2018 NFL Trade Deadline Grades: Raiders, Broncos score high marks for dumping Amari Cooper, Demaryius Thomas

The 2018 NFL trade deadline promised to be unlike anything we've ever seen before and it 100 percent delivered, with a flurry of big-name trades coming down throughout the week leading up to the deadline and then again with an intense pace in the hours and minutes before the deadline closed. 

Below we'll detail each trade and even pass SWEEPING JUDGMENTS in the form of individual grades on each deal.

Done Deals

Packers trade Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix to Redskins

This was a weird one, because Clinton-Dix isn't just a former first-round pick by the Packers, taken in 2014, but he's played well this year and the Packers defense hasn't been lights out. Green Bay did pick up a fourth-round pick in exchange for HHCD.

For the Packers: This is a sign that Brian Guntekunst isn't a fan of anyone Ted Thompson drafted recently, as well as a clear-cut sign the Packers weren't willing to re-sign Clinton-Dix this offseason (which was obvious when they wouldn't give him a contract after he held out from training camp). Getting a fourth-round pick back is pretty good considering that they wouldn't get that haul back via a compensatory draft pick, but losing a strong player in the secondary when they're trying to contend is not ideal for trying to close out the season with an improved defense. This team's trying to win now with Aaron Rodgers so I don't love dealing away a player who can make an impact. They are trying to win now right? Right??

Grade: C-

For the Redskins: Washington's stereotype is that they like to make splashy moves, but largely this has been a team building out a blue-collar identity with talent on the defensive line (as well as the offensive line) and adding Clinton-Dix on the back end with him playing out a contract year he pairs nicely with D.J. Swearinger. Washington is leading the NFC East and saw the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys go out and add high-end wide receivers at the trade deadline and then answered the moves late against the bell by landing another safety. It's pretty crazy that Josh Norman could now be considered the weak link of this secondary. Really like this move. 

Grade: A 

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Jaguars trade Dante Fowler to Rams

The Rams shoved all in on 2018 this offseason, but they didn't use all their chips and decided to splash a few more in the middle of the table before the trade deadline, sending a 2019 third-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Jags in exchange for Fowler, the third overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.

For the Jaguars: This is a pretty good deal. They got a late third-round pick back in exchange for a guy they weren't re-signing in free agency. And getting anything back for a former top-five pick who they were going to see walk away after this season isn't terrible either. Getting any kind of compensation for Fowler helps ease the pain of whiffing on a top-three overall pick. 
Grade: B

For the Rams: They needed edge rush help so it's not out of this world for them to make a move for a guy like Fowler, who was in the doghouse in Jacksonville. And going to Wade Phillips' defense is a net win -- if anyone can squeeze the juice out of the proverbial lemon, it's Son of Bum. I like Les Snead's willingness to shove all in on a Super Bowl season and give up what will be a late third-round pick. But a third-round selection for a guy who is essentially an eight-game rental feels like a lot. They need to get a pretty big impact from him at some point down the stretch.
Grade: C+

Packers trade Ty Montgomery to Ravens

Montgomery fumbled a kickoff return to cost the Packers a shot at beating the Rams last week, apparently going rogue and flying in the face of Mike McCarthy's orders and it ended up basically getting him cut, with the Ravens surrendering a 2020 seventh-round pick for him.

For the Packers: This was basically them cutting Montgomery after he decided to buck orders and run the ball out of the end zone. It didn't cost the Packers the game but it certainly cost them a shot at winning the game because he fumbled and the Rams recovered. If they didn't get a taker, he was getting cut. They certainly sent a message although they helped out Montgomery by sending him somewhere he will actually be used and could actually win.
Grade: B+

For the Ravens: This is a free roll of the dice on a guy who has been productive at both the wide receiver and running back position, and gives them some more depth behind Alex Collins and Javorius Allen.
Grade: B+

Broncos trade Demaryius Thomas to Texans

There was a lot of belief Thomas couldn't get dealt because of his contract, but with the Texans losing Will Fuller, they were clearly in need of wide receiver help and sent a fourth-round pick and their seventh-round pick to the Broncos for Thomas and a seventh-round pick from Denver.

For the Broncos: They got rid of a player they weren't keeping past this year and did so in a way that isn't ugly like cutting him this offseason. Thomas was going to have a $14 million cap hit next season, so there's no way Denver was going to keep him. By trading him, the Broncos free up cap space this year and next year, while avoiding having to deal with any dead cap hit from Thomas deal next season. Denver also drafted Courtland Sutton to replace Thomas, and the rookie has looked excellent when given a chance. He could explode down the stretch in 2018. Clearing up room without awkwardly cutting a guy they're planning to honor next year is a big win for Denver.
Grade: A-

For the Texans: They need pass catchers after Fuller went down, so it makes sense to add another body. But is Thomas the guy they want to complement DeAndre Hopkins? They're not similar players, but they're not physically dissimilar. Fuller was a field stretcher alongside Hopkins and now Thomas comes in as more of a possession receiver, but certainly someone who can make an impact as a veteran playmaker. The Texans are trying to win now and this fits in line with that kind of move, even if Thomas is probably not in their long-term plans at his cost and will now cost them dead money on the cap next year.
Grade: B

Lions trade Golden Tate to Eagles

Surprising to see the Lions move on from a productive player here, but Tate was going to be due an extension, is 30 years old and they got a third-round pick in exchange, which is a nice little haul. Shoutout to Tate for scooping everyone on this deal.

