Buy, sell or hold: What should each NFC team do at the 2023 trade deadline?

2RWGM27 Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young (99) against the Denver Broncos of an NFL football game Sunday September 17, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Bart Young)

We’ve discussed many of the top trade deadline candidates, and we’ve begun recommending specific trades that could make sense across the league. Here, we take a step back to simply identify which teams should be buyers, which should be sellers and which should stand pat with the talent they have in the building.

Whether your team is a buyer or seller, you can get a jumpstart on retooling the roster heading into 2024 with the PFF Mock Draft Simulator.

JUMP TO A TEAM:

ARZ | ATLCARCHIDAL | DET | GBLAR |
MIN | NO | NYG | PHISF | SEA | TBWSH

ARIZONA CARDINALS: HOLD

Wide receiver Marquise Brown has probably been the subject of some trade calls as he plays in 2023 on his fifth-year option. He’s been productive in Arizona both last year and this year, and his good friend from college in quarterback Kyler Murray recently returned to practice. Arizona has handled this offseason masterfully, already moving on from players such as Isaiah Simmons. At this point, they should get ready to utilize two first-round picks and spend some cash to build out a good team for the long haul.


ATLANTA FALCONS: HOLD

Atlanta is certainly leaning more toward the “buy” category than “sell,” but it probably doesn’t make a ton of sense to make a splash with uncertainty at the most important position in sports.

Acquiring an edge defender could make some sense, with the Falcons' edge defender unit currently ranking 31st in pass-rush grade. Otherwise, this is a young roster with key veterans sprinkled in that had a solid offseason and remains squarely in the mix for the NFC South title.


CAROLINA PANTHERS: SELL

Currently projected to send the No. 2 overall pick to the Chicago Bears, Carolina needs to get draft capital for any player they don’t envision as a contributor in 2023, with pending free agents the obvious top candidates.

A haul would be required for edge defender Brian Burns, and we don’t think Carolina will bite, given the offer they turned down last year from the Los Angeles Rams. But wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. and cornerbacks Donte Jackson and C.J. Henderson are a few names that make sense.


CHICAGO BEARS: HOLD

Chicago already did a good job gutting the team and starting completely from scratch, so while wide receiver Darnell Mooney and cornerback Jaylon Johnson are very intriguing potential trade chips, the Bears might as well let things play out with any young talent. As much as the 2023 season looks like a wash, if a talented young edge defender is available, Chicago might as well explore an addition with all their extra draft capital and cash on hand.


DALLAS COWBOYS: HOLD

Dallas made veteran additions via trade this offseason when they brought in wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and we saw their massive impact in Dallas’ Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Injuries to cornerback Trevon Diggs and several linebackers could make an addition at those spots prudent, particularly at linebacker with the Minnesota VikingsJordan Hicks or the Denver BroncosJosey Jewell. No big splashes are necessary, though; Dallas just needs more from recent draft picks over the past two years.


DETROIT LIONS: HOLD

Detroit has done a remarkable job of building out depth on both sides of the ball. The return of wide receiver Jameson Williams two weeks before his original suspension window was a nice in-season addition, and they’ll get another boost from designated pass-rusher James Houston IV in the coming weeks.

Detroit doesn’t need to push the envelope with a handful of in-house extensions on the horizon, but a move at cornerback certainly wouldn’t be the worst idea if the right opportunity presents itself. The loss of Emmanuel Moseley out wide was a tough blow, though Jerry Jacobs is a rock-solid former undrafted free agent. Getting one more piece there could help in the long haul.


GREEN BAY PACKERS: HOLD

The Packers rank third in the NFL with $60 million in dead cap for 2023 and are responsibly undergoing a rebuild following the Aaron Rodgers era while still remaining competitive. The extension for edge defender Rashan Gary cost a pretty penny, and Green Bay needs to retool its entire safety room this offseason. Still, there’s probably no need to make a serious deadline move in either direction.

Teams are perhaps calling on edge defender Preston Smith with Gary locked up and first-round rookie Lukas Van Ness coming along, but Smith’s recently signed contract is a solid value for all parties.


LOS ANGELES RAMS: BUY

The Rams tore this roster down to the studs, and head coach Sean McVay along with general manager Les Snead are working wonders with a young team full of later-round draft picks. After leading the NFL in cash spending in 2022, the Rams are now dead last in 2023. So why not stay active, as they always do? Edge defender is by far the most glaring need.


MINNESOTA VIKINGS: SELL

The loss of superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring) and quarterback Kirk Cousins (torn Achilles) amid the 4-4 start makes this an interesting spot, with the best player on the defense in edge defender Danielle Hunter also in the last year of his contract.

Linebacker Jordan Hicks, wide receiver K.J. Osborn and guard Ezra Cleveland also look like solid potential trade chips.


NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: HOLD

The Saints always have tricks up their sleeve, so you never know. Adding more talent on the defensive line could help a defense that is already performing exceptionally well take things to another level. Realistically, with lackluster play from quarterback Derek Carr, older players being top contributors on defense and a tight budget, the Saints may want to stand pat. They should still be viewed as the favorites to win the NFC South with their current roster.


NEW YORK GIANTS: SELL

A year after winning a road playoff game, the Giants don’t need to completely tear things down, with so many recent draft picks playing big roles and taking steps on both sides of the ball. But pending free agents should be shopped.

Wide receiver Parris Campbell, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and safety Xavier McKinney could all help a handful of teams. McKinney would require a strong offer, and New York doesn’t have much depth at safety.


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: BUY

The Eagles are all in on 2023, and they have already made a couple of moves ahead of the deadline, adding legendary wide receiver Julio Jones and former All-Pro safety Kevin Byard. However, there are still a couple of moves Howie Roseman could make to bolster a team with genuine Super Bowl aspirations.


SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: HOLD

San Francisco has a major decision looming this upcoming offseason on wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and needs to add talent across their offensive line with phenom Trent Williams turning 36 in 2024. So, a big splash doesn’t make much sense. This is probably the best roster in the NFL from top to bottom, so a deal like the Christian McCaffrey acquisition at last year’s deadline may not be in the cards.


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: BUY

Seattle had the benefit of two top-20 draft picks in this past year’s draft and has young players all over the roster making an impact, but we like the idea of adding another pass-rusher. After unloading the Russell Wilson contract and adding a ton of surplus value contracts to the team, Seattle has a lot of flexibility in a competitive window.


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: HOLD

The Buccaneers are another team that outperformed preseason expectations to start the year, so selling off important franchise veterans like wide receiver Mike Evans doesn’t make much sense at this juncture. With the emergence of right tackle Luke Goedeke, Tampa may have its bookends solved with some solid weapons, as well. On defense, young studs in interior defender Vita Vea, recently extended cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. — who needs a new deal this offseason — are a good foundation.

On the flip side, the Buccaneers rank second in the NFL with $77 million in dead cap in 2023, as they smartly took all their lumps from the Tom Brady era in one fell swoop, so there’s no need to add either. Compete with a healthy mix of established veterans and youth, and build a foundation for the next franchise quarterback to step into.


WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: SELL OR HOLD

We keep bringing up the Chase Young/Montez Sweat dynamic simply because Washington has only one franchise tag at their disposal for two very talented young players. Things will also get interesting if they pay all four defensive linemen top dollar, but there’s no real reason to not just stick with what they have and continue to improve around quarterback Sam Howell. There’s reason for optimism in Washington, both on the field and with new ownership.

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