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Dion Jones | AP Photo/Butch Dill
The business market will be relatively calm in the early stages of the 2022 NFL season, but the rumor mill is destined to pick up pace in September as early as October.
Let’s be clear: This is definitely not the time to blow up the rooster. Although Snap reactions are enjoyable to both fans and the media, a game’s sample size is a terrible way for front offices to manage a team. Officers should be more patient than us.
Still, we know trades are coming soon.
The following deals focus on players who are either established trade candidates or are currently playing minor roles and voicing to address alleged playoff contenders.
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AP Photo/Steve Luciano
All offseason, any number of analysts pointed to the Green Bay Packers’ uncertified receiving room as a major concern. It’s not new.
The opening game against the Minnesota Vikings didn’t do much to assuage those concerns. Rookie wideout Christian Watson dropped a touchdown from Aaron Rodgers, and veterans Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb hardly made an impact. AJ Dillon running back gave the Packers momentum in receptions (five) and yards (46), which certainly isn’t ideal, both in production and execution.
Yes, Watson and fellow rookie Romeo Dobbs should both evolve as the season progresses. The return of top wideout Alan Lazard and offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins will also help in the passing game. Again, we already knew the situation.
But an upgrade still seems necessary.
Green Bay could look to the New York Giants for Darius Slayton. Not only did he recently agree to a stimulus-filled pay cut, but Slayton was also a healthy scratch in Week 1. That’s clearly not a Plan A option for the Giants and a speculative late take won’t cost much.
However, the 25-year-old has made 124 catches for 1,830 yards and 13 touchdowns in three NFL seasons. Slayton will provide a mix of youth and experience that Green Bay lacks outside of The Lazard.
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AP Photo / Rick Scooter
How aggressive should a fringe playoff contender be?
It’s a crucial question for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the opener thanks to four interceptions. Pittsburgh’s defense atone for a pitiful day from the Mitchell Trubisky-led offense – a sentence that will probably be rewritten this season.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, they will be without edge-rusher TJ Watt (torn pectoral) for almost six weeks. Roaster strength could use reinforcement.
Meanwhile, Clein Farrell may be making a fresh start.
The fourth overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, Ferrell played just 24 percent of the snaps for the Las Vegas Raiders despite appearing in all 16 games last season. He logged 28 percent in the opener, so his role seems mostly unchanged.
Similar to Darius Slayton, Ferrell is a backup with a termination contract. He’s a low-risk addition that could help fill in Watt’s snaps and could potentially be a low-cost expansion candidate.
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Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Between his first week of workload and a commendable game, Teven Jenkins suddenly had the opportunity to be with the Chicago Bears.
Sure, a 53 percent Snap share doesn’t sound overwhelming, but it was much higher than anticipated. The previous staff hesitated to play him when he was in good health, and the current group moved Jenkins from offensive tackles to right guard during the preseason. His future in Chicago was, at best, uncertain.
This is the longer version of saying that the Bears can still envision a route to regular play time. If his performance drops, however, it is already clear that Jenkins’s options are limited in Chicago. In addition to the free-agent, Lucas Patrick will also be there to replace him.
The Arizona Cardinals, on the other hand, had a formidable opener. He delivered 27 pressures to the Kansas City Chiefs and gained just 282 yards in a 44-21 loss.
Jenkins played in a similar offense at Oklahoma State, so a return to a more familiar system could be a spark for his youth career.
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Among the players listed, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones is most likely to move in 2022.
Over the course of six seasons, he has averaged 108.6 tackles with 6.7 for losses per year. The challenge is balancing that production with a 2021 campaign in which Jones had great numbers (131 tackles) but often fell short of eye testing.
Jones is currently on injured reserve while recovering from a shoulder injury, but he may still be traded. Most importantly, a recent restructuring Made its contract more attractive to interested teams. Now, the receiving side will only be on the hook $1.14 million,
Jones only turned 28 in November, and his upside is worth the gamble for the Tennessee Titans.
David Long Jr. and Zach Cunningham are lock-in starters today, but the linebacker in Tennessee lacks depth. And while Jones will be more expensive in 2023, the Titans could keep him or Cunningham and be in a similar financial position based on cap savings.
If the Titans don’t upgrade the defense, it’s hard to see them sticking in the picture of the AFC playoffs.
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Frank Jansky / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
If the Cleveland Browns continue not to play D’Ernest Johnson, they may also accumulate a bit of value.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Cleveland should touch on Nick Chubb or Karim Hunt for Johnson. But Brown rejected Hunt’s preseason trade request, using him on a 56 percent snap in the opener and giving Johnson a healthy scratch.
The pecking order is clear in the backfield, and Johnson is headed for free agency this off-season anyway.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers potentially started back Eliza Mitchell (knee) for two months. This comes after the release of Trey Cerman and Jamichael Hesty, as well as losing Raheem Mostart to free agency.
Cleveland shouldn’t be resistant to making a late selection for a player it isn’t used to anyway. But the Niners have room for a sprinter in their youth career with 5.3 yards per carry.