Typically, the NFL trade deadline passes without much intrigue. However, this year’s deadline saw notable trades involving major contenders.
- Seahawks get: LT Duane Brown, 2018 fifth-round draft pick
- Texans get: 2018 third-round, 2019 second-round draft picks
This was a solid trade for both teams. The Seahawks desperately need to fill holes in their offensive line to provide Russell Wilson with some semblance of protection. Particularly at left tackle, the player responsible for protecting the quarterback’s blindside, the Seahawks have struggled. Seattle have allowed the fifth-most QB hits, despite having one of the more mobile quarterbacks. By acquiring Brown, they get a reliable left tackle who allowed only one sack last season, according to Pro Football Focus. In return, the Texans obtained two high draft picks, which always helps in the future, and they also discard the headache that Brown had caused management.
- Patriots get: 2018 second-round draft pick
49ers get: QB Jimmy Garoppolo
The 49ers appear to finally have a potential franchise quarterback in Garoppolo. For those wondering who the current 49ers quarterback is, it is C.J. Beathard. For those wondering who C.J. Beathard is, he is a rookie, third-round pick from the University of Iowa. He backed up Brian Hoyer to start the season, and the 49ers’ quarterbacks have combined for the second-to-worst passer rating, ahead of only the Cleveland Browns. Oh, and San Francisco is 0-9; it is time to rebuild. Adding Garoppolo gives them a cornerstone to begin building their franchise around, and the 26-year-old filled in admirably for Tom Brady during his Deflategate suspension at the beginning of the 2016 season. The Patriots appear to be counting on Brady to continue to play at a high level for multiple years. At the age of 40, Brady still leads the league in passing yards, is second in passer rating, and has thrown for 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions, remarkable for anyone but unheard of for a player in his 16th season as a starter. The Patriots also received a high draft pick, and they have a great track record of drafting well.
- Eagles get: RB Jay Ajayi
Dolphins get: 2018 fourth-round draft pick
The Eagles own the league’s best record, and at 8-1, they improved with the acquisition of Ajayi. Ajayi was the NFL’s fourth-best rusher with over 1,200 yards last season for the Dolphins, but after struggling to start the year, the Dolphins apparently had moved on from the 24-year-old. The Eagles added depth to their backfield and now have another solid option alongside LeGarrette Blount. In his first game as an Eagle, Ajayi led the team in rushing with 77 yards and a touchdown. The trade is curious for the Dolphins, as they do not have an obvious replacement for Ajayi. However, reports state that Ajayi harmed the culture in the locker room, complaining about playing time to other players and assistant coaches; both head coach Adam Gase and management were fed up with him.
- Bills get: WR Kelvin Benjamin
Panthers get: 2018 third- and seventh-round draft picks
This is a curious trade for the Panthers to make, getting rid of their leading receiver (by yards) in Benjamin while in strong contention to win the NFC South. The Panthers have other receiving options and received two draft picks in return, but the trade does not make complete sense from their side. The Bills benefit from picking up a wide receiver that will likely become the best option for quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The Bills gave up their best receiver in Sammy Watkins at the beginning of the season, but they have become contenders as they sit a half game back of the Patriots in the AFC East and currently hold one of the wild card spots for the AFC. Benjamin is not locked into a long-term contract, so this move is a steal for the Bills and signals their intent on winning.
- Browns (almost) get: a starting quarterback
In a comical turn of events, the Cleveland Browns failed to complete a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for quarterback AJ McCarron. However, they didn’t simply not complete the trade; Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the trade was agreed upon, but the Browns failed to report the trade to the NFL before the deadline. Other ESPN reports claimed that team executives for the Browns were celebrating the trade and that caused them to miss the deadline. Nothing could more accurately describe the state of the Browns, who have won only four games since 2015.