Trades are pretty rare in the NFL. Sure, if you want to move a conditional 6th round draft pick for a guy around the NFL Draft, there’s a market for you, but player-for-player swaps are hardly ever seen. There’s a lot of reasons behind that, but ahead of the 2016 NFL season, we were hoping we could buck the norm and make a few moves. And while these moves almost certainly won’t happen — if for no other reasons than we’re close to the season and the salaries might not work — we’re holding out hope that some bold assistant general manager reads this and decides to make a call.
RB Carlos Hyde to Washington Redskins • RG Brandon Scherff, 2nd round pick, 4th round pick to San Francisco
Hyde is one of the best running backs in the NFL and he shouldn’t waste his best years for a team that won’t be competing for division titles. The 49ers need help on the offensive line in a big way and getting Scherff, who should start for any team in the NFL at guard or right tackle for the next decade, would be a great long-term play. The Redskins have a glut of offensive linemen and can afford to part with Scherff in exchange for a running back that makes the team a legitimate Super Bowl contender (you heard me.) The 2nd and 4th round picks give the 49ers’ freedom to use their 1st round pick this year (it should be the top pick) on Deshaun Watson, the Clemson quarterback and then go into the RB raffle.
Getty ImagesEzra Shaw
OLB Khalil Mack, QB Connor Cook, WR Michael Crabtree, 1st round pick to Houston Texans • WR DeAndre Hopkins, DE Jadeveon Clowney to Oakland Raiders
This is the big one: Clowney has been good in Houston, taking on two, sometimes even three offensive linemen at a time, but his role hasn’t produced numbers. Mack is arguably the best pass rusher in the game and gets those numbers. Pairing him with JJ Watt would be cruel and usual punishment for AFC South offenses. The Raiders are on the verge, but they need another top receiving option to pair with the young and talented Amari Cooper. Hopkins, who had a one-day holdout of training camp, is certainly that receiver. If Houston isn’t certain they will be able to give him the money he wants after next year, they could sell high on him and avoid losing him for little or nothing. Getting Cook to backup (or ultimately replace) Brock Osweiler would be prudent — Tom Savage isn’t the long-term solution there — and Crabtree is the professional possession receiver that would be good to have around the young, talented receiving core the Texans have put in place in their run-first offense. (H/T to FillSimms on Reddit for coming up with the framework of this trade.)
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
RB Jamaal Charles to Miami Dolphins • WR DeVante Parker to Kansas City Chiefs
The Dolphins have a glut of young, talented receivers and Parker is stuck behind three of them for snaps. The No. 14 overall pick in 2015, Parker is poised to break out in 2016, though he might not be able to do it in Miami. The Chiefs need receivers bad and have depth at running back, where the Dolphins, despite having the closest thing to a spread offense in the NFL, are planning on starting Arian Foster. Charles has been injured and is 29, but when he’s playing, he’s one of the best players in the league and is a lethal threat both on the ground and in the passing game — both players would upgrade their new team’s offense.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
LT Joe Thomas to Seattle Seahawks • DE Frank Clark, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, 2nd round pick to Cleveland Browns
The Seahawks desperately need a new left tackle — Garry Gilliam isn’t going to get it done, sorry. The Browns desperately need to improve their front-seven with some young, exciting talent. Clark played only 333 snaps last season but was a force for many of them - he deserves a full-time role. Kevin Pierre-Louis hasn’t seen much of any playing time, but he’s gotten some rave reviews this preseason. Toss in a top-100 pick and we’re cooking.
Diamond Images/Getty ImagesDiamond Images
LG La’el Collins, WR Terrance Williams, 4th round pick to Los Angeles Rams • DE Robert Quinn to Dallas Cowboys
Both teams can use their league-leading depth in one place to fill a need at another spot on the roster that ranks near the bottom of the league, and while Collins for Quinn isn’t a straight-up trade you could make — Quinn has 45 sacks in his last 56 games — adding Williams, who had 52 catches last year for 840 yards and is the Cowboys’ No. 2 receiver and a third-day draft pick could make the Rams whole. For LA, it’s about investing in their franchise, quarterback Jared Goff, who has a weak pass-protecting offensive line and even weaker receivers around him. For the Cowboys, it’s about getting someone — anyone — who can get to the quarterback. Few do it better than Quinn.