10 NFL trade deadline candidates
The 2018 NFL season is nearing the halfway point, which also means that the trade deadline is looming. Clubs have until Oct. 30 to wheel and deal should they choose to, and given the increased trade activity in recent years, it should come as no surprise if some big names are moved.
Here’s a look at 10 players who could be traded ahead of the deadline.
10. Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles opted not to trade Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles this past offseason, and that proved to be the right decision as Carson Wentz took a little extra time before returning from a torn ACL. However, with Wentz now back in the starting role, Foles has once again been relegated to clipboard duty while a plethora of quarterback positions have opened up around the league. Perhaps more than any other backup quarterback in the NFL, Foles carries a tremendous value and could yield a good return for Philadelphia.
9. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
For the past several years, Giovani Bernard has underperformed in Cincinnati, and it’s clear his time with the team is drawing to a close. And while he’s currently on the shelf with a sprained MCL, he could be back around the time of the deadline, which could keep teams in need interested. Bernard has one year (2019) remaining on his current contract and could benefit greatly from a change of scenery. The Bengals, who are competing for a playoff spot in the AFC, can lean on Joe Mixon and Mark Walton moving forward if they decide to move Bernard.
8. Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders are already shopping wide receiver Amari Cooper and safety Karl Joseph, but this spot goes to Derek Carr because quarterbacks always come at a premium, and Carr would be among the most talented potential options if made available. And while that has yet to be the case, with the Raiders burning like a dumpster fire, there have been increased calls for them to “blow it up” and completely start over under Jon Gruden. They already dealt Khalil Mack for draft picks. Might they could simply bite the bullet and make Carr available.
7. Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When Fitzmagic was happening during Jameis Winston’s suspension, it appeared as if the youngster had lost his starting job and subsequently become expendable. And while Ryan Fitzpatrick fell back down to earth, Winston hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire since taking back over under center. Given the added off-field issues Winston brings with him, the Buccaneers could benefit long-term by dealing him to a quarterback-needy team like the San Francisco 49ers and then targeting a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft.
6. Shane Ray, EDGE, Denver Broncos
Prior to the start of the season, there was some speculation that the Broncos could trade linebacker Shane Ray. Nothing ever materialized, and now Ray is not only injured (high ankle sprain), but he has also been underperforming. The former first-round pick has recorded just 23 tackles and two sacks in his last 14 games, which is not the sort of production Denver needs on the defensive side of the ball. As a result, like others on this list, it may be best for the Broncos to cut and run, allowing Ray to reach his potential elsewhere.
5. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings
A first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Laquon Treadwell has not come close to living up to expectations. Through two and a half seasons, the wide receiver has recorded just 40 receptions for 395 yards and one touchdown, including only 180 yards so far this year. While it may be too soon to declare Treadwell a “bust,” things in Minnesota clearly aren’t working out — even with Kirk Cousins at the helm. He continues to deal with inconsistency and drops, which could be helped by a change of scenery. It would also help the Vikings clear up another roster spot as they seek out other complementary receivers.
4. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
The Bills are in rebuild mode and with rookie quarterback Josh Allen (elbow) now expected to miss a few weeks, there’s no reason for the team to hang onto aging veterans or big contracts. Subsequently, it would behoove the front office to begin taking the pulse of potential trade interest in running back LeSean McCoy. Still a talented back, McCoy has no real role in Buffalo at this point and would make an interesting addition to a playoff-chasing team like the Philadelphia Eagles. The problem for the Bills and McCoy is that he wouldn’t be the most desirable back on the block.
3. Deone Bucannon, LB, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals, who have a new head coach, a rookie quarterback, and are in clear rebuilding mode, have reportedly begun to ramp up efforts to trade the 26-year-old Deone Bucannon, who has never recorded fewer than 81 tackles in a single season. He also brings quite a bit of versatility as a converted safety, capable of playing the run and dropping into coverage. He’s an ideal fit for a 3-4 system in need of linebackers, and several teams across the league fit that bill. Given the direction Arizona is headed, it probably wouldn’t be too expensive for a team to land Bucannon.
2. Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Dante Fowler Jr. has not quite lived up to the hype coming out of the 2015 NFL Draft and has just one sack on the season for the fading Jaguars. And with offensive needs increasing, Fowler could represent an interesting trade piece for Jacksonville, especially if they decide to chase a quarterback on the market. Fowler is currently in the final season of his rookie contract after the Jags declined to pick up his fifth-year option, which means the writing is already on the wall: Fowler is on his way out, so why not attempt to get some sort of return?
1. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Perhaps the most obvious choice to be on the move, Le’Veon Bell has yet to report to the Steelers this season and recent reports suggest the two sides haven’t even spoken. The two sides are at a clear impasse when it comes to contract matters, and Pittsburgh isn’t exactly in a rush to rectify that as James Conner continues to play well. As a result, it may be in the best interest of both Bell and the Steelers to part ways. Of course, that can’t happen until Bell signs his franchise tender.