• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

NFL roundtable: Which teams should pursue deals before deadline?

·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

When it comes to the NFL trade deadline, there's often a gulf between what some teams should do and what they're willing to do.

The annual cutoff at around midseason provides the last chance for a significant infusion of talent - or opportunity to clear some cap space and load up on draft picks, for those teams selling. But while the deadline has spurred a handful of moves in recent years, many organizations are still content to stand pat.

After already covering which teams could be buyers or sellers this year, we asked USA TODAY Sports' NFL reporters, columnists and editors:

Which teams should make a trade ahead of this year's deadline?

Their answers:

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) takes on the field with defensive end Zach Sieler (92) and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg (74) prior the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) takes on the field with defensive end Zach Sieler (92) and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg (74) prior the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium.

Jarrett Bell

Miami. And Houston. Still. We've been waiting for the trigger to be pulled on a Deshaun Watson trade for way too long. Of course, the other trigger to be pulled on the erstwhile, uh, in-limbo Houston Texans quarterback involves his off-the-field drama and potential suspension. Regardless, the Dolphins can re-boot their program (eventually) with Watson. And hey, he wants to be in South Florida. By striking the deal now, Miami can perhaps swallow any potential suspension on this season's ledger and set the table for Watson for 2022. As for the Texans, they're pretty used to saying farewell to talented players. I mean, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, Duane Brown and Jadeveon Clowney all previously toiled in Houston. So, it's time to finally add Watson to that list.

Jori Epstein

The Packers know the damage a talented quarterback can impose on a secondary; their own gun slinger, Aaron Rodgers, regularly puts on a clinic. So Green Bay must also know it must bolster its depleted cornerback room as Jaire Alexander (injured reserve) and Kevin King battle shoulder injuries. Even after beating the Cardinals and Kyler Murray, the Packers must take on attacks led by Patrick Mahomes and Matthew Stafford before December.

Current Broncos cornerback Kyle Fuller, whom Denver seems ready to move on from, can help. Fuller poses a division threat with six seasons of experience in the NFC North, twice earning Pro Bowl honors with the Bears. He’s shown a knack for pass deflections and interceptions, his 2018-19 stretch a haul of 31 deflections and 10 picks. Yes, Fuller seems to no longer be of interest to Denver and head coach Vic Fangio. But new scenery and familiar division opponents will bode well for Fuller, who in turn can help prevent repeats akin to the Packers’ 38-3 opening loss to the Saints. Will this be Green Bay’s last year with Rodