2023 NFL trade deadline tracker: Grades for every deal

2T0XCMG Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young (99) pictured before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, October 5, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)

• Bears let go of second-rounder to acquire Montez Sweat: Chicago’s edge defenders have a 14.3% pass-rush win rate in 2023 that ranks 31st in the NFL.

• Eagles make another splash trade with Titans: Kevin Byard’s 92.3 coverage grade since 2020 is the top mark among all defensive backs, and he amassed nine interceptions plus eight more pass breakups over the past two seasons.

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes


The 2023 NFL trade deadline is fast approaching. We're providing up-to-the-minute analysis for every deal, in addition to grades on the following scale: poor, below average, average, above average, good and great.

GREEN BAY PACKERS CB RASUL DOUGLAS, 2024 FIFTH-ROUND PICK → BUFFALO BILLS

  • Trade compensation: 2024 third-round pick
Bills: Above average

When you break it all down, the Bills’ third-round pick could be within 40 or so selections of the Packers’ fifth-round pick, considering how the two teams' seasons look to be headed. So, the Bills do move a Day 2 pick for a veteran cornerback, but it’s more of an expensive pick swap.

Douglas presents a perfect fit in Sean McDermott’s zone-heavy defensive scheme and also provides the ability to play out wide and in the slot. So far in 2023, Douglas’ 79.6 coverage grade is a career-high mark. He has had a major resurgence in Green Bay after bouncing around a bit, with an interception and five more pass breakups. He is under contract through 2024 for $3.33 million this year and $9 million in 2024, though we think it’s possible Green Bay retained salary to facilitate this move. Buffalo gets the cornerback upgrade it desperately needs.

Packers: Good

The Packers are smart to recoup any draft capital they can get in a lost season following the departure of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, especially for an older cornerback who is under contract only through 2024. Douglas was a phenomenal find by them a few years back off the Arizona Cardinalspractice squad, but 2021 first-round cornerback Eric Stokes will return to the lineup eventually.

Green Bay now has extra second- and third-round picks if they need some ammunition to move up for a quarterback or add a tackle — or whatever else they view as needs going forward.


CLEVELAND BROWNS WR DONOVAN PEOPLES-JONESDETROIT LIONS

  • Trade compensation: 2024 sixth-round pick
Lions: Great

The Lions lost last year’s deep ball threat in D.J. Chark to free agency and brought back beloved veteran Marvin Jones Jr., but he stepped away from football earlier this season. 2022 first-round pick speedster Jameson Williams has started to make plays, including explosive receptions downfield, but is not quite the big-bodied contested target guy and has also been inconsistent.

Peoples-Jones was quite productive in 2022, hauling in 61 receptions for 839 yards and three touchdowns, with just three drops on 95 targets. Peoples-Jones recorded 30 receptions on passes 10-plus yards downfield in 2022, ranking 16th among wide receivers, and he fills a needed role in Detroit seamlessly.

Peoples-Jones is from the Detroit area and played college football at Michigan, so this is a great geographic fit, as well.

Browns: Average

Cleveland moves on from a former sixth-round pick for a fresh sixth-round pick in the final year of Peoples-Jones’ contract, but the drop-off in production from last season has been steep. Nevertheless, the writing was on the wall here when the Browns used a third-round pick on Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cedric Tillman, who fits the exact mold as the big-bodied, contested-catch target downfield. This clears the way for more snaps for Tillman over the second half of the season.


WASHINGTON COMMANDERS EDGE CHASE YOUNGSAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

  • Trade compensation: 2024 compensatory third-round pick
49ers: Great

San Francisco struggled to generate much pressure over the past two weeks in matchups with the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals, so they made a splash a day after the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks added interior defender Leonard Williams. Young’s 18.2% pass-rush win rate ranks 13th among edge defenders, and he’s been playing much fuller snap counts after recovering from a torn ACL that kept him out for some time.

