The NFL’s equivalent of Transfer Deadline Day is fast approaching, with teams unable to trade players beyond the Tuesday, November 1 deadline at 4pm ET (8pm UK time).
This is the point in the NFL season in which playoff contenders look to solidify their roster and bring in that final piece of the puzzle as they push for Super Bowl glory, while others look to plug injury gaps and some simply turn their attentions to next season and begin the painful rebuild by offloading star players in exchange for previous future draft picks.
Whatever the motivation might be, here we look at 10 players who could find themselves on the move over the next few days, including one well-known wild card…
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (Wide Receiver)
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are the most obvious team that could benefit from some reliable downfield production at receiver. They do not come much better in the NFL than Brandin Cooks.
Cooks has long been a prevalent player when it comes to trade speculation, and that remains very much the case this season as the 29-year-old rots away on a one-win Houston Texans team with no hope of making the postseason and in the early stages of an unattractive rebuild.
Cooks has logged upwards of 1,000 yards in six of his eight seasons in the league, including 1,037 yards and six touchdowns from 90 passes last year. The Packers, in particular, can only long for such production from their motley group of receivers.
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (Wide Receiver)
There is talk the Denver Broncos could be looking to clean house and trade away assets after a desperately disappointing start to the season – sitting 2-5 through seven games – and with star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy at the heart of such talk.
Denver are in London for Week Eight, facing the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, yet Jeudy was spotted at New York airport this week. With the Giants in desperate need of some help at receiver, is it more than just a coincidence? The third-year, first-round draft pick out of Alabama was also linked with the Miami Dolphins in the offseason… though they are currently stacked at the position. Either way, Jeudy and the Broncos are ones to watch this week, with fellow wideout K.J. Hamler also said to be on the trade block.
How Russell Wilson must be feeling about such speculation you can only imagine? The 33-year-old quarterback forced himself out of Seattle as the Seahawks began the process of a rebuild, so the prospect of Denver ripping up their talented roster cannot be too appealing. That said, the new $245m contract he signed will surely be helping to soften the blow.
Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers (Defensive End)
The Carolina Panthers looked like anything but a franchise struggling and scrambling for direction on Sunday as they stunned Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 21-3 upset, but with an ongoing quarterback quandary and the firing of head coach Matt Rhule firmly in the books, teams across the league have been sniffing around to see if there are any deals to be had.
The San Francisco 49ers already pounced to trade for star running back Christian McCaffrey, but Carolina have insisted that Brian Burns is not for moving – despite reports of one team being said to offer two first-round picks for the talented pass rusher.
Burns, 24, has 30.5 sacks, 103 pressures, six forced fumbles and 34 tackles for loss since entering the league as the 16th overall pick out of Florida State in 2019, hence the lofty asking price. But could the Panthers’ attitude change as teams get more desperate and increase their offers closer to the deadline?
Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams (Running Back)
The Los Angeles Rams are openly seeking trade partners for running back Cam Akers, who is said to have ‘football-related differences’ with head coach Sean McVay.
Akers has made just two starts this year, having spent most of 2021 sidelined after tearing his Achilles prior to the start of training camp. He returned in time to contribute 172 rushing yards and 76 receiving yards in the playoffs during the Rams’ run to Super Bowl success, however he entered this season as backup to Darrell Henderson.
Ahead of Week Six, McVay said the team and Akers were “working through some things,” and he would be absent from their game against the Panthers. The coach has since added: “As of right now, I think the best option for all parties, I think, would be to explore if there’s a good situation for him with another team.”
But where? The New York Jets had looked like a nice potential fit following the injury to their star rookie running back Breece Hall on Sunday, but they then acted fast in trading for James Robinson from the Jacksonville Jaguars instead. Could Akers now instead add to the Buccaneers’ limited backfield, or bolster the Baltimore Ravens run game?
Elijah Moore, New York Jets (Wide Receiver)
The Elijah Moore story is a peculiar one, foreseen by few. Last week the second-year Jets receiver requested a trade as he cited frustration over his usage in Mike LaFleur’s offense – a request the team was quick to clarify it had no intention of granting. “Trading him is not an option,” were head coach Robert Saleh’s precise words, in fact.
Moore was subsequently given permission to miss team meetings on Friday and sat out Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos that moved them to a surprise 5-2 on the season.
Just last summer the second-round draft pick out of Ole Miss had been making a splash in training camp as Robert Saleh’s shiny new slot technician with the slick route-running and playmaking ability with which to fuel a remodelled Jets offense. He managed 43 catches for a team-high 538 yards and five touchdowns before then seeing the Jets use a first-round pick this year on Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson, who currently has 28 catches from 53 targets for 314 yards and two TDs to Moore’s 16 catches from 29 targets for 203 yards and zero scores… prompting his wish to seek a move elsewhere.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (Defensive End)
Another receiver who could well be on the move is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh’s offense is in a deepening hole and the frustration is mounting. Claypool followed up their 16-10 defeat on Sunday night to the Miami Dolphins by calling out the lack of deep shots being schemed up by coordinator Matt Canada, who finds himself under growing pressure.
