- Claypool to Green Bay: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool makes too much sense as a Green Bay Packers target.
- Akers to Carolina: Could Cam Akers still be headed to the Carolina Panthers after Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers?
- WR-needy teams: The Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers could add much-needed wide receiver help amid injuries.
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
The NFL trade deadline is just a week away on November 1st, and we’ve seen more aggressiveness in recent seasons as teams across the NFL have seemingly changed their perspective on sunk costs, no longer holding onto impact veterans despite a poor overall roster. Carolina’s fire sale was foreseeable – and is perhaps not yet over – with wide receiver Robbie Anderson off to the Arizona Cardinals and running back Christian McCaffrey now a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
The Los Angeles Rams were heavily involved in conversations with the Panthers for McCaffrey’s services as well, potentially swapping running back Cam Akers along with Day 2 draft pick compensation, and may still be looking to upgrade at the running back position (more on that below). Other NFC contenders may also follow suit as the arms race begins in a remarkably weak conference, with Green Bay desperate for help at wide receiver.
We break down hypothetical trade packages for offensive players that could help teams make their playoff push the second half of the season:
Pittsburgh Steelers trade WR Chase Claypool to the Green Bay Packers for a 2023 third-round pick
The Packers, unsurprisingly, have struggled to move the ball on offense with their wide receivers to start the 2022 campaign. Veteran Randall Cobb, who is now expected to be out 2-4 weeks due to an ankle injury, has the highest receiving grade on the team with an 82.0 mark and is second in receiving yards with 257. That’s not what Green Bay was looking for when trading up to the No. 34 overall pick to select wide receiver Christian Watson — who has an understandably long learning curve ahead due to adjusting from FCS North Dakota State to the NFL but has been a relative non-factor thus far while dealing with a lingering hamstring injury since the offseason.
Claypool has been the subject of trade talks dating back to the offseason, and after Pittsburgh selected wide receiver George Pickens in the second round and extended Diontae Johnson through 2024, it makes a lot of sense. Claypool is eligible for an extension after this season, and if Pittsburgh doesn’t feel inclined to give him one, it probably makes sense to add draft capital and save some money to continue building around rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Claypool is coming off his best outing of the 2022 season with seven receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown plus the game-sealing snag on a contested third-down target that enabled Pittsburgh to run out the clock. However, he recorded just 11 receptions for 79 yards over the entire first month of the season. He would be Green Bay's immediate top option, giving the offense at least two years of a good rookie contract player — after which they can either extend him or perhaps tear things down following Aaron Rodgers’ retirement.
Los Angeles Rams trade RB Cam Akers to the Carolina Panthers for a 2024 sixth-round pick (via San Francisco)
It's going to be tough for the Rams to find much value in trading Akers, as the team lost a lot of leverage lost by making it clear it is exploring a trade for the running back. Akers has also been extremely inefficient dating back to the 2021 season, ranking 89th in yards per carry and rushing grade among 89 running backs with at least 100 rushing attempts over the span.
We expanded on an Akers trade and potential fits last week.
Cleveland Browns trade RB D’Ernest Johnson to the Los Angeles Rams for a 2023 sixth-round pick