Browns for 2024 6th-Round Pick:
Once again, we’ve got a 7th+player for 6th trade. Atlanta is realizing that despite some good fortune leading to a 2-3 start, they simply aren’t equipped to make a lot of noise with Marcus Mariota and the rest of their roster. To add ammo to their war chest as they try to rebuild through the draft, the Falcons have traded their former Pro Bowl LB to Cleveland. I’m not sure I understand this swap from either side. For Atlanta, if you’re a team that, while low on talent, is still within a game of the division lead, does it help morale to be trading a veteran already? In Cleveland’s case, does an LB fix Jacoby Brissett’s late-game INT problem or your secondary’s 4th-quarter communication issues? Jones is a serviceable player with a low salary who might be on the decline, but he has been a tackling machine who can replace the injured Anthony Walker. Nobody gets a bad grade here for such a minor trade, but I’d give Cleveland the edge here.
Grades: Falcons: B-; Browns: B
September 21, 2022
Patriots Trade OT Justin Herron, 2024 7th-Round Pick to Raiders for 2024 6th-Round Pick:
We should get used to these Patriots-Raiders trades. NE always tends to make a bunch of deals with new “Patriot outposts”—teams that have recently hired Patriots coaches or executives. This is a minor deal for New England but a potentially consequential one for Las Vegas. A former 6th-round pick of NE, Herron entered the league as a better pass blocker than a run blocker, and he’s developed into a solid swing tackle. He might actually be a starter upgrade for the Raiders’ abysmal line though. After inexplicably tearing apart their quality line over the past couple of seasons, LV now possesses a dearth of talent to protect Derek Carr. That was consequential in last week’s loss to the Cardinals, as the Raiders could not generate a single second-half point due to poor protection. This is a cheap price to pay to to and fix that. For NE, I don’t get it. Mac Jones needs all the help he can get, so why trade a valuable depth piece for a 1-round draft position improvement on day 3? I like this a lot less for them.
Grades: Patriots: C-; Raiders: A
August 31, 2022
Eagles Trade WR Jalen Reagor to Vikings for 2023 7th-Round Pick and Conditional 2024 4th-Round Pick:
The Vikings watched the Eagles select Reagor in the 2020 draft with glee and then selected Justin Jefferson with the very next pick. They’re super happy with how that turned out, but now they get both! The conditional pick can drop to a 5th rounder if various statistical thresholds aren’t met (per Adam Schefter). I don’t know what exactly those triggers are, but I’ll go out on a limb and say they won’t be met, so I’m grading this trade as if it’s a 5th-round pick going back to PHI. I’m not sure what Reagor will provide the Vikings. Reagor was wildly overdrafted and has been a colossal bust, but he is only 23, so perhaps some upside remains. Minnesota gets two years of his rookie contract to find out what he can be, but as the third receiver (at best), he probably won’t make much of an impact. For Philly, this trade recoups more than they probably expected for what they are now admitting is a sunk cost. I give them an F for the original selection, but their grade here reflects how they did on this trade only.
Grades: Eagles: A; Vikings: C
August 30, 2022
Vikings Trade OL Jesse Davis to Steelers for Conditional 2025 7th-Round Pick:
I’m much higher on this trade for Minnesota. Davis has versatility with experience at both guard and tackle, but he’s not particularly good at either. He wasn’t even retained by the DOLPHINS. That should tell you that Davis isn’t worthy of a starting spot. Minnesota also picks up an asset while shedding Davis’s $3M salary. That’s great! For Pittsburgh though…why? I get that the Steelers have a really poor line that is likely to get Kenny Pickett killed when he eventually starts, but adding another mediocre option fixes nothing. Once again though, the compensation is truly minimal. That “2025” isn’t a typo; the pick conveys THREE YEARS from now.
Grades: Vikings: A; Steelers: C+
Raiders Trade CB Trayvon Mullen to Cardinals for Conditional 2023 7th-Round Pick:
Surprise! The Raiders traded a bubble player for…another conditional 7th-round pick. This one can become a 6th based on playing time. I get that this is a typical case of a new regime not feeling great about guys they didn’t draft, but I’m not fond of this swap for LV. Mullen was drafted in the second round in 2019, and he didn’t seem like a bust. He started 10 games as a rookie before starting all 16 in 2020, compiling 24 pass breakups in those two seasons. I don’t think he became the shutdown corner the team was hoping for, but he was solid until injuries derailed his 2021 campaign. Given that 2021 was his only injury-plagued year among his 3 pro seasons, he seems like a good bet to bounce back. Thus, I love this buy-low proposition for Arizona.
