The NFL’s midseason trade deadline used to mean little with a limited number of minor deals being made. But in recent seasons, with blockbusters involving Jalen Ramsey and Amari Cooper and some other notable starters moved, it’s become a truly open market, a little like March.
In 2020 before Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. ET, several more players will be dealt. So far, on the marquee, the Ravens acquired Yannick Ngakoue from the Vikings, fresh off him being traded by the Jaguars in the preseason. The Seahawks got some needed pass-rush help, too, trading for the Bengals’ Carlos Dunlap. Also from the defensive edge, Everson Griffen (Cowboys to Lions), Jordan Wills (Jets to 49ers) and Markus Golden (Giants and Cardinals) all have new teams.
With a combination of buyers and sellers and teams looking to get something in return for pending 2021 free agents, the hot stove is staying warm with rumors. Here are 15 players who might be dressed up in different uniforms soon.
NFL MOCK DRAFT 2021:
Giants pass on Justin Fields; Saints find next QB; Packers, Lions, Bears go WR
David Njoku, TE, Browns
Njoku, 24, has expressed his desire to leave Cleveland, caught in a numbers game with free-agent addition Austin Hooper and promising rookie Harrison Bryant. The 2017 first-rounder, only signed through 2021 after the Browns picked up his cheap option, is looking for a more prominent receiving role. As an athletic target, Njoku would fit a team like NFC wild-card hopefuls Carolina and Arizona. Philadelphia also makes sense, too, with Zach Ertz on the shelf and wanting to keep 12 personnel strong with Dallas Goedert.
John Ross, WR, Bengals
Ross, 24, also a 2017 first-rounder has flamed out because of injuries and not being a reliable fit for their offense, showing not much more than fleet feet when healthy. He’s superfluous in Cincinnati behind Tyler Boyd. A.J. Green, Tee Higgins and Auden Tate.The Packers and Patriots would make sense as teams looking for more receiving speed with which to try to stretch the field better.
Ryan Kerrigan and Ryan Anderson, EDGE, Washington
The Ryans have been valuable starters for Washington in the past in 3-4 schemes. But both current rotational ends will be unrestricted free agents in 2021, Kerrigan at 32 two years removed from his last Pro Bowl season and Anderson at 26, a second-round pick in 2017. Ron Rivera can push forward with a youth movement centered around Chase Young and Montez Sweat in the 4-3 by moving either/both.
Avery Williamson, ILB, Jets
Williamson, 28, got a nice free-agent deal from New York to leave Tennessee. He is unsigned for 2021 and the Jets’ veteran fire sale with Adam Gase has him firmly on the block. He would help a 3-4 team and the Steelers have emerged as a strong candidate after losing Devin Bush to a torn ACL.
Kenny Stills, WR, Texans
There has been some buzz that Houston would move Will Fuller, the 2016 first-rounder who can test free agency next year. But after trading away DeAndre Hopkins with Bill O’Brien, let’s hope the Texans resist for the sake of instilling some confidence in Deshaun Watson that they care about helping their franchise QB. Stills, 28, has flashed in their receiving corps, but he is the more easily expendable one because of Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. Stills also is a 2021 free agent and can be had cheaper. The Packers, who just played Houston, have some intrigue.
Trent Murphy, EDGE, Bills
The Bills have been disappointed with their defense and Sean McDermott benched a healthy Murphy in Week 6. The 2014 second-rounder will turn 30 in December and is showing diminishing returns as a pending free agent. Buffalo would be fine moving forward with Mario Addison and rookie first-rounder A.J. Epenesa opposite Jerry Hughes. Murphy could help the Cardinals in a hybrid 3-4 role as that team is dealing with an injury to end Zach Allen and has limited pop at outside linebacker without Chandler Jones.
Evan Engram, TE and Golden Tate, WR, Giants
Engram has had massive upside since being picked as a 2017 first-rounder, but injuries and inconsistent hands have taken away his potential as an athletic receiver. The Giants had some high hopes for him to put it all together, but now can’t shake how he missed a pass that would given them a win over the Eagles in Week 6. Carolina and New England have been attached to him with some front-office connections there. Tate is already on his fourth team as a solid slot option with some home-run ability. Contenders such as Green Bay and New Orleans could use his services inside.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions
The Lions are entrusting their backfield more to rookie D’Andre Swift and up to that recent point, Adrian Peterson did well as their veteran bridge back. Johnson, a once promising 2018 second-rounder, is down to getting no touches. At 23, he’s an appealing cheap backfield stash for teams looking for depth.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington
As much as the Jets moving 2018 first-rounder Sam Darnold makes sense if they are headed to taking Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in 2020, there is likely too high of an implied price for teams such as Steelers, Broncos, Colts and Bears, especially if they’re not looking to start him right away. As for Haskins, It’s clear Washington’s new regime with Rivera and Scott Turner don’t really want to attach itself to the 2019 first-rounder. At lesser compensation, a team getting Haskins as a young development type has more appeal. Those four teams should at least make a call on him.
Takk McKinley, EDGE, Falcons
McKinley, 24, a 2017 first-rounder, is a pretty good bet to follow Vic Beasley, a 2015 first-rounder, out of Atlanta very soon. The former coach and GM combination of Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff didn’t see him pan out as a pass rusher and the scheme is headed to a change in 2021, when McKinley won’t be re-signed as a free agent. He needs a fresh start, and a team such as the Seahawks, 49ers and Chargers, who all run similar schemes. can take a flyer. McKinley is being made inactive for Week 8 Thursday night at the Panthers for the purpose of being dealt.
Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Lions
Jones has seen a suddenly smaller role in the Lions’ passing game as their No. 2 wideout outside opposite Kenny Golladay. He turned 30 earlier this year and won’t be re-signed as a free agent next year. It took him until Week 7’s win over the Falcons to do something of note. All the above wideout-needy mentioned teams should have some interest, but it’s unlikely Detroit makes a move to help Green Bay inside the division.
Alex Mack, C, Falcons
Mack has been the perennial Pro Bowl rock of their athletic offensive line, snapping for Matt Ryan and run blocking well ever since he signed his blockbuster free-agent deal coming over from the Browns. But he’s 34 and a free agent again next year. The 49ers, who made a quick move to get left tackle Trent Williams when Joe Staley retired, should be thinking the same on Mack with center Weston Richburg slow in his recovery from a torn patellar tendon. That move makes a lot of sense as it would reunite Mack with his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan.
Justin Simmons, S, Broncos
Simmons and the Vikings’ Anthony Harris are in near identical situations. Both safeties are playing under the franchise at $11.44 million tags in 2020 and may be too expensive for their teams to keep long term in 2021. The Broncos (2-4) and Vikings (1-5) are going nowhere in 2020 and headed to rebuild mode. Simmons has a slightly better chance of being traded. The Eagles or Browns, well positioned to make playoff runs, need to get busy trying to tap into an key upgrade.The Ravens could use some post-Earl Thomas help, too.