“I just think we need more go balls,” Claypool said. “We’ve got playmakers. I’m not saying that’s on the play calling, I’m just saying we need to try to find a way to scheme it up.”
Claypool has been subject to trade interest according to NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport, and while it appears unlikely the Steelers would be keen to let such a star commodity out the door, sitting 2-5 on the year and with other talents taking up targets – Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and tight end Pat Freiermuth – perhaps there is a price that could tempt them to change their position.
Claypool has 28 catches from 44 targets for 266 yards and a solitary touchdown so far this season. Such a gifted physical specimen deserves more.
Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos (Defensive End)
The potential mass exodus expected in Denver extends to the defensive side of the football, with pass rusher Bradley Chubb said to be another that the team are willing to move on from.
It is purely down to Denver’s defense that the team has been at all competitive this season, with the offense serving up a paltry 14.3 points a game – rock bottom in the NFL. On the other side of the ball though, the Broncos rank third in scoring (just 16.4 PPG allowed) and second in total yards (286.0 PPG).
While Chubb plays a big part in that production, he has yet to scale the heights of his 12-sack rookie season of 2018, with three injury-affected years in Denver since. He has 5.5 to show from their first seven games of this campaign, but with the team looking uncompetitive and with it being the last year of his rookie deal, there is logic in the Broncos maybe looking to move him on.
It worked out well last year for a certain Von Miller, who departed Denver for sunnier climbs and a Super Bowl run in Los Angeles. With Miller now starring with the Buffalo Bills, could it be that the Rams come knocking on the Broncos’ door yet again for a difference-maker on defence?
Kenny Golladay, New York Giants (Wide Receiver)
The Giants find themselves a staggering 6-1 on the season, despite having seen miniscule returns from their highest-paid receiver Kenny Golladay, who unsurprisingly appears to be drawing little interest on the market just over a season into the four-year, $72m contract he signed in free agency in March 2021.
Touted as the upper-echelon, contested-catch star that would reinvigorate a sputtering Giants offense, Golladay has just two catches from six targets for 22 yards in three games this year after having managed 37 receptions for 521 yards and zero touchdowns last season.
Injuries have been a damning hindrance for the former Detroit Lions wideout, meaning that right now he is a tough sell to potential suitors. The Giants could also hold onto the thought of inserting him back into an offense growing in confidence and production, but watch this space. Second-year receiver Kadarius Toney is another that has been consigned to the periphery by hamstring injuries and other unknown, obscure schematic reasons, yet the explosive talent feels too good to give up on just yet. It will be interesting to see how things play out in New York this week.
Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (Tight End)
Mike Gesicki was Tua Tagovailoa’s unrivalled security blanket since the quarterback’s arrival as the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, with the tight end accumulating 1,483 combined receiving yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons, before questions surrounding his role emerged upon the appointment of head coach Mike McDaniel and the addition of Tyreek Hill to the offense.
Miami placed their franchise tag on Gesicki this offseason to buy themselves more time over a decision on his future and he has since made just 18 catches from 26 targets for 197 yards and three touchdowns behind Hill, Jaylen Waddle and a run game led by Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds.
That being said, Gesicki is coming off season-high target counts of seven in each of Miami’s last two outings, so perhaps there is life to his value after all? His involvement may have declined in a new scheme, but there will surely be interest in him from elsewhere… or maybe he has done enough to persuade the playoff-bound Dolphins to keep him around?
Odell Beckham Jr, Free Agent (Wide Receiver)
‘How can Odell Beckham Jr be traded if he isn’t on a team?’ we hear you cry. It’s a completely fair and valid question, but OBJ’s potential landing spot is still the storyline that currently dominates the league, with a smattering of Super Bowl contenders vying for his services hoping for it to catapult them to the title just like it did the Rams last season.
Beckham’s devastating torn ACL injury early in that Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals somewhat spoilt the fairy tale, and though his spiritual home is still in Los Angeles, he is physically unattached and capable of joining any team he wants.
The Rams were thought to again be the front runners for his services, but have they dragged their heels on getting the deal signed for too long? Beckham even said earlier this month the Rams had made a contract offer to him that was not “reflective” of his worth. “LA knows where I wanted to be,” Beckham tweeted. “But they didn’t offer me…. ANYthing!”
McVay responded by saying, “I don’t think that’s the last [offer].” But, given the Rams’ shaky 3-3 start to the season, might OBJ be tempted to instead joining the Kansas Chiefs or the Bills on a short-term rental for the rest of this season on his quest to win another Super Bow before again becoming a free agent (and quite possibly signing for the Rams) in the summer?
Beckham has been cleared for all non-contact training and it is anticipated he will be attached to a team by mid-November. But with the trade deadline looming, could that tempt teams into making a move for the superstar receiver ahead of time and get a jump on their competitors? Watch this space.
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