For the Lions: This is a weird little move considering how well they've played in recent weeks. I kind of thought the Lions might try and make a move in the NFC North, but giving up Tate indicates they're less likely to consider themselves contenders? Maybe? They still have Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay as pass catchers, so it's not like Matthew Stafford is bereft of weapons. The Lions were likely going to lose Tate next year anyway if they weren't willing to pay him, so this means they bring in a third-round pick that will be better than any compensatory pick they would have received back and open up targets for other guys.
Grade: B

For the Eagles: Tate is a perfect fit in Doug Pederson's offense with his ability to produce yards after the catch. Adding Tate diversifies this offense, as he's a nice complement to Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz. The Eagles have to see the NFC East and believe they're a team capable of making another deep run after beating the Jaguars in London and staying within range of the Redskins, who don't look like they're just going to steamroll through the division. Even if the Eagles don't sign Tate after this season ends, they should get a decent comp pick down the road, so it's not like this is a sunk cost. I like Howie Roseman being aggressive here at the deadline once again and giving Carson Wentz a short-range passing weapon to utilize.
Grade: A-

Giants trade Damon Harrison to Lions

The fire sale is ON for the Giants, with New York shipping the run-stuffing "Snacks" to Detroit for a fifth-round pick.

For the Giants: This is a real sign the Giants have decided to completely reboot the franchise. Snacks was the anchor of this defense and had two years left on a splashy contract he signed back before the 2016 season during Jerry Reese's ill-advised spending spree in free agency. This was the only other move the Giants made at the deadline besides Eli Apple? Sending the backbone of their defense out for a fifth-round pick? I was expecting a full-blown purge of this roster.
Grade: C

For the Lions: This is a big acquisition, with Detroit struggling to stop the run this season. Harrison will be 30 years old next year, but he doesn't have an outrageous cap hit next season, at just $8.6 million. They can cut him next offseason and battle just $3.2 million in dead money against the cap. 
Grade: A

Browns trade Carlos Hyde to Jaguars

Hyde, who the Browns signed in free agency, was shipped to Jacksonville for a fifth-round pick.

For the Browns: This makes sense because they have Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson. Chubb, a second-round pick this year, has flashed in limited action and looked good against a sneaky Tampa Bay run defense last week with 80 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland was going to cut Hyde this offseason anyway, so they shave a few million in dead money off their salary cap and get a fifth-round pick out of it.
Grade: B

For the Jaguars: They needed to get some kind of insurance for Leonard Fournette, who hasn't been able to play much of this season due to a hamstring injury. The offense simply wasn't downhill enough with just T.J. Yeldon under center. But at the same time, we saw them go up against the Eagles in Hyde's first action and they couldn't get him involved much in the run game. That's a major concern. I like the move, though, because Hyde is cheap, he fits the same mold as Fournette and he gives a would-be playoff team insurance in the run game. They've got to figure out how to get in favorable running situations to ultimately make it worth the deal, but for just a fifth-round pick, I like this move.
Grade: B+

Raiders trade Amari Cooper to Cowboys

Shocker of a deal in that it actually happened and included a first-round pick. Less shocking because Jerry Jones traded for a big-name wide receiver.

For the Raiders: This is a MASSIVE win. Getting a first-round pick for Cooper, who had just one year left on his rookie deal plus his fifth-year option at more than $13 million guaranteed, is a really nice haul. When the Raiders floated their preference for a first-round pick, we all sort of scoffed, but turns out it was not too crazy after all. A first for Cooper mitigates the Khalil Mack trade to some degree, it feels like. It's very clear the Raiders are putting all their chips in on their Vegas move.
Grade: A+

For the Cowboys: This is a risky move that could be expensive. Dallas definitely made the mistake of not investing in the wideout position this offseason; you can't come into a make-or-break year for a young franchise quarterback with Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup at the top of the depth chart. But giving up a first for Cooper is a high price to pay. The Cowboys would be surrendering the 10th overall pick as they head into their bye. They have to win a lot of games to justify this, and there's almost no way they can't give Cooper an extension at this point. He'll already be owed $13 million in 2019, which is a top 10 or top 15 wideout salary. If they make the playoffs, this was worth it. 
Grade: C+

Giants trade Eli Apple to the Saints

After the Giants lost to the Falcons, it became clear they're not making a playoff run and as such they are dumping any and all talent that teams are interested in. This includes Apple, the former first-round pick, who was shipped to New Orleans for a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick.

For the Giants: This is just part of their fire sale. They're willing to move everyone as they rebuild after convincing themselves they didn't need to do just that this past offseason. Denial is not just a river in Egypt after all. Getting picks back is important and Apple's been ... rotten at times in New York, both on and off the field. Apple was one of the players we listed as a candidate to be dealt, so this move should not be surprising.
Grade: B-

For the Saints: This is a cheap move to land a young veteran with a pedigree who gives them depth in the defensive backfield. They have Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley, but the defense has struggled to maintain last year's success, so they might view Apple as a potential upgrade. Worst case he gives them depth and insurance at cornerback at a really cheap cost.
Grade: B

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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