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Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Trades Edition

Thoughts on an active NFL trade deadline

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

1. New York Giants trade Kadarius Toney to the Kansas City Chiefs for 2023 3rd & 6th

A weird start to Toney’s career in the Big Apple. Lots of hype for the 2021 first rounder but couldn’t do anything of serious note for the Giants. When Brian Daboll’s staff seemingly gave up on him as well, the Giants got what they could. They return isn’t terrible considering the new regime has no ties to Toney and despite the strong team start, are still in the early stages of flipping the roster. Unfortunate that Daboll couldn’t get it figured out but a solid return salvaging value before all the hype disappeared.

For the Chiefs, this makes total sense. Andy Reid loves shiny toys and if he can’t make something out of Toney’s skill set, then he likely doesn’t have a future in the NFL. The Chiefs offense has proven to be plenty productive after trading away Tyreek Hill, but the Cheetah’s absence allows Reid and company to be creative with acquisitions like this. There are still snaps and targets to be distributed in this offense and we should get a chance to see what Toney has soon.

Verdict: Solid move for both teams!

2. Carolina Panthers trade Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers for 2023 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and a 2024 5th.

Ummm, okay? Look, McCaffrey is uber talented but the book on Shanahan is that his offense and play calling can make an undrafted free agent into a star. If that’s your strength, you don’t need a superstar RB on your squad. On the other hand, if you’re that good at scheming offense, adding another dynamo like McCaffrey should make your offense potent enough to make a Super Bowl run. It’s an all-in move, which I love, but it’s also a move that, analytically and philosophically, doesn’t make a ton of sense. Live fast, die young - the Story of the 2022 49ers.

As for the Panthers, absolutely great move. That’s a fantastic return for a player that has already had injury issues for you and that likely won’t be particularly valuable for you when you are competitive again. I’m surprised the Panthers kept Brian Burnes (seriously, those future Rams 1st rounders will be worth solid gold bars dipped in platinum) and DJ Moore when there were competitive offers out there for them.

Verdict: Better for the Panthers, 49ers SB or bust

3. Chicago Bears trade Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2023 4th round pick

The first of three Ryan Poles moves and this was a smart one. By converting Quinn’s salary to bonus money, Poles was able to sell off Quinn at a very cheap price, essentially buying a draft pick. Moving Quinn frees up additional reps to young developing players and increases the cap room for next season. For those that think Poles could’ve gotten more or moved him earlier in the season, one would imagine he tried and it wasn’t until the trade deadline that the “buyers” surfaced.

As for the Eagles, adding a situational pass rusher with the pedigree of Quinn should absolutely come in handy. They don’t need him to be a starter taking up all the reps so he can maximize his chances in key situations. The Eagles are looking for a title this year and getting a pass rusher to add to the rotation is a championship move.

Verdict: A win for both sides!

4. Denver Broncos trade Bradley Chubb and a 2025 5th rounder to the Miami Dolphins for Chase Edmonds, a 2023, 1st and 2024 4th round pick

Crazy times in Denver. The Broncos were absolutely thinking they were competing for the AFC West title this year but the incredibly rough start pushed them to sell another EDGE defender after trading away Von Miller a year ago. It proves to be great return from Miami for Chubb who has struggled with injuries early in his career.

For Miami, the Dolphins are absolutely in the thick of the playoff hunt, currently sitting at 5-3. They might be the best wild card team out there and could push for a win on the road against a team like Baltimore or Tennessee in the first round. It’s hard to imagine them making noise beyond that in the divisional round against stiffer competition, even with Chubb in the fold, so this move doesn’t seem to move the needle much in the short term. This move felt a little desperate and ill-timed.

Verdict: Good move for Denver, likely reckless move from Miami

5. Indianapolis Colts trade Nyheim Hines to Buffalo for Zach Moss and a conditional 2023 6th round pick

The Buffalo running attack hasn’t quite been what they’re looking for as the Bills look to make their championship run. Hines is a good player but he’s definitely more of a receiver out of the backfield. This trade tells me they’re happy with the improvement from Devin Singletary in the run game and that they know they’re most dangerous in the passing game. That probably means James Cook will see less work as he matures in his rookie season. Hines works well for the pass catcher role and if the Bills get into any shootouts, he should shine.

