Tuesday marks the league's trade deadline, and while the NFL doesn't feature the mayhem of the NBA or MLB, there could still be quite a few players swapping helmets before then.
The trade deadline is a big deal for varying reasons. As we've already seen with the Baltimore Ravens' acquisition of edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue, trades can offer contending teams an in-season opportunity to add the missing piece in a championship puzzle. For the league's bottom-feeders, the deadline is a chance to sell veteran assets with expiring contracts and gain draft capital.
It's a balancing act either way—a dance involving fit, contract and compensation.
Still, what if every NFL team was going to make one trade? Add one player? Who would best fit each franchise given how the 2020 season has progressed?
This column aims to answer those questions.
Arizona Cardinals: EDGE Ryan Kerrigan
The Arizona Cardinals are in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt. The offense is loaded with skill-position talent. But the defense was a question mark even before the team lost top pass-rusher Chandler Jones to a season-ending arm injury in Week 5.
The Redbirds need help getting after the quarterback—and they've already pursued some. As Michael Eisen wrote at NFL.com, the Redbirds dealt a sixth-round pick to the New York Giants for edge-rusher Markus Golden, who played for the team from 2015 to 2018.
It's a good start. But it doesn't mean Arizona should be finished pursuing pass-rush help.
At 32, Ryan Kerrigan isn't the player he used to be, and he's become the odd man out for the Washington defense—he has played a career-low 38 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2020. But as recently as 2018, the four-time Pro Bowler piled up 13 sacks, and he's hit double digits in that category four times and averaged 10 sacks per season over his first nine years.
Kerrigan would be a better fit in Arizona's 3-4 front than in Ron Rivera's 4-3 in D.C., and with his contract set to expire after the 2020 season, Washington would likely part with him for relatively modest compensation.
If the Cardinals think they are ready for a postseason run, this deal makes quite a bit of sense.
Atlanta Falcons: CB Desmond King II
The Atlanta Falcons didn't win their first game until Week 6. Both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have already been fired.
It's much more likely that the Falcons will have a fire sale than spend draft capital trying to improve in the middle of a lost season.
However, if the Falcons were looking to get better in 2020, fixing a leaky secondary would be toward the top of the list. And the addition of a versatile, talented player such as Desmond King II of the Los Angeles Chargers would be a sizable step in the right direction.
King's name has been brought up in trade speculation dating all the way back to the summer, and he's a versatile defender capable of playing both cornerback and safety who has a passer rating against of 81 or lower in two of the past three seasons.
Whether it's in the slot or at free safety, King would afford immediate improvement to a bad Falcons back end. A Day 3 pick would get it done for the impending free agent. And if his half-season audition doesn't go well, the Falcons can always punt in free agency.