NFL News & Analysis

Players to watch ahead of the 2022 NFL trade deadline

Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) signals first down after a catch in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

• RBs Kareem Hunt and Cam Akers still options: There has been rumored trade interest surrounding both for some time now, and the trade deadline could spur action on that front.

• Chase Claypool the odd man out in Pittsburgh?: With Diontae Johnson already extended and rookie George Pickens emerging as a legitimate threat, Claypool's time with the Steelers may come to an end.

• Broncos could be big sellers: Wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler and edge defender Bradley Chubb have all been rumored as potential trade pieces.

Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins

The NFL trade deadline was once a non-story. It would just come and go. 

We still haven’t reached MLB or NBA trade-deadline territory, but times have changed. General managers are more aggressive, and teams are far more open to trading future assets.

We’ve already seen two running backs change teams, with the Carolina Panthers dealing Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars dealing James Robinson to the New York Jets. And we might just be getting started.

The Week 8 outcomes could determine which way some teams eventually sway. A 2-5 squad might feel better about themselves if they’re 3-5 rather than 2-6. But teams have been calling around and trying to feel out where other clubs stand in the trade market. And as the saying goes, “deadlines spur action…”

Let’s take a look at some players who could be traded ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline. 

Edge Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears

Quinn put together a breakout year last season with a franchise-record 18.5 sacks. With a new regime coming in, the Bears traded Khalil Mack in the offseason — and Quinn also garnered interest. The Bears opted to keep him, but they might have some regrets. So far this season, Quinn has just one sack and two quarterback hits, and his 43.8 PFF grade is a career-low mark.

While a potential trade return might not be as great as it would've been in the offseason, teams are always looking for pass-rush help and Quinn has proven throughout his career that he can be productive.

Quinn has roughly $8 million remaining on his $12.8 million base salary this season. The Bears could eat some (or most) of that to better the compensation, similar to what the Denver Broncos did last year when they traded Von Miller. Quinn’s 2023 and 2024 salaries are non-guaranteed, giving an acquiring team some flexibility.

RB Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns 

Hunt requested a trade during training camp, but the team quickly said it wouldn't deal him. He’s in the final year of his contract and extension talks have not gone far. Cleveland has a disappointing 2-5 record on the year with a tough stretch of games ahead against the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hunt played a season-low 28 snaps on Sunday. His 62.3 PFF grade is the lowest of his career. With all the draft compensation Cleveland gave up to acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson (who returns in Week 13), moving Hunt could become a real option considering the circumstances.

WR Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers 

The Steelers extended Diontae Johnson this offseason and have seen star potential out of rookie George Pickens. That leaves questions around Chase Claypool, who has a year and a half remaining on his rookie contract. Would Pittsburgh want to extend him after this season — especially considering their great track record with receivers in the draft?

The answer is likely no, opening the door for the team to at least consider a deal now. The former second-round pick has caught just 28 passes for 266 yards and one touchdown through seven games after racking up 850-plus yards in each of his first two seasons. Pittsburgh sits at 2-5 on the year and is set to take on the undefeated Eagles this week. Teams have called about Claypool, and if Pittsburgh is willing to drop the price a little, it could get interesting.

WR Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

It feels like Cooks has been in trade talks his entire career, despite being a very consistent offensive weapon and a solid professional. In fact, Cooks has been traded three times. Another would tie Eric Dickerson for most trades in one career.

There were talks about a potential trade this past offseason, but Houston eventually extended Cooks on a two-year, $40 million contract. The Texans won’t trade him for 75 cents on the dollar, but they still have an eye toward the future, and adding more premier draft capital could be tempting if that offer comes.

RB Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

Head coach Sean McVay reiterated this week that the team is still trying to trade Akers after the two sides were at odds regarding his usage. McVay also said there’s a scenario Akers where could be back, but at this point, that seems like something a coach would say just to maintain any leverage.

The Rams offered Akers along with their package of picks to the Carolina Panthers for Christian McCaffrey before Carolina ultimately took San Francisco‘s offer. Los Angeles will keep trying as the deadline nears.

Edge Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints

Davenport is in the final year of his rookie contract, and the Saints' season has not gone as anticipated. The former first-round pick has recorded 20 total pressures and 15 quarterback hurries on the year, earning a solid 78.2 PFF grade.

With Davenport bound to become a free agent in March, New Orleans might just look to get something done now before he potentially leaves for nothing. It’s worth mentioning the Saints are without a first-round pick next year and their salary cap situation is not in the healthiest of spots.

Edge Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos

Similar to Davenport, Chubb is also in the final year of his rookie contract and the Broncos' season has been an abstract disaster. Chubb could be this year’s Von Miller for teams looking to add immediate pass-rush help on a rental contract. The former top-five pick has an 82.9 pass-rush grade this season, the best mark of his career. The Rams, who traded for Miller last year, would make a lot of sense.

WR Jerry Jeudy & K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos

The Broncos extended two receivers at the end of last season, giving big-money deals to Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick. Both Hamler and Jeudy have one year remaining on their rookie contracts, though Jeudy has a team option, as well. Denver has received calls inquiring about both. Keep in mind the Broncos don’t have a first- or second-round pick in 2023. A loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8 would make the chatter only louder.

CB William Jackson III, Washington Commanders 

Jackson recently requested a trade, just one year after signing a three-year, $42 million free agent deal. He’s earned a career-low 49.6 PFF grade so far this season after posting a 59.3 grade last year. Jackson has been out due to a back injury, but it’s fair to wonder if the Commanders are just holding him out as they continue to look for a reasonable deal.

WR Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints 

Callaway put together the best season of his NFL career last year with 46 catches for 698 yards and six touchdowns, earning a career-best 69.3 PFF grade. He took a bit of a backseat entering this season amid a crowded position room including Michael Thomas, Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry. Those guys have been banged up, but none of the injuries are believed to be long-term. Add in the emergence of undrafted free agent Rashid Shaheed, and Callaway’s name becomes an intriguing option. He’s set to be a restricted free agent after this season.

LB Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are not interested in trading core players such as D.J. Moore, Brian Burns, Jaycee Horn and Derrick Brown. Carolina believes that group consists of building blocks that will help jumpstart their future with a new head coach. They are open to adding more draft capital by shipping off some older veteran players like Shaq Thompson, who is the last player remaining from the team’s Super Bowl 50 lineup. He’s graded out as a top-10 linebacker against the run this year (82.8 grade).

Other names to keep an eye on:
Among the teams to keep a close eye on:

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