The Colts aren’t going anywhere and they’re able to salvage something out of a secondary piece.

Verdict: Small but smart move by Buffalo, small but helpful move for Indy.

6. Atlanta Falcons trade Calvin Ridley to the Jacksonville Jaguars for conditional picks

Atlanta planned for this eventuality by taking Drake London in the draft this year. Moving Ridley after the league passed down a year suspension seemed likely, but it was a matter of getting creative. How Ridley performs in Jacksonville will ultimately determine the return here but trading away a player who has missed two straight season seems like a smart move for Atlanta.

As for the Jaguars, why not? If Ridley comes back to form, you’ve got an excellent target for Trevor Lawrence. If not, the conditions will result in a low investment. The Jags get panned a lot in NFL circles for good reason, but this looks like a smart gamble...

Verdict: Creative problem solving wins the day

7. The Chicago Bears trade Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens for 2023 2nd and 5th round picks and AJ Klein

This one surprised some people but if you look at the breadcrumbs, this was coming. Ryan Poles knew that after the failed negotiation over the summer that Roquan wasn’t going to be part of the future of this ball club. His options were to tag him for 2023, potentially creating a holdout and distraction, tag and trade him - another tricky situation, or let him walk for no return. The Bears wouldn’t receive any compensatory picks because they will be active in free agency - they have to be with their treasure chest. It was an incredibly smart and savvy move by Ryan Poles to move a good player for value while allowing himself flexibility to build the roster in the way he sees fit.

For the Ravens, they value the ILB position more than probably any other team in the league and have struggled to find their dude in that role. Roquan could absolutely come in and shine in Baltimore as they look to make a run at the AFC North and get that big extension he wants. If the Ravens want to move on, their organizational depth and stability likely means that they would recoup a nice comp pick for Roquan signing elsewhere, softening the blow of the trade.

Verdict: A winner for all involved

8. Detroit Lions trade TJ Hockenson, a 2023 4th and conditional 2024 4th round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2023 2nd round pick and 2024 3rd round pick

Ewww, what are we doing here Detroit? I don’t think this is very good return on a good player like Hockenson. Are the Lions ever going to compete? At some point, draft picks need to turn into players that help you win and Hock sure seems like a guy that could help you win. I guess the Lions are all aboard the “anyone but GB” for the NFC North train but geesh, this feels like borderline collusion. It’s not even additional picks, it’s just upgrading your picks. Weird.

For the Vikings, I love it. Hockenson adds a super interesting element to go along with Justin Jefferson. The Vikings will walk away with the NFC North, that much is clear, but this move should help them counter a team good enough to take away Jefferson. Hockenson can take over games from his position as well.

Verdict: Vikings great, Lions down bad

9. A Review of the Green Bay Packers Trade Activity

10. The Pittsburgh Steelers trade Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for a 2023 2nd round pick

The Steelers did well here. Last week at this time, the word on the street was that a third round pick would likely get this done. Instead, a bit of a bidding war broke out between the Bears and the Packers and the Steelers benefitted. Smart move to get a very good return on Claypool after they extended Diontae Johnson and selected George Pickens in the draft.

The Bears definitely paid a bit too much here if we’re going by the blue book estimate but I think Poles read the free agent market and knew that he needed to get this deal done or have his hand forced in the 2023 NFL Draft. Claypool’s athletic ability and skillset should match perfectly with Justin Fields and he has a half season to start building a rapport with him now. It’s an exciting move for the future of the Bears and even if it cost a little more than fans would like, it could prove to be a force multiplier by unlocking Darnell Mooney for better opportunities. The Bears aren’t done building this roster by a longshot, but this was a nice addition.

Verdict: Premium price paid for a low-supply good

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