The NFL trade deadline might not be as exciting as its counterparts in other major North American sports. In fact, he tends to pale in comparison to those deadlines and other events on his own annual league schedule, including free agency and the NFL draft.
That said, it is still a critical part of the NFL season schedule. It represents the last chance for teams to make significant improvements without having to fight other teams for the service of each player in the free agent market and wire transfer.
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Additionally, the NFL trade deadline has become more active in recent years. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted teams to re-evaluate their salary cap situations, so that could influence this year’s deadline.
If a team isn’t competing now or isn’t using a player with a major contract, they may be looking to ditch some of their assets to make room in the future salary cap to rebuild. That’s part of the reason we’ve already seen guys like Stephon Gilmore and Zach Ertz trade.
There will be a lot of business rumors before the deadline. Many will surround the embattled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, but other players could emerge on teams that are going nowhere, like Brandin Cooks and Jamison Crowder. Also the players who don’t fit in well in their current teams (we’re looking at you, Odell Beckham Jr.).
Below is everything you need to know about the details of the 2021 NFL trade deadline, including a list of potential targets for teams looking to make deals.
IYER: A trade deadline deal that every move should make in 2021
When is the deadline for NFL trades in 2021?
- Date: Tuesday, November 2
- Weather: 4 pm ET
The NFL trade deadline will be Tuesday, November 2 at 4 pm ET. Some trades may not be announced until after 4pm ET, but all must be agreed and reported to the league office prior to that time.
There were a handful of trades before the 2020 deadline, but only one occurred in 2019. There will be a lot of trading rumors before the 2021 trade deadline.
Can NFL teams trade after the deadline?
NFL teams cannot trade after the trade deadline. Teams will not be able to complete trades until the new league year begins in March 2022. The NFL has not officially announced when the new league year begins, though it typically comes on the eve of free agency.
However, teams can agree agreements in principle before the league year begins. That happens at times during the offseason, as we saw with the Rams’ trade for Matthew Stafford in 2021 and Washington’s trade for Alex Smith in 2018.
NFL COMMERCIAL GRADES: Stephon Gilmore
NFL Business News
– October 23: The Broncos acquire defensive end Stephen Weatherly and a 2023 Vikings seventh-round pick for a 2022 seventh-round pick.
– October 15th: The Cardinals acquire tight end Zach Ertz from the Eagles in exchange for cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round pick.
– October 6: The patriots Commerce cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
– October 5th: The Dolphins Commerce wide receiver and shift man Jakeem Grant to the Bears for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
NFL Trade Deadline Rumors: Possible Business Goals
The NFL expanded its postseason in 2020, so now 14 teams make the NFL playoffs. That means there are more teams chasing the playoffs and therefore more buyers in the commercial market.
That hypothetically makes it more attractive for some of the league’s basement dwellers to dump talent, as there is more competition for available assets. Teams like the Texans, Dolphins and Jets could choose to speed up their rebuilds, while some players from potential playoff contenders could also use changes of scenery.
QB Deshaun Watson, Texans
Watson is the biggest potential award of the NFL trade deadline. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but he’s also dealing with a ton of legal issues off the field, having been charged with sexual assault and sexual misconduct in 22 lawsuits. However, the NFL has yet to declare him ineligible to play, so he could play this year.
The Texans want at least three first-round picks for Watson. Will a team pay so much considering their problems? That remains unclear.
MORE: Can Deshaun Watson Play This Year?
WR Odell Beckham Jr., Brown
Beckham’s time with the Browns has not gone as expected. He has recorded just 226 receiving yards on 16 receptions in five games this year and has never shown good chemistry with Baker Mayfield during his time in Cleveland. Beckham is still a very talented receiver, so perhaps a contender in need of a receiver, like the Packers, could make a deal to acquire the 28-year-old receiver.
CB Kyle Fuller, Broncos
The Broncos have ample corner space. They passed the No. 9 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in Patrick Surtain and have used Ronald Darby and Bryce Callahan as their nickel starters this year. That has left Fuller as the stranger when Darby has been healthy.
Fuller has appeared in 102 games with 99 career starts and has 19 interceptions. The 29-year-old can still function as a starter, so perhaps a playoff team is looking to acquire the veteran.
OT Andre Dillard, Eagles
Dillard is a former first-round pick, but has never emerged as a starter for the Eagles. Instead, Jordan Mailata has become the left tackle of the future. Dillard won’t be a free agent until 2023, so the team could choose to keep him at swing tackle until next season.
However, if a team sees Dillard as a starter, perhaps they will give the Eagles an attractive package for him. After all, Dillard looked good rather than an injured Mailata earlier in the season.
RB Marlon Mack, Colts
In fact, Mack has demanded a trade from the Colts. He is buried behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines in the Colts’ backfield rotation, but has averaged 4.4 yards per carry during his career. It could be a good chunk of a backfield rotation and with so many backs hitting, a contender might see it as a cheap upgrade.
WR Brandin Cooks, Texans
The 28-year-old Cooks has already been traded three times during his NFL career. He could be happy to be traded again to leave the Texans. Cooks is on track for a 107 catch, 1,283-yard season with the Texans, and that is working with Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes would surely appreciate Cooks’ service at No. 2 receiver.
BY LJ Collier, Seahawks
Collier had three sacks as a rotating player for the Seahawks last year. This year, he has played in just two games and has been a healthy scratch in others. That’s not the production you want from a former first-round pick. The Seahawks could look to move him if they don’t see a future with him in Seattle. And another team could risk their athletic advantage.
WR Andy Isabella, Cardinals
Like Collier, Isabella is a former top draft pick (second-round pick) who has struggled to decipher Arizona’s deep receiver rotation. He’s an ultra-fast receiver that can help teams looking to add speed to their offense. The Cardinals probably wouldn’t ask for much in return for Isabella, who hasn’t played an offensive play and has played just six special teams plays in total.
WR Jamison Crowder, Jets
The Jets have invested heavily in catching the past two offseason, adding free agents Corey Davis and Keelan Cole to the fold and spending second-round picks on Denzel Mims (2020) and Elijah Moore (2021). Crowder is a quality slots catcher and the 28 year old would be an instant slots upgrade for teams battling for a wild card spot.
RB Melvin Gordon, Broncos
Would the Broncos trade Gordon? They just spent a second-round pick on Javonte Williams, so it’s possible. The two have played relatively evenly so far, but if the team wants to unleash UNC’s Williams product, ditching Gordon could pay dividends. Gordon is one of the best running backs that could be traded, averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season.
WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots
Harry hasn’t worked since being selected in the first round by the Patriots in 2019. He has lagged behind on the Patriots’ receiver depth chart as Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor are ahead of him. Harry may need a change of scenery to realize his potential and Bill Belichick is never afraid to make moves in the commercial market.
MORE: Why the Eagles Traded Zach Ertz
Why are NFL trades so rare?
The NFL trade deadline is arguably the weakest of the four major sports leagues in the United States, as it definitely has less action than the NBA, NHL, and MLB.
However, there is a reason for this. Mainly, it’s because of the way the NFL salary cap works, as detailed by Sporting News contributor Jason Fitzgerald in a 2019 article.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.