The first wave of free agency has come and gone. Some teams spent big, while others sat and waited for things to clear up before jumping into the fray.
Of course, the other avenue to add players is via trade, and we’ve seen players like Jalen Ramsey, Stephon Gilmore, Brandin Cooks, Chuck Clark and Elijah Moore dealt already.
The annual league meetings are this week in Phoenix, and all owners, general managers and head coaches are expected to attend.
While we wait for some long-awaited trades to be finalized (Aaron Rodgers and DeAndre Hopkins), there are other players who could be in trade discussions as teams continue to construct their rosters. When decision-makers meet in person like they will this week, the conversations could go many different places.
Players Who Could Be Traded
Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy
The Denver Broncos have been active in the wide receiver free-agent market, pursuing Allen Lazard and Adam Thielen, which makes you wonder what they think about their current players at the position. Denver has Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler on the roster, but keep in mind the Broncos paid Sutton (four years, $60.8 million) and Patrick (three years, $34.5 million) last year, and they got those deals done before the receiver market went haywire with massive contracts.
The Broncos have to decide on Jeudy’s fifth-year option by May 1, and it’s worth $12,987,000 fully guaranteed. The price to acquire Jeudy is high right now, but teams are keeping a close eye on him if the price is reduced. Keep in mind the Broncos don’t have a first- or second-round pick in this year’s draft, so they could use some capital there.
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill is entering the final year of his contract and has no guaranteed money left on his deal. New Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon has made a bunch of transactions since taking over, moving on from veterans like Taylor Lewan, Ben Jones, Bud Dupree, Zach Cunningham and Robert Woods. The Titans could move forward with one more year of Tannehill, but they have given no indication he’s their guy for next season. Tennessee has quietly been doing its work on this year’s rookie quarterback class, so we’ll see if the team dabbles in any trade to get one.
WR Cedrick Wilson
The Miami Dolphins signed Cedrick Wilson to a three-year, $22 million deal a year ago, but they did that contract before knowing Tyreek Hill was available for trade. Once Hill entered the picture, Wilson had no fit on the roster. He had just 12 receptions for 136 yards on the season, and the Dolphins would be open to making a move if they could find a trade partner. Miami also added Braxton Berrios in free agency. Wilson had 602 yards and six touchdowns in 2021 with Dallas, and he’s just 27 years old.
Vikings Edge Za’Darius Smith
Za’Darius Smith tweeted a goodbye to the Minnesota Vikings a few days before free agency began, which made people think he was released. We found out later he wasn’t and had asked the Vikings to cut him, but they rebuffed that request.
Smith made the Pro Bowl in his first season with Minnesota and had 44 tackles, 10 sacks, 24 quarterback hits and a forced fumble in 16 games. The Vikings did add Marcus Davenport in free agency, so that could make Smith expendable, but the situation as of now remains unresolved.
Bengals OT Jonah Williams
The Cincinnati Bengals surprisingly added Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency once they realized they could get him at a good value. Brown has made it clear he only wants to play left tackle, which leaves Jonah Williams in an awkward spot. The former first-round pick is in the final year of his contract, and the team would like for him to flip to the right side. But Williams knows the importance of proving himself on the left side and the financial difference it makes to be there.
The Bengals have a front office that won’t just move a player because he wants out (as we’ve seen recently with Jessie Bates III and famously with Carson Palmer). But Williams would prefer to stay on the left side, and his agent has requested a trade. We’ll see if the Bengals oblige.
>> READ: Williams Trade Conversations Heating Up
Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a healthy scratch for the Super Bowl after the emergence of seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco. The former first-round pick out of LSU has one year remaining on his contract, and he could be a low-risk, high-reward trade candidate. It’s worth noting there are some big-name running backs with big price tags who have also been floated in trades, including the Chargers’ Austin Ekeler, the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, the Bengals’ Joe Mixon and the Giants’ Saquon Barkley. But the chances of a team giving up significant draft capital plus paying a big contract to a running back seems unlikely.
Titans S Kevin Byard
As ESPN reported last week, the Titans recently approached Kevin Byard about taking a pay cut, and he told the team he wouldn’t. A third-round pick in 2016, Byard has made two All-Pro teams and has not missed a game in his career. He’s currently set to make $13.6 million in 2023 and is also signed for $13.6 million next season, which is the final year of his contract. It seems to be a stand-off between the two sides, and it’s worth monitoring if a team makes a tempting offer.
49ers QB Trey Lance
The San Francisco 49ers love what they saw out of Brock Purdy last season, and there are plenty of people around the league who think he is 100 percent their starting quarterback once fully healthy. But Purdy’s elbow injury was a serious one. His surgery was delayed until early March because of swelling, and it’s unclear exactly when he will be healthy enough to return to action. The 49ers believe it’s going to be a six-month recovery, which would be right around the season opener.
San Francisco signed Sam Darnold in free agency to a one-year, $4.5 million deal that could be worth as much as $11 million with incentives. Some have wondered what that means for Trey Lance, who is nearing a full recovery from a broken ankle suffered in Week 2 last season. For now, it’s all speculation, but there are people who don’t think Darnold signed there to eventually be QB3 on the roster.
Other Names to Watch
- Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson
- Jets wide receivers Corey Davis and Denzel Mims
- Dolphins linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah
- Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow