With the NFL Draft now in the rearview mirror, this is usually the part of the offseason where there's not very much excitement, but don't worry, because there could actually be some excitement this year in the form of some wild trades.
With the draft over and the free agency pool shrinking, any team still looking to beef up its roster will potentially have to do it by making a trade, and if we've learned one thing about the NFL this offseason, it's that teams love making trades.
Over the past three months, we've already seen Joe Flacco, Case Keenum and DeSean Jackson get dealt. Not to mention, it has become pretty clear that any player in the NFL can be acquired for the right price (hello, Odell Beckham) and it has also become pretty clear that some players have the power to turn their trade demands into an actual deal (we're looking at you, Antonio Brown). Two players on our trade list have taken a page out of Brown's book and demanded a trade.
With that in mind, here's a list of seven trades that would make a lot of sense if they went down over the next few months, and let's start with the Patriots.
1. Vikings trade Kyle Rudolph to the Patriots
Patriots get: Kyle Rudolph
Vikings get: 2020 third-round pick
Unless the Patriots can somehow convince Rob Gronkowski to , and that doesn't look like it's going to happen, they're definitely going to need some tight end help heading into the 2019 season. Although the Patriots have been busy adding tight ends this offseason -- they signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins in April and then added undrafted free agent Andrew Beck -- their Gronk replacements don't even come one-fifth of halfway toward filling the Gronk void. Bill Belichick seems aware of this, which is probably why the Patriots are expected to have Ben Watson in for a visit Thursday.
At this point in the offseason, if the Patriots want to add a starting caliber tight end -- and Watson doesn't really qualify as one at this point -- they're going to have to do it in a trade, which is where the Vikings come in. There'sthat the Vikings might be interested in trading Rudolph and there's a good reason for that.
For one, the Vikings salary cap situation is currently a nightmare. Once they get their 2019 draft picks under contract, the Vikings are only expected to have roughly $800,000 in salary cap space, which means they basically have the same spending power as someone who shows up at a Ferrari dealership with $41. There's just not really anything you can buy with that amount of money. With zero cap space, it won't be easy for the Vikings to add a potential replacement in the event that someone on the roster goes down with a serious injury, which is why it's important to have some cap room going into training camp.
By trading Rudolph, the Vikings would instantly free up $7.625 million in cap space. Not to mention, the Vikings already have a potential replacement for Rudolph on the roster in place in the form of Irv Smith Jr., who they selected in the second round of this year's draft.
The selection of Smith doesn't necessarily mean the Vikings are going to get rid of Rudolph, but the veteran tight end seems to be aware that a trade out of Minnesota is a possibility.
"Until it happens, I'm here in Minnesota," Rudolph said after the draft, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "My family is here in Minnesota. This is home for us. I have poured my heart and soul into this organization and given it everything that I had. I will continue to do that as long as I'm still wearing purple."
As for the Patriots, they don't have a ton of cap space -- just over $14 million -- but they do have enough room to absorb Rudolph's contract.
Also, if this deal were to happen, it would be vintage Belichick. Not only does the Patriots coach love to trade for tight ends -- we saw the Patriots trade for Martellus Bennett in 2016 and Dwayne Allen -- but he has also proven that he's willing to pull the trigger on a deal when he feels that his team needs an offensive weapon. Since March 2007, we've seen Belichick go the trade route to add weapons like Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Brandin Cooks. Last year, we even saw the Patriots add Cordarrelle Patterson.
If the Patriots feel that Rudolph is too expensive, they could also make a play for Texans tight end Ryan Griffin. Griffin has a cap hit of just $2.7 million in 2019 and the Texans might actually be looking to get rid of him after he in Nashville during the NFL Draft.
2. Texans trade Jadeveon Clowney to the Bills
Bills get: Jadeveon Clowney
Texans get: 2020 first-round pick, Shaq Lawson
If you haven't been following the Clowney situation in Houston this offseason, here's a quick update: Things aren't going so well. Back in March, the Texans hit Clowney, and although the two sides have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal, it's starting to look more and more like that's not going to happen. When Texans coach Bill O'Brien was asked about negotiations in late March, he didn't sound overly optimistic.
"It'll be interesting," O'Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. "We try to do the best we can to represent our organization in the best way possible relative to each player."
