2022 NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 3
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Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
The 2022 NFL season continues to be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. We’ve had a Super Bowl hangover by the Cincinnati Bengals, a 2-0 start by the upstart New York Giants, a fair dose of overtime, upsets galore and more epic late-game meltdowns.
We’re only two weeks in.
While fans are focused on the on-field action, teams are either scrambling to rebound from rough starts or working to keep things rolling. As injuries unfold and weaknesses are revealed, many of them will inevitably turn to the trade market for help.
Teams have until November 1 to execute trades. Between now and then, we’ll check in weekly on the top 10 trade targets based on factors like salary-cap situations, player usage, projected player roles, any relevant buzz and a smidgen of guesswork.
We’ll also examine logical landing spots based on factors like team needs, positional value, cap and contract situations.
The Selection Process
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49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
To create our top 10 list, we have gathered 15 names that could reasonably land on the trade block based on the aforementioned criteria.
We have some notable changes to our initial list this week, as we’re starting to get some idea of which teams have a legitimate shot at contention in 2022.
The 0-2 Tennessee Titans, for example, haven’t performed like the team that claimed the AFC’s No. 1 seed in 2021. A sustained slide could have them looking to move impending 2023 free agents like underutilized tight end Austin Hooper.
We’re also removing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the list entirely. The former backup and potential trade chip is now the starter in San Francisco following Trey Lance’s season-ending ankle surgery.
We’re also dropping Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark. While offseason additions Marcus Williams and rookie first-round pick Kyle Hamilton cloud Clark’s future, the Ravens recently adjusted his contract. He looks to be sticking around for the remainder of the season.
Meanwhile, New York Giants receiver Darius Slayton might not be. Although he’s played only four offensive snaps, he plummets from high atop our list. The Giants restructured Slayton’s contract and may want insurance at receiver amid their surprising 2-0 start.
Once we established the top 15, we ranked players on their talent level, positional value and their likelihood of being dealt. The goal here is to identify players who are both valuable and realistically available.
This week’s honorable mentions, in no particular order, are:
- Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
- Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns
- Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers
- Michael Jordan, G, Carolina Panthers
- Daron Payne, DT, Washington Commanders
10. Sidney Jones IV, CB, Seattle Seahawks
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Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones IV is back in the top 10 after his team’s embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2. The Week 1 victory over the Denver Broncos provided some hope that Seattle would be relevant this season, but it now seems more likely that Denver just isn’t that good.
The Seahawks have used Jones sparingly this season after he started 11 games in 2021. He’s playing on a one-year, $3.6 million deal and is a solid trade chip for Seattle. Last season, he
allowed an opposing passer rating of only 84.3 in coverage.
If the Seahawks aren’t going to utilize Jones, another team could.
The Baltimore Ravens should be near the top of the list after surrendering 469 passing yards and six touchdowns to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday. The secondary’s struggles helped blow a 35-14 fourth-quarter lead.
The Ravens have also lost cornerback Kyle Fuller for the season to a torn ACL.
The Bengals might also want to take a long look at Jones. They’ve surrendered only 422 passing yards and two touchdowns through two weeks, but they also allowed Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush to engineer a game-winning drive with less than a minute remaining on Sunday.
Unless the Bengals’ slide continues, they should be buyers at the trade deadline. Jones would be a solid addition to any team with playoff aspirations.
Best Fits: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals
9. Austin Hooper, TE, Tennessee Titans
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AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes
The Tennessee Titans signed tight end Austin Hooper to a one-year, $6 million deal this offseason, which seemed like a smart investment at the time. Hooper is a two-time Pro Bowler who had some lean years with the Cleveland Browns, but he also shared the load with David Njoku and Harrison Bryant in Cleveland.
With A.J. Brown gone, Hooper should be a go-to target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, he’s seen little action in the passing game, tallying only two receptions for 25 yards on six targets through two games.
