The trade deadline in the NFL, even in the best of times, is a tricky proposition. The league is still slow to embrace the process, in general, owners tend to be stuck in their ways and the groupthink about how difficult it is to integrate a new player into such complex and nuanced systems (spare me) still runs rampant.
Throw in the mumbo jumbo about "not wanting to hurt the on-field product" for teams that already stink, and the usual risk aversion that many owners and general managers harbor, and all the false hope teams talk themselves into about that late playoff run they might go on, and it makes for a bleak climate. Add in a pandemic with new challenges to adding players to rosters and longer delays with onboarding players and it's even easier for teams to talk themselves out of what really needs to be done.
But I can't help but wonder, with revenues already down in 2020 and with the 2021 season also far from certain, and with the cap staying flat at best next year, if some owners might embrace saving millions in salary at a time when in most places only a handful of fans, at most, can actually attend games. I wonder if the fact that two GMs have already been fired in-season, with at least five others on some degree of a hot seat, might prompt them to try to preserve their jobs potentially by getting a jump start on a rebulld by the deadline (proving their worth by how much salary they can shed and how many draft picks they can accrue).
Maybe, just maybe, we get a few meaningful transactions at the end of the month, when that deadline comes up the Tuesday after Week 8. If anything, parity is out the window this season with a cluster of teams with four or more wins (13) and another nine who have been hapless (1 win or fewer). So we can always hope for a decent amount of action, and as always expect to see the usual suspects trying to get better before the deadline (Patriots, Eagles, Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks).
Here's a look at some potential trade matches that I would be exploring if my team needed a boost before the deadline:
Ravens – Breshad Perriman/Hayden Hurst
Both are former Ravens first round picks who did not work out. Both are still young and cheap and, more to the point, speedy and athletic. Baltimore has no secondary option in the passing game beyond the Big 2 (tight end Mark Andrews and receiver Hollywood Brown). Jets GM Joe Douglas spent years with the Ravens and they have strong relationships. He badly needs picks and Perriman is on a one-year deal. The Falcons have not got Hurst going much, they fired everyone already and while giving back Hurst for a lot less than you gave up to get him is less than ideal ... well, so is going 2-13 over your first five games each of the last three seasons. I'd inquire about Irv Smith from the Vikings as well.