5 Key NFL Stories: 10/22/17 – 10/29/17

Trade deadline primer. With the NFL’s trade deadline only two days away, rumors are everywhere. Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton could possibly be available, while Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll strongly denied tight end Jimmy Graham could be used as a trade chit. Seattle is on the lookout for an offensive tackle, however, with the Bills’ Cordy Glenn and the Texans’ Duane Brown among the club’s possible targets. Meanwhile, clubs are asking the Lions about retired wideout Calvin Johnson‘s rights, while Detroit tight end Eric Ebron is also purportedly on the block.

Jaguars fortify their defense. Jacksonville made a massive — both in terms of magnitude and the player in question’s size — acquisition over the weekend by sending a 2018 sixth-round pick to the Bills in exchange for defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. The Jaguars, who already rank first overall in defensive DVOA, hope they’ll be able to motivate Dareus into improving their run defense. Buffalo, meanwhile, wasn’t actively shopping Dareus, but general manager Brandon Beane has now cleared a hefty contract from the Bills’ books while removing a player in Dareus who may not have bought into the club’s culture. In addition to acquiring Dareus, the Jaguars also inked linebacker Telvin Smith to a four-year, $44MM extension.Joe Thomas (vertical)

Stalwart left tackles go down. Joe Thomas had never missed a snap during his NFL career, but he’s now on injured reserve after suffering a torn triceps in Week 7. The Browns will now lose the opportunity to trade Thomas — something they likely had no interest in doing anyway — and will go forward with Spencer Drango at left tackle. The Eagles, meanwhile, lost their blindside protector when Jason Peters suffered a torn ACL, and could now be open to acquiring another left tackle via the trade market.

Anquan Boldin wants to play. Boldin surprisingly retired just weeks after signing a one-year deal with the Bills earlier this year, but now he wants back in the league. The only problem? Buffalo still controls his rights, and has no plans to release Boldin to the open market. While the Bills’ front office says there’s a small chance Boldin could return to Buffalo, the veteran wideout reportedly wants to play closer to his Florida home. The Bills are open to trading Boldin, but aren’t expecting much in the way of offers.

Dwight Freeney finds a home. At long last, Freeney is back in the NFL after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Seahawks. Seattle was on the hunt for defensive line depth after losing Cliff Avril for the rest of the season, and Freeney was among the best edge rushers available on the open market. Freeney, who said he was close to hanging up his cleats after garnering little offseason interest, will earn a prorated $1MM base salary, plus an additional $8K for each game he’s on the 53-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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