The 2021 NFL trade deadline is right around the corner, on Nov. 2. Some teams are already all but guaranteed to be sellers. Others are confirmed as potential buyers. Either way, we could see a slew of big names moved — or at least shopped — in the coming days.
Here are 10 deals that teams should definitely consider in advance of this year’s deadline:
1. Ravens acquire Bears WR Allen Robinson
Potential cost: 2022 second-round pick, 2023 fifth-round pick
Baltimore has a title run in its sights. And while Lamar Jackson is faring just fine with his current crop of wideouts, the Ravens were sniffing around for veteran pass catchers this offseason, and A-Rob would be a nice complement to the speedy Marquise Brown. The Bears ideally wouldn’t be selling their young quarterback’s best weapon, but they’ve repeatedly failed to extend the 28-year-old Robinson, who will be looking to cash in as a 2022 free agent.
2. Vikings acquire Dolphins CB Xavien Howard
Potential cost: 2022 third-round pick, 2023 fifth-round pick
Minnesota isn’t a Super Bowl-caliber team, but if the Vikings want to give it their all before making a big-picture decision on the Mike Zimmer regime, Howard is the perfect addition to a defense that’s struggled on the back end despite veteran investments at corner. Even if/when Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland can stay healthy, they could use a playmaker on the outside. Miami may not want to part with the former All-Pro, but at 1-5, the Dolphins can afford to start auctioning.
3. Packers acquire Texans WR Brandin Cooks
Potential cost: 2021 third-round pick
Cooks is in his eighth season and has already been traded three times, and he’d welcome another move to escape the rebuild in Houston. The Texans, meanwhile, have no need to retain him long term as they look to solve bigger issues. What better landing spot than Green Bay, where he could star opposite Davante Adams? The Packers should be all in on a title run and/or appeasing Aaron Rodgers, so Cooks makes all the sense in the world.
4. Titans acquire Eagles DE Derek Barnett
Potential cost: 2022 conditional third-round pick
In the middle of a rebuild, you’d think the Eagles would try to retain, not sell, a 25-year-old former first-round pass rusher. But Barnett, while solid, has yet to emerge as Pro Bowl-caliber while occasionally grating on the new staff for a lack of discipline. The Titans need more help in their secondary, but Barnett’s toughness would be both a nice fit with Mike Vrabel and a complement to the other rushers.
5. Buccaneers acquire Jets S Marcus Maye
Potential cost: 2023 fourth-round pick
Like Jamal Adams before him, Maye seems destined for relocation after failed contract talks in New York, though he’s much less valuable on the trade block. And yet Joe Douglas could use any assets he can get, while the Bucs have been eyeing help for their injury-riddled secondary for a while. Maye’s connection with ex-Jets coach Todd Bowles would help justify the half-season rental.
6. Seahawks acquire Broncos CB Kyle Fuller
Potential cost: 2022 fifth-round pick
Seattle may like what it has in youngsters D.J. Reed, Tre Brown and Sidney Jones at corner, but that doesn’t mean its secondary is ready to make a playoff run. They need all the help they can get on defense in anticipation of a tough NFC West fight, and Fuller looks to have no place in Denver anymore after landing on the bench.
7. Chiefs acquire Lions DE Trey Flowers
Potential cost: 2023 conditional fifth-round pick
Flowers has struggled to live up to the massive payday he got coming over from the Patriots, and the Lions, at 0-6, can stand to sacrifice his veteran presence for another pick for the rebuild. The Chiefs, meanwhile, need help getting after the QB, and adding Flowers in the trenches would enable them to free up Chris Jones once the Pro Bowler is healthy.
8. Chargers acquire Colts RB Marlon Mack
Potential cost: 2022 sixth-round pick
Los Angles is content with Justin Jackson behind Austin Ekeler, but if the Chargers are serious about challenging out of the AFC West this year, Mack would make sense as proven insurance for an offense that needs to help Justin Herbert a bit more. The Colts, meanwhile, have no reason to keep the former starter, with Jonathan Taylor firmly established as the man in the backfield.
9. Bills acquire Falcons TE Hayden Hurst
Potential cost: 2022 sixth-round pick
Evan Engram might’ve made more sense as higher-ceiling insurance for Dawson Knox, who’s now sidelined for at least a few weeks. But Engram is also hurt, making Hurst more of a plug-and-play option to help keep Josh Allen and Buffalo on a roll. Atlanta probably doesn’t want to sell Hurst just a year after swapping picks for him, but Kyle Pitts’ arrival changed all that.
10. Saints acquire Bears QB Nick Foles
Potential cost: 2022 seventh-round pick
Jameis Winston is locked in as New Orleans’ starter, even if the Saints have yet to fully turn him loose. But backup Taysom Hill, once healthy, is best deployed as a utility weapon for Winston to target. Foles could offer Sean Payton more traditional insurance for a potential surprise playoff run, and he’d happily hold a clipboard to get out of the cellar of Chicago’s QB room.