NFL trade deadline isn’t so boring anymore

By Rob Maaddi

Christian McCaffrey already played his first game with the San Francisco 49ers. Robert Quinn and James Robinson joined their new teams this week. More players will be on the move by Tuesday.

The NFL trade deadline is far more exciting than it used to be.

“I think really it depends on the team’s philosophical approach and I think there’s teams that have done it a certain way that have had an incredible amount of success for a really long period of time,” Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Then there’s some different approaches where you want to take advantage of being in those windows if you will call it that way.”

The Rams are known for being aggressive. General manager Les Snead’s “Bleep them picks” philosophy helped Los Angeles win the Super Bowl last season. The Rams acquired star pass rusher Von Miller from Denver one day before the trade deadline after dealing a slew of draft picks in trades for quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Sony Michel before the season.

“It takes a great owner that gives you the willingness to not only be able to make some of those decisions, but also giving you the freedom to fail because not every single decision we’ve made has been perfect,” McVay said. “I don’t think we’re afraid to admit that either, but you try to learn from it and then you continue to shoot your shot and that’s what we’re going to do, that’s what we’ll always do, and it’s how we like to live.”

Aiming to compete with the Rams (3-3) in the NFC West, the 49ers (3-4) traded picks in the 2023 second, third and fourth rounds and a 2024 fifth-rounder to Carolina for McCaffrey.

Chicago Bears DE Robert Quinn (94) rushes during the first half of game against the New England Patriots, Oct. 24, 2022, AP Photo/Stew Milne

The undefeated Philadelphia Eagles (6-0) sent a fourth-round pick to Chicago for Quinn, the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end. Quinn has one sack this season after breaking Hall of Famer Richard Dent’s franchise record with 18 1/2 sacks last year.

The New York Jets (5-2) quickly moved to get Robinson from Jacksonville after losing rookie running back Breece Hall to a season-ending knee injury. The Jets gave the Jaguars a conditional late-round draft pick for Robinson.

Browns running back Kareem Hunt, Rams running back Cam Akers, Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks and Broncos edge rusher Bradley Chubb are among the players who might end up on new teams before Tuesday’s deadline at 4 p.m. EDT.

Denver is 2-5 so a loss to Jacksonville in London on Sunday could impact general manager George Paton’s approach.

“We’re going to do what’s best for the team,” Paton said when asked about being sellers.

Jacksonville Jaguars RB James Robinson (25) runs during game against the Indianapolis Colts, Oct. 16, 202 AP Photo/AJ Mast

A couple weeks before Miller was traded last October, the Eagles sent three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to Arizona for a rookie cornerback and a fifth-round pick. The Patriots traded five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers for a 2023 sixth-round pick.

In 2020, defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Yannick Ngakoue, defensive back Desmond King and linebackers Kwon Alexander and Avery Williamson were among the notable players traded ahead of the deadline.

Star cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Marcus Peters and wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Mohamed Sanu were dealt before the 2019 deadline.

A flurry of trades before the deadline wasn’t always common in the NFL. There were occasional blockbuster moves such as Herschel Walker and Eric Dickerson getting traded, but it was mostly boring.

Now, there’s more parity and the playoffs have been expanded to 14 teams so more teams are still in playoff contention and looking to bolster their chances.


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