The younger front offices and sidelines get (and the more Thanos-like Eagles GM Howie Roseman gets), the more exciting trade deadline week becomes. Teams in the middle of the pack are trying to break out. Teams way out in front are trying to stomp on the competition and keep good players from coming back to bite them in the postseason. And just about every GM and coach realizes that if they sit on their hands or insist they can’t incorporate a player into their system in the middle of the season, an owner is going to find someone who can.
Trades are good for business across the board.
The 2022 deadline has already been a bustling one, with several superstars on the move and perhaps a few more to go. We’ve gotten enough in the hopper to start the all-important process of grading those moves. While this is difficult—in many cases the players haven’t gotten much of an opportunity—we can still get a sense of each team’s situation, the compensation they doled out and how they’ll be able to best utilize the player’s skill set.
This post will be updated throughout the weekend and by Tuesday’s 4 pm ET deadline.
BEFORE THE DEADLINE DAY
Robert Quinn to the Eagles for a 2023 fourth-round pick
Grade for the Bears: B+
Grade for the Eagles: A
The Bears need picks. We saw the Ravens build a steady competitor out of their slew of fourth-round picks, so I wouldn’t for one second discount the return. If nothing else, it gives Chicago a chance in the draft next year to take a legitimate flier on a player who can really fit his system. As for the Eagles, Quinn immediately gives them a chance to rotate their pass rushers more frequently. While his production isn’t going to touch the 18.5-sack season from a year ago, watch Quinn this year against even the fastest release quarterbacks (such as Kirk Cousins). Quinn has a ton of moves and was a driving force behind a middling Bears defense logging the 16th-best pass-rush win rate so far this season (according to ESPN’s advanced metrics). Early this season, Quinn was double-teamed more than almost any other pass rusher in football, which means he can either open the backfield up to one of Philly’s talented rushers, or get the job done himself. This is a gavel-banging move by the best team in the NFC.
Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers for 2023 second-, third- and fourth-round picks and a ’24 fifth-round pick
Grade for the Panthers: A+
Grade for the 49ers: A
Thanks to Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch (and possibly Les Snead and Sean McVay for driving the price up), the Panthers now have six picks in the top 111 of the 2023 draft, which is exactly what a new coach will need to build their program . Let’s face it: Carolina was not going to be competitive with McCaffrey anytime soon. A pass-catching running back is a luxury and the final piece of a puzzle for another team, not a building block for a new offense that could end up prioritizing different characteristics out of their backs (and a front office that may want to get younger at the position). As for the 49ers, my feelings on this are already in cyberspace for you to consume. I think this has a chance to completely alter the course of the NFC. McCaffrey’s limited snap count in one week as a member of the 49ers should not be indicative of his overall usage (good Lord, we hope not). They will be a nightmare matchup.
Robby Anderson to the Cardinals for a 2023 sixth-round pick, ’24 seventh-round pick
Grade for the Panthers: C
Grade for the Cardinals: D
Here’s my frustration with the Cardinals: They seem to be far too rigid in terms of what they need from the wide receiver position to succeed. And, they should have been able to develop one of these guys, especially at the more vertical “burner” position. Anderson likely takes the place of making those straight, streaky lines on the team’s GPS route-tracking chart. That said, the Cardinals know their offense worked best last year when Kyler Murray was regularly completing balls down the field, and the only way to make that happen again, at this moment, is to keep trading for guys who will get there. Still, this Cardinals offense is closer in spirit to a Sean McVay offense than a true Mike Leach Air Raid, and we’ve seen offenses similar to the former have success with far less than big-name wide receivers. Good deal for the Panthers, too, who received a pair of late-round picks for a guy they had excused from the sidelines about 40 seconds earlier.
James Robinson to the Jets for a conditional 2023 sixth-round pick
Grade for the Jaguars: D
Grade for the Jets: B+
I know the Jaguars have a wealth of running backs, but I don’t know if I’ve seen enough ball security and consistency out of Travis Etienne to make the move with confidence. Once he gets his footing in the NFL, he’s going to become a legitimate, top-flight No. 1 back, but we’re not at that point yet. It leaves the Jaguars with JaMycal Hasty as the room’s resident veteran and places a lot of stress on the coaching staff in-season to bolster the running back room. As for the Jets, this is a great move for GM Joe Douglas, as it signals faith and aggression, while maintaining responsibility. The Jets need a thumping run game for Zach Wilson to succeed and there aren’t many options for them at this point to win a vertical shootout. Robinson doesn’t bring with him the same DNA as Breece Hall, but he’s as good an option as any right now.
Jonathan Hankins to the Cowboys for a 2023 sixth-round pick
Grade for the Cowboys: C
Grade for the Raiders: C
The Cowboys have the best pass-rush win rates in the NFL right now, thanks to Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence. They have one of the league’s worst run-stop win rates. While Hankins’ trade doesn’t change that much, he has historically been a formidable presence in the trenches. It’s worth a shot, especially with the run-heavy Bears and Packers coming up next on their schedule.
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