We are days away from the passing of the NFL Trade Deadline and there are many teams in the NFL who are looking to make major moves this trade season. Struggling teams look to sell off veterans for draft capital while contending teams look to add that special extra piece to bolster their chances in competing for the Super Bowl. Here are five trades I think should happen before the deadline.
- The Browns acquire cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the Patriots
It is no secret the Patriots’ dynasty is crumbling before our eyes. They have lost three games in a row for the first time since 2002 and the lack of talent on their roster is becoming more apparent each game they play. This was highlighted by a 33-6 loss against the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend, a team filled with injuries. They need to rebuild and trading last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, would garner them multiple draft picks and a chance to inject young talent into the roster.
They should trade Gilmore to the 5-2 Cleveland Browns, a team with the third-worst pass defense in the NFL and the team with the most cap room of any team. The Browns are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and acquiring Gilmore to pair with Denzel Ward would fix some glaring holes in the secondary. They have the draft capital to give the Patriots the picks they desire and the Browns can elevate themselves to compete with their rivals in the AFC North. This is a trade that would largely benefit both teams.
2. The Patriots acquire tight end Zach Ertz from the Eagles
Ever since legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski left the Patriots after the 2018 season, the Patriots tight end corp has been among the NFL’s worst. This has especially been the case this season as the starting tight end, Ryan Izzo, has only 90 receiving yards.
They badly need a boost at tight end and the best fit would be Eagles tight end, Zach Ertz. Ertz has been a mainstay in the Eagles offense since he was drafted in 2013 but this season, he has been rarely used with only 178 receiving yards this season. Ertz is still a legit tight end and if the Patriots can acquire him with a mid-round draft pick, expect the passing attack to be more efficient.
3. The Packers trade for Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills
The Packers this offseason elected to not acquire a wide receiver to help out Aaron Rodgers in both the draft and free agency. This season, Rodgers have still looked as great as ever, leading the Packers to a 5-1 record and is second behind Russell Wilson in passer rating. However, the Packers were blown out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-10 as the receiving corp could not handle the Bucs’ aggressive secondary and Rodgers was pressured all game long. Davante Adams is an elite receiver but he is the only legit threat the Packers have and Adams is injury-prone.
They need more weapons and I recommend the Packers trade for Texans deep-threat wide receiver Kenny Stills. Stills has taken a backseat in a Texans offense which has multiple solid targets but quarterback Deshaun Watson struggles to throw the ball down the field. Stills has only 138 receiving yards this season but could find new life in Green Bay. Stills is worth a mid-round pick and on the Packers, he would be effective at stretching the field and complement Adams’ height and possession perfectly.
4. The Steelers pick up inside linebacker Avery Williamson from the Jets
The Steelers head into their Week 8 matchup against their hated rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, as the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL. Their defense has been instrumental in this with the NFL’s number one total defense. However, their defense took a hit in their Week 6 win over the Browns as inside linebacker Devin Bush tore his ACL, ending his season early.
They need to fill the void Bush left at that position and the perfect replacement is New York Jets’ inside linebacker Avery Williamson. Williamson has been a solid linebacker in the NFL for the last few years for the Jets and Titans and he is currently stuck on a winless team. With his contract expiring after the season, the Steelers could seamlessly replace Bush for the rest of the season without having to push Bush out of the lineup for the future. Also, since the Jets are winless, getting a draft pick for a player who is leaving this offseason anyways would be more than beneficial.
5. Washington trades edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan to the Titans
The Titans are Super Bowl contenders once again but they have two major problems which were exposed in their 27-24 loss to the Steelers; a lack of pass rush and third down defense. The Titans have the worst third-down defense in the NFL as they allow opponents to convert 60.98% of their third-down conversions. Also, the Titans have only sacked opposing QBs seven times this season, the second-fewest in the NFL behind the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Vic Beasley Jr. and Jadeveon Clowney have combined for zero sacks this season and badly need help in that area if they are to go on another playoff run. I recommend the Titans acquiring veteran Ryan Kerrigan, who could be on the move from Washington as head coach Ron Rivera transitions the defense from the 3-4 to the 4-3. Kerrigan has totaled 94 sacks since the 2011 season and with his experience, would be an instant boost to the defense. Picking up Kerrigan would be a huge move for the Titans, which would be worth giving up a possible second or third-round pick. Washington, a team in a rebuilding phase, would benefit greatly from extra draft capital.