2020 NFL Trade Deadline Grades


Another NFL Trade Deadline has come and gone, as most teams remaining silent on the forefront. Entering Week 9 of the 2020 season, which teams came out of the Trade Deadline as the big winners?

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AFC East

Buffalo Bills

After starting with a 6-2 record, a Week 8 victory over the New England Patriots justified the Bills as the favorites in the AFC East. There weren’t any trade rumors circulating in Buffalo to begin with, as the front office remained conservative towards the Deadline.

Grade: B

Miami Dolphins

Towards the Trade Deadline, there were conflicting reports on whether the Dolphins would move on from cornerback Xavien Howard. According to reports, the team was seeking “Laremy Tunsil-type” compensation. Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills were dealt to Houston last year for a package that included two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder. It was obvious that Miami was not going to receive that sort of trade value for Howard, despite his talent. Ultimately, the Dolphins biggest move came from trading wide receiver Isaiah Ford to the New England Patriots. In addition, the team received running back DeAndre Washington from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for draft compensation.

Grade: B

New England Patriots

The Patriots were prepared to move on from Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore at the Deadline, but were ultimately unable to do so. New England was seeking a first-round pick and additional player in return for the 30-year old. After starting with a 2-5 record, the Patriots adding wide receiver Isaiah Ford in a trade with the Miami Dolphins doesn’t provide much value.

Grade: D

New York Jets

On Sunday, the New York Jets dealt linebacker Avery Williamson and a seventh-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a fifth-round pick. It wasn’t a massive move, but ultimately shows New York was willing to be sellers at the Deadline. The Jets, who hold an 0-8 record, are slated to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft. They could have sold on defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, but that was unexpected.

Grade: B

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AFC West

Denver Broncos

With the loss of wide receiver Courtland Sutton and linebacker Von Miller, one would think the Broncos would deem themselves as either buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline. Still, the front office didn’t manage to pull off any moves to give fans an idea of what to expect during the second half of the season. The team sits with a 3-4 record, and has three consecutive winnable games ahead of them in regards to the Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, and Miami Dolphins.

Grade: C

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs weren’t expected to be aggressive at the Trade Deadline, as they have started with a 7-1 record. They previously added running back Le’Veon Bell to their roster, and have been recognized as Super Bowl contenders. They also dealt running back DeAndre Washington in a trade with the Miami Dolphins.

Grade: A-

Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas had plenty of opportunities to add resources on defense, but failed to do so ahead of the Deadline. Some of the more notable players in the rumor mill included Washington pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan and Minnesota safety Anthony Harris. Still, the team sits on the cusp of playoff contention and they will gamble on their current roster to get the job done.

Grade: C+

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers emerged as sellers at this year’s Trade Deadline, ultimately sending cornerback Desmond King to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a sixth-round pick. King has only appeared in 23 games across four seasons for the Chargers, so this seemed to be fair value.

Grade: B

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AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Despite adding wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad, the Ravens remain unchanged past the Trade Deadline. Reports came out that prior to the injury to Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, the Ravens reached out about a potential trade. Baltimore is lacking in offensive weapons, as Marquise Brown ranks 34th in the NFL in receiving yards (379).

Grade: C

Cincinnati Bengals

After a 2-5-1 start to the 2020 season, it’s not a surprise to see the Bengals appear as sellers at this year’s Trade Deadline. The front office dealt defensive end Carlos Dunlap to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a 2021 seventh-round pick. Dunlap, 31, had two years left on his current contract worth a total of roughly $16 million in cap space.

Grade: B

Cleveland Browns

With the ongoing injuries to the Browns offense and lack of support on the defensive side of the ball, it was a surprise to see them remain quiet at the Deadline. Specifically, the defense has allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game (264.8) through the first eight weeks of play. Despite a 5-3 start this season, this was an underwhelming Deadline period.

Grade: C-

Pittsburgh Steelers

As the lone undefeated team to this point in the season, the Steelers added linebacker Avery Williamson and a seventh-round pick in exchange for a fifth-round pick. The move was purely for depth, as Pittsburgh holds one of the most complete defenses in the NFL.

Grade: A

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AFC South

Houston Texans

With one of the most promising trade pieces in wide receiver Will Fuller, the Texans failed to move him ahead of the Deadline. With a cap hit of only $10 million this season, there were certainly other teams, such as the Packers, that appeared interested. The team continues to go on cruise control with a 1-6 record, but do not have a 2021 first-round selection.

Grade: F

Indianapolis Colts

To this point under General Manager Chris Ballard, the Indianapolis Colts have never made a Deadline trade. With that, it wasn’t a surprise to see them remain silent once again. Still, the Colts are tied with the Tennessee Titans atop of the AFC South. It would have been nice to grab some depth and gain an advantage towards the home stretch of the season.

