In a matter of seconds midway through the 2017 season, the Philadelphia Eagles went from a very good team to the front-runner to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Before the trade deadline, Philadelphia sent a future fourth-round pick to Miami in exchange for Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi.
Paired with fellow running back LeGarrette Blount, Ajayi helped the Eagles capture the franchise's first Super Bowl win, a 41-33 triumph over New England in Super Bowl LII. The Eagles' acquisition of Ajayi serves as a reminder of what can happen when a contending team makes a big move before the deadline.
Ironically, the Eagles find themselves in a similar spot five years later. The NFL's last unbeaten team, the Eagles could possibly be one move away from being the clear-cut favorite to get back to the Super Bowl under second-year coach Nick Sirianni.
Based on several reports, it's clear there are several notable players who may find themselves in a different city this time next month if the Eagles or another franchise makes the right offer between now and the Nov. 1 trade deadline. Here's a look at what the NFL's top teams should do before the deadline to further their odds at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Arizona on Feb. 12.
Teams based on NFL senior writer Pete Prisco's.
1. Eagles (6-0) -- Acquire a top-tier LB
Adding depth to the offensive line was also considered, but adding a Pro Bowl-caliber player to the middle of Philadelphia's defense would make a very good defense even better. It would also help resolve the Eagles' somewhat suspect run defense, as they are currently yielding an average of five yards per carry.
If the Bears are fielding offers, the Eagles should make a run at acquiring Roquan Smith, a tackling machine that currently has a league-high 66 stops. Along with being a solid tackler, Smith can also aid Philadelphia's pass rush while being a consistent presence in the opponent's backfield. Acquiring Smith would pay dividends for years to come, given that he is just 25 years old.
2. Bills (5-1) -- Land Christian McCaffrey
A new defensive back would also help, given the injury to Micah Hyde and Tre'Davious White still working his way back from injury. But the Bills' defense has largely managed to hold down the fort to this point, which brings us to McCaffrey, the Panthers' star running back who reportedly could be dealt for generous compensation.
It's hard to imagine anyone stopping Buffalo's offense with McCaffrey playing alongside Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and Co. McCaffrey could continue to make plays as a receiver while not receiving too big of a workload as a traditional back, assuming the Bills would not have to part with Zack Moss as part of a potential trade.
3. Vikings (5-1) -- Add RB depth
Minnesota's running game has not received much contribution outside of Dalvin Cook. Alexander Mattison is averaging just 3.2 yards on 30 carries this season, and ran just once for three yards in last Sunday's win in Miami. While he has largely been productive in his backup role over his time in Minnesota, Mattison has been less effective over the past two seasons after averaging 3.7 yards per carry in 2021.
Acquiring another running back, such as Cleveland's Kareem Hunt, would bring versatility to the Vikings' offense while helping keep Cook fresh for the stretch run. Hunt is a former NFL rushing champion who spent the past three-plus seasons sharing a backfield with Nick Chubb. He's been one of the NFL's best receiving backs since coming into the league in 2017, racking up 190 receptions and 17 touchdowns over that span.
4. Chiefs (4-2) -- Secondary help
Kansas City could use some help on defense as it sits 25th in the league in scoring, 27th in passing yards allowed and last in touchdown passes allowed through six weeks. Possible trade options here include Washington's William Jackson III and Seattle's Sidney Jones.
A former first-round pick, Jackson would bring considerable experience to the Chiefs' backfield. He has 64 career starts between stints with the Bengals and Commanders. Jackson has also been a productive player, with 51 career passes defensed. Jackson is more proven, but the younger Jones may have more upside. He is coming off the most productive season of his career that saw him tally 66 tackles and 10 passes defensed.
5. Giants (5-1) -- Bring back OBJ
Alright, this one's not a trade, but a move the Giants need to consider making. They've had back luck with receivers lately, so why not bring back one of the best wideouts in franchise annals to help right the ship? If healthy, Odell Beckham Jr. can help provide much-needed stability at the position. His presence would also help create more space for Saquon Barkley would helping take Daniel Jones' game to another level.
Beckham was an instant hit in the Big Apple. He was a Pro Bowler in each of his first three seasons with the Giants while helping Big Blue clinch a playoff berth in 2016. While he didn't leave the franchise on the best of terms, it appears that both parties have resolved any prior issues, leaving the door open for a possible return.
6. Cowboys (4-2) -- Add another proven pass-catcher
As expected, Mike Gesicki is not getting much use inside Mike McDaniel's offense. He'd be better off in Dallas, where the Cowboys could use another playmaker alongside CeeDee Lamb, Noah Brown, Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Given Dalton Schultz's current knee injury, acquiring Gesicki makes a lot of sense. Gesicki has proven to be a highly-productive player when given the opportunity. The five-year veteran caught 13 touchdowns over a three-year span while eclipsing the 700-yard receiving mark in consecutive seasons. Gesicki would represent the Cowboys' best playmaker at tight end since Jason Witten, the greatest tight end in franchise annals.
7. Jets (4-2) -- Acquire Robert Quinn
The 32-year-old Pro Bowl pass rusher would be the perfect fit inside the Jets' young, up-and-coming defense. Quinn is just one year removed from recording 18.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 17 tackles for loss.
Quinn could boost the Jets' defense in multiple ways. Not only could his presence help the Jets' defense improve on third-down situations and in the red zone (New York is 25th and 24th in those areas, respectively), Quinn could also provide steady leadership for a young, up-and-coming unit that has made waves for its early play, similar to what Charles Haley did for the Cowboys when he was traded from San Francisco to Dallas in 1992.
8. Titans (3-2) -- Receiver help
Tennessee is in need of an upgrade here if it's going to be a serious contender. The Titans changed course after last season, trading A.J. Brown and parting ways with Julio Jones. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine has struggled to be a consistent target for Ryan Tannehill. Treylon Burks, the Titans' first-round pick, has struggled to stay healthy. Veteran Robert Woods is also unable to be a reliable force on offense, posting just 204 yards and one touchdown on 17 receptions this season.
9. Chargers (4-2) -- Acquire a proven LB
Los Angles could use a stabilizing force in the middle of its defense, as its currently second-to-last in the NFL in average yards-per-carry allowed. The unit is also just 26th in touchdown passes allowed and 16th in both third down and red zone defense.
The Chargers should look into acquiring former Pro Bowl linebacker Cory Littleton, who played under Brandon Staley with the Rams. A seven-year veteran who is still on the right side of 30, Littleton is a sure-handed tackler who can also make plays in the secondary. He can also apply pressure on the quarterback if asked to do so.
10. Bengals (3-3) -- Add to the pass rush
Cincinnati's offensive line, while better than last year, is still a work in progress. It doesn't appear the Bengals are doing anything drastic regarding that unit this year, which brings us to one of the defending AFC champion's other pressing needs. The Bengals should look into adding a pass rusher to the team, as they have just nine sacks through six games. Robert Quinn could serve as valuable depth behind Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson.