The 2021 NFL trade deadline has come and gone, and there was more talking than there was "walking." A couple of big names were dealt such as Von Miller and Melvin Ingram, but there were other potentially splashy transactions that never came to fruition.
The main storyline to come out of the NFL trade deadline was that Deshaun Watson was not moved. The Houston Texans quarterback had been the subject of trade talks for weeks, but his outstanding legal issues made it difficult for a deal to be made. We will have to wait until next offseason to revisit this situation.
There were both winners and losers on the final days of trades in the NFL (check out our grades here). Below, we will break down a few of both.
Winner: The Los Angeles Rams
Giving up a second-round pick and a third-round pick for a 32-year-old pass-rusher may sound a bit rich, but the Rams literally don't care about draft picks. The Rams even tweeted they were "all in" after the Von Miller trade was reported. The Denver Broncos decided to part ways with a franchise icon on Monday, but they did get a nice haul in return. As for the Rams, they now bring Miller into a defensive unit which already features the likes of Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald. Miller may not be the same Super Bowl MVP he was in Denver, but there's no doubt he has fuel left in the tank. The Rams should be commended for their aggressiveness in pursuing a Lombardi Trophy.
Loser: The Cleveland Browns
The Browns were losers on Tuesday even though they didn't make any moves. Odell Beckham Jr.'s father posted a video on Instagram highlighting Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield failing to find or hit Beckham on certain routes. Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James tweeted about him as well:
Beckham has seemingly always been the subject of trade rumors, and they started up again on Tuesday. Jordan Schultz reported that the Browns were listening to offers for Beckham, but that nothing really caught their eye. It appears Cleveland isn't very interested in dealing Beckham, as Schultz also reported that head coach Kevin Stefanski has internally expressed his desire to keep the star wideout.
Beckham caught just one pass for six yards in Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he has only 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six games this season. Is he secretly campaigning for a change of scenery behind closed doors? How's his relationship with Mayfield? These are the things we are going to be watching moving forward.
Winner: Melvin Ingram and the Chiefs
The Chiefs got back to .500 on Monday night with their 20-17 win over the New York Giants, but it's not fair to say they got "back on track." There are still major questions that need to be answered about this contender on both sides of the ball, but the defense has been the major concern. The Chiefs currently have the fourth-worst defense in the league when it comes to average yards of offense allowed per game (391.5 yards), so they sent over a sixth-round pick to the Steelers for pass-rusher Melvin Ingram. The veteran was looking for a change of scenery, which made him a winner in this, but the Chiefs are also winners. They have recorded the second-fewest sacks this season (11), and this trade also should allow Chris Jones to move inside for good. Ingram is not going to solve all the problems the Chiefs have, but he should provide some help for a pass-rush that needs it.
Loser: Deshaun Watson
Watson has wanted out of Houston since even before the allegations of sexual assault came to light, but those off-field issues obviously have made it tough for the Texans to trade him. There were reported talks between the Texans and the Miami Dolphins, but no deal came to fruition in the eleventh hour on Tuesday.
Watson is a loser simply because he didn't get out. He still has a potential suspension to face down the road along with whatever may come in the courts, but the Pro Bowl quarterback could have found some kind of happiness in what has been a tough year if he was granted his trade request this week. While Watson is a loser in this situation, the Texans could end up being winners when it's all said and done. You have to feel as though we will have more clarity on this Watson situation at the end of the year, which could in turn allow for more clarity in trade discussions.
Winner: Tua Tagovailoa
With no Watson deal coming to fruition, Tagovailoa gets to retain his job under center for the Dolphins at least for the rest of the season. While it's possible the Dolphins will be right back in the mix if trade talks resume in the offseason, they won't be the only team vying for Watson's services if more clarity comes concerning his legal situation. The Dolphins were the reported main player in a Watson trade before the deadline, but other teams will surely be interested months from now. Tagovailoa still has to prove he's the quarterback of the future, but he was breathing a sigh of relief on Tuesday.
Loser: Marlon Mack
The trade deadline came and went and Mack was still on the Indianapolis Colts' roster. That was something we didn't expect, as Mack and the Colts had reportedly agreed to explore trade options last month. Mack probably envisioned himself taking handoffs from Patrick Mahomes in the near future, as the Chiefs had reportedly looked into a potential deal, but no deal happened. He will now finish out the 2021 season with the Colts in a reserve role.