Here are five blockbuster trades I’d like to see go through before the NFL’s deadline on Oct. 30. These deals should help a solidify a few teams with championship aspirations while adding assets for teams looking toward the future.
1. Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson to the Philadelphia Eagles
Peterson wants out of Arizona, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. While he’s twisting the Cardinals’ arm for a trade, Peterson should still be valuable on the trade market, considering he has two and a half years left on a reasonable contract ($11.8 million cap hit in 2019 and a $13.1 million cap hit in 2020).
Meanwhile, the Eagles’ most prominent flaw is at cornerback — and this 2018 team has a lot of flaws. If Philly could get ahold of Peterson for a 2019 second round pick, then they could combine him with Sidney Jones, who has been solid but not spectacular in his role as the team’s top corner. Jones, in his second season, and the rest of the defense would benefit enormously from Peterson taking over the top cornerback spot.
The Eagles are rumored to be buyers at the trade deadline, which is perfectly justifiable considering their competition in the NFC East looks mostly incompetent. The Eagles look just as bad — and maybe worse — but they’re fresh off a Super Bowl win with the talent to repeat, if they get their act together.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell to the Green Bay Packers
NFL Network discussed this potential blockbuster (below). With Bell deciding not to return to the team until after the deadline, the Steelers might more seriously consider trading him. And for the team acquiring him, they might have more assurance that he will show up when they acquire him. The only problem is that they cannot negotiate a new deal, and thus have no assurance that Bell will stick around after the 2018 season.
With that in mind, the Packers would send a package of picks, a second-rounder and a sixth-rounder, for Bell, whose uncertain situation gives the Steelers little leverage. But knowing they’re going to lose him in 2018, the Steelers can flip him, and continue with James Conner.
For the Packers, the deal provides an enormous boon to Aaron Rodgers, whose injured leg could use some rest. His showdown with the lowly San Francisco 49ers last week showed that Rodgers needs help. Bell would be a tremendous threat in the running and passing game.
Bell and Rodgers in the same backfield would be a treat.
3. New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Jacksonville Jaguars
There are probably two or three quarterbacks who the Jaguars could target if they want an immediate upgrade over quarterback Blake Bortles. Jacksonville could target the Eagles’ Nick Foles, the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett and the Saints’ Teddy Bridgewater.
There’s a chance the Jags think they can find the 2017 iteration of Foles, who had 11 touchdowns to his five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) between his regular season and post season performances. But Foles could easily regress to the turnover prone quarterback, who would drive Doug Marrone crazy just like Bortles has. Brissett has always proven turnover-prone. So that’s one big mark against him.
That’s why the Jags might land on Bridgewater, who has no recent performances to speak for himself. Before his knee injury, he was a game managing quarterback. In other words, Bridgewater is what Marrone’s dreams are made of. He takes care of the football. Bridgewater would be a rental, but he’d cost next to nothing from a financial standpoint, as the Saints converted most of his contract into a bonus.
The problem is that the Saints might not take less than a third-round pick. So that’s what the Jaguars will give them.
4. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick to the New England Patriots
Second to last in the NFL in sacks with nine, the Patriots defense needs help, and who better to join the Patriots than another first-round pick who has lost his way. Reddick hasn’t realized his potential as a pass rusher, and so perhaps the Patriots can polish Reddick and turn him into a valuable and reliable player in the pass-rush and beyond. Bill Belichick and the Patriots have traded for former first-round picks like receivers Phillip Dorsett and Cordarelle Patterson, linebackers Shea McClellin and Kyle Van Noy and defensive tackle Danny Shelton. Reddick would be another name on the list of reclamation projects.
Reddick is still playing a lot in Arizona — he got 100 percent of snaps against the Denver Broncos. But he hasn’t productive with 26 tackles and two sacks. Perhaps the Patriots could send the Cardinals a third-round pick (which New England got from the Detroit Lions) for Reddick.
Belichick gets to work with a supremely talented and developing youngster. Reddick moves to a championship contender, and the Cardinals stock up for their continued rebuild.
5. Miami Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker for Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald would have to be on board with this trade. And I’ll admit that he might be a little skeptical leaving Arizona for Miami, who will likely be in the wild card hunt once the inevitable happens and the Patriots win the AFC East. If Fitzgerald did approve a trade, he’d probably prefer a move to a place like New England rather than Miami.
Perhaps Dolphins coach Adam Gase could sell Fitz on 18 more months of football between this season and next. Fitz is exactly the type of player around which Gase wants to build his team. Parker, meanwhile, appears to be a player on the outs, as he’s entrenched in trade rumors. His agent is also picking fights with Gase, which is a good sign Parker will end up on another team.
The Dolphins get more experience and more talent that can contribute now. The Cardinals get a young asset and another big, athletic target for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.