Grades: Raiders: D+; Cardinals: A
Texans Trade DT Ross Blacklock and 2023 7th-Round Pick to Vikings for 2023 6th-Round Pick:
Yet another 6th/7th swap! This time, it’s the Texans’ 2020 2nd rounder on the move. To say that Blacklock hasn’t met expectations would be an understatement. His PFF grade in 2021 was a mere 50.4, and he has tallied 2 career sacks, 36 career tackles, and 1 ejection for throwing a punch. Clearly, the Texans were ready to move on, so I guess it’s good that they got something. Perhaps they hope they’re achieving addition by subtraction. I understand this even less for Minnesota. Blacklock is taking a roster spot from Arman Watts, who was a better player last year! Is this about the $1.2M in cap savings? Because that seems trivial. Their saving grace is that they gave up minimal compensation, but I’m not sure I understand their thought process.
Grades: Texans: B; Vikings: C-
Broncos Trade LB Malik Reed and 2023 7th-Round Pick to Steelers for 2023 6th-Round Pick:
Another late-round pick swap for a player on the roster bubble. Once again, I can understand it from both sides, but I like it better for Pittsburgh. Denver signed Reed to a 1-year tender worth $2.4M after he totaled 5 sacks in 2021. That production seemed worthy of a roster spot, but the drafting of Nik Bonitto in the 2nd round this April made him expendable. As usual, I won’t grade an asset pickup for a player destined for release poorly. However, the Steelers clearly won this. Moving down one round to obtain a player with proven performance and reasonable upside is roster building 101. Though the Steelers have a killer defensive line, their LB corps is not as strong, particularly because Devin Bush has struggled. Reed can provide some quality snaps there at a cheap price.
Grades: Broncos: C; Steelers: A
Buccaneers Trade LB Grant Stuard and 2023 7th-Round Pick to Colts for 2023 6th-Round Pick:
I think this is a pretty fair swap. Mr. Irrelevant in 2021, Stuard faced an uphill climb to make Tampa’s loaded roster. He appeared in every game for TB last season, but he played almost exclusively on special teams. Moving up a round in next year’s draft for a player you were going to cut anyway is savvy business. I also like it from Indy’s perspective. They recently saw what Stuard can do, as the Colts played Tampa this weekend. On a roster that has room for depth players and special teams pieces, moving back 30 picks or so on day 3 is a cheap price for a guy who might have otherwise been claimed on waivers.
Grades: Buccaneers: B+; Colts: A-
Saints Trade S/CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and 2025 7th-Round Pick to Eagles for 2023 5th-Round Pick and 2024 6th-Round Pick:
This is the kind of punishment that the Saints can expect to continue to receive for their salary cap woes. Gardner-Johnson is a quality starter and a tone-setter on the Saints’ defense, and the team attempted to extend him. However, talks broke down (likely due to the cap constraints), and the team shifted its focus to trading him. This is a paltry return for a good player, but his pending extension and the Saints’ desperation obviously diminished his trade value. Why they’d trade him to an NFC rival is also a mystery. Philly swindled NO here. A couple of late-round picks for a player who can help their porous secondary? Easy win for Trader Howie Roseman.
Grades: Saints: D; Eagles: A
August 29, 2022
Panthers Trade OL Dennis Daley, 2024 7th-Round Pick to Titans for 2024 5th-Round Pick:
I’m a little surprised that Carolina is parting with Daley given the struggles that first-rounder Ikem Ekwonu has gone through this preseason. I imagine the team wanted to recoup the draft capital they sent out for Laviska Shenault. Daley started 9 games for Carolina a year ago at both left guard and left tackle, and wasn’t a particularly poor performer. I can’t grade this too terribly if they’re getting a pick for a player they would’ve cut, but I simply wouldn’t have cut him. I like this a lot more from Tennessee’s perspective. Ryan Tannehill took a beating last year, and the team needs serious line depth. Daley could slot in at either spot on the left side of the line. In a worst-case scenario, the Titans have acquired a versatile depth player for moving down 2 rounds in a draft 2 years from now.