Grade: C

Jacksonville Jaguars

In the basement of the AFC, the Jaguars reported they will not be without quarterback Gardner Minshew due to a thumb injury. Their most valuable trade piece was linebacker Myles Jack, but it’s not a surprise to see him remain in Jacksonville. He has the potential to be signed through the 2023 season and will never cost more than $14 million in a single season.

Grade: C+

Tennessee Titans

The Titans managed to add cornerback Desmond King from the Los Angeles Chargers, who will ultimately add to their depth. Prior to the move, Tennessee was the sixth-worst team against the pass. Tied at the top of the AFC South, the Titans should be considered the favorites.

Grade: A

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NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

With a disappointing 2-6 start to the season, the Cowboys failed to move on from their trade assets and become sellers. Owner Jerry Jones claimed the team is still fighting, yet the largest transaction dealt with moving defensive end Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a sixth-round pick. The Cowboys are currently slated to have a top five pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Grade: D

New York Giants

Prior to the injury to Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay, there were talks about whether the New York Giants could emerge as trade suitors. With that opportunity out the window, the front office didn’t move on from any of their other players on the trade market, such as wideout Golden Tate or guard Kevin Zeitler.

Grade: C-

Philadelphia Eagles

In order to pull ahead in the NFC East, the Eagles needed to make a few minor upgrades. Still, the front office believes their current roster has enough talent to sneak into the playoffs. While that may be true, it’s because of the lack of competition around them. Tight end Zach Ertz held plenty of trade value prior to his injury, as both the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens showed interest.

Grade: D+

Washington Football Team

Washington remains in the hunt in the NFC East, but their lack of movement at the Trade Deadline could come back to haunt them. Pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan was denied his trade request, and there is still question marks about Dwayne Haskins’ future with the team. On top of that, free agent safety Eric Reid declined the chance to join Washington’s practice squad. For a team that is expected to remain competitive in their own division, this can’t be promising for fans.

Grade: F

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NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals weren’t expected to remain active at the Trade Deadline, and ultimately followed through with that belief. The NFC West continues to be viewed as the most competitive division in the NFL, as Arizona trails the Seattle Seahawks by a single game.

Grade: C

Los Angeles Rams

Much like the Cardinals, there was no belief that the Rams would be active at this year’s Trade Deadline. Their cap space situation ranks 17th in the NFL, but their current roster is talented enough to make an impact if they can reach the playoffs.

Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers

The injuries to the 49ers have been a factor to their lack of success this season, but the front office made a rather shocking move after dealing linebacker Kown Alexander to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick and LB Kiko Alonso. Alexander was signed through the 2023 season, while Alonso will become a free agent after this year.

Grade: C-

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks managed to stay active prior to the Trade Deadline, gaining defensive end Carlos Dunlap from the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for offensive lineman B.J. Finley and a seventh-round pick. The defensive front for Seattle was overdue for an upgrade, so this was a transaction worth executing.

Grade: B+

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NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta couldn’t make any progression on trade talks, which can’t feel great for fans. At one point in time, both quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones appeared to be on the trade block. Still, the closest the Falcons got to an actual trade was requesting a fourth-round pick for linebacker Takk McKinley. The front office remained conservative, as they look ahead to the 2021 season without any additional assets.

Grade: C

Carolina Panthers

Other than releasing cornerback Eli Apple, the Panthers were one of many teams to remain silent at the Trade Deadline. With the looming return of running back Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers are eyeing a second-half turnaround to sneak into the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Grade: C

New Orleans Saints

After adding linebacker Kown Alexander in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers, the Saints are primed to remain competitive in the NFC South. The trade rumors surrounding wide receiver Michael Thomas were quickly pushed aside, as New Orleans should still be considered a Super Bowl contender.

Grade: A-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have remained active throughout the season on adding veteran support for Tom Brady, as we witnessed in the signing of running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Still, there was no reason for them to remain active at the Trade Deadline.

Grade: B

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NFC North

Chicago Bears

The Bears could have used a few upgrades in order to stay within the NFC playoff picture, but ultimately decided against it. Chicago only faces two teams with winning records in their final eight games: The Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers (twice).

Grade: B

Detroit Lions

The Lions didn’t make any moves on Tuesday, but previously traded for Dallas Cowboys defensive end Everson Griffen in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Detroit will pay $3 million of his $6 million scheduled payday.

Grade: C+

Green Bay Packers

After failing to reach an agreement with the Houston Texans for wide receiver Will Fuller, this has to be considered a failure for the Packers. According to reports, members in the front office disagreed with Fuller’s value and whether the trade was worth it. To put it into perspective, Green Bay’s second-best wide receiver in Marquez Valdes-Scatling ranks 82nd in the league in receiving yards (261).

Grade: F

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota continued to make us believe that safety Anthony Harris was on the trade block, but they did not follow through on a trade. We knew safety Harrison Smith and wide receiver Adam Thielen were unlikely to be moved, but after a 2-5 start to the season, this was a lost opportunity for the Vikings.

Grade: D

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