At just about the mid-season marker, the NFL trade deadline looms in the shadows and puts fans on edge. For days, weeks, and months there are sources leaking interest from both players and teams. Oftentimes, big moves take place and other times it’s all smoke in mirrors.
Let’s discuss some of the smartest trades that took place.
Best NFL Trade Deadline Deals
S Kevin Byard, Tennessee to Philadelphia
This home run for Howie Roseman was among the first of the chips to fall a week before the deadline. As many exclaimed on social media, “The rich get richer!” The Eagles are only on the hook for about $4 million and he is a top-eight Safety in the league. Some would say this is highway robbery.
There is a laundry list of stats I could rattle off about Byard, but one of the best has to be his missed tackle rate of less than 7% for six straight seasons! This is a position group plagued with injury so the All-Pro Safety is a welcomed addition. Not to mention, he has a track record of unmatched durability. What’s more? Byard is a Philadelphia native so he gets to go home and put on a show for Philly fanatics!
DL Leonard Williams, New York Giants to Seattle
This Seahawks team, trying to scratch the surface of their classic Legion of Boom defense, made a great move trading for the Defensive Lineman. Already boasting an impressive secondary thanks in part to Jamal Adams, Julian Love, and Rookie Devon Witherspoon, an interior defender of his caliber complements perfectly. This coupled with the recent addition of Frank Clark is making a statement that they are all in.
He currently holds a 77.2 pass-rush grade through eight weeks which is the best of his career. It’s a smart move to pick him up while he’s thriving; not to mention, that NFC West foe San Francisco has dropped three straight losses breathing some life into the Seahawks who currently hold the top spot in the division. Williams is untaggable this offseason so not the wisest investment financially for Seattle, but can’t fault them for capitalizing on their momentum over the last couple of seasons.
EDGE Chase Young, Washington to San Francisco
After tearing his ACL in 2021, Young is finally trending in a positive direction: that resembling glimpses of his 2020 DROY crusade. Ranking 13th among EDGE defenders, Young joins a line that includes Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Javon Hargrave. This unit might cause night terrors in opposing quarterbacks.
After losing three straight games, the Niners look to their Defense to ignite this team as they move toward the second half of the season. Young could be a rental to go all-in this season or they could make some moves to keep him around in 2024. For now, they focus on acclimating the star to this team during the bye week before they face the red-hot Jags.
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland to Detroit
Wide Receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, affectionately dubbed DPJ, is heading home to Detroit! Marvin Jones Jr recently stepped away from the team for personal matters so the timing could not be more ideal for the 6-2 Lions. He may even prove to be more consistent than Jameson Williams as he shines at contested catches.
DPJ is a smart football player who also happens to be both versatile and durable. His high praise of character is an added intangible for Dan Campbell’s no-bullshit culture. A lot of folks were surprised he never quite found a consistent role in Cleveland and this fresh start should bode very well for both parties.
CB Rasul Douglas to the Bills
This Bills D has been bitten by the injury bug. Chief amongst them? Tre’Davious White, their top-rated corner, who suffered a torn Achilles weeks into the season. To add to that blow, both DaQuon Jones and Matt Milano are indefinitely sidelined. The 28-year-old former Packer will be welcomed with open arms.
Douglas has been targeted 34 times in coverage and allowed just 23 receptions/274 yards. He also notched five pass breakups and one interception. High-octane offenses litter the remainder of their schedule (Chiefs, Cowboys, Dolphins to name a few) so locking down a corner like Douglas can only aid in their defensive efforts.
DL Montez Sweat, Washington to Chicago
I typically think it’s a little silly to trade for a Pro-Bowl caliber star when your season is on life support, but I do think this could be the right move for the Chicago Bears. Not only will they have a massive amount of cap space in 2024, but he’d be a great foundational piece on this defense for years to come.
Sweat is having a career season so far racking up 6.5 sacks, and 32 tackles (10 for loss) through eight weeks. While an incredible addition to a team, this move only makes sense if Sweat gets signed to an extension. There have been conflicting reports as to whether or not this will happen. Why give up a high draft pick to have him play on a team going nowhere fast? It will be interesting to see how this one plays out for the Bears.
Editor’s note: Chicago has already extended Montez Sweat to a massive deal
New #Bears edge Montez Sweat has agreed to a massive 4-year extension worth $98M in new money — $24.5M average per year. He gets $72,865,360 guaranteed with the total deal being worth $105M.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 4, 2023
Did your team make any moves that gave you extra hope moving forward? We want to hear! Shout us out on Twitter @DraftCountdown.