Grades: Panthers: C; Titans: A-
Jaguars Trade WR Laviska Shenault to Panthers for 2023 7th-Round Pick and 2024 6th-Round Pick:
Jacksonville has decided they drafted another bust. Shenault showed flashes, but he couldn’t stay healthy during his two years with the team and was a likely cut candiate. Thus, getting a pair of picks for him is just fine. The Panthers’ side is more interesting. I don’t really see much room for Shenault to make an impact at WR for Carolina with DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and Terrace Marshall already on the roster. That makes me wonder if they envision Shenault in a “wide back” role as their version of Deebo Samuel. Shenault’s biggest strength has always been his ability to operate in space with the ball in his hands, and he could spell Christian McCaffrey, so that could be an intriguing plan. He’s obviously not going to be anywhere near as good as Deebo, but for a pair of late-round picks, I don’t blame the Panthers for trying to extract his potential.
Grades: Jaguars: B-; Panthers: B+
August 22, 2022
Bills Trade G Cody Ford to Cardinals for 2023 5th-Round Pick:
Cody Ford didn’t really work out the way most expected. He was a high-end prospect at Oklahoma, and many felt he was a steal in the second round of the 2019 draft, but some thought his poor testing at the combine was a bad sign. Those people turned out to be right in this case, but he has played alright at times (just not consistently enough). Arizona was really a great place for him to land. He reunites with his college QB, and that comfort level (plus the change of scenery) should help him rebuild his confidence. I don’t have super high hopes, but a 5th-round pick isn’t a hefty price for what is at worst a depth piece. Buffalo clearly gave up on Ford though, and if a Super Bowl contender parts with perceived talent, be wary. From that perspective, the 5th rounder is better than the conditional 7ths the Raiders have been hoarding.
Grades: Bills: B+; Cardinals: B-
Raiders Trade QB Nick Mullens to Vikings for Conditional 2024 7th-Round Pick:
The Raiders sure seem to enjoy amassing conditional 7th rounders, and I really don’t blame them. Adding lottery picks in the late rounds of the draft is always nice. Mullens was never making the roster as the Raiders were only keeping 2 QBs, and Jarrett Stidham was a trade acquisition that came over with new coach Josh McDaniels from NE. He wasn’t being cut unless he totally flopped, so it was nice for LV to get something (potentially) for Mullens. From the Vikings’ point of view, I don’t LOVE giving up a pick for a QB that was going to be easily available in the free agent pile, but anyone who saw the battle between Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion on Saturday knew the team had to do SOMETHING. Mullens is an upgrade over those two, but the Vikings can still cut him without penalty if a better option becomes available.
Grades: Raiders: A-; Vikings: B+
August 16, 2022
Raiders Trade S Tyree Gillespie to Titans for Conditional 2024 7th-Round Pick:
This is another minor trade that isn’t likely to move the needle for either team, but I’m commenting on it because A. I promised to grade every trade and B. I wanted to highlight the Raiders’ poor drafting. Gillespie could be a fine depth piece; he appeared in 11 games last season plus LV’s playoff contest, mostly on special teams. My problem is that he was a 4th-round pick just last year. Giving up on him so soon for the lowest possible compensation (the pick likely only conveys if Gillespie makes the Titans’ roster) suggests that the team whiffed badly. This has happened much too often for the Raiders in recent years, which is likely why another new regime is in place for this season.
Grades: Raiders: C; Titans: B
August 15, 2022
Eagles Trade WR/TE JJ Arcega-Whiteside to Seahawks for CB Ugo Amadi:
Every year during roster cuts, word gets out that various teams are planning to cut certain players, and before that happens, deals get struck. Both players in this deal were going to be cut by tomorrow, so one was swapped for the other. I don’t give poor grades in these types of trades because it’s always nice to get something for a player you were going to cut anyway. However, I will pick a winner, and that’s the Eagles. Arcega-Whiteside was completely useless to them despite being a former 2nd-round pick, and the team even experimented with him at TE (that failed, and SEA plans to shift him back to WR). In return, the team is picking up a serviceable slot corner with several starts on his resume. Amadi is much more worthy of a roster spot.
Grades: Eagles: A; Seahawks: B-
August 9, 2022
Dolphins Trade TE Adam Shaheen, 2023 7th-Round Pick to Texans for 2023 6th-Round Pick
I told myself that I’d grade every trade, no matter how minute. This is the type of trade that makes me second-guess that decision. I don’t see this trade doing anything consequential for either team. If you want to follow the accounting on late-round picks, I guess you can say that the Dolphins did alright here but lost overall in the Shaheen business. They traded a 6th-round pick to the Bears for Shaheen in 2020 (it was a conditional pick, and it was difficult to find but the condition was indeed met) before signing him to a 2-year extension. Shaheen predictably underwhelmed, so they pawned him off on the team they always seem to fleece: the Texans. I SUPPOSE Shaheen might still have a shred of potential, but who cares? Houston is going nowhere this year, and Shaheen doesn’t move the needle. They pay a pointless contract, while Miami merely moves up 1 round in the draft.
