The trade deadline passed on Tuesday, but reports of near-deals and trade talks featuring high-profile players continue to trickle in. Though the NFL trade deadline may never produce the anticipation that the MLB deadline seems to generate, NFL front offices are increasingly amenable to making deals, and this year’s deadline day brought with it 10 trades and 12 players changing teams, both league records. As Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, that type of activity is wildly popular among fans and therefore good for business, and Yates’ ESPN colleague, Adam Schefter, says multiple clubs have reached out to the league office this week to discuss the possibility of moving future deadlines to later dates.
In 2012, the league pushed the deadline back two weeks, from the Tuesday after Week 6 to the Tuesday after Week 8. Another move could see the deadline moved to sometime after Week 10 or Week 12, which would presumably produce even more trades. The idea is that, the later the deadline, the more clarity teams will have with respect to their status as a playoff contender, which will lead to more trade activity. Schefter hears that the issue will be raised at the general manager committee meetings later this month.
Now for more fallout and other notes from this year’s deadline extravaganza:
- Teams were perhaps most interested in improving their receiving talent at the deadline, as players like Chase Claypool, Calvin Ridley, Kadarius Toney, and T.J. Hockenson changed hands on or before deadline day, and big names like Brandin Cooks, Jerry Jeudy, DeAndre Hopkins, and D.J. Moore generated conversations as well. According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, the aggression on that front was inspired at least in part by a weak 2023 class of free agent receivers headlined by the likes of Jakobi Meyers, Deonte Harty, Nelson Agholor, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. On a related note, Joel Corry of CBS Sports believes that, if the Saints choose to move on from Michael Thomas this offseason, they may find a number of suitors, despite Thomas’ recent injury woes (Twitter link).
- It was indeed the Rams who were willing to trade two first-round picks to the Panthers in exchange for DE Brian Burns, as Jones writes in a separate piece. Confirming prior reports, Jones says Los Angeles offered its 2024 and 2025 first-round selections — the team is without a 2023 first-round pick to due to last year’s Matthew Stafford trade — and he adds that the club also included a 2023 second-round choice in its final proposal. Carolina gave serious consideration to the offer, but it ultimately elected to hold onto Burns, which will increase the player’s leverage in offseason extension talks. Per Jones, Burns is likely to land a deal that far exceeds the $110MM pact that the Dolphins recently authorized for their own deadline acquisition, Bradley Chubb.
- Speaking of the Panthers, we learned earlier today that the club also turned down a first-round pick for Moore. The Panthers’ reticence to trade its young talent (aside from Christian McCaffrey, of course) was on full display at the deadline, and while the decisions to retain Moore and Burns were certainly defensible, every executive with whom Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post spoke was shocked that the club did not pull the trigger on Burns. “I can’t believe they turned [the Rams’ offer] down. Now they almost have to pay him whatever he wants because everyone knows they turned down two [first-round picks] for him,” one GM said. Apparently, cornerback Donte Jackson also drew some trade interest, though another GM said the Panthers were asking too much for him as well.
- The 49ers‘ acquisition of McCaffrey will necessitate some “bean-counting creativity” from GM John Lynch this offseason, as Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle opines. The team’s impending cap crunch, intensified by McCaffrey’s $12MM cap hit for 2023, will make it more difficult for the club to retain QB Jimmy Garoppolo — though that may not have been in the cards anyway — and RT Mike McGlinchey.
- Bears head coach Matt Eberflus acknowledged that one of the reasons his team traded linebacker Roquan Smith is because of Smith’s lack of ball production relative to his peers, particularly the peers who have contracts that Smith wants to top, as Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Compared to fellow 2018 draftee and three-time First Team All-Pro Shaquille Leonard, for instance, Smith has five fewer interceptions (seven), 16 fewer forced fumbles (one), and six fewer fumble recoveries (one) over the course of his career.
- The Lions‘ trade of Hockenson will naturally create more playing time for second-year pro Brock Wright — who is expected to step into the starting TE role — and fifth-round rookie James Mitchell, as Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website notes. Mitchell, who is still strengthening and rehabbing the torn ACL he suffered as a collegian at Virginia Tech in 2021, has played just 21 offensive snaps this season but offers big-play upside at the tight end position.
9 comments on “Trade Deadline Notes: Burns, R. Smith, 49ers”
What’s the point of trading a young building block like Brian Burns for two likely mid to late first round picks? So they could hopefully hit on one of those picks and maybe even draft a young core piece………like Brian Burns?!
With the way the Rams are playing, those picks look more likely to be mid first rounders than late first rounders. (Especially since they don’t seem have a ton of obvious ways of getting better.) You’re also not mentioning the second rounder for this year, which isn’t looking much worse than a late first at the moment.
I get your point about already having a core piece, and for the most part, I’d rather take the bird in the hand than two in the bush. So your logic makes a lot of sense. But you’re basically committing yourself to paying about $25 million a year for a pretty good but not *great* pass rusher, on a team that won’t really be good any time soon. They already have Burns and they’re pretty bad.
So basically the two options are overpaying to keep a solid player and probably having a bad team, or keeping that cap flexibility and having three premium picks to try and actually build a roster. To me, not taking that offer is borderline incompetence.
One thing I feel is necessary to add: Burns might be a good, not *great* player currently, but he seems to be improving year over year. If he continues to make incremental strides, he might find himself in that upper echelon of edge rushers soon. It’s already not unfathomable that he reaches double digit sacks this season and I could see an all-pro performance in the near future.
It’s important to keep in mind that GMs aren’t handing out big contracts based on past performance, but expected future performance.
Rory, as you note, the Niners weren’t intending to carry McGlinchey over into ’23, and his play is only reinforcing that. As for Garoppolo and the Niners’ QB plans for ’23, who knows anymore?
Panthers are nuts for declining 2 firsts and a 2nd for Burns. They aren’t winning anytime soon.
I can see them turning down 2 *future* 1sts, because you get nothing of immediate value.
But adding a 2nd this year too? Boy it arguably gets negligent at that point. Especially with LAR already looking like a team in decline with future cap issues. Those could be some high picks.
And yeah he’s great, and there’s no guarantee any of the 3 picks would be as hood as him, but until they land a Franchise QB, they should be trying to give themselves as much ammo to land one as possible.
Why refuse to listen to DJ Moore offers when he’s only going back to being Mayfield’s new OBJ?
Being rich in draft capital doesn’t necessarily translate to more success. The Browns had 36 picks between 2015-17 and parlayed that into 4 wins.
I don’t trust Panthers management to do anything right, especially considering they gave a college coach a 7 year deal.