The 2023 NFL trade deadline has come and gone, as teams pulled off last-minute deals to improve for now or in the future. Despite good or poor performances in the last week of October, most franchises prepare to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline weeks in advance.
Some teams were proactive in making their rosters better, while others were just looking to get rid of bad or expiring contracts. Others did nothing, which is the nature of the business.
With the trade deadline now complete, here are this year's winners and losers:
Winner: Chase Young, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers Christian McCaffrey last year, although they gave up significantly more assets for him and his contract than Young, who is a free agent at the end of the year.an hour before the deadline, sending a 2024 third-round pick to the Washington Commanders for Young. The 49ers struck gold when they acquired
The 49ers' pass rush becomes significantly better with Young joining Nick Bosa on the edge and Javon Hargrave on the interior. They also acquired Randy Gregory earlier in the month and still have Arik Armstead on the defensive front, so there are still big names on that line.
The combination of Bosa and Young is scary, and the 49ers have a bye week to get Young acclimated. Bosa and Young also played together at Ohio State, so the duo is already familiar with one another. Young should work out, but will the run game be better with him there? That's the 49ers biggest concern going forward.
Loser: Bears GM Ryan Poles
Didn't the Bears learn their lesson by trading a second-round pick last year? Montez Sweat is a much better player than Chase Claypool, but the Commanders had to be jumping at the deal to (currently projected at No. 35 overall) for a player that's going to be a free agent at season's end.
Poles, whether he's the general manager or not in 2024, set up the Bears with $110 million in salary cap space. Chicago realizes it didn't have to trade a second-round pick (a high one at that) for a player they could have given a massive contract to in free agency, right?
The decisions this front office makes are polarizing (Chicago is 2-6 adding to context). The next general manager of the Bears will have a lot of Poles' mess to clean up.
Winner: Leonard Williams, Seattle Seahawks
For a player in the final year of his contract, Leonard Williams gets the opportunity of a lifetime to cash in one more time in free agency. New York Giants to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday in exchange for a 2024 second-round draft pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick.by the
The Seahawks aren't even paying Williams' contract (which expires after this season) in the deal, as the Giants will absorb all $9.3 million of his contract for the remainder of the year. In short, the Giants are paying for the Seahawks' second-round pick next year -- while the Seahawks get a half-season of Williams in return (on the veteran minimum salary of $647,000). The Seahawks also have another third-round pick coming from the Denver Broncos in the Russell Wilson deal so they could afford to part ways with a Day 2 pick.
Jarran Reed and Dre'Mont Jones have been excellent for the Seahawks' front this season, but the two have induced a heavy snap count in the first half of the year. Adding Williams brings the Seahawks significant depth on the defensive line, especially with the pass rush being affected as Uchenna Nwosu is out for the year (Seattle also signed Frank Clark).
The Seahawks defense has been very good of late. The unit got better with Williams, without paying much in salary to get him.
Loser: New York Jets
The Jets made plenty of offseason moves to build a team around Aaron Rodgers, giving the former MVP quarterback plenty of pass catchers who could make an impact on the 2023 roster. Mecole Hardman was one of those players, but he couldn't even see the field.
Signing Hardman was a mistake by the Jets, as he only finished with one catch in his five games with the team. The chemistry with Zach Wilson just wasn't there as Hardman was behind Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb on the depth chart (and Cobb hasn't done anything either).
Once Rodgers went down, Hardman's presence was a waste in the offense. Hardman would have been valuable if Rodgers was healthy, but that changed four snaps into the Jets season. Almost amazing the Jets got anything for Hardman,(and still had to part ways with a 2025 seventh-round pick to get someone to take his contract).
The Jets signed Hardman for $4 million and paid $1.4 million for six games with him. A bad contract with next to nothing in return.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
General manager Howie Roseman Kevin Byard from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for Terrell Edmunds, a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick. Not only does Philadelphia get a much-needed veteran at safety, but the Eagles landed a Titans team captain and two-time First Team All-Pro.to improve an already excellent roster. The Eagles needed safety help and ended up getting
The Eagles parted ways with a safety they weren't too impressed with in camp, but was a solid veteran at safety that helped the team get by for the first half of the year. They also only gave up two Day 3 picks to take on Byard's contract (he's a free agent after the 2024 season).
