Aug 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) looks on against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
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Five NFL trades that didn’t happen, but would have been awesome (and potentially helpful) if they had at the 2016 deadline.
The NFL Trade Deadline has come and gone without much fanfare, but it is always fun to think about ways for NFL teams to improve themselves. NFL trade rumors never die. And here I would like to take a look at five potential deals that would’ve made sense on Tuesday, but will still make sense this offseason, too.
More so than other major professional sports, the NFL does not get as much trade action at their deadline. Typically, the most deals take place in the offseason. It is difficult to make major adjustments to an NFL team on the run, which is why most teams wait to do any major trades until the offseason.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that there were moves out there that would’ve changed the league and potentially the fortunes of teams in 2016 that weren’t made. Maybe they’ll happen in the offseason, but you have to wish these five trades would’ve happened before 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 1.
Tony Romo to the New York Jets
Jets get QB Tony Romo
Cowboys get 2017 3rd Round Pick and QB Bryce Petty
The Dak Prescott show has arrived in Dallas and Tony Romo simply is not getting his job back. Romo has meant a lot to the Cowboys’ organization over the years, but this is undoubtedly Prescott’s team going forward.
The 36-year-old Romo is under contract for three more seasons after 2016, with a cap hit of over $20 million each year. Romo is undoubtedly a talented player at the quarterback position, but that is a big investment in a player who is past his prime.
That being said, the Jets quarterback situation is so ugly. They simply are not going anywhere until they find a legitimate franchise quarterback to lead them. They have strong offensive weapons and an incredibly talented defense, but their lack of strong play at quarterback is holding them back.
Dallas picks up a third round pick and quarterback Bryce Petty here. Petty is someone who they could groom to be a solid backup to Prescott down the line. The Jets would undoubtedly be taking a risk in acquiring Romo, but it sure would be fun to see what he could do with guys like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker at his disposal.
Sep 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas (73) guards Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Seahawks Get Their O-Line Help
Seahawks get LT Joe Thomas
Browns get 2017 2nd Round Pick and 2018 4th Round Pick
This deal just makes too much sense not to have happened. The Cleveland Browns are not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon. Joe Thomas is one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL, but at 31 years old, he is unlikely to be playing at a high level when the Browns are any good.
Also, Cleveland’s new front office loves to collect as much draft capital as possible. The Seattle Seahawks, on the other hand, are not afraid to trade their draft picks for players and have an obvious need for talent on the offensive line.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been running for his life all season long. While they have issues at multiple positions up front, adding a talent like Thomas at left tackle would undoubtedly have been a step in the right direction.
Thomas would not have solved all of the Seahawks offensive line problems, but having him there as a stable force would’ve undoubtedly been huge. Thomas is an elite player at the left tackle position who would make a huge difference on the Seahawks offense.
Cleveland has no need for Thomas and there may not be a player in the NFL who would make the Seahawks better than the big left tackle. This is an obvious trade fit that should still happen this offseason.
Oct 16, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) makes a reception during the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
A Huge Weapon for Rodgers
Packers get WR DeAndre Hopkins
Texans get OT Bryan Bulaga, 2017 4th Round Pick and 2018 4th Round Pick
With all of the size, speed, athleticism and ball skills that you could ever want at the wide receiver position, DeAndre Hopkins is an absolute freak on the outside. That being said, his talent is getting wasted with the Houston Texans.
Hopkins has always been able to produce with mediocre quarterback play in Houston, but Brock Osweiler has been awful this season. Osweiler is wasting Hopkins’ talent and simply cannot get him the ball on a consistent basis.
If the Texans cannot showcase Hopkins’ talent, we would all have been better off if they would’ve just traded him. If Aaron Rodgers could get his hands on this freak at the wide receiver position, Hopkins would never go under-utilized again.
The Packers do not typically make major blockbuster moves like this, but Hopkins is a special player who I could see them making an exception for if he was available. The Packers have some nice players at the wide receiver position right now, but they all struggle at getting separation on a consistent basis.
