Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells always preached to his team the importance of starting each NFL season with a full tank of gas, and then making sure you’ve got enough in the tank to make it through the season. The trading deadline – which hits next Tuesday – is the last chance for teams to fill up on the road to the postseason.
Some teams that feel they have a shot at the playoffs, and perhaps can go far, will be active buyers. Other teams want to unload players as they look toward next season. There are already several factors to consider when looking at trades, and the uncertainty of next year’s salary cap adds another wrinkle. With the possibility that the cap will decrease next year, it will be that much harder for teams to acquire a player on a multi-year deal.
I’m not going to throw out a bunch of trade predictions, but here’s my take on the top five sellers and top five buyers as the trade deadline approaches:
Seattle Seahawks: They know they have a championship-caliber offense, so if Seattle is going to be a serious Super Bowl threat, they need to make more improvements to the defense. A cornerback would be nice, but they should be looking at any defensive player that can help. Expect them to be aggressive right up until the deadline.
Green Bay Packers: Green Bay fans weren’t happy when the Packers didn’t draft a receiver this year. Right or wrong, Aaron Rodgers does still need more weapons in the passing game.
Washington Football Team: Odd as it may sound, Washington has a real shot to win the NFC East. They have the best defense in the division but they just lost a standout player in safety Landon Collins (out for the year with an Achilles injury). Filling that void via trade would be helpful.
Dallas Cowboys: Losing Dak Prescott was a killer. Andy Dalton may be the answer once he returns from concussion protocol, but it makes sense for Dallas to explore the QB trade market. Three veterans who might be available come to mind: Tyrod Taylor, Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota.
Kansas City Chiefs: The defending champs don’t have glaring needs, but they may be in the market for a cornerback.
Houston Texans: I have more conviction about Houston being a seller than just about any other scenario on this list. Look for the Texans to trade one of their veteran receivers, either Will Fuller or Kenny Stills. Because of his ability as a deep threat, it likely will be Fuller.
New York Jets: At 0-7, look for the Jets to add as many draft picks as they can. Their best trading chip is DL Quinnen Williams, but they also might find some interest in receivers Jamison Crowder or Breshad Perriman.
Cincinnati Bengals: For any team looking to acquire a wide receiver, the best available option is A.J. Green. Cincinnati would be willing if the price is right (though don’t expect them to deal him to the rival Browns, who might be in the market).
Atlanta Falcons: I don’t think Atlanta will move Matt Ryan or Julio Jones, at least not until the offseason. So if the Falcons do want to start looking ahead, their next-best chip might be DE Takk McKinley.
New York Giants: If Dave Gettleman is looking to deal, a player who might draw some interest is veteran WR Golden Tate.
The Wild Card:
It’s been a long time since the New England Patriots were sellers, but some people think that’s the boat they’re in right now. That said, the AFC East is still very much up for grabs, so don’t expect Bill Belichick to give up the ship just yet. With a showdown Sunday against the first-place Bills, perhaps the outcome of this game will be the deciding factor.
If the Pats lose Sunday, they’ll drop 3.5 games behind Buffalo. Would they consider trading Pro Bowl CB Stephon Gilmore to the highest bidder? On the other hand, if they beat the Bills, do they bring in a pass-catcher (WR or TE, doesn’t matter) to help Cam Newton?