If Tennessee can’t get back on track quickly, it should look to see what it can receiver for Hooper in a trade.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be interested in a pass-catching tight end like Hooper. Rob Gronkowski remains retired, while Cade Otton and Cameron Brate have combined for only three receptions and 20 yards. Tampa has $5.4 million in cap space available.
The 49ers also might want to consider Hooper as insurance while George Kittle continues to recover from a groin injury. San Francisco has Ross Dwelley and Tyler Kroft, but Kroft (one catch, nine yards) hasn’t made much of an impact, and Kittle has now missed 13 games dating back to the start of the 2020 season.
If San Francisco believes it can be a title contender with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, great tight end depth would be a boon. The caveat here is that the 49ers have only $4.2 million in cap space. They would either need to clear room or convince Tennessee to eat some of the dead money on Hooper’s deal.
Best Fits: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers
8. Nelson Agholor, WR, New England Patriots
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Megan Briggs/Getty Images
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor continues to be a player to watch on the trade front. Agholor is in the final year of his contract, and the Patriots could save $9.9 million by trading him.
The 29-year-old likely could be had if a team is willing to pick up his contract. His six-catch, 110-yard performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday should spark some interest around the league.
Although Agholor finished with fewer than 500 receiving yards last season and saw little action (three catches, 28 yards) in the season opener this year, he remains a potential big-play receiver.
The Indianapolis Colts could desperately use another receiver in their lineup. With star wideout Michael Pittman Jr. sidelined in Week 2, their offense was a disaster. Matt Ryan was 16-of-30 for 195 yards and three interceptions, while Ashton Dulin and running back Nyheim Hines were the only Colts to top 30 receiving yards.
With $8.2 million in cap space, the Colts are close to being able to take on Agholor’s deal.
The Green Bay Packers could also be interested in Agholor as they continue to overhaul their receiving corps. Aaron Rodgers fared better in Week 2 (234 yards, 2 TDs) than he did in Week 1 (195 yards, 1 INT), but no Packers player had more than three receptions against the Chicago Bears.
The Packers have $9.4 million in cap space available, so they wouldn’t have to clear much to add Agholor.
Best Fits: Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers
7. Mason Rudolph, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Jimmy Garoppolo being off the trade market should significantly boost the stock of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. While Rudolph has never been a high-level signal-caller, he has a career 5-4-1 record as a starter.
Rudolph has value to the Steelers, as he is well-versed in Matt Canada’s offense. However, he’s stuck behind starter Mitch Trubisky and rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett. He’s highly unlikely to see the field for Pittsburgh in 2022.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that there was a trade market for Rudolph before the season. Now that the season is underway and the quarterback pool is dwindling, the Steelers might be willing to move him.
The San Francisco 49ers would be a logical landing spot for Rudolph now that Trey Lance is out for the season. The Niners can win with Garoppolo, but they now have limited depth behind him. Rookie Brock Purdy is the only other quarterback on the roster.
The Dallas Cowboys should also be interested in Rudolph as an insurance option. Cooper Rush led them to a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, but backup Will Grier doesn’t inspire much confidence. He’s gone 0-2 as a starter and has a career 33.2 passer rating.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Dak Prescott may return from his thumb injury in as little as four weeks. Therefore, Dallas may not be eager to deal for a backup. However, if Rush goes down or Prescott’s recovery hits a roadblock, Rudolph should be at the top of the Cowboys’ wish list.
Best Fits: San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys
6. Deion Jones, LB, Atlanta Falcons
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Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images
Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones is one of the top defenders on our list, although his situation is a bit complicated. He remains on injured reserve following shoulder surgery, but he’s eligible to return in a few weeks.
According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the Falcons tried to trade Jones during the offseason, but they couldn’t find a landing spot.
Atlanta recently restructured Jones’ contract, which means it would likely have to absorb $7 million in dead money—but save $6.2 million in the process. The Falcons should easily be able to move his $1.1 million base salary.
