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Gaffney's 10 2023 NFL Trade Deadline Proposals

We are now less than a week away from the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline, and the Eagles already kicked things off in a big way by acquiring now-former Titans safety Kevin Byard. Around 10 years ago, you wouldn't see many major moves on the last day you could swing a trade, but that has changed dramatically in recent years. In the last two years alone, legitimate talents like Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Christian McCaffery, Roquan Smith, T.J. Hockenson, and Calvin Ridley have all been moved either on the day of the deadline or near it. The Miller and McCaffery trades specifically show that Super Bowl contenders can absolutely add outside talent to try and get themselves over the top, or at least get that much closer.

This year, you have a ton of contending squads who have some pressing needs, and I imagine a bulk of them will be active ahead of the final day of October. The Chiefs and Bills jump out right away on a couple of different fronts, but some teams further down the batting order like the Rams and Jaguars too. Then, of course, you have your likely sellers, teams like the Broncos, Patriots, and so on. So ahead of the 31st, here are 10 moves that I think make a ton of sense for the rest of this season and beyond.

Trade No. 1

Kansas City Chiefs Receive: WR Kendrick Bourne

New England Patriots Recieve: 2024 Fourth-Round Pick

Whether the Patriots decide to sell or not, the Kansas City Chiefs need to get another body at wide receiver before the end of the month, and bringing back Mecole Hardman doesn't feel like enough. Although not a surprise, Travis Kelce leads the team in targets with 46, but the only other Chief with over 25 looks is rookie Rashee Rice out of SMU. However, Kansas City is built to where they don't need a bonafide No. 1 wideout, just a consistent and reliable target to take some of the pressure off Kelce and complement Rice. Essentially, get a guy to play the role of 2022 Juju Smith-Shuster. They do that, and this offense will be in tip-top shape.

Despite what you may think, the Patriots and Chiefs have been relatively good trade partners since Brett Veach took over the Chiefs' GM gig in 2017, agreeing to five trades in that span, including two during the 2022 NFL Draft. Kendrick Bourne fits the bill of what the Chiefs are looking for perfectly. His departure would allow New England to at least see what they have in Tyquan Thornton and Kayshon Boutte, to go along with Pop Douglas, DeVante Parker, and newly cemented Patriots legend Jalen Reagor. The fourth-rounder given up would be inconsequential, assuming they can lock Bourne up to a new contract before next March as well. He's a guy I can see working very well with Patrick Mahomes.

Trade No. 2

Buffalo Bills Receive: CB Adoree' Jackson

Chicago Bears Receive: 2024 Fourth and Sixth-Round Draft Pick

I cannot envision the Bills having sustainable cornerback play with their room in the condition it's in. Another devastating injury has knocked Tre'Davious White out for the year, Kaiir Elam hasn't been what Buffalo had envisioned so far, and Taron Johnson, while one of the league's elite slot/nickel guys, can only do so much. Additionally, when you factor in the season-ending injury to Matt Milano, they need to get themselves a quality defender, probably a cornerback specifically. Buffalo won't keep up with pass catchers from teams like Miami, Jacksonville, or even a sneaky potential playoff team like Houston as constructed.

Luckily for Buffalo, they have some close friends running one of the two teams out of MetLife Stadium who have a rental cornerback up for grabs in Adoree' Jackson. He can line up outside and in (although with Johnson, that might not be necessary) and is another veteran leader the Bills can add to their locker room. Some cap shenanigans would need to happen for the Bills to remain under, but luckily for them, the cap isn't real. Some new scenery could be good for Jackson the rest of the way in what's also a necessary dice roll for Buffalo.

Trade No. 3

Houston Texans Receive: EDGE Carl Lawson

New York Jets Receive: 2025 Fifth-Round Pick

It isn't exactly a secret that Carl Lawson, who's been inactive twice so far this year and has yet to hit 25 defensive snaps in a game in 2023, most likely won't be a Jet after the deadline, one way or another. A shock, considering he picked up a career-high seven sacks in 2022 after missing all of 2021 with an Achilles rupture in training camp. The Texans could use the pass rush help behind Jonathan Greenard and Will Anderson, and the transition from a Rob Saleh defense to a DeMeco Ryan defense shouldn't be too harsh in the grand scheme of things. Lawson's contract does come with several dead cap chargers over the next few years, which explains the 2025 fifth instead of 2024, but he's worth the flyer for a Texans team that could sneaky end up in the playoffs at the rate they're going.

Trade No. 4

Atlanta Falcons Receive: EDGE Danielle Hunter

Minnesota Vikings Receive: 2024 Second, Fourth, and Sixth-Round Pick

On October 20, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that an anonymous front-office executive was "not in a position to give up a first-rounder", relating to a trade for NFL sacks leader Danielle Hunter. If the ask is a flat-out first-rounder or something that's first-round value, I can understand why some teams may not be interested.

One team that I think should be interested and inclined to make a move like this is the Atlanta Falcons. This team has consistently been near the bottom of the league in the sacks department over the last few years, but for what it's worth, Atlanta is also applying a ton of pressure through seven contests, it just hasn't resulted in finishing plays. Adding a guy like Hunter could turn a solid Falcons front into a great one as they continue to vie for the NFC South crown. It also just so happens they have an extra fourth and sixth to spare in the 2024 draft, and a second for a guy like Hunter is perfectly fair, especially if/when they sign him to a contract extension.

Trade No. 5

Carolina Panthers Receive: WR Jerry Jeudy

Denver Broncos Receive: 2024 Third and Sixth-Round Pick

The Panthers have made it crystal clear they want to add to their receiver room now instead of in the offseason. Adam Thielen is Carolina's only player with over 20 catches and 200 yards, just in case you needed a reminder of how bad things are for Bryce Young. It's also not like the Panthers have any incentive to tank, with Chicago controlling their first-round pick this year. The sooner they can get the pieces around the 2023 first-overall pick, the better.

