10 Trades That Should Happen Before the NFL Trade Deadline

The NFL trade deadline is less than a month away and we're looking at 10 trades that absolutely should happen before the deadline. Who will get moved?

Saquon Barkley Jaguars Giants 2018 1
USA Today Sports

Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The touchdown was the first of his NFL career. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley Jaguars Giants 2018 1

Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season is about to kickoff, meaning we’re almost to the NFL trade deadline in early November. Contenders are emerging and that has left two categories of teams. Either expectations are being met and it’s time to reinforce the roster, or there’s panic setting in as the on-field results haven’t been as positive. 

Last year, we saw several quality veterans swap teams for reasonable draft pick compensation. Oftentimes it’s the salary cap limitations that make teams shy about acquiring impactful talent. But the risk of swapping a Day 2 or Day 3 draft pick for immediate help has much higher upside for a playoff run than what could happen in several years.

We’ve identified 10 playmakers who should be dealt and the perfect team for each trade target. Some trades are more about bolstering a positional group and others could be the difference between missing the playoffs or being a real Super Bowl threat.

Let’s dive in and break down the best players on the market and where they could land.

Marcus Maye to Carolina Panthers

Jamal Adams Marcus Maye Jets Bills 2019

Marlon Mack to Buffalo Bills

Marlon Mack Colts Broncos 2019

Xavien Howard to Arizona Cardinals

Xavien Howard Dolphins Broncos 2020

Whitney Mercilus to Kansas City Chiefs

Whitney Mercilus

Zach Ertz to Cincinnati Bengals

Zach Ertz Eagles Cardinals 2020

Fletcher Cox to Los Angeles Chargers

Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox during a preseason game.

Saquon Barkley to the Baltimore Ravens

Saquon Barkley Giants Browns Preseason 2018

Trey Flowers to Seattle Seahawks

Trey Flowers Lions Jaguars 2020

Joe Haden to Dallas Cowboys

Image of Joe Haden

Brandin Cooks to Green Bay Packers

Brandin Cooks Titans Texans 2021

After a rough start to the season with an alarming blowout loss to the Saints, the Packers have recovered to a 4-1 record. Their record is good, but the drop in offensive efficiency is cause for concern. The Packers have the 16th-ranked passing game and 21st rushing attack.

It’s not a new statement to say the Packers need another playmaker at receiver other than the incredible Davante Adams. Not a single receiver besides him presents even a small threat for defenses. The Packers need a reliable and explosive threat.

Going back to Houston to nab Brandin Cooks after acquiring Randall Cobb would be ideal. Cooks has said in the past he doesn’t want to be dealt again but the thought of competing for a Super Bowl with Rodgers must be more attractive than wasting away in Houston. The 28-year-old has been relegated to a possession receiver with Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor targeting him.

With just $2.5 base salary owed to him, Cooks is the most valuable offensive playmaker Green Bay could reasonably acquire. He’s played with Tom Brady and Drew Brees already in his career, so it’s easy to imagine he’d fit in with Aaron Rodgers just fine. The Packers could get an asset back for him in the offseason if they decide to tear things down or that he was just a rental.

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