If the winless Falcons keep losing, they may be inclined to eat the money and flip Jones for draft capital. That makes Jones, who logged 137 tackles and two sacks last season, an even more attractive option on the trade market.
The Minnesota Vikings, who have allowed an average of 5.3 yards per carry on the ground, could be interested in adding Jones. They humbled by the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, but they’re 1-0 in the NFC North and could stay in the playoff mix if they can tighten up their run defense.
The Dallas Cowboys could also be interested in Jones. Dallas has been solid against the run this season (4.2 yards per carry allowed), but defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was previously Jones’ head coach in Atlanta.
Adding Jones could help bump Quinn’s linebacker corps from good to great, although a lot will hinge on how the Cowboys fare in Prescott’s absence. If Dallas is sitting at 1-4 or 1-5 upon Prescott’s return, it probably won’t be a deadline buyer.
Best Fits: Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys
5. D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns
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Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images
The Cleveland Browns should be sitting at 2-0 and atop the AFC North. However, they completely blew it against the New York Jets on Sunday, giving up 14 points in less than two minutes in one of the most disappointing losses in recent memory.
Lost in the epic meltdown is the fact that Cleveland has yet to utilize running back D’Ernest Johnson. Cleveland has racked up 401 rushing yards through two weeks by leaning almost exclusively on Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Hunt remains a possible trade chip—he’s in the final year of his contract—but only if the Browns start to rack up losses. Johnson, who is on a one-year, $1.2 million deal, could be expendable no matter how Cleveland’s season unfolds.
Right now, Johnson is strictly insurance, and Cleveland has Demetric Felton and rookie Jerome Ford on the roster as well. Johnson logged 534 rushing yards, 137 receiving yards and three total touchdowns last season and should be an attractive option for running back-needy teams.
The San Francisco 49ers should be interested in Johnson after losing starting back Elijah Mitchell to a sprained MCL in Week 1 and rookie Ty Davis-Price to a high-ankle sprain in Week 2.
“Shanahan said the plan is to bring in free-agent running backs for
workouts this week as reinforcements to join Jeff Wilson Jr., Jordan
(J.P.) Mason and new addition Marlon Mack, who likely will be elevated
from the practice squad,” Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area wrote.
The Los Angeles Rams should also have interest, as they’re getting next to nothing out of Cam Akers. The third-year back averaged only 2.4 yards per carry across 18 totes in his first two games.
Best Fits: San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams
4. Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Las Vegas Raiders
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Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The Las Vegas Raiders had their own fourth-quarter collapse on Sunday, ceding a 23-7 lead and losing in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals. At 0-2, they’re suddenly in danger of falling out of the AFC West race.
Las Vegas might be inclined to move pass-rusher Clelin Ferrell even with a winning record. The Raiders kept the 2019 fourth overall pick as a rotational piece behind Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, but he’s made little impact in that role.
Through two weeks, Ferrell has played only 27 percent of the defensive snaps and logged one tackle and one quarterback pressure. The Clemson product is set to become a free agent after this season, so the Raiders should aim to convince a team to take a flier on him.
The Cleveland Browns could be one of those teams, as they lack pass-rushing depth behind Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney and may not have the latter for a stretch. He suffered an ankle injury against the New York Jets, and the Browns have already announced that Clowney will miss Week 3.
The Cardinals also might want to take a chance on Ferrell after losing Jones to the Raiders in free agency. They’re tied with Las Vegas and the New Orleans Saints with only one sack on the season.
The Browns have a league-high $36.6 million in cap room.
Best Fits: Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals
3. Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers
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Eakin Howard/Getty Images
With Jimmy Garoppolo out of the picture, Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold becomes the most enticing quarterback option available on the trade market. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s particularly good.
Darnold lost the starting job to newcomer Baker Mayfield in training camp and then landed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. He has a career passer rating of only 76.9, but he does have 49 starts under his belt.
