The NFL trade deadline was a flurry of activity as four major trades shook the league just hours before the 4 p.m. cutoff for trades on Tuesday.
How did this all go down? It started on Monday night, when a certain team acquisition became more exciting than a football game between the Broncos and the Chiefs.
Through the first four games of the 2016 NFL season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for his alleged involvement in deflating footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship, otherwise known as “Deflategate”. Because of this, 2014 second round-pick Jimmy Garoppolo was set to start in Brady’s absence. Even though he only started two games because of a shoulder injury, Garoppolo impressed. He led the Patriots to a win on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, who finished 13-3 the previous season. This made Garoppolo a wanted man by many teams, and the Patriots decided to hold onto him, until now.
While many teams inquired, New England decided to ship Garoppolo to San Francisco for a 2018 second-round pick. Bill Belichick also knows that the 49ers are 0-8, and if they finish with a very poor record, the second-round pick could practically turn into a late first rounder.
The Houston Texans often struggled with keeping left tackle Duane Brown happy with his contract, which led him to sitting out training camp and even part of the season. Although Brown returned to the lineup, Houston decided to send him to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2018 fifth round pick, a 2019 second round pick and cornerback Jeremy Lane.
Even though Lane failed his physical, the Texans are set to be compensated through other draft picks. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been under pressure behind Seattle’s subpar offensive line, so the acquisition could pay huge dividends for their playoff hunt.
Kelvin Benjamin had a productive rookie season in 2014, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving and scoring nine touchdowns for the Carolina Panthers. Things took a turn though, as Benjamin tore his ACL in 2015 and didn’t make much of an impact for Carolina’s offense in 2016. A few states north, the Buffalo Bills were trying to acquire a wide receiver after the losses of Robert Woods, Philly Brown, Sammy Watkins and Anquan Boldin. Knowing they had a healthy amount of draft picks, Buffalo decided to take a chance on Benjamin and gave Carolina a third- and seventh-round pick in return for the 6’5” receiver. Benjamin will be joined by another receiver in the 2014 NFL draft class, Jordan Matthews, as Buffalo will look to challenge the almighty Patriots for the first spot in the AFC East.
Jay Ajayi had a breakout season last year for the Miami Dolphins and even ran for over 200 yards in back-to-back games at one point. Nicknamed the “Jay Train,” Ajayi was set to be Miami’s lead running back for the next few seasons. That didn’t last too long though as the Philadelphia Eagles traded a fourth round pick for the Pro-Bowl running back. Philadelphia also has two-time Super Bowl champion Legarrette Blount in the backfield, who runs behind a great offensive-line, even with the recent loss of topnotch left tackle Jason Peters. Many questioned Miami’s decision to ship Ajayi since he accounted for much of the team’s offense. Apparently, the Dolphins were also open to trading wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who has been a consistent slot receiver for the club since 2014, but no deals were made for the reciever despite New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. made several pleas on Twitter for his team to bring in Landry as they are good friends.
The NFL trade deadline usually doesn’t get busy, but this year provided a different story. With three of these teams hoping to add a key-piece to their Super Bowl run, and one team preparing for the future, this trade deadline could affect this season and the NFL for years to come.