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2023 NFL Trade Deadline: Best Player At Every Position Who Could Be Moved

The NFL trade deadline is just a few days away, and the rumors are already starting to pick up. We've seen more trade action than ever over the last few seasons, with teams getting more aggressive in their chase for a championship.

But who are some of the top players that could be traded this year? Let's look at the best player at every position that could be moved by Tuesday.

Players Who Could Be Traded at Deadline

Sep 10, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Jacoby Brissett (12) stands with assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy during the first half Arizona Cardinals at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

QB: Jacoby Brissett, Washington Commanders

Potential Options: Browns, Falcons

You could argue Matthew Stafford or Kirk Cousins deserve to be on this list, but their chances of being traded are incredibly low. The Rams and the Vikings are still in playoff contention and are playing well.

But the one quarterback that might be available and relatively cheap is Jacoby Brissett, who has yet to play a snap this season with the Washington Commanders. Backing up Sam Howell, it doesn’t appear Brissett will be playing anytime soon in Washington, and that is a shame because he is good enough to start in the NFL.

In his last 31 starts, Brissett has a passer rating of 87.2 and has completed 62.5 percent of his passes. While his yards per attempt during that span is slightly below average (6.6), he would be an upgrade for several teams. 

If Deshaun Watson were to miss more time because of his shoulder injury, he would be the perfect stop-gap in Cleveland, especially considering he knows that offense. Brissett would also be an upgrade in Atlanta, which is noteworthy considering the Falcons are now the odds-on favorite to win the NFC South.

It still feels unlikely that the Commanders will trade him, but there are four to five teams in the NFL that should call about Brissett. 

Kyle Van Noy

RB: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Potential Options: Ravens, Browns

It’s a fire sale in Tennessee, and it’s about time. The Tennessee Titans have had a nice run over the last five seasons under Mike Vrabel, but it's time to hit the reset button and start thinking about the future. The No. 1 player to watch is Derrick Henry, who is still one of the most effective running backs in the NFL.

According to TruMedia, Henry averages 3.12 yards per carry after contact this season, the sixth-highest in the NFL among players with 75 or more carries. The problem is the Titans aren’t creating holes in the run game, and Henry is averaging just 1.21 yards before contact. 

A team like the Ravens or Browns would make sense for Henry, given their injuries at the running back position. His contract is very reasonable, and he could still impact the game for a playoff-caliber team. Henry is too good a player to stick around on a tanking team like Tennessee.

For his sake, it makes sense for the Titans to move him before the deadline. 

WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee Titans

Potential Options: Bills, Chiefs, Panthers

At the wide receiver position, DeAndre Hopkins was one of the biggest prizes in free agency this season, and he is showing why that was the case. Despite abysmal quarterback play, Hopkins is having another stellar season, averaging nearly 14 yards per catch and 8.0 yards per target.

The Titans have run him on a ton of nine routes this season (47 nine routes on 169 routes, according to TruMedia), which isn’t where he excels. He is at his best when running slants, hitches and in-routes. On those, he can use his body to shield cornerbacks.

With the Titans in sell mode, it might be best for both parties to move him to a better situation. They can't fully utilize him, and his numbers have suffered. For a team trying to bottom out, keeping a 31-year-old Hopkins around doesn't make much sense.

There are a number of teams that could use the services of an All-Pro receiver like Hopkins. The obvious fits are the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, who showed at least some interest in him this offseason.

Even a team like Carolina, who isn’t contending, could be interested in Hopkins to help the development of Bryce Young. If the Titans decide to move on from Hopkins, expect many suitors for the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. 

TE: Mike Gesicki, New England Patriots

Potential Options: Bengals

A few weeks ago, Kyle Pitts might have been the top player on this list, but he’s been involved more in the passing game in the last three weeks. Plus, it appears he is getting healthier. That leaves us with Mike Gesicki, who caught the winning touchdown for the New England Patriots last week.

A few years ago, Gesicki was viewed as one of the NFL's top receiving tight ends. He posted back-to-back 700-yard seasons in Miami in 2020 and 2021. Since then, he has just 511 yards in 24 games. He's been operating as New England's No. 2 tight end, running 144 routes in seven games. Even more frustrating is that the Patriots refuse to use him down the seam, where he excelled in Miami.


If the Patriots decide to move on, the most obvious fit would be in Cincinnati with Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Irv Smith Jr. isn't the player they hoped for, but Gesicki could bring some life to the offense. Expect several other contenders to be interested in the services of Gesicki, should he become available.

Garett Bolles

OT: Garett Bolles, Denver Broncos

Potential Options: Chiefs, Jets

Most teams don't favor trading quality tackles, especially not left tackles. But if there is going to be a left tackle that gets moved ahead of the deadline, expect that player to be Garett Bolles of the Denver Broncos.

Bolles' contract runs through the 2024 season, but there is no guaranteed money on the deal after this year. That would be enticing for a team searching for a one-year rental at tackle.

But what kind of player can a team expect to get with Bolles? According to TruMedia, Bolles has allowed just eight pressures in seven games this season and has allowed just one quarterback hit. In the past five seasons, he's allowed just seven sacks and 18 QB hits.

Not bad for someone who has recorded more than 2,000 pass-blocking snaps. He'll rack up penalties occasionally, but he is still one of the best pass-protecting offensive tackles in the league.

The Broncos aren’t going to give him away, but tackle-needy teams should call Denver if they need to shore up the left side of their offensive line.

Minnesota Vikings Ezra Cleveland

IOL Line: Ezra Cleveland, Minnesota Vikings

Potential Options: Bengals

Coming out of Boise State, Ezra Cleveland was a tackle. However, he has since transitioned to guard in the last four seasons. He has started 49 games for the Minnesota Vikings, playing both guard spots at an adequate level.

