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AP Photo/John Hefti

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Impactful Players Potentially On The Move This NFL Offseason


It used to be that NFL teams would wait until the start of the new league year to announce trades right at 4:00 PM ET. Things have changed. Now, we could easily get multiple trade announcements weeks ahead of the new league year (like the Lions-Rams quarterback swap). Aside from Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff, more big-name players might also be on the move in the coming weeks. Upcoming free agents are not included in the list, so no Dak Prescott (though he’s likely to be franchise tagged) or Mitchell Trubisky listed here among a quarterback-heavy group.

 

10. Broncos QB Drew Lock

The Broncos have an early selection in the draft to potentially take a quarterback this spring, and Drew Lock could be on the move if that’s the direction new general manager George Paton opts to go at the game’s most important position. It’s difficult to gauge the trade market for Lock given his inconsistency, but the 2019 second-round pick did have a strong rookie campaign that other teams may feel they can build on.

 

9. Eagles TE Zach Ertz

The former franchise quarterback of the Eagles is getting the headlines, but Super Bowl hero Zach Ertz is also on the trading block as the start of the new league year approaches. The Colts and the Seahawks have already both reportedly been in talks to acquire the single-season record holder for receptions at tight end. While Ertz has taken a step back over the past couple of years, he can still be a top security blanket for quarterbacks.

 

8. Washington QB Alex Smith

There’s been some feeling that Alex Smith would perhaps retire after his miraculous return to the field, but the veteran quarterback apparently wants to keep playing—and it’s difficult to blame him after he went 5-1 as a starter for Washington last season. Ultimately, this might come down to Washington’s decision as much as anything, as if they go in another direction at starting quarterback, Smith would likely want to go someplace he’d be the starter or at least have a chance to win the job. With the way Smith has won over the past several years, he could give a boost to some teams looking to take the next step (Carolina, for example).

 

7. Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr.

The Browns have maintained that they don’t want to trade Odell Beckham Jr., but they must at least consider it after the way Baker Mayfield and the team played without OBJ in the lineup during their playoff run. Beckham is just 28 years old, and he can probably still fetch a Day 2 pick—which may be an easy-to-negotiate price that Cleveland would be happy to take that the acquiring team feels is worth a flier on a talented player.

 

6. DE J.J. Watt

J.J. Watt is currently a free agent and can sign at any time, and he’s being included on the list as a high-impact player that’ll be on the move this offseason after winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards with the Texans. While the Texans defense was bad in 2020, Watt was still a productive and disruptive player on the defensive line. From the Packers to the Browns, a number of playoff teams from last year will be in the mix for Watt’s services.

 

5. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo is down at No. 5 in part because the 49ers have won games with him and likely don’t want to go in another direction. But if Jimmy G is on the market, teams would be interested, and if a trade is executed it would open up the quarterback spot for a team that just went to the Super Bowl a little over a year ago. The Patriots are obviously the squad to keep an eye on for Garoppolo, and it’s easy to see his return to New England having a huge impact on the balance of power in the AFC next season.

 

4. Jets QB Sam Darnold

The assumption is that the Jets will either take BYU quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall and trade Sam Darnold or deal the pick and keep Darnold at quarterback. So, Darnold’s status with New York has major implications for the rest of the league including other franchises looking for a quarterback in the draft. If it’s the first option, the number of suitors for Darnold could be higher than some other guys, as Darnold is still on a cheap rookie contract, and he’s young (therefore theoretically opening more landing spots, such as a spot like Pittsburgh where he can sit behind Ben Roethlisberger).

 

3. Eagles QB Carson Wentz

The Carson Wentz situation is an odd one, with the Eagles firing a Super Bowl winning head coach that didn’t get along with the quarterback, only to have the quarterback reportedly still wanting nothing to do with the franchise. On top of that, you have Eagles general manager Howie Roseman clearly placing a value on Wentz that the rest of the league doesn’t feel is fair, and the known interested parties (Indianapolis and Chicago) standing strong with their trade offers. This one could drag out for a while, but in the meantime Jalen Hurts is gathering some Eagles receivers for offseason workouts.

 

2. Raiders QBs

In terms of compensation, Carr would almost certainly get the Raiders more in return than anyone on this list aside from Deshaun Watson (more on him in a minute) considering Jon Gruden has been happy with the quarterback’s play entering his fourth year in the offense. However, Las Vegas may get an offer that’s too good to pass up for either Carr or Marcus Mariota; so, while Gruden and Mike Mayock know the importance of the backup quarterback spot, one of their starting-caliber signal-callers may be on the move. Especially if it’s Carr that happens to be dealt, the Raiders quarterback decision will have ripple effects throughout the rest of the league. Also keep in mind that if teams get impatient with the Eagles on Carson Wentz, they may turn their attention to the Raiders, which in turn could leave Philadelphia hanging without a Wentz suitor.

 

1. Texans QB Deshaun Watson

Finally, the Texans appear intent on having Deshaun Watson honor the contract he signed with the franchise not even a year ago. But if Watson is dealt, it would be for a godfather package of draft picks and potentially some players—it’s not out of the question that Houston would get the biggest trade return for one player in NFL history. For the team that acquires Watson—whether it’s the Jets, the Dolphins, the 49ers, or someone else—they’d be getting a guy many feel can carry an offense and a team. From the Texans’ perspective, new general manager Nick Caserio would receive plenty of capital to build a roster that needs a ton of help.

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