Byard is already a leader in the locker room and a role model for A.J. Brown, while also playing with Zach Cunningham over the past two seasons. The Eagles secondary is significantly better with Byard and Reed Blankenship at safety and Darius Slay and James Bradberry at cornerback.
All Philadelphia needs to do is get the slot cornerback situation figured out.
Loser: Denver Broncos
Less than two years after paying Randy Gregory, the Broncos for a player who was supposed to be a difference maker for their defense. Denver paid Gregory $70 million over five years ($28 million fully guaranteed) for 10 games with three sacks, 20 pressures, and 13 quarterback hits.
The Broncos basically gave Gregory away after they revealed to the league they were going to cut him. They traded Gregory and a 2024 seventh-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round pick. Gregory was just another bad decision and a series of bad decisions by this franchise over the last two years.
The Broncos should have been sellers at the deadline, but they kept bad contracts and don't have many draft picks, thanks to the Russell Wilson and Sean Payton trades. Denver has gotten good play from Wilson and the jury is still out on Payton (Broncos are playing better and are stuck with his massive contract), but they needed to restock the cupboard with draft picks.
They didn't accomplish that task.
Winner: Puka Nacua
Thanks to Nacua and his historic start, the Los Angeles Rams had a logjam at wide receiver. The Rams were deep at the position with Nacua, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell -- so snaps were getting reduced for someone.
The Rams Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a Day 3 pick swap. The Falcons gave the Rams a 2025 sixth-round pick for a 2025 seventh-round selection. Jefferson had just eight catches for 108 yards in five games with the Rams and essentially fell out of favor in Los Angeles over the last two years with the emergence of Nacua and Atwell.earlier this month, sending him to the
Nacua is the clear No. 2 wideout in Los Angeles, having 15 catches for 223 yards in three games since the deal was made. Kupp is still the No. 1 wideout, but Nacua has an 154-yard performance in that three-game stretch.
Nacua earned his spot in Los Angeles, a rookie fifth-round pick that clearly exceeds anything the Rams gave up with Jefferson on an expiring contract.
Push: Washington Commanders
The Commanders deserve praise for getting a 2024 second-round pick and 2024 third-round pick for Chase Young and Montez Sweat, especially when that second-round pick is projected to be the No. 35 pick in exchange for Sweat -- a deal Washington had to make. Passing up a high second-round pick would have been foolish.
Washington did lose two very good pass rushers on the edge in Sweat and Young, but the Commanders gained two valuable Day 2 picks in return. They also have no one on the edge to rush the passer in a season which the Commanders are 3-5 and one game out of the No. 7 seed in the NFC. Washington, as it prepared for weeks, was a seller and created assets. Losing good players like Sweat and Young will hurt, especially when its hard to find good pass rushers in the league.
The Commanders have a first-round pick, two second-round picks, and two third-round picks in the 2024 draft. This is a new era in Washington, with a rebuild on the horizon.
Not a good look for Ron Rivera and the coaching staff, but the move had to be done as the Commanders didn't stack up with the Eagles and Cowboys.
Winner: Joshua Dobbs
Dobbs may be heading to his seventh NFL team, but this is much better than the alternative he had in Arizona. The Cardinals ended up benching Dobbs this week and turning to Clayton Tune for this week, before eventually going back to Kyler Murray.
Dobbs could have sat on the bench in Arizona for the rest of the year after being the bridge quarterback for the firts half of the year. Now, Minnesota Vikings that has a shot at the playoffs.to start at quarterback for a better team in the
The Vikings are currently the No. 7 seed in the NFC and, after losing Kirk Cousins for the season with a torn Achilles, now have a quarterback who is competent enough to compete in games. Dobbs will also have Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn and eventually Justin Jefferson to throw to. He'll get to raise his stock as a starting quarterback ahead of free agency.