But, he is in the final year of his contract and is dealing with a foot injury that caused him to miss Week 7 against the 49ers. His replacement was veteran Dalton Risner, who played exceptionally well in his absence. That could open the door for the Vikings to move on from Cleveland, especially if they have no interest in signing him to a long-term deal. 

Cleveland is an above-average NFL guard with some position flexibility. Cleveland might be the best option for teams searching for offensive line help, considering his age, level of play, and contract flexibility. 

Chase Young Washington Commanders

 Edge: Chase Young, Washington Commanders

Potential Options: Texans

The Commanders have a tough decision to make in the next few weeks. Montez Sweat and Chase Young have expiring contracts at the end of this season, and it's unlikely they can retain both. The Commanders have already paid Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne big contracts and can't afford to keep both of their edge rushers.

The expectation around the NFL is that the Commanders would like to keep Sweat because of his durability. Sweat has started 66 games since the 2019 season and has recorded 34.5 sacks. Meanwhile, Young has appeared in just 33 games during the past four seasons and has 14 sacks.

But this decision is difficult because Young is finally starting to look like the former No. 2 overall pick from the 2019 NFL Draft. Young has 35 pressures in six games this season, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL.

He already has five sacks and six tackles for a loss, more than he had during the 2021 and 2022 seasons combined. Here is one of his five sacks this season, but notice just how explosive and quick he looks bending around the edge:

The Commanders would like to trade Young only for a first-round pick in exchange. But given Young’s injury history and contract situation, that seems unlikely. Would Washington move him for a second-round pick? That's the key question.

Still, Young is the best EDGE defender available ahead of the deadline. 

Leonard Williams Giants vs. Panthers

IDL: Leonard Williams, New York Giants

Potential Options: Cowboys, Ravens, Bills

For teams looking for defensive tackle help, the market is bare. Most teams don't want to move a talented interior rusher, especially not one on a good deal. But one player that might be available is Leonard Williams of the New York Giants. Williams was traded ahead of the deadline a few years ago for a third-round pick. He’s been a fine player for the Giants, but they just made Dexter Lawrence one of the highest-paid defensive tackles in the NFL.

Williams is a free agent after the 2023 season, and it wouldn't be a total shock if the Giants decided to move him and gain additional draft capital. His cap hit is exceptionally high ($32.26 million), and the team acquiring him would need to find a way to fit him into their cap. But we've seen teams figure out that before, so that shouldn't be a significant issue. 

Here's where Williams ranks among defensive ends, via Spotrac, in average annual value.

Williams has 10.5 sacks in the past three seasons, which isn't ideal for one of the highest-paid defensive tackles in the league. But he is still an outstanding run defender and can generate pressure at a high rate.

Williams would be an excellent addition to teams like the Cowboys, Ravens and Bills if he were available. 

expected sacks

LB: Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Potential Options: Chiefs

There aren't a lot of quality linebackers in the NFL, and most teams aren't interested in giving them away. But one available player is Devin White, who requested a trade during the offseason. 

White is in the final year of his rookie contract (fifth-year option) and is expected to hit free agency next year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't seem interested in extending his contract, and it's not hard to see why. White's play has been erratic, and he has struggled with consistency during the last few seasons.  

However, a change in scenery could do him well, and it does appear the Buccaneers would be open to trading for him. White is a former Pro Bowler with a nine-sack season on his résumé. He’s at his best when he can come downhill and make plays, but the Buccaneers haven’t put him in the attacking position a lot this year.

There wasn’t a lot of interest from other NFL teams this offseason regarding a White trade, but that might have changed now that we are in the middle of the season.

Could a team like the Chiefs make an offer for White after losing Nick Bolton (dislocated wrist) due to an injury? That would make a lot of sense for a team in a Super Bowl window. Expect there to be some interest in White ahead of the deadline. 

Chicago Bears Jaylon Johnson

CB: Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears

Potential Options: Steelers, 49ers

The name everyone likes to see here is Patrick Surtain II, but Denver appears to have no interest in trading him. And why should they? He is an elite cornerback on a rookie deal and is the type of player you want to build around. But unless a team offers multiple first-round picks, don’t expect to see Surtain dealt before the deadline.

But one cornerback that might be available is Jaylon Johnson of the Chicago Bears. Playing in the final year of his contract, Johnson has been one of the NFL's top cornerbacks this season. Johnson has two interceptions this season and finally looks healthy after dealing with a shoulder injury for the last several years. He even had a pick-six against the Raiders to help seal the win in Week 7.

Johnson would fit just about any team and scheme and is only 24. The Bears aren’t going to give him away, especially considering that they would like to ink him to a new deal. But Johnson could be available if they determine that a contract extension can't be reached.

Justin Simmons Denver Broncos

Safety: Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos

Potential Options: Lions, Steelers

With Kevin Byard off the market and on his way to Philadelphia, the top safety available might be Justin Simmons. Simmons turns 30 in November, but he's been one of the NFL's better free safeties during the last few years. He's a reliable player for the Broncos, appearing in 108 games since being drafted in 2016.

Simmons has no guaranteed money left on his deal after the 2023 season, making him an attractive option for a team that needs to add a veteran safety. His play has dropped off during the last two years, so the Broncos might be open to trading him.

A late Day 2, early Day 3 pick could get him out of Denver and onto a contending team.

Marcus Mosher is an NFL writer with a decade of experience in podcasting and writing for various NFL websites, including Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic. He’s currently a managing editor at USA Today Sports Media Group and host of the Locked On Cowboys Podcast. Marcus has been working full-time covering the NFL since 2015 and works as a betting expert for You can follow him at @Marcus_Mosher.