Although it will likely never compare to Major League Baseball’s action-packed trade deadline, the NFL’s trade deadline has the potential to generate more activity in 2015 and moving forward given that it has been pushed back to a later date. With the new deadline coming in the first week of November, teams have a better idea of where they stand and whether they have a legitimate chance at the postseason, which could prompt non-contenders to make more deals than in recent memory.
Tight end has the potential to be an especially fertile trading ground, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who names Vernon Davis and Jared Cook as two players who could be on the move. Davis is perhaps the more likely candidate, for a number of reasons. He is in the final year of his contract, and there is little chance that he will return to San Francisco next season, given that his production has fallen off a cliff since his Pro Bowl performance in 2013. Additionally, the 49ers are in clear rebuilding mode, and it would make sense for them to at least recoup some value for Davis while they have the chance.
Of course, they will also need to weigh whether any potential compensation they receive from trading Davis would be more valuable than the compensatory pick they would receive when he signs with a different club. But as La Canfora writes, “landing a draft pick for Davis now–rather than waiting for a compensatory pick in 2017 should he leave as a free agent–would appeal to the 49ers.” Likewise, any team that trades for Davis would be in line for a compensatory pick should he sign elsewhere, thereby helping to offset the cost of trading for him right now. Davis has been battling injury, but he is nearing a return and would welcome a change of scenery. Any team dealing for him would be on the hook for roughly half of his $4.7MM salary, including weekly roster bonuses.
Cook, meanwhile, has two years and $14MM left on his contract beyond 2015, but all of his guaranteed money has been paid, so he could be released without any negative salary cap ramifications. Although his performance has been inconsistent, he does bring big-play potential to the tight end position, and given that the Rams have Lance Kendricks signed through 2018, other clubs will continue to call about Cook. The 2-3 Rams, though, are not exactly in rebuilding mode, which could make a trade for Cook less likely than a deal for Davis. But teams have expressed significant interest in both, and they could be headliners of the new trade deadline.