The Los Angeles Rams are the world champions of the NFL. And a big reason why is some of the major moves they have pulled off over the last couple of years. Not to dismiss their great draft picks from Round 2 on, but trading for Jalen Ramsey, Matthew Stafford, Sony Michel and Von Miller, among others, was HUGE! Even though the Rams have dealt away their first-round pick in every draft since 2017 and won't have another until 2024, the risk paid off. Is the ultimate success of this approach the kind of thing that could cause more NFL teams to mortgage the future and go for it?
NFL executives love draft picks. Much in the same way my 3-year-old loves Peppa Pig. Trying to get a draft pick for a veteran player is akin to trying to get my kid to bed without reading him his favorite adventure of Peppa and George (and make sure you use the accent).
Now, let's pretend there will be a lot of big-time trades happening this offseason. Here are five big-name guys who would be great trade targets.
Hear me out. Kyler is the perfect trade target right now. Obviously, there is going to be a lot of speculation about guys like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers being on the move this spring. I don't see either of those guys relocating. The Seahawks would be crazy to part with Wilson. I mean, if you had to choose between one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL or a 70-year-old coach, call me nuts, but I'm leaning toward the quarterback. Especially one who still has a number of years left. The Packers would be similarly crazy to get rid of Rodgers. Also, I'm sure Rodgers is savvy enough to know that he's not getting dealt to an NFC team. And with how stacked the AFC is, he would be better off staying put.
I like Kyler to move because the Cardinals won games without him last year. He would bring in a huge bounty of picks. I know there are some growing rumblings between the Cardinals and Murray, and he's still young enough to bolt to the Oakland A's if he wants to. But imagine the Vikings making a move with veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins (and his expiring contract) for Murray. Washington would make a lot of sense, too. To me, it's very similar to what Jay Cutler went through with the Broncos years ago.
I know the running back position doesn't carry the value it once had. And to be honest, the market for a running back coming off two injury-ravaged seasons isn't great. The Giants need to be choosy about which skill players stay around to start the Brian Daboll era. It's obvious Saquon is talented, but Daniel Jones should be given a chance to develop without having to worry about featuring a running back. And full disclosure, I would be willing to give Kenny Golladay and Evan Engram, a free agent this offseason, another shot. Moving Barkley to a team that needs a little juice at running back makes a lot of sense, especially considering Devontae Booker, who was more efficient than Barkley in 2021, is under contract for cheap through 2022.
The Patriots invested heavily in the wide receiver position in free agency last year. Harry played in 12 games and had a career-low 22 targets last season. The former first-round pick is still only heading into his fourth pro campaign and is in the final year of his rookie deal. I remain enamored with his potential, based on his scouting reports coming out of Arizona State. Honestly, a team in need of receiving help (looking at you, Chicago) should be willing to part ways with a Day 3 pick in return for N'Keal's services.
Obviously, Michael Thomas could be another WR consideration for this exercise, given the Saints' possible rebuild. That contract might be too much to move, however.
Well, there is no longer reason to spare Mike Mayock's feelings over the disastrous Ferrell pick at No. 4 overall, as the team recently dismissed him. (Mayock, not Ferrell. But that could change.) Ferrell, who has just eight total sacks in three seasons and didn't log a single start in 2021, will always come with heightened expectations due to his lofty draft slot. He's kind of like playing those high-denomination slot machines on Fremont Street: You stay in longer because of the money involved, but maybe it's just time to let somebody else take a spin.
The market might be pretty tepid right now for the three-time Pro Bowler, considering teams could just wait a minute and see if Washington outright releases him (which wouldn't be too surprising). Collins was terrible for most of last season before coordinator Jack Del Rio moved him to a hybrid linebacker position that allowed him to play closer to the line of scrimmage. The 28-year-old has missed games due to injury in each of the last two seasons, but he could provide a boost to a defense in need of talent and experience.