Grades: Dolphins: B+; Texans: D
UPDATE: Shaheen failed his physical due to a knee injury, so the trade is off. These teams can’t even get THAT right!
July 13, 2022
Patriots Trade WR N’Keal Harry to Bears for 2024 7th-Round Pick:
Bill Belichick really has a blind spot when it comes to drafting receivers. Harry was the #32 overall pick (first round) in the 2019 draft, and he has consistently underwhelmed. After trading for Devante Parker, a similar type of player, the writing was on the wall for Harry. NE hoped that Harry would be a bit of a late bloomer like Parker, but his production never increased no matter who was throwing him the ball. A fresh start was sorely needed. Enter the Bears. After letting Allen Robinson walk and replacing him with only a mid-round pick (Velus Jones), Justin Fields was staring at one of the worst receiving corps in the league. This trade is merely a flier. If Harry suddenly gets on track, then great. If not, they gave up the bare minimum. I really thought Belichick could extract SOMETHING better than a 7th-round pick from two years in the future. I guess that 1st rounder is a fully sunk cost.
Grades: Patriots: F; Bears: A
July 6, 2022
Browns Trade QB Baker Mayfield to Panthers for Conditional 2024 5th-Round Pick:
The Browns and Mayfield finally got their desired split. The exact pick going back to Cleveland is yet to be determined; it will be either a 4th or 5th rounder in 2024 based on Mayfield’s playing time. Reports also suggest that the Browns are paying $10.5M of Mayfield’s salary, with the Panthers picking up the remaining $4.85M. This is a MASSIVE decrease from what the Browns were initially demanding, which supposedly included a 2022 3rd-round pick and half of Mayfield’s salary, but the Browns had no leverage. As soon as the team acquired Deshaun Watson, the rest of the league knew they would have to trade Mayfield. Furthermore, the toxic relationship that formed between the QB and the organization increased the urgency to complete a deal. Carolina, who had discussions with Cleveland during the draft, was rewarded for their patience; they now possess the first two QBs taken in the 2018 draft (Mayfield and Sam Darnold). I think Darnold’s upside is actually far higher than Mayfield’s, but Baker has the much better floor. It makes sense to opt for the floor if you’re Matt Rhule and need to win immediately. Mayfield will undoubtedly improve without a torn labrum in the way, so I don’t blame them for taking a flier on the cheap. The Browns certainly lost this deal, but getting anything for a player that was going to be a problem for your team is a silver lining.
Grades: Browns: D+; Panthers: A-
May 13, 2022
Raiders Trade WR Bryan Edwards, 2023 7th-Round Pick to Falcons for 2023 5th-Round Pick:
This time the Raiders send a player away, shipping Edwards to the receiver-hungry Falcons. Once again, the Raiders are on the losing end of this deal. Edwards had modest numbers, but he seemed to be developing well; the team even said once that Edwards was someone they were high on. After Henry Ruggs was released, Edwards hit his stride and exceeded 500 yards on the season, but regime changes mean player changes. At 6’3″, he’s a big target that Marcus Mariota will love, and he’s only 24 years old, so his best football is likely in front of him. I would’ve kept him as the #2 WR over Zay Jones, who is now making $8M per season. Instead, Edwards will likely help the Falcons (particularly in 2023), and all it cost was a 2-round drop in next year’s draft.
Grades: Raiders: D+; Falcons: A-
May 12, 2022
Patriots Trade QB Jarrett Stidham, 2023 7th-Round Pick to Raiders for 2023 6th-Round Pick:
This is a curious trade that was necessitated by the Patriots drafting Bailey Zappe in the 4th round during the draft. There was simply no room on the roster for Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer, Bailey Zappe, and Stidham, and it was clear that Stidham would be the odd man out. Thus, it was good for NE to get something for a player they were likely planning to release. For the Raiders, this is a bit odd. The team already has Garrett Gilbert and Nick Mullens behind Derek Carr. At this point, it’s pretty clear that Stidham isn’t any better than either of them. The cost was cheap, and new coach Josh McDaniels is clearly familiar with Stidham from their time in New England, but they probably could have obtained him for free by simply waiting.
Grades: Patriots: B+; Raiders: C-