Subpar quarterback play has hampered Jerry Jeudy's career to this point, and his trade value will only get worse as time goes on for the Broncos. Had they moved him before the draft, they could have gotten as much as a late first for the former Alabama product. Now, they'd be lucky to get high-end second-round value for Jeudy. Still, the Panthers have an extra fifth and sixth to spare, and the third-rounder is relatively fair, given that Jeudy still has a year and a half left on his rookie deal. And to close this out, yes, the irony of this trade is not lost on me based on recent events with Jeudy and Steve Smith Sr.

Trade No. 6

Carolina Panthers Receive: WR Hunter Renfrow

Las Vegas Raiders Receive: WR Terrace Marshall Jr

This trade makes too much sense for everyone involved, meaning it probably won't happen. Will that stop me from suggesting it? Absolutely not. Terrace Marshall was a solid prospect at LSU, playing in the shadow of guys like Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Kayshon Boutte, but it hasn't worked out in Carolina between two coaching staffs. Unsurprisingly, he officially got Carolina's blessing to seek out a trade destination some time ago, and it feels like a matter of if not when.

For Hunter Renfrow, alleged offensive genius Josh McDaniels has all but benched him through six games this season, and the Clemson product has been a non-factor since Boy Wonder took over the ship after Renfrow's 103 catch, 1038-yard campaign in 2021. A change of scenery would be the best thing for both guys, and for Carolina, a trio of Theilen, Jeudy, and Renfrow would be just what the doctor ordered.

Trade No. 7

Jacksonville Jaguars Receive: EDGE Josh Uche

New England Patriots Receive: 2024 Conditional Day 2 Pick (Explained Below)

While I think it's preposterous to say Travon Walker is a bust, he hasn't given the Jaguars the pass rush production that Aidan Hutchinson, who went right after him, has for the Lions. The real issue is that nearly all of Jacksonville's sack production belongs to Josh Allen (team-high seven sacks), Walker, and then pending free agent, former first-round pick K'Lavon Chaisson. If the Jaguars, who are middle of the road in pressure percentage and bottom 10 in sacks, don't get any additional help, it'll be much harder to get out of the AFC come playoff time.

A name that has been floated for some time as a less pricey option to acquire off the edge is current New England Patriot Josh Uche. Henry McKenna of Fox Sports reported some time ago that he and the team are not close on an extension, and given his profile, that does track. He's not an every-down player because of his deficiencies as a run defender but has elite upside as a pass rusher. If the Jags could get late-season Uche from a season ago, this could look like a stroke of genius from Trent Baalke. He was a great compliment to Matt Judon and could be the same for Josh Allen. Not to mention as well, Jacksonville could kick Walker to the interior on third downs with Uche on the field. That would be quite hard to defend.

Now, onto the conditions of this hypothetical trade because the Jags' higher-end picks are a bit murky. Based on the conditions of the Calvin Ridley trade Jacksonville made with Atlanta last year, they're either giving up a second or third-round pick, and that will be the former if they can extend him. My proposal is this: The Patriots would get the best available pick of those two Day 2 picks. Should it be the three, I could see Jacksonville throwing in a late-round pick, most likely a sixth-rounder, for some added compensation. Should it be the two, the Patriots would have to fork up a pick of their own, most likely a fifth but potentially a fourth. A straight second-rounder for Uche swap would be an overpay, and I think those in the Jacksonville front office would agree with that assessment. Still, finding quality pass rushers is tough, and Uche is as good as anyone in that department.

Trade No. 8

Miami Dolphins Receive: LB Josey Jewell

Denver Broncos Receive: 2024 Sixth Round Pick

It's not a super sexy trade here, but it is never a bad idea to get sensible defensive depth. Jewell's tenure in Denver included the year's current Dolphins DC Vic Fangio was head coach, so his ability to get up to speed on a new team shouldn't be too slow. Miami also has a pair of sixths to play with right now, so this wouldn't be an issue on their end.

Trade No. 9

Green Bay Packers Receive: SAF Adrian Phillips

New England Patriots Receive: 2024 Fifth-Round Pick

The Packers currently have a heavily banged-up secondary, with corner Eric Stokes and safety Darnell Savage on IR, and their safety play hasn't been too great in recent years. This is another trade that probably won't make too many waves, but, Adrian Phillips is a starting-caliber safety who fills multiple niches but hasn't been on the field much this year for the Patriots despite being a positive contributor in the prior three years. He's under contract through the 2024 season and at a pretty good price tag at that. I don't think Phillips would object to this, either. His snap percentage is 20 percent right now, down from 63 last year and 80 in 2021.

Trade No. 10

Los Angeles Rams Receive: EDGE Chase Young and a 2024 Third-Round Pick

Washington Commanders Receive: 2024 First-Round Pick

Both of Washington's key EDGE guys, Chase Young and Montez Sweat, are set to become free agents at the end of the year, and I have a hard time seeing both sticking around. Despite being hampered by injuries in years two and three, Young is well on his way to the best season of his career, already close to matching his key statistical totals from his DROY season in 2020 in 11 fewer games. If I had to guess, Washington opts to stick with Sweat instead of Young, and they make him available for trade here in the coming days.

As of this moment, the Rams still have a first-round pick, a rarity in the Les Snead era, but it's there...for now. For Snead, you can justify giving up a first-rounder under the pretext that Young is signed to an extension as soon as he lands in Los Angeles. They have enough money to make him a long-term fixture in Hollywood, and they could use the pass rush help alongside Aaron Donald and rookie Byron Young. All things considered, this, or even Brian Burns in the unlikely event he's dealt, feels like the perfect Rams trade.

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