10 Trades That Need to Happen Before the 2021 NFL Trade Deadline
The NFL Trade Deadline is not normally as exciting as other leagues' but in 2021 we may see a lot of big names on the move. Whether it be a decline in play or an underwhelming start to the season, teams will be looking to ship off some big contracts and start planning for the future.
On the other side, teams like the Arizona Cardinals have already started adding talent to their team with their acquisition of tight end Zach Ertz from the Philadelphia Eagles. As the 6-0 start to the season for the Cardinals has them thinking bigger picture.
The Cardinals surely won't be the only team that makes a win-now move to potentially get to the Super Bowl. Here are 10 more trades that could completely change the championship picture before the Nov. 2 trade deadline.
10. Joe Haden to The Dallas Cowboys
The Steelers discussed a contract extension with Joe Haden in the offseason, but those talks never amounted to anything. Now, with the Steelers sitting tied for last place in the AFC North and not really a threat to make some noise this season, unloading players like Haden will be beneficial for the future.
For the Cowboys, one of the worst defensive secondaries gets a boost from a 32-year-old veteran playing at a very good level right now. The Cowboys are ranked 32nd in passing yards allowed per game and they are 21st in yards allowed per pass. With how explosive this Cowboys' offense is, Dallas cannot let the defense derail the season. Adding a player like Haden will give the 'Boys a strong cornerback duo with NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate Trevon Diggs.
9. Clelin Ferrell to The Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs need a lot of help on defense and Clelin Ferrell would be a cheap and young option for Kansas City. Frank Clark has been severely disappointing for a while now and while Ferrell's production for being a fourth-overall pick is disappointing, a fresh start in a winning environment might do him some good.
It would be hard to imagine the Raiders trading Ferrell to their biggest rival, but that should not stop the Chiefs from looking at every available option to help bolster that awful defense.
8. Marlon Mack to The Buffalo Bills
Coming off an Achilles injury, Marlon Mack has shown signs of explosiveness which should put to bed any worries about the running back's future. And now that he's stuck behind the phenomenal Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack on the Colts' depth chart, it would make sense for Indianapolis to get what they can for a third-string runner.
With the Bills looking like the class of the AFC, trading for an impact player like Mack will only give Josh Allen more weapons to play with, and insurance in case of injuries or whatever else happens.
7. Cameron Dantzler to The San Francisco 49ers
Cameron Dantzler put up a solid rookie year in 2020 before falling out of the Vikings' starting rotation this season. It is unclear why he has fallen out of favor in Minnesota but it's clear that plenty of teams need secondary depth and the 49ers should be all over the Mississippi State product.
The 49ers need depth and Dantzler could emerge as a long-term starter in San Francisco. If the Vikings won't play him, why not go out and get him?
6. Nick Foles to The Seattle Seahawks
Let's be real here, we all love Geno Smith but he won't take the Seahawks far. With Russell Wilson set to miss over a month, Seattle needs to go out and find a competent quarterback. If only there was a former Super Bowl MVP just waiting to be picked up.
Oh wait, Foles is wasting away in Chicago and I am sure the Bears wouldn't mind if his contract was off the books. Foles will not change the season for Seattle but he can at least keep them above water while they wait for Wilson to come back. If Seattle can get a win or two with Foles in charge, it would be worth it.
5. Brandin Cooks to The San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have depth problems at receiver but more importantly, the 49ers are Super Bowl contenders. If you have a slight chance at winning it all, going out and fixing needs at the deadline is a must.
With Brandon Aiyuk in Kyle Shanahan's doghouse and George Kittle on IR with a calf injury, getting a player like Cooks involved in an already stagnant offense can give this team a boost. Cooks leads the Texans in targets (44), receptions (31), and receiving yards (392). He is set to hit the free agency market in 2022 so he can probably be had for cheap as the Texans will look to get whatever value they can.
4. Allen Robinson to The New Orleans Saints
The Saints need weapons in a bad way.
Allen Robinson would fix a lot of the Saints' issues in the passing game, even if he isn't the same receiver he once was. The Bears WR1 is playing on the franchise tag in Chicago right now and with no real hope of building a winner or extending him, the Monsters of the Midway need to get whatever value they can for their best available asset.
Outside of Week 1, Robinson has not seen a lot of targets this year and only has 21 catches for 234 yards on the season. Robinson would form a potentially dynamic duo when Thomas returns and could excel with Jameis Winston trusting ARob down the field to make plays.
3. Marcus Maye to The Los Angeles Rams
Despite a 5-1 record this season, the Rams need help if they want to compete for the Super Bowl. They got a boost on offense when they traded for Matthew Stafford in the offseason and now the defense needs that same boost.
Even though the Rams have the two best defensive players in the league in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, the defense is overall very average. While Maye is dealing with an injury and legal problems stemming from a DUI charge in the offseason, he will be a hot name on the trade market and the Rams are a team that will greatly benefit from his presence, even if it is for only one year.
2. Saquon Barkley to The Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is playing out of his mind right now as he's firmly set himself up to be in the NFL MVP conversation, but the Ravens could desperately use some help in the running game.
Once the most run-heavy team in the league, Baltimore has had to let Lamar cook with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards out for the season. The franchise clearly doesn't trust Ty'Son Williams as they trot out the corpses of Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell. That would make Saquon Barkely a perfect fit for the Ravens' creative running game.
Just imagine defenses trying to stop a backfield of Jackson and Barkley. It would be almost impossible.
The Giants are in a spot where the offense is just isn't good enough to help Barkley reach his full potential. The offensive line is horrible, the quarterback is bad, and there are just no redeeming qualities in New York. While the injuries continue to hold Barkley back, a fresh start in a winning organization where Barkley would be the main guy could help both him and the Patriots.
1. Odell Beckham Jr. to The Green Bay Packers
Odell Beckham Jr. has been in trade conversations since he took his first step in Cleveland. His numbers have dipped, he is not getting the targets he wants, and the offense with Beckham and Baker Mayfield just seems off. The Browns are getting Jarvis Landry back this week so it might be time to cut ties with the superstar receiver.
The Packers already have a megastar at receiver in Davante Adams so a trade to Green Bay will not help Beckham's numbers, but he will get to play with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are going all-in on what might be Rodgers' last dance in Green Bay and adding another talented receiver like Beckham will open up the entire field and still allow guys like Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard to get reps.
With the emergence of Donovan Peoples-Jones, the Browns can finally wash their hands of the ODB drama while the Packers bolster an already lethal offense.
Photo: Getty Images/Lines Illustration