The Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November will certainly create fireworks around the country. Outside of the Presidential election, however, things are expected to be quiet on the National Football League trade deadline front.
Sharing the same day as the election this year, the NFL trade deadline is expected to be a dud based on the cold-water engulfing story Ian Rapoport published today. Top-tier targets like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Sam Darnold aren't expected to be moved before the deadline, according to Rapoport. Even more disappointing, the second tier of trade targets like David Njoku, A.J. Green, and Evan Engram are also expected to stay put.
The NFL trade deadline has traditionally been more subdued than the NBA trade deadline, but it has picked up steam in recent years. Last season, former All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey and Pro Bowl wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders were a few of the big names moved. In 2018 it was former Pro Bowlers Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate among those who got moved.
In 2020, the biggest name on Rap's trade block is...Golden Tate. Talk about déjà boo.
It's not exactly surprising for Ryan, Jones, and Darnold to not really be on the trade block after rumors about all three surfaced in the past week. The Falcons built their entire franchise around Ryan and Jones for nearly the last decade and the Jets don't gain much by trading Darnold now versus after they know where they'll pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Surely if they get the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Trevor Lawrence they'll be forced to make a decision on Darnold, but they aren't in that position now.
The bigger surprise to me is the secondary names. Green likely isn't on the trade block because no one wants to pay the remaining money on his $18 million contract. But Njoku has reportedly requested a trade from the Browns twice this year and Cleveland traded for Austin Hooper this past offseason. What's the point of holding onto an oft-injured backup who doesn't want to play for you?
Likewise, the Giants are reportedly willing to trade Tate and guard Kevin Zeitler, who they traded for in 2019, but they aren't willing to trade Engram. Engram holds the most value out of the three because he's young, athletic, and still on his rookie deal. For some reason the Giants want to keep him despite his tendency to get hurt and drop easy passes in critical situations. Meanwhile, they'll get peanuts in a trade involving Tate and Zeitler.
It seems we're going back to the dark ages of the NFL trade deadline, at least based on what Rapoport is reporting. It was a fun couple of years with some big trades that shook the ground on trade deadline day but ultimately didn't result in any championships for any of the wheeling, dealing franchises that season. Perhaps we'll have some surprise moves on Nov. 3 this year, but if you're looking for excitement, there will be plenty of other opportunities in another arena.