If NFL teams have proven one thing this offseason, it's that they love making trades, and not even a global pandemic has been able to slow that down.
Over the past four weeks alone, we've already seen Nick Foles, Stefon Diggs, DeForest Buckner, Hayden Hurst, Brandin Cooks and Calais Campbell get dealt. Oh, and let's not forget about the DeAndre Hopkins deal, which might end up going down as the worst trade in sports history. Basically, if we've learned one thing this offseason, it's that teams are always looking to make a deal, which is why there's a very good chance we could see a few more trades go down before the 2020 NFL Draft.
At this point in free agency, all the best players have been signed, which means that if a team wants to upgrade their roster (or get rid of a disgruntled player), then a trade is the best way to go.
So who else could get dealt over the next few weeks?
Here are six trades that teams should think about making before the draft begins on April 23, starting with Andy Dalton.
1. Bengals trade Andy Dalton to the Jaguars
Jaguars get: Andy Dalton
Bengals get: 2020 sixth-round pick (189th overall)
When it comes to the Andy Dalton situation, the Bengals have basically backed themselves into a corner, and it's an ugly corner. At this point in the offseason, they really only have three options: They can cut him (which would save $17.7 million in cap space), they can keep him (which would make him one of the most expensive backup quarterbacks in NFL history) or they can trade him.
The problem for the Bengals is that the first two options aren't ideal and option three won't be easy to pull off, because apparently, no one wants to trade for Dalton. At this point, the Bengals should take anything they can get for Dalton, and the one team they should call right now about a possible trade is the Jacksonville Jaguars. The move would make sense for the Jags because they just hired Jay Gruden to be their offensive coordinator, and that's notable, because Gruden was Dalton's offensive coordinator during the quarterback's first three years in the league (2011-13). Not only did the Bengals make the playoffs in each of those three seasons, but Dalton also put up some pretty solid numbers. In 2013, the Carrot-Top Cannon threw 33 touchdown passes, which ranked third in the NFL.
The Jaguars also just signed former Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, which means Dalton would get to work with multiple familiar faces in Jacksonville. In 2015, Eifert caught 13 touchdown passes (12 from Dalton), which ranked fourth in the NFL.
With Nick Foles no longer in Jacksonville, the Jags would be smart to add an experienced backup just in case Gardner Minshew completely falls apart during the second half of the season like he did in 2019. After getting off to a blistering start, Minshew struggled for most of the final two months of the season. If the Jags make an offer for Dalton, the Bengals probably aren't going to turn it down, just because they want to get SOMETHING in return for the Red Rifle, which is why Jacksonville will end up paying a sixth-round pick for Dalton.
2. Redskins trade Trent Williams to the Buccaneers
Buccaneers get: Trent Williams
Redskins get: Donovan Smith and 2020 second-round pick (45th overall)
The Buccaneers made the biggest move of the offseason by signing Tom Brady, but that move isn't going to help very much if Brady ends up getting killed behind Tampa's very average offensive line. If there's one thing the Buccaneers absolutely need to do in the next few weeks, it's beef up their line, and that's where Trent Williams comes in.
The Redskins left tackle has made it pretty clear that he doesn't want to play for the Redskins anymore, and because of that, there's a good reason we're going to see him traded at some point between now and the draft. As a matter of fact, Williams' agent, Vincent Taylor, basically gave the Redskins an ultimatum just last week.
"[Trent] wants to be traded or released. It's time for the organization to act in a manner that is in both Williams' and the team's best interest," Taylor said.
Williams probably would have already been traded if the Redskins could make up their mind on an asking price, but apparently, no one seems to know what they're looking for, which is why Tampa will make an offer that the Redskins can't refuse. In this deal, the Buccaneers will offer left tackle Donovan Smith and the team's second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Throwing Smith in the deal does two things: It means the Redskins won't have a gaping hole at left tackle and it will also clear up some cap space for the Bucs, who could then use the extra money to sign Williams to an extension.
3. Eagles trade Alshon Jeffery to the Colts
Colts get: Alshon Jeffery
Eagles get: 2020 fourth-round pick (122nd overall)
There's been plenty of speculation this offseason about whether or not Alshon Jeffery will be returning to Philadelphia in 2020, and although Eagles general manager Howie Roseman gave him a vote of confidence last week, you have to think Roseman would pull the trigger on a trade without thinking twice if another team came calling for the Philly receiver. Roseman is one of the smartest general managers in the NFL and smart general mangers don't like to lock themselves into players like Jeffery, who is on the wrong side of 30, is recovering from a major injury and has a monstrous contract. Basically, Jeffery doesn't seem to fit in with a team like the Eagles, who are mostly young and cheap on offense.
In July, Carson Wentz flew several of his teammates down to his new home in Houston, where they could get workouts in and socialize with one another.— Eagles Nation (@PHLEaglesNation) November 23, 2019
Wentz bought Alshon Jeffery a plane ticket, but the receiver never showed, sources say.
Per @Jeff_McLane pic.twitter.com/9vpM9gLf73
One potential place where Jeffery would fit in is Indianapolis. It's pretty clear that the Colts are in win-now mode, and one thing that could help them win now is a receiver who they can pair with T.Y. Hilton. Colts coach Frank Reich is actually pretty familiar with Jeffery and that's because the Eagles receiver caught 57 passes for 789 yards with nine touchdowns in 2017 when Reich was his offensive coordinator. The biggest upside for the Colts is that they would probably only have to give up a mid-round pick in this deal. The Eagles would almost certainly love to get rid of Jeffery's contract, which is why they should be open to taking a fourth-rounder instead of something closer to the top of the draft.
