6 NFL trades that should happen now
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Giants WR Darius Slayton (Elsa/Getty Images)
We’re only two weeks into the 2022 NFL season, which means it’s too early for teams to hit the panic button. It is too early for playoff hopes to be aggressive on the business market and too early for struggling teams to break the roster.
However, a few early trades will be of great benefit. Injuries have pierced many rosters, and after two games, some weaknesses are obvious and not deviations.
We will examine six trading ideas that can logically be executed now – as in, now, before the start of Week 3.
Since we are focusing on early-season trades, we are primarily looking at backup and role players, which can be seen as expendable. We will examine why each can be dealt with and where each can best fill a void.
Factors such as roster makeup, past performance, anticipated roles, contract status and cap space were considered. Players are listed alphabetically.
Cleline Farrell to Cleveland Browns
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Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Get Brown: Edge Clelin Farrell
Get Raiders: 2023 Sixth Round Pick
The Las Vegas Raiders are sitting 0-2 after a collapse in the second half of Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. However, the trade of Clein Farrell, the fourth overall pick of 2019, isn’t all about the team’s record.
Ferrell doesn’t have a major role in Patrick Graham’s defense. Over the course of two weeks, Clemson Product has played 27 percent of defensive snaps and logged one tackle and one quarterback pressure.
Depending on his role and build, Ferrell won’t reap a huge return. However, attackers can get some Back to a player who would probably depart 2023 in free agency anyway. The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, may be willing to fly one on Ferrell.
The Browns had their downfall on Sunday, losing a 13-point lead with less than two minutes to spare—and an extra point. Busted coverage helped the New York Jets engineer a comeback against Cleveland, but the Browns’ lack of a pass crowd gave Joe Flaco the time he needed to take advantage.
The Browns’ pass rush was dominant for most of Sunday, but fell short after Jadavian Clooney was ruled out in the third quarter with an ankle injury. According to Chris Easterling and Nate Ulrich akron beacon journalClooney went into the walking boot after the game—never a good sign.
The Browns have announced that the Clooneys will miss Week 3.
If he misses the extended time, Cleveland star Miles Garrett will be scrambling to find a complement. Ferrell, who had 4.5 sacks as a rookie, might be a good project to include in the rotation.
From D’Ernest Johnson to Los Angeles Ramso
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Get Rams: RB D’Ernest Johnson
Get Brown: S. Terrell Burgess
The Browns should have handled the Jets on Sunday, and they would have if Nick Chubb had stopped short of the end zone on Cleveland’s last scoring drive. Had he not moved into the end zone, Brown would have had another goal with less than two minutes to spare and the Jets would have run out of timeout. Some would kneel down and the game would be over.
It was the only glaring mistake in the Browns ground game that has been in effect during the first two weeks. Cleveland clocks 401 rushing yards at 5.3 yards per carry.
Brown, however, has yet to use number 3 back D’Ernest Johnson, who is playing on a one-year, $1.2 million deal. Johnson, who racked up 534 rushing yards at 5.3 yards per carry last season, is a quality trading chip.
The Los Angeles Rams could use tougher runners like Johnson, because they’re taking a bit out of their ground game, especially Cam Acre. Los Angeles averages only 2.7 yards per carry, while Acres averages 2.4. In LA, Johnson can be a solid complement to Darrell Henderson Jr., who has clocked a more respectable 4.1 yards per race.
Instead of trading draft capital, the Rams can flip backup safety Terrell Burgess, who has yet to play a defensive snap this season. The 2020 third-round pick won’t fix communication issues at the back end of Cleveland’s defense, but he could give defensive coordinator Joe Woods another option at the back end.
Sydney Jones IV to Baltimore Ravens
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Michael Hickey / Getty Images
Get Ravens: CB Sydney Jones IV
Get the Seahawks: 2023 fifth round pick
We promise that we’re not just investigating teams that melted away in Week 2. Did you see the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive collapse, though? Baltimore took a 35–14 lead over the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter and lost.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished with 469 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
While the Ravens have cornerbacked Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters after both time-lapses in 2021 – Peters missed an entire season with a torn ACL – they have lost Kyle Fuller for the year to a torn ACL. As Sunday’s results show, Baltimore’s cornerback depth is still questionable.
It would be fitting to trade the Ravens for an early-caliber corner, and Sydney Jones IV seems like a prime candidate. The Seattle Seahawks may be 1-1, but they didn’t look like a contender in Sunday’s massive loss to the rival San Francisco 49ers.
Jones hasn’t seen extensive playing time this season — he played 12 defensive snaps in Week 1 — but he made 11 starts for Seattle in 2021. He only allowed an anti-passer rating of 84.3 in coverage last season.
