Typically the NFL trade deadline comes and goes with nary a trade to be made. In keeping with its reputation as a strange year, 2017 saw 4 trades, anyone of which would be the most notable trade in most any other season. Like all good trades we have a mix of team’s preparing for the future and trying to improve their team immediately. Here’s a look at each trade.
Duane Brown to Seattle for Jeremy Lane, a 2018 5th round pick and a 2019 3rd round pick.
Houston obviously decided that the outspoken left tackle was simply not irreplaceable after he skipped the first 7 weeks of the season. Brown is much better than any other offensive linemen that the Texans have but he was also the most publicly outspoken following Bob McNair’s insulting gaffe. McNair will never admit it but dealing Brown sends a clear message to the other “inmates” about who is running things in Houston. That the Texans were desperately looking to recoup some draft capital in 2018 made the deal easier to swallow. Brown was replaced and is getting older. The Texans can now add two younger cheaper players, although they probably will miss Brown’s overall production. Jeremy Lane would have given the Texans a veteran presence at cornerback but he failed his physical and so he will not be joining the Texans. This benefits Houston as they now receive a 3rd round pick in 2018 instead of a 5th round choice.
The Seahawks probably improved their team more than anyone else. Brown shuts what has been a revolving door at left tackle and should immediately pay dividends for Russell Wilson and company. Giving up two third round choices and a disgruntled former starter was a small price to pay for the team.
Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for their 2nd round pick in the 2018 draft (likely 33-35 overall.) Belichick loves early second round picks although his history drafting players in that area is not exquisite. Moving Garoppolo now gives the Patriots more draft capital to find some difference makers on defense, and perhaps improve the offensive line for Tom Brady. Although they had asked for multiple first round picks earlier in the offseason that was more than anyone was willing to pay. New England could have probably gotten more for Garoppolo before the season started but they did get something and they won’t have to worry about facing him often either.
What the 49ers did was rent a guy for half a season to make sure he is going to be the quarterback that Kyle Shanahan wants to build around. With extra second day selections the 49ers could afford to pay that price and still walk away, or they might have gotten their QBOTF for far less than market value. If Garoppolo works out San Francisco stands to gain a boatload of picks for trading down with a quarterback needy team. The 49ers will most certainly pick first or second and there will be at least 2 quarterbacks that rise to the top of this draft class. The going rate for one of those picks is multiple first and second round picks, meaning the 49ers could recoup their second, add a first, and add another first and second or third in 2019. There’s a reason to add draft picks and it is because rosters need to be restocked with younger, cheaper players. Lynch and Shanahan understand that.
Jay Ajayi was shipped to Philadelphia for a 4th round pick. This was a message being sent by Adam Gase to the rest of the Dolphins that no one is irreplaceable, even coming off of a great rookie season. Ajayi is a replaceable guy and he was among the players that Gase felt was slacking off. Now he’s an Eagle and the Dolphins have an extra 4th round pick next year.
From the Eagles standpoint this was a no brainer. They get a cheap, young, talented, and, one would hope, eager to impress, running back to hopefully replace their stable of alsorans. Blount still has some value as a short yardage back, although Corey Clement looks like the future there. If Ajayi can reestablish his 2016 form for the late season or playoffs then the Eagles could be the team to beat in the NFC.
Kelvin Benjamin is sent to the Bills for 3rd and 7th round picks in 2018. Clearly the new regime in Carolina didn’t place the same premium on size that ousted general manager Dave Gettleman did. While it’s not clear that this makes the Panthers better in 2017 it certainly should help them improve in 2018 and beyond.
Buffalo, meanwhile, traded some of the draft capital they have been amassing under the Sean McDermott regime. Benjamin gives Tyrod Taylor a bonafide receiver to target in short yardage and red zone situations. Benjamin has also proven to be adept at getting deep and using his height advantage to make plays.
And Another Thing
As if things couldn’t get worse in Cleveland news breaks that the team had worked out a deal with the Bengals for AJ McCarron only to miss the deadline to submit the paperwork by a few moments and so the deal fell through. After being called out by Hue Jackson for not acquiring Garoppolo on Tuesday morning the Browns attempted, and failed to make a deal for a quarterback. Word was that Garoppolo, through his agent, made it clear that he had no interest in Cleveland and would not sign an extension to stay there. McCarron obviously felt different and at a price of a couple of 3rd round picks, the draft pick rich Browns could have gotten a long look at a possible future QBOTF, and possibly a future draft pick bounty by dealing down. Alas, the Browns bew it, like they always seem to do, and one must wonder how Sashi Brown managed to keep his job. The Browns appear to be crippled by indecision and high on future potential.
And Another Thing Bonus
The list of how teams fared at the trade deadline
2: San Francisco
3: New England