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NFL Offseason Trade Candidates

NFL Offseason Trade Candidates
While many if not most NFL teams will be scrambling to shed cap dollars this offseason, those few who possess space will be ready to pounce. In light of this, we may see an unusual amount of trades, including those featuring notable names across the league. Here's a list of players who could fit that bill, including the total dead cap to remain with their current team, & the contract to be acquired by a new team should a trade be processed.
Team Player POS Dead Cap traded contract Thoughts
ARI Andy Isabella (24) WR $693,588 2 yrs, $2M Isabella has barely found the field through two seasons with the Cardinals. If Larry Fitzgerald returns, there just doesn't appear to be a role for him here.
ATL Julio Jones (31) WR $23.25M 3 yrs, $38M With Calvin Ridley ready to take a bigger role, the time may be right for Atlanta to opt for the draft assets that would come with a Jones trade. A post June 1st move would mean dead cap hits of $7.75M in 2021, & $15.5M in 2022.
BUF Vernon Butler (26) DT $1M 1 yr, $6.85M Buffalo will welcome back Star Lotuleilei to this role, putting Butler's spot on notice. He's a fairly inexpensive rental for a team in need.
CHI Buster Skrine (31) CB $3.3M 1 yr, $5M The Bears' secondary suffered a slew of injuries in 2020, & will likely be a focus in the upcoming draft. Skrine's low-buy rental contract should hold trade value.
CIN Bobby Hart (26) RT $1M 1 yr, $5.9M Hart has been a serviceable optio, but upgrade the O-Line should be a major focus for Cincy this offseason.
CLE David Njoku (24) TE $0 1 yr, $6M

Njoku's 5th-year option fully guarantees on the 1st league day of the year, which could have some bearing on his trade value. An outright release is more likely here.

DAL Ezekiel Elliott (25) RB $14.9M 6 yrs, $75M It's highly unlikely, but the Cowboys may need to trade offensive money for defensive spending this offseason. There's a world where a Miami, or Seattle, or Arizona go all-in with their running game for the next few seasons. Zeke's deal carries 2 years, $22M guaranteed thru 2022. A Post June 1st trade means $4.1M of 2021 dead cap for Dallas, & another $10.8M in 2022.
DET Matthew Stafford (32) QB $19M 2 yrs, $43M It remains to be seen what a new regime for Detroit means for Stafford, but it appears on the surface that his time with the Lions may be coming to a close. There's a $10M roster bonus due in early March, so a trade (or outright release) may headline the 2021 league year. Would a Stafford for Garoppolo swap make sense for both?
HOU Deshaun Watson (25) QB $21.6M 5 yrs, $146.5M Watson's discontent with the past year's worth of decisions in Houston now has this situation on high alert. There's still $82.5M guaranteed over the next three years, and a no-trade clause in Watson's favor as well. We're talking a player or two plus 5-6 Top 100 draft picks as legitimate compensation for a move like this.
HOU J.J. Watt (31) DE $0 1 yr, $17.5M Watt made it know publicy that he was dissatisfied with how 2020 unfolded in Houston, & it may have been a parting shot. He'll be entering a contract year in 2021, with no dead cap attached to the contract.
LAC Chris Harris (31) CB $3.75M 1 yr, $7.5M The Chargers will likely need to pick between Harris or Casey Hayward this offseason. Harris' deal offers a nice rental move for a team looking to acquire veteran secondary depth.
NE Stephon Gilmore (29) CB $7.6M 1 yr, $7.5M It's tough to imagine Gilmore playing out a $7.5M season, & it's even tougher to imagine the Patriots paying him competitively going forward. There's gas left in the tank, and New England is looking to build up as many draft picks as possible right now.
NYJ Sam Darnold (23) QB $5M 1 yr, $4.7M It stands to reason that the Jets will draft Darnold's replacement this April, putting his roster spot on notice. He's shown 1st round talent at times, & certainly hasn't had a proper supporting cast - or offensive line - in his early career. Teams moving on from veteran QBs (WFT, NO, PIT, DET, SF) should all be interested here. It should be noted that the decision on Darnold's 5th-year option needs to be made by May 3rd, & exercising it means it's fully guaranteed.
PHI Carson Wentz (27) QB $33.8M 4 yrs, $100M There's simply no way around the fact that trading Carson Wentz will be a terrible business move - however, it still appears this may happen. So let's unpack the simplest way to go about it: As soon as the league year begins, the Eagles trade Carson Wentz and his $40M guaranteed over the next two seasons, to the Colts. The move means $33.8M of dead cap to the Eagles, all in 2021. Wentz currently holds a $34.6M cap hit for 2021, meaning this trade would clear $853,000 of cap space. Crazy right? Yes, HOWEVER, the Eagles already have their starting QB under contract on the cheap. If Wentz's roster spot is replaced by a rookie or UDFA, that will account for $660,000 of cash/cap - meaning Philly still comes out in the black here. It's gross, but so was Carson's play this season.
PIT Joe Haden (31) CB $2.975M 1 yr, $7M Haden is still a solid option in the secondary, but he's lost a step and his advanced metrics are really behind. All that said, it's possible Pittsburgh can find a buyer for a $7M rental with his experience.
SF Dee Ford (29) DE $14.3M 3 yrs, $50M It just hasn't gone as planned for Ford and the 49ers, and an outright release is more likely on the table here. But with no guarantees left on the deal, it's possible a trade & restructure fits the bill for a team in need. Jimmy Garoppolo is an obvious trade candidate here as well, though it's not a sure thing.
TB O.J. Howard (25) TE $0 1 yr, $6M His $6M option fully guarantees on the first league day, and it's unclear when he'll recover from his achilles injury to pass a physical, but regardless - it still makes sense for Tampa Bay to entertain offers on the tight end.
TEN Kenny Vaccaro (29) S $3M 2 yrs, $11.5M The Titans are likely in store for many changes on the defensive side of the ball. Vaccaro is still a solid player, who could thrive in a different system, & comes at a reasonable cost. There may be a suitor if Tennessee seeks one.