Jones is playing on a one-year, $3.6 million deal, and if the Seahawks aren’t going to struggle, it would be logical to raise that salary. The Ravens, who have $4.7 million in cap space left, can take this by increasing their depth in the secondary.
Mason Rudolph to San Francisco 49ers
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Get 49ers: QB Mason Rudolph
Get the Steelers: 2023 fifth round pick
While the 49ers put the Seahawks to shame in Week 2, the game was not a win from start to finish. San Francisco lost to second-year quarterback Trey Lance with an ankle injury at the end of the season.
Lance suffered a broken ankle that required surgery.
“I’m really happy with the win, but once you get to the locker room it’s a little sad,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters.
The 49ers have a starting-caliber quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo as he renegotiated his contract and kept him for the 2022 season. However, San Francisco could use an experienced backup, as rookie Brock Purdy is the only other quarterback on the roster.
Enter Pittsburgh Steelers backup Mason Rudolph, who has 10 starts and a 5-4-1 record. Rudolph wouldn’t exclude Garoppolo from the starting role, but he’s more certified quarterback insurance than Purdy.
The question is whether the Steelers will make Rudolph available. He is a valuable backup and second-year coordinator Matt Canada is well versed in the offense. However, Rudolph is also the third quarterback behind starter Mitch Trubisky and rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett.
Rudolph is playing on a one-year, $6 million deal, so the Steelers can get significant savings by moving a player they’re not used to. The 49ers, who have $2.5 million in cap space, will have to clear the deal to get the deal done. However, they could use insurance more than the Steelers team which could turn the offense into a picket this season anyway.
Darius Slayton to Indianapolis Colts
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Michael Reeves/Getty Images
Get Colts: WR Darius Slayton
Get Giants: 2023 seventh round pick, 2024 sixth round pick
The Indianapolis Colts were widely expected to be a contender in 2022, thanks in large part to the acquisition of quarterback Matt Ryan. However, Ryan is saddled with one of the highest-achieving cores in the NFL, and Indy is off to a 0-1-1 start.
Sunday’s 24-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars was an embarrassment. Ryan was 16-for 30 for 195 yards and three interceptions. Ashton Dulin and running back Naiheim Hines were the top 30 achievers of the Colts.
While No. 1 receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (Quad) did not play against Jacksonville, the receiver’s lack of depth is evident. Despite the poor start, the Colts see themselves as a potential playoff team.
“As pathetic as it is today, the distance is not that far from where it is and where we should be,” coach Frank Reich told reporters. “We have the players and coaches to make it happen.”
If Indy wants to turn his season around, he’s going to have to get some help from Ryan ASAP. Trading depth could help a lot for New York Giants wideout Darius Slayton.
Slayton has fallen out of favor in New York and played only four offensive snaps in 2022. During the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Slayton amassed 1,491 yards and 11 touchdowns. The talent is there.
The Giants aren’t likely to get a big return for Slayton because they have little trading advantage – they’re not using him and can’t pretend they intended. Transferring him, however, would only remove over $900,000 from the books.
The Colts should jump at the chance to add a proven pass-catcher to their ranks.
Michael Scofield to Cincinnati Bengals
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Get Bengal: G Michael Scofield
Get Bear: 2023 sixth round pick
The Chicago Bears took a flight on the 2021 Raiders’ first-round disappointment Alex Leatherwood after the 53-player roster was cut. However, the bear placed Leatherwood was on the non-football/disease list last week, meaning he would miss at least four games.
For at least another three games with Leatherwood, the Bears re-signed Michael Scofield on the active roster. Scofield, who was cut and re-signed to the practice squad, is likely to be a short-term depth solution for Chicago.
The Bears should strongly consider offering Scofield to the Cincinnati Bengals. The defending AFC champions are in a 0-2 margin to start the season, and their offensive line remains a largely question mark.
The signings of L’El Collins, Alex Kappa and Ted Karras were the ones to fix last year’s biggest weakness. It hasn’t happened. Quarterback Joe Burrow has been sacked league-high 13 times despite being under pressure at only an 18.2 percent dropback.
According to Pro Football Focus, rookie guard Cordell Volsson is responsible for two sacks and a penalty.
Schofield, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, may not be a highly rated starter, but he has experience playing both guard and tackle. According to the PFF, he started 12 games in 2021 and was only responsible for allowing three penalties and two sacks.
Adding Schofield would give Cincinnati another option as it continues to shuffle its offensive line and tries to find a combination that can protect Burrows. Meanwhile, Chicago could get something in return for the player who could be out once Leatherwood is ready to return.
Cap and contract information via Spottrack. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.