Grading 10 Largest NFL Deadline Moves


Another NFL Trade Deadline period has passed, and per usual, it did not disappoint. We witnessed three former Pro-Bowl receivers, as well a #3 overall selection from the 2015 Draft, move franchises within one week. Ten transactions stood out from the rest, but how beneficial was it to the parties involved?

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10. The Buffalo Bills sign WR Terrelle Pryor

On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills signed WR Terrelle Pryor, who coincidentally happens to be the healthiest quarterback on the roster. While Pryor had played for four different franchises since being drafted in 2012, his standout season was with the Cleveland Browns in 2016. In a year where he tallied 1,007 yards and 4 touchdowns, Pryor has been incapable of matching even half of those statistics since.

The current leading receiver in Buffalo is Zay Jones, who is sitting at 281 yards and 2 touchdowns through 8 weeks of action. The signing of Pryor helps the offense to a degree, but the quarterback play won’t do him any justice. The Bills rank 32nd in passing yards and points per game.

Grade for Bills: C-

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9. The New York Giants trade CB Eli Apple to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a 2019 4th-round pick, as well as a 2020 7th-round pick

After being dealt to the New Orleans Saints, Eli Apple was efficient in his debut against the Minnesota Vikings. In result, the cornerback totaled a season-high 9 tackles in a 30-20 victory. Selected #10 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, it’s fair to claim that Apple has not been worth the hype.

The Saints defense as a whole is ranked 23rd in points allowed, and 28th in passing yards allowed per game this season. In result, bargaining a 4th-round pick in 2019 and a 7th-round pick in 2020 was a smart call. Apple is currently signed through the 2019 season.

Grade for Giants: C+

Grade for Saints: B

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8. The Green Bay Packers trade S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Washington Redskins in exchange for a 2019 4th-round pick

The Green Bay Packers were sellers at this year’s deadline, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was one of multiple players shipped off in exchange for draft picks. This season alone, Clinton-Dix contains 3 interceptions, making him the most valuable secondary player involved at the Trade Deadline by default. For a Packers defense that is ranked 5th against the pass, the logic behind this move is missing.

The Washington Redskins secondary has been able to hold it’s own for the most part this season as well, holding opponents under 20 points and 250 passing yards per game. Clinton-Dix is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Grade for Packers: D+

Grade for Redskins: B 

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7. The Green Bay Packers trade RB/WR Ty Montgomery to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a 2020 7th-round pick

After a late fumble cost the Green Bay Packers their matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8, the front office decided to move on from RB/WR Ty Montgomery. While Montgomery is averaging 4.0 yards per carry this season, he has only found the end zone on one occasion. This season alone, Aaron Rodgers is averaging a higher YPC and total rushing yards than Montgomery, who has been on the outskirts of the running back committee for Green Bay.

The Baltimore Ravens rank 24th in rushing through Week 8, as Alex Collins has yet to prove he can emerge as a reliable three-down back. For the price of $379,324 this year, this was a great deal for both sides. The Packers got rid of potential dead weight, and the Ravens received a minor upgrade in depth within the backfield.

Grade for Packers: B

Grade for Ravens: B

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6. The Cleveland Browns trade RB Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a 2019 5th-round pick

After rookie Nick Chubb emerged as the lead back for the Cleveland Browns, the front office cashed in a 5th-round pick for Carlos Hyde. While Leonard Fournette continues to be sidelined, the debut of Hyde in Jacksonville was a letdown. In result, the veteran rushed 6 times for 11 yards in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

With a potential out in 2019, it’s doubtful that the Jaguars will force Fournette and TJ Yeldon to share the backfield with Hyde through the 2020 season. The Jaguars made this move as a temporary band-aid to the running game, but it doesn’t appear like this deal will pay off.

Grade for Browns: B-

Grade for Jaguars: D

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5. The New York Giants trade DT Damon Harrison to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 2019 5th-round pick

After being shipped to the Detroit Lions, DT Damon Harrison found himself with his first sack of the season in a 28-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. While Harrison isn’t known for getting to the quarterback, he is one of the more efficient run-stopping interior defensive linemen in today’s game. Through Week 8, the Lions rank 31st against the run,  which is where Harrison can fulfill his role.

The New York Giants most likely could have bargained a higher price for Harrison, who holds a potential out in 2019. If the Lions and Harrison can agree to keep him within Detroit, this move will pay off for the Lions in the long-run.

Grade for Giants: C

Grade for Lions: B+ 

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4. The Oakland Raiders trade WR Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2019 1st-round pick

The abnormally-high price the Dallas Cowboys paid in order to receive WR Amari Cooper caused mixed reactions, but there is an argument to both sides. The Dallas Cowboys claim they intended to use their 2019 1st-round pick on a wide receiver, and now at least know what Cooper is capable of at an NFL level. On the other side, the drop rate of Cooper has lead the NFL over the last two seasons, and you can’t help but compare what other teams (Philadelphia, Houston) got for new wide receivers at the deadline.

Dallas has been missing a genuine WR1 heading into Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans, but could have offered a more practical deal. Amari Cooper has shown sparks of elite talent, and considering he signed through the 2019 season, the Cowboys need to make sure he is utilized properly.

Grade for Raiders: A+

Grade for Cowboys: C- 

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3. The Jacksonville Jaguars trade DE Dante Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a 2019 3rd-round pick and a 2020 5th-round pick

After being selected #3 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars shipped off DE Dante Fowler Jr. to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two mid-round draft picks. After playing a minor role to the success of the Jaguars defense over the last three years, the Jaguars were right to ship off Fowler while his price tag was remotely high.

The Los Angeles Rams have proven to be “all in” on a Super Bowl run this year, and the acquisition of Fowler has made that clear. Standing as the lone undefeated team to date, Fowler has the ability to push this team over the edge within the postseason. Both sides came away with enough value to make this somewhat of an even deal.

Grade for Jaguars: B+ 

Grade for Rams: A- 

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2. The Detroit Lions trade WR Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2019 3rd-round pick

After a slow start to the season, the Philadelphia Eagles snagged a 2019 3rd-round pick from the Detroit Lions in exchange for former Pro Bowl WR Golden Tate. Although Carson Wentz and company rank 16th in passing yards per game, nothing truly has stood out with this Philadelphia roster.

While this appears like the Eagles robbed the Lions in the trade process, it should be noted that the assumption was Tate would not re-sign with the franchise in the off-season. After an inconsistent start to the season, the Detroit Lions cashed in with a 3rd-round pick that may be worthwhile.

Grade for Lions: B+

Grade for Eagles: B+ 

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1. The Denver Broncos trade WR Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans in exchange for a 2019 4th-round pick, as well as a swap of 7th-round picks

In the largest move of the 2018 NFL Trade Deadline, the Denver Broncos shipped off WR Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans in exchange for a 2019 4th-round pick, as well as a 2020 7th-round pick. Perhaps rookie Courtland Sutton is primed for a slightly larger role in the offense, but this more appears to be the Broncos cashing in on a future rebuild stage.

On the other hand, the Houston Texans have won five consecutive games, and now added arguably the best complement receiver in the NFL. Ranked 18th in passing and 15th in scoring, the Texans may be pushed into the top 10 in both categories by the end of the season. With a potential out in 2019, I see Houston as the perfect home for Thomas, who may be signed through the 2020 season.

Grade for Broncos: B

Grade for Texans: A


Featured Image:  Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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