If a team needs a spot starter, Darnold can at least fill in, and the Panthers should be more than willing to move him. This is Mayfield’s team at least for the 2022 season, and Carolina should be happy to get a team to take on any of Darnold’s $18.9 million guaranteed salary.
The Panthers likely will have to pay a large chunk of Darnold’s salary to move him, just like the Browns did when sending Mayfield to Carolina. Any savings the Panthers can get would be a bonus, though.
Darnold plays the game’s most important position, still has some untapped potential and can easily be had for a price. However, there isn’t a logical landing spot for him at the moment, outside of perhaps Dallas.
The Cowboys would only be interested in Darnold as a backup or if Cooper Rush struggles or gets injured. The San Francisco 49ers would similarly be looking at Darnold as an insurance option only.
We had the Cleveland Browns listed as a possible Darnold suitor last week, but Jacoby Brissett played extremely well in Week 2 (22-of-27, 98.9 rating) aside from a desperation interception at the end of the game. With Joshua Dobbs and Kellen Mond also in Cleveland, the Browns are likely out of the quarterback market.
Dallas and San Francisco are Darnold’s most logical landing spots right now by default. However, his trade value could skyrocket if another starting quarterback gets injured.
Best Fits: San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys
2. Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets
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Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
With the New York Giants off to a hot start and Nelson Agholor finally making an impact for the New England Patriots, Denzel Mims becomes the top wideout on our list. However, that has more to do with his availability than his production.
Mims, a 2020 second-round pick, has some intriguing potential but has seen limited opportunities with the Jets. Through his first two seasons, he caught only 31 passes for 490 yards and zero touchdowns.
This season, Mims has yet to see the field. With New York racking up 606 passing yards through two games and rookie wideout Garrett Wilson shining, it’s clear that the Jets no longer need Mims.
According to SNY’s Connor Hughes,
the Jets fielded trade calls on Mims before the season but wanted a
fourth-round pick in return. Now that the Jets know they have no need for him, their price should be much lower.
Minnesota was among the teams to inquire about Mims, according to Hughes. The Vikings have star Justin Jefferson but questionable depth behind him. Adam Thielen isn’t the same reliable target he once was, and he’s the only other Viking with at least 50 receiving yards through two games.
The Philadelphia Eagles did a good job of containing Jefferson (six catches, 48 yards) on Monday night, which put the Vikings offense in shambles.
The Indianapolis Colts would also be wise to take a chance on Mims. Indy has just one passing touchdown and ranks dead last in scoring offense through two weeks. At this point, the Colts need to consider all receiver options.
Best Fits: Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts
1. Robert Quinn, Edge, Chicago Bears
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AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File
Chicago Bears pass-rusher Robert Quinn remains at the top of our list for the third straight week. That’s largely because of his talent and production, although it still feels like only a matter of time before he’s readily available.
The Bears won their season opener in a sloppy game against the San Francisco 49ers and an inexperienced Trey Lance. But based on their performance in a 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, the Bears may not win again for a while.
If Chicago starts creeping toward a lost season, the idea of trading Quinn will become tough to ignore. Given his production—18.5 sacks in 2021 and four pressures and a sack so far this year—he should bring a sizable return in a trade.
Quinn’s $12.8 million base salary this season is rather reasonable for a player of his caliber. He also has reasonable base salaries of $13.9 million and $12.9 million in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Of the teams that realistically pay for Quinn’s contract, the Cleveland Browns are at the top. There’s no guarantee that Jadeveon Clowney will be back after only one week, Cleveland could use more edge depth anyway, and no team has more available money.
The Las Vegas Raiders should also be interested in Quinn if he can be had. Chandler Jones (no sacks, one tackle for loss) hasn’t made the impact expected out of him yet, while Clelin Ferrell is a complete defensive afterthought.
Las Vegas also has $9.8 million in cap space, close to the amount needed to snag Quinn.
Best Fits: Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders