The NFL trade deadline is just a few days away, and we've already seen several transactions. The Philadelphia Eagles swung a deal for former Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard, Mecole Hardman is back with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams sent Van Jefferson to the Atlanta Falcons. What's the next surprise to go down?
Below, we will discuss the best players at each position who could be dealt before the end of October. These aren't players necessarily likely to be moved, but players on expiring deals who could be targets for trade-deadline buyers, or players that have been the subject of trade deadline rumors.
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Let's get a little creative here. I'm taking Kirk Cousins off the trade block after Minnesota moved to 3-4 with that upset victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, and then Ryan Tannehill is battling an ankle injury that surely affects his trade value. So, who is that top quarterback available, and who needs one? How about Teddy Bridgewater?
The Lions have plenty of quarterbacks. Jared Goff is the starter, David Blough is on the practice squad and rookie third-round pick Hendon Hooker is on the NFI list. Maybe he could be activated soon. The journeyman Bridgewater could be available if there was a team interested.
RB: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
The Titans are another team with a tough decision to make over the next week, and after shipping Byard to the Eagles, new general manager Ran Carthon may have tipped his hand that Tennessee will be selling assets.
Tennessee currently sits in last place in the AFC South at 2-4, and Tannehill just suffered an ankle injury that could force him to miss some time. Throw in the fact that the Titans aren't exactly loaded with 2024 draft capital, and you can expect the team to make some calls.
Henry, who has served as the face of Tennessee's offense for years now, could be an attractive name with Jonathan Taylor locked up and off the market. I'm not expecting a top running back to be moved, but Henry is that top running back who could potentially be moved. "King Henry" ranks No. 10 in the NFL in rushing yards through seven weeks (425).
There are a couple of intriguing wide receivers who could be on the move in the next week, but Jeudy is someone who needs a change of scenery. The former No. 15 overall pick out of Alabama hasn't lived up to where he was selected, but did have a career year in 2022 with 972 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 67 receptions. However, in 2023, Jeudy is averaging just 47.7 receiving yards per game.
The Broncos reportedly aren't having a fire sale, but teams should look into Jeudy.
Ertz turns 33 next month, and hasn't played in more than 53% of offensive snaps for the Cardinals in either of the last two weeks. With Trey McBride seemingly on the rise -- he was targeted a season-high six times on Sunday -- Ertz could be on the move for a late-round pick. The 26.7 receiving yards per game he averages this year marks a career low.
I don't know how likely this is, but Brown is a fun name to mention here. The Patriots' left tackle has been the best tackle in the entire league this season, according to PFF, but is set to become a free agent this offseason. If the Patriots wanted to be sellers at the trade deadline, Brown is a player who will generate attention.
Maybe Cleveland is actually a tackle, but he's been a guard for the Vikings over the last four seasons. The 25 year old is on an expiring deal, and with the Vikings being potential sellers at the deadline, Cleveland is someone teams could look into.
EDGE: Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
If Burns was to be traded, it would make this NFL trade deadline one of the best in recent memory. The Athletic reported recently that the Panthers are still getting calls on Burns, but it doesn't seem likely that he's moved. Remember, last year, the Rams reportedly offered the Panthers a deal that included at least two first-round picks! Carolina declined, as it viewed Burns as a pillar for the future, but the Panthers were unable to sign him to a lucrative extension this offseason.
Burns is one of the best pass rushers in the game. He recorded a career-high 12.5 sacks in 2022, and has notched four QB takedowns in six games played this season.
Williams had a fantastic game against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, and even blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter. Still, the Giants are in last place in the NFC East at 2-5, and could be sellers at the trade deadline. Williams is in the final year of a three-year, $63 million contract he signed after recording a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2020. His cap hit in 2023 is high, but teams aiming to solidify their defensive interior could look at Williams.
LB: Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos
Jewell and Alex Singleton form a two-headed tackling monster in Denver. Jewell recorded a career-high 128 combined tackles and 2.5 sacks to go along with two interceptions last year in just 13 games played, and he's on pace to cross 120 tackles again this year.
This is another player on an expiring deal that would be a sneaky good pickup for a team looking to improve its linebacking corps.
CB: Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos
Yes, another Bronco. But out of the three Broncos we have discussed here, Surtain is probably the least likely to be moved. The Alabama product is already viewed as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and finished last year as PFF's No. 2-ranked corner behind Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner. Surtain is more likely to remain in Denver and probably reset the cornerback market at some point, but teams will definitely call about him.
S: Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals
Baker actually requested a trade this past offseason, but returned to the fold on a reworked contract which provided him with raises in 2023 and 2024. Back in 2020, Baker signed a four-year, $59 million extension which made him the highest-paid safety in NFL history at the time.
Baker just returned off of injured reserve and recorded six combined tackles in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday. Maybe it could be his last game as a Cardinal? First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon probably isn't actively looking to move Baker -- a five-time Pro Bowler -- but with the Cardinals at 1-6, maybe its best to trade him for some draft capital.