We like this move no matter the outcome, but we think this may be just a rental for the 49ers and then they hope to recoup a 2025 third-round compensatory pick after sending over one of their 2024 third-round compensatory picks earned when Ran Carthon became the Tennessee Titans general manager this past offseason and DeMeco Ryans became the Houston Texans' head coach.

After signing interior defender Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million deal and then making Nick Bosa the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, it would be a lot to also pay Young. However, perhaps San Francisco moves on from Arik Armstead and this becomes something of a swap for 2024 and beyond.

Commanders: Average

It made all the sense in the world to us to trade one of Montez Sweat and Chase Young, but it’s a bit more confusing now that both former first-round picks are gone for a second- and a third-round pick. Young’s knee injury is certainly a factor in this situation. Maybe Washington just didn’t feel particularly comfortable with keeping either player long term.

One thing is for certain: New owner Josh Harris is running this ship a whole lot differently than Dan Snyder. Harris infamously oversaw the “Trust the Process” era with the Philadelphia 76ers, and this is pretty much an NFL equivalent.


MINNESOTA VIKINGS G EZRA CLEVELANDJACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

  • Trade compensation: Sixth-round pick
Jaguars: Good

Many expected the Jaguars to add pass-rush help, but this is a sharp move in the meantime. Jaguars guard/tackle Walker Little has dealt with a few injuries this season, as has veteran right guard Brandon Scherff, so the team gets great swing guard depth here to protect Trevor Lawrence in case it becomes necessary. Cleveland was also a tackle in college if that comes into play, though we’d imagine Little will be the reserve swing tackle.

Cleveland is earning a career-high 72.3 pass-blocking grade so far in 2023 but has yet to hit a 55.0 mark for a full season, which is the reason this trade compensation is so little despite his solid grading profile this year. Cleveland has four straight seasons of earning run-blocking grades of 67.5 or better and over 3,000 snaps of experience on his rookie contract. The former second-round pick is a great depth piece for Jacksonville going forward.

Vikings: Below average

Cleveland was replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Dalton Risner, who is not quite as good of a run-blocker in space but is a far superior pass-blocker who also brings a nastiness and edge to his game.

Nonetheless, a sixth-round pick and nothing else from a legitimate Super Bowl contender for a starting-caliber guard, even in a contract year, is a fairly underwhelming return for Minnesota.


ARIZONA CARDINALS QB JOSH DOBBS, SEVENTH-ROUND PICK → MINNESOTA VIKINGS

  • Trade compensation: Sixth-round pick
Vikings: Good

How can you not love Josh Dobbs getting another starting opportunity? Dobbs will have to acclimate to another team and playbook very quickly, as he did preparing for Week 1 with the Cardinals in merely two weeks after getting traded from the Cleveland Browns, but two connections could be key here.

First, Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon was with the Minnesota Vikings from 2014 to 2017, so perhaps he was able to provide some perspective on the organization. Second, Dobbs shares an agent with Kirk Cousins, so the two probably know each other already, and now Cousins can mentor him when he feels up for it following his Achilles injury.

The Vikings don’t completely give up on their season, and superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson can return to play with a solid and established quarterback the rest of the way.

Cardinals: Good

Arizona traded a fifth-round pick for Dobbs and a seventh-round pick before the season, and they now receive a sixth-round pick for Dobbs and a seventh about three months later. Starting quarterback Kyler Murray has been a full practice participant for a week now, and rookie Clayton Tune could make a spot start or two in the meantime.

Arizona got a lot out of Dobbs’ time with the team. Dobbs had a low pressure-to-sack rate of 15.9% that ranked 12th on the year, helping first-round rookie Paris Johnson learn the game as he blocked for a quarterback who didn’t invite pressure. Rookie wide receiver Michael Wilson has also gotten his career off to a fast start with 25 receptions, 401 yards and two touchdowns while earning a 70.5 grade on the season. These little things matter as the Cardinals execute what so far looks to be a nearly flawless franchise reset.

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WASHINGTON COMMANDERS EDGE MONTEZ SWEATChicago Bears

  • Trade compensation: 2024 second-round pick
Bears: Good

It is fair to question why a 2-6 team would trade what could be a top 40 draft pick in 2024, especially when considering the Bears sent the No. 32 overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Chase Claypool just one year ago. However, these two situations have several stark contrasts. Sweat is an established and proven edge defender with a remarkably high floor, notching 62 quarterback pressures and eight sacks last year followed up with 27 pressures and 6.5 sacks through Week 8 of this season. Since 2020, Sweat’s 90.5 run-defense grade is the highest mark at the position.

Chicago’s edge defenders have a 14.3% pass-rush win rate in 2023 that ranks 31st in the NFL, and the highest individual mark belongs to pending free agent Yannick Ngakoue.

The main quibble we have is, at least as of now, there is no news of the Bears and Sweat’s camp working on an extension as a part of the trade. Whenever you make a big splash for a pending free agent, you want to have that piece nailed down. Here, the Green Bay Packers just extended edge defender Rashan Gary to a four-year, $96 million deal that provides a phenomenal anchor for Chicago to work off in extension conversations. However, the franchise tag is at their disposal if necessary and there is still time for an extension to be reached before then.

Commanders: Great

No singular decision that new owner Josh Harris has made since taking over the Washington Commanders should instill more confidence from fans than this move. Is the return of a solo second-round pick for a very good young player arguably underwhelming in a vacuum? Sure. However, as we’ve been writing for weeks, Washington was going to lose one of these players for at best a 2025 third-round compensatory pick.

The Commanders now add what should be a top-40 draft pick in a very talented draft class on offense, and they still have the superior pure pass-rusher in Chase Young in the building.


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES DI KENTAVIUS STREET, 2025 SEVENTH-ROUND PICK → ATLANTA FALCONS

  • Trade compensation: Conditional 2024 sixth-round pick (if Street plays in at least six games with Atlanta)
Falcons: Average

Atlanta Falcons interior defender Grady Jarrett sustained a very unfortunate torn ACL in Week 8 that ended his season, leaving a gaping hole on the interior of this defensive line. Jarrett amassed 16 quarterback pressures with a 70.3 pass-rush grade on the season. Jarrett also had 11 run stops and has earned run-defense grades above 60.0 and pass-rush grades above 65.0 in six straight seasons.

Street is buried on a loaded Eagles depth chart on the interior but has three quarterback pressures and three defensive stops on the season with just 87 total snaps played. Street logged a career-high 518 snaps in 2022 with the New Orleans Saints and tallied 19 quarterback pressures with 3.5 sacks.

Eagles: Average

As we mentioned above, Philadelphia boasts a depth chart on the interior of their defensive line that includes back-to-back first-round picks in Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter, veteran stalwart Fletcher Cox and several other young rotational pieces in Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu and Moro Ojomo. The key here for Philadelphia is probably just clearing a roster spot for another potential deadline addition of their own and, perhaps, recouping some late-round draft stock after sending out a few Day 3 picks for safety Kevin Byard.


NEW YORK GIANTS DI LEONARD WILLIAMSSEATTLE SEAHAWKS

  • Trade compensation: 2024 second-round pick, 2025 fifth-round pick
Seahawks: Below average

We assume Seattle is bringing in a much smaller salary than the $10 million remaining on Williams’ contract that expires after 2023, which in turn is how the Giants were able to recoup a second- and a fifth-round pick. Williams has been an improved pass-rusher over the past several seasons. His 77.2 pass-rush grade through Week 8 is a career high, and his 12.4% pass-rush win rate ranks 23rd among interior defenders.

As a run defender, Williams has earned grades of 67.9 or better in every full season of his NFL career, and he creates a strong tandem with free agent acquisition Dre’Mont Jones. After losing edge defender Uchenna Nwosu to a season-ending injury, Seattle has now added Frank Clark and Leonard Williams over the past few weeks. The current leaders in the NFC West are making their push.

Williams has already been franchise-tagged twice in his career, which effectively makes him untaggable this upcoming offseason. This provides Williams with maximum leverage over the Seahawks on a new deal unless they're comfortable sending out a second- and a fifth-round pick for a half-season rental — not the most prudent investment. Williams' three-year, $63 million extension with the Giants was one of the most player-friendly deals of the past several years, and he's in line for another strong contract soon.

Giants: Great

This is the latest trend at the NFL deadline, and it’s smart for rebuilding teams to pay extra cash to effectively “buy” better draft capital, with the value of cash savings very important to acquiring teams on tighter budgets as they push to contend. We think Leonard Williams was probably netting the Giants a 2025 fourth-round compensatory pick this upcoming offseason, so New York effectively matches that with the fifth-rounder here and then bought their way (by retaining salary) from a 2024 third to a 2024 second. Williams was likely not in New York’s long-term plans, and fellow interior defender Dexter Lawrence is coming off a remarkable 15-pressure outing with a 95.0 overall grade, so the unit already has a superstar signed to a long-term deal.


TENNESSEE TITANS S KEVIN BYARDPHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Eagles: Good

Leave it to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to get the trade festivities started in earnest, adding one of the best safeties in the NFL in a swap with Terrell Edmunds and two Day 3 picks. Byard’s 92.3 coverage grade since 2020 is the top mark among all defensive backs, and he amassed nine interceptions plus eight more pass breakups over the last two seasons.

Byard has earned tackling grades above 80.0 with missed tackle rates below 7% in six straight seasons. Philadelphia adds one of the most reliable players on the back end across the league, with starter Reed Blankenship working his way back from injury in the midst of a breakout 2023 campaign. The Eagles are coming off arguably their best defensive performance as a coverage unit, allowing just 10 offensive points to the high-flying Miami Dolphins team with a key interception late, but they’re never satisfied as they push to return to the Super Bowl.

Titans: Above average

The Titans add two draft picks from Philadelphia that will come much earlier than the Eagles’ picks themselves. One of them is their own sixth-rounder they sent in a swap involving defensive back Ugo Amadi last year, and the other originally belonged to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Terrell Edmunds is a 26-year-old former first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers with a minimum salary plus per-game roster bonuses traveling to Tennessee, totaling a maximum of $975,294 for the rest of 2023.

Edmunds has an 82.3 run-defense grade so far in 2023, with his three tackles for loss or no gain a top-10 mark among safeties. Edmunds earned coverage grades of 68.0 or better in three straight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2020 to 2022, and Tennessee can now get an early look at a young pending free agent paired with Amani Hooker on the back end. Tennessee cuts ties with a franchise stalwart, but the two were likely parting ways this upcoming offseason after revising Byard’s contract before 2023 anyway, so the Titans begin an inevitable rebuild.


NEW YORK JETS WR MECOLE HARDMAN, 2025 SEVENTH-ROUND PICK → KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

  • Trade compensation: 2025 sixth-round pick
Chiefs: Above average

Whenever you can add a former draft pick who is familiar with your offense in the middle of the season and requires no ramping-up period, it amplifies the value of the acquisition just a little bit. In Hardman’s return to Kansas City in Week 7, he had a key six-yard reception to convert a third down on the Chiefs’ final drive, with a game-sealing touchdown run from Isiah Pacheco coming on the very next play.

Hardman also added a 50-yard punt return that got the Chiefs in great field position earlier in the contest, so he’s back for a low-volume, high-impact role — and that’s all you can ask of a player you’re paying less than $1 million in base pay before incentives.

Jets: Average

The Jets were wise to admit their mistake in free agency and move on, with undrafted rookie wide receiver Xavier Gipson taking over as the punt returner and jet-motion threat with impressive speed akin to Hardman. New York obviously doesn’t return much here with a late pick swap, but the team saves some cash and can now provide more reps to younger players who are under contract with the club beyond 2023.

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