Under-the-radar NFL trade deadline deals that make sense


Given the looming NFL trade deadline on Tuesday, we’ve got a few under-the-radar deals that make sense for both sides.

When I was a kid, my father would always yell at me for leaving some door open while I was halfway inside of it. I’d stand in the front door and look outside, unsure of whether I’d want to go out and play or not, or I’d stare in the fridge, door wide open, as if options would rotate in and out—at least until dad would say loudly, “Get something and get out.”

The day to get something or get out comes this this Tuesday for the National Football League. The NFL’s trade deadline is already upon us, which means teams have to decide whether they are buyers or sellers, whether to stand pat and hope to be competitive or admit defeat and try to recoup whatever return they can for depreciating assets.

Some teams have already gone all in. The Pittsburgh Steelers decided long ago that they would forfeit draft picks for the sake of staying competitive this year with the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick (and more). The Baltimore Ravens recently imported Marcus Peters from the L.A. Rams, who paid the piper to land Jalen Ramsey in a shift of star cornerbacks around the league.

The New England Patriots have made at least one play for some offensive help after losing Josh Gordon with the trade for Mohammed Sanu. The Seattle Seahawks added safety Quandre Diggs from the Detroit Lions, who might or might not be sellers at this point despite the deal.

Therein lies the drama. Are the Cardinals willing to stay the course with plenty of veterans who could provide major future returns? Are the Chargers ready to blow it all up or did their win on Sunday keep them focused on the present? Are the Tennessee Titans, who climbed back to .500 in a crowded AFC South, really ready for a postseason run?

The biggest names have already been discussed, but we’ve got a couple smaller deals that make sense as under-the-radar acquisitions for teams to add the help they need at midseason.

Vic Beasley to the Oakland Raiders

Through seven games this year, the Raiders have a scant 13 total sacks. The trade of Khalil Mack created a major need for a pass rusher, but Oakland was already in need of some help alongside Mack when they dealt him to the Chicago Bears. In other words, remaking this team’s defensive front was always going to require a couple offseasons or more to get it done.

The verdict is still out on this year’s rookie class, but the Raiders have some nice young pieces with which they can build. At this point they’re still interested in competing in the AFC West and are known to be scouring for help via trade. Perhaps one of the best moves they could make would hardly cost them a thing and would allow them to import the most obviously available player in the NFL today: Vic Beasley.

The Atlanta Falcons have made no secret of their willingness to surrender Beasley, their former first round pick, and the lack of any movement shows just how tough it’s going to be to rid themselves of the money left on the nearly $13 million he’s owed this season. That’s why it’s likely the Raiders could have themselves a close look at Beasley for pennies on the dollar here—perhaps even a seventh round choice.

While the Raiders are likely hoping for more of a sure thing with any trade, the addition of Beasley could be helpful in a few ways.

1. Beasley has enjoyed success in the NFL before. He’s not a complete bust who could never make the transition to the pros. In fact, he led the NFL in sacks (15.5) and forced fumbles (6) in 2016 during the Falcons Super Bowl run. Since then, his highest sack total is 5 and he only has a single sack to his name this year.

2. Dan Quinn’s entire defense is best described as compost, and the Falcons are clearly ready to overhaul their entire leadership team this coming winter. To dump all of this on Beasley as a stud-turned-bust is a bit too lazy.

3. Keep an eye on Dante Fowler as the sort of uninspired pass rusher who benefits from a change of scenery and finds inspiration and coaching to make a real impact in a new environment. Fowler was instrumental during the L.A. Rams run last season and Beasley could find a spark if given the chance.

4. If Beasley can turn the corner, the Raiders could reap the benefits of being familiar with Beasley as he hits the open market.

Given the initial ceiling, the previous production and the need for the Raiders, if they can stomach the cash hit (right now they have $24 million in cap space), it makes a ton of sense for both sides. The Falcons clear the books a bit early, rid themselves of a player they clearly don’t want, and at least gain some draft asset in return.

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