The NFL trade deadline is approaching Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. We have heard plenty of chatter about the rumors and the possible availability of players.
Yes, there could be deals. But this is not Major League Baseball where the trade deadline is something of a national holiday for fans. The volume of trades is up in recent years, but still there aren’t many, especially near the deadline.
There are salary cap and contract restrictions that often keep impact players from swapping jerseys. However, because it appears some players are available for the right price, here is a hypothetical look at trade fits for four contending teams before the deadline.
Again, don’t expect these deals to go down, but there are reasons why they could make sense, at least, football wise:
Acquire pass rusher Cameron Wake from the Miami Dolphins: The Cowboys’ lack of a pass rush is one of its biggest concerns. It has gotten better with the suspension return of DeMarcus Lawrence, but it could use a boost. Wake could be a good fit. Now, at the age of 34, Wake is not likely going to be an impact player or a long-term solution.
But he’d improve Dallas’ pass rush for the stretch run and he would make its defense more dangerous for now. Plus, he’d be fairly easy to fold into the roster financially. He likely wouldn’t cost a ton in compensation, either. He could probably be had for a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Wake has 3 sacks this season, so he is still competitive after registering 7 in seven games last year before getting hurt. Again, this current pass rush isn’t scaring opponents. Adding Wake would, at least, give Dallas an experienced pass rusher that opponents would have to account for.
Acquire left tackle Joe Thomas from the Cleveland Browns: Thomas has been rumored to be available for a few years. The Browns haven’t moved him. Cleveland is the only winless team in the NFL and the Browns are going to remain hapless for the foreseeable future. It makes sense the Browns say goodbye to their offensive line anchor of the past 10 years for a valuable draft pick. The Browns likely won’t be good with Thomas in the near future, but getting a high pick for him would help the future. Still, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson said this week the Browns wouldn’t deal him before the deadline. Thomas also said he doesn’t want to go. Still, if the right situation was presented for both the team and the player, perhaps something could be struck. It would be tight against the salary cap, but perhaps an arrangement could be made.
Denver has a need on the offensive line. Thomas would be a major upgrade from Russell Okung. Denver general manager John Elway has been aggressive in the past and he wouldn’t be afraid to make a trade if he thought it could help Denver win a second straight Super Bowl. Plus, Thomas, 31, has, at least, a few more seasons left in his stellar career. I could see Denver offering a second rounder for Thomas with the possibility that it becomes a first-round pick if Denver wins the Super Bowl. Again. Thomas is very likely sticking in Ohio, but Denver definitely could use him.
New England Patriots
Acquire wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey from the Chicago Bears: Jeffrey, who is playing under the franchise tag, is 26 and is reportedly on the market. The Bears aren’t going anywhere and they could solve the looming Jeffrey contract issue by dealing him. New England could use another receiver. In fact, he would be the best receiver in New England and be a dangerous pairing with star tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett (who was acquired from Chicago earlier this year).
Jeffrey would be a big-ticket item in both compensation (he’d probably cost a first-round pick plus some) and in a future contract. The Patriots usually bargain hunt. The idea of pairing Tom Brady and Jeffrey may be intriguing. If not, the Patriots could go for a cheaper option such as Torrey Smith of San Francisco, but Jeffrey would be a bigger impact and instantly make New England the runaway Super Bowl favorite.
Acquire cornerback Joe Haden from the Cleveland Browns: This one might be the biggest pipe dream in this list. There have been reports Haden can be had. But his contract is big and he would be both difficult to trade and difficult to acquire. But perhaps something could be worked out.
If the financial part was figured out, the Steelers would have to convince the Browns to trade Haden within the AFC North. That may be very difficult. However, Haden would definitely help Pittsburgh both now and the future. He would be one of their best defensive players and probably worth sending a second-round pick to the Browns.