4. Jaguars trade Yannick Ngakoue to the Giants
Jaguars get: 2020 first-round pick (fourth overall), 2020 second-round pick (36th overall), 2021 second-round pick
Giants get: Yannick Ngakoue, 2020 first-round pick (ninth overall)
If you've been following Yannick Ngakoue on Twitter over the past few months, then you're probably well aware that the Jaguars defensive end wants out of Jacksonville. If you haven't been following him, well, here's what you've been missing:
The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I’m thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere. -91— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) March 2, 2020
I know what you're thinking: "That tweet was sent on March 2, so maybe he's changed his mind over the past few weeks and now wants to stay in Jacksonville"
Wrong. Here's a tweet from March 28:
Never going back on my word.— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) March 28, 2020
And just for good measure, here's a tweet from March 31:
Let’s agree to disagree . Why hold a man from taking care of his family. It’s obvious my time is up in my current situation. Let’s both move on @Jaguars 🏁 https://t.co/XvGcSAQQkH— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) March 31, 2020
Basically, Ngakoue has made it clear that he wants to be traded, and if the Jaguars are smart, they'll make sure that trade goes down before the NFL Draft so they can take advantage of any draft compensation they might get for Ngakoue.
Although Ngakoue has been flirting with multiple teams on social media, including the Eagles, our trade is going to send him to the Giants, because it's a move that has a lot of potential to work out for both teams. In this deal, the Jags swap first-round picks with the Giants and then also pick up two extra second-round draft picks on top of that. The biggest upside for Jaguars is that they would now go into the draft with the fourth overall pick, which means they'd be in a prime spot to land a quarterback if that's the route they wanted to go. On the other hand, if they're comfortable with Gardner Minshew, they'd now be in a spot to fill another hole on their roster. The Jags could also trade back to add even more picks to their draft arsenal, which wouldn't be out of character, since they've basically been spending the entire offseason trading people away to accrue draft picks.
For the Giants, they have a big need for a pass-rusher and Ngakoue, who has racked up 37.5 sacks over four seasons in Jacksonville, would undoubtedly fill that void. Also, let's not forget that the Giants seem to be at their best when they have an unstoppable pass-rusher. In 2007, it was Michael Strahan who played a vital part in their Super Bowl winning season. In 2011, it was Jason Pierre-Paul who helped the lead the team to another Lombardi Trophy.
The biggest upside for the Giants in this trade is that they'd still have a 2020 first-round pick. Although they'd now be picking in the ninth spot -- instead of fourth overall -- that shouldn't hurt their overall draft strategy. The Giants are in dire need of an offensive tackle, and this draft class is so loaded at that position that the Giants should be able to land a solid player with the ninth pick. If that happens, they'd walk out of the first two rounds of the draft with a starting left tackle and Ngakoue, which would be an impressive haul.
5. Patriots trade Joe Thuney to the Browns
Browns get: Joe Thuney
Patriots get: David Njoku, 2020 second-round pick (41st overall)
One of the most surprising moves of the offseason came in early March when the Patriots decided to hit Joe Thuney with the franchise tag. One reason the move was so shocking is because the Patriots almost never use their tag. Bill Belichick hates paying top dollar for anyone, which is exactly what you're doing when you place the tag on a player. If Thuney doesn't sign an extension this offseason, that means his tag will be a one-year deal that will pay him $14.8 million.
Belichick would probably prefer NOT to pay out $14.8 million to Thuney, which is why the Patriots coach could be open to a potential trade, and that's where Cleveland comes in. When it comes to skill players, the Browns have a loaded offense, but they could definitely stand to add some talent to their line. If I'm the Browns, I'm calling up Belichick and offering him David Njoku along with a 2020 second-round pick. The reason Belichick might accept the offer is two-fold: The Patriots are desperate for tight ends and New England doesn't currently have a second-round pick, so that part of the offer would almost certainly be enticing to Belichick. The other upside here for the Patriots is that they'd get to scrape Thuney's $14.8 million cap hit off their books, which would be huge for a team that doesn't currently have very much salary cap space to work with.
If the Browns were able to add Thuney without giving up their first-round pick, that would open the door for Cleveland to use its pick on one of the many offensive tackles in the draft. If the Browns land a left tackle, all of the sudden, their starting O-line would include Thuney, Jack Conklin (right tackle), a first-round pick at left tackle and Joel Bitonio at left guard. That's a line that could potentially create some big holes for Nick Chubb while also giving Baker Mayfield all the time he needs to throw the ball.
6. Broncos trade Royce Freeman to the Lions
Lions get: Royce Freeman
Broncos get: 2020 fifth-round pick (172nd overall)
Unless the Broncos are planning to switch over to a single-wing offense this season, they're probably not going to to need to keep every running back on their roster. Thanks to the addition of Melvin Gordon, the Broncos now have a crowded backfield that includes three capable backs in Gordon, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Out of that group, Freeman feels like the expendable one, so it won't be surprising if the Broncos try to deal him before the start of the 2020 draft.
If there's one team that needs to call Denver now, it's the Detroit Lions. The Broncos probably won't be asking for much, which means the Lions could land Freeman for a late-round pick. If the Lions give up a fifth-rounder, that's not a bad deal, because they're likely not going to find anyone in the fifth round of the draft who is as talented as Freeman. The 24-year-old excels at catching passes out of the backfield -- he caught 43 passes for 256 yards in 2019 -- which would make him a solid compliment to Kerryon Johnson.
If the Lions aren't interested in making a deal, the Steelers should also think about making a call for Freeman. And if the Broncos decide they want to keep three running backs, then it could be Matt Breida who gets traded to Detroit (or Pittsburgh) instead.