There was also a report form ESPN.com Frank Clark situation and we . The one issue with trading Clowney is that the Texans need to find a team that has a need at the position AND has the money to get a long-term deal done, and that's where the Bills come in.to trading Clowney. Basically, this is starting to turn into a
The Bills currently have a dicey situation on their defensive line. After declining Shaq Lawson's fifth-year option, that means that both Lawson and Jerry Hughes have contracts that will be expiring at the end of the 2019 season. Basically, this means that the Bills are going to have to spend some serious money on their defensive line at some point, so why not just trade for Clowney and do it now.
We do know the Bills are at least in the market for a pass rusher and that's because they had shown interest in Ziggy Ansah, but they're not going to get him, because it looks like he's.
By getting Clowney and shipping Lawson to Houston, the Bills defensive front would get an instant upgrade. The first-round pick is a lot to give up, but if the Bills actually think they're going to be good, then Buffalo has to go into negotiations thinking that the pick will come at the low end of the first round.
Another potential Clowney deal that would be interesting is if the Texans decided to do a straight-up trade with the Cardinals for Patrick Peterson. The Texans need some help at corner and the Cards could use a pass-rusher, which is why that deal would make sense. Although that blockbuster deal would flip the offseason upside down, we have Peterson being traded somewhere else, which brings us to our next trade.
3. Cardinals trade Patrick Peterson to the Chiefs
Chiefs get: Patrick Peterson
Cardinals get: 2020 first-round pick
Patrick Peterson won't come out and say it, but it kind of seems like he doesn't want to play for the Cardinals anymore. Just to give you a little refresher on the Peterson situation: The Cardinals corner demanded a trade back in October, only to apologize for making that demand a few months later, but the situation didn't end there, because now, it . Peterson has removed the Cardinals name from all of his social media accounts and he's spent the past month taking passive-aggressive shots at the team. If you've ever watched literally any reality show involving a Millennial, those are usually the first two signs that a breakup is coming.
Peterson even posted a photo of some of his former teammates who are no longer with him in Arizona, and that photo had an interesting caption, "My boys told me to watch out for the snakes in the long grass!"
With a new Cardinals coaching staff now in place, it would make since for them to start fresh with players who actually want to be in Arizona. Clearly, Peterson isn't one of those players.
If the Cards start to shop Peterson, every team in the NFL should call them with an offer. Not only is he a three-time All-Pro corner, but he's also under contract for the next two seasons at the very reasonable rates of $11 million (2019) and $12.05 million (2020).
Although Peterson could get dealt anywhere, we're sending him to the Chiefs and that's because Kansas City has been doing everything possible to beef up a defensive unit that couldn't stop anyone while ranking 31st overall in the NFL last season. After watching his defense choke away the AFC title game, Andy Reid is clearly trying to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Not only have the Chiefs already traded for Frank Clark and Emmanuel Ogbah, but they've also signed Tyrann Mathieu, Alex Okafor and Damien Wilson. If the Chiefs were to add Peterson to the mix, the defense would be nearly as scary as their offense. Also, based on Peterson's Instagram picture, it seems Peterson would probably be pretty excited about the chance to reunite with Mathieu.
4. Broncos trade Chris Harris to 49ers
49ers get: Chris Harris
Broncos get: 2020 first-round pick
After eight seasons in Denver, it's starting to look like Chris Harris and the Broncos could be heading toward a nasty break up. Just before the draft, Harris reportedly gave the Broncos an ultimatum: Give him a new contract or trade him away. Broncos general manager John Elway has been coy about the situation and hasn't revealed whether or not the team plans on keeping Harris.
The Broncos might want to keep Harris, but if his demands are too high, then a trade could be in play, and that's where the 49ers come in. Although the 49ers have Richard Sherman, they don't really have a bona fide starter to play opposite him. As things stand now, the 49ers will likely go into training camp with Jason Verrett, Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore battling out for the other corner spot. The 49ers did select a corner in the draft, but that didn't come until the sixth round with Tim Harris, which means it's unlikely that the rookie will see a lot of playing time in 2019.
The 49ers currently have the fourth most cap space in the NFL, which means the only question is whether or not they'd be willing to give up the potential first-round compensation that it will take to land Harris.