Hopkins could’ve stepped right in as Rodgers’ number one target and the two would likely take the NFL by storm. In exchange for this big-time player, the Packers would send offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, who is a high-level player at the right tackle position.
Bulaga is under a team friendly deal for the next few years and would be a massive upgrade at the right tackle position for Houston. Also, snagging a couple of fourth round picks the next couple of years is nice.
Nuk is a once-in-a-lifetime receiver, but he deserves better than playing Osweiler. It’s a shame he won’t help the Packers in an NFC North push in 2016, but here’s to hoping for the offseason.
Oct 30, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead (83) during the fourth quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Seahawks 25-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Saints Actually Address Their Defense
Saints get DL Sheldon Richardson
Jets get WR Willie Snead
Straight-up player-for-player swaps are rare in the NFL, but this is one that I think would’ve made a ton of sense. The New Orleans Saints defense is absolutely atrocious, while their offensive attack is great. The Jets offense is terrible, but their defense is an extremely talented unit. Sending some Saints offensive firepower in exchange for some Jets defensive toughness is entirely logical.
Sheldon Richardson has been the subject of NFL trade rumors for a while now. The team has invested in Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams on the defensive line, making Richardson seemingly expendable.
He is an incredibly tough and physical player who would make a significant difference in the Saints defense right away. Richardson is an absolute beast against the run and has some success as a pass rusher on the interior. He could’ve come in and immediately been the Saints best defensive player.
Teaming him up with Cameron Jordan and 2015 first-round selection Sheldon Rankins would’ve given the Saints a defensive front worth worrying about.
In exchange for Richardson, the Jets acquire wide receiver Willie Snead in this trade. The Saints would hate to part with Snead, but with Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas making plays for Drew Brees at wide receiver, Snead could be expendable in the right deal.
Snead is becoming one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. He is quick and elusive on the inside and shows a consistent ability to find open space in the defense. Snead has undoubtedly been helped by Brees throwing him the ball, but he is a talented player in his own right.
Trading Snead would be a tough pill to swallow, but this trade would’ve made the Saints a better team overall. In fact, this trade makes both teams better, but New Orleans would’ve then potentially been able to make a run in the wide-open NFC South by improving their defense.
October 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley (74) blocks Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jack Crawford (58) during the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium. The Cowboys defeated the 49ers 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Keeping Bortles Upright
Jaguars get OT Joe Staley
49ers get DL Sen'Derrick Marks and 2017 3rd Round Pick
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley was the subject of NFL trade rumors for a while now. Similar to Joe Thomas with the Browns, moving Staley would’ve made a ton of sense for the Niners. San Francisco is not going to be competitive anytime soon and, while Staley is an elite NFL left tackle, he is 32 years old. By the time the 49ers are competitive, Staley will not have as much value to the team as he does now.
Now, I am not sure the Jacksonville Jaguars are the team that makes the most sense, but this trade sure would’ve been fun. Jacksonville is loaded with young talent at many positions, but they continue to be held back by the poor play of quarterback Blake Bortles.
I do not think giving up on Bortles now is the right move, though. However, the Jaguars would’ve been wise to give him as much help as possible. Current left tackle Kelvin Beachum is solid, but Joe Staley is an elite blind-side protector who would undoubtedly give Bortles more time to throw.
Now, Bortles very well may just not be a very good NFL quarterback. But the Jags should still give him every opportunity to prove himself. Staley is a great player who the Jags could’ve locked down for a long time. Having him in the lineup would undoubtedly help protect Bortles and open up holes in the run game.s.
In exchange for their franchise left tackle, the 49ers would snag talented defensive lineman Sen’Derrick Marks and what is likely to be an early third-round pick in 2017. Not a bad haul for an obviously rebuilding franchise. This is another one that fans can hope for in the offseason. But for now, it’s just another missed opportunity at the deadline.