5. 49ers trade Solomon Thomas to the Buccaneers
Buccaneers get: Solomon Thomas
49ers get: 2020 fifth-round pick
Over the past month, there have been multiple reports that the 49ers are looking to trade Solomon Thomas, and although John Lynch has denied them, dumping Thomas would definitely make sense now that Nick Bosa is in San Francisco.
Although there's probably not a huge market for Thomas, the Buccaneers could be looking to add a pass-rusher due to the current health status of Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP was , and although the Buccaneers haven't confirmed it, there's a chance he could miss the .
If JPP is going to miss any substantial time, that potentially opens the door for a Thomas trade to Tampa. Although a player like Jadeveon Clowney would also make sense, it's hard to envision a way that the Bucs could afford him, considering they currently have the second lowest amount of salary cap room in the NFL. The advantage of Thomas is that he would come cheaply and the Bucs could potentially keep him for two years.
As the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Thomas definitely hasn't lived up to expectations and he's now in a situation in San Francisco where a change of scenery might be for the best. On the Bucs' end, they'd only have to pay him $645,000 for the 2019 season and $735,000 for the 2020 season, which are numbers that even the Bucs could afford at this point.
6. Buccaneers trade Gerald McCoy to the Browns
Browns get: Gerald McCoy
Buccaneers get: 2020 sixth-round pick
When it comes to trades, if we've learned one thing about the Browns this offseason, it's that you can never discount any rumor no matter how crazy it is. Back in March, there were murmurings that Odell Beckham mighta full five days before .
This time around, at least one report has suggested that the Browns general manager John Dorsey is interested in McCoy, and if we know one thing about Dorsey, it's that he has no problem making a trade for a player that he's interested in. On the surface, this trade might not make much sense due to the amount of money that McCoy is scheduled to make in 2019 ($13 million), but that's also why it makes a lot of sense.
For one, unless they do something dramatic, the Bucs can't really afford his salary, which means they're either going to have to release him, trade him or ask him to take a pay cut. Of those choices, let's go ahead and eliminate option three because NFL players are almost never willing to take a pay cut. The Bucs could also release McCoy, but if they do that, the decision could come back to haunt them if he ends up signing with a division rival and the Bucs have to face him twice a year. Basically, the Bucs best choice would be to trade him and there's a good chance the asking price won't be too high since Tampa will just be happy to get him out of the division and to get his salary off their books.
Think about it, if you're the Bucs: Would you rather cut McCoy and get nothing in return or trade him away for a sixth-round pick, even if it's not a huge return?
Dorsey might not be thrilled with paying McCoy $13 million for 2019, but you have to think if he can get the six-time Pro Bowler for the equivalent of a soft taco, he'll definitely make the deal. The other good news for the Browns is that none of McCoy's future money is guaranteed, which means that even though he has three high-paying years left on his deal, they could release him after the 2019 season without taking any sort of dead cap hit.
Dorsey is clearly doing his best to build a Super Bowl contender and adding McCoy to a defensive line that already includes Olivier Vernon, Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson is, well, let's just say that's a nightmare for any opposing offense.
Of course, if the Browns aren't willing to trade for McCoy, then the Bucs might want to think about calling the Colts or Texans, who both have a need on the defensive line and have the cap space to make a deal happen.
7. Jets trade Darron Lee to the Bengals
Bengals get: Darron Lee
Jets get: 2020 conditional pick (Sixth or seventh round depending on playing time)
Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, one of the biggest needs for the Bengals was at linebacker, and although they ended up taking one, the pick didn't come until the third round. Basically, the Bengals could still stand to add some depth at the position, which is why they should make a move for Lee.
The good news for the Bengals is that Lee should come at a cheap price because it seems the Jets really, really, really want to trade him.
Lee seems to know that he's on the outs in New York, which is probably why he hasn't shown up for any of the team's voluntary workouts this offseason. The problem for the Jets is that when everyone knows you're looking to trade or get rid of someone, it's hard to get good compensation, which is why we only have New York getting a sixth-round pick in the deal for Lee, who was the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft
For Lee, this deal would likely be a welcome and that's because it would bring the linebacker, who went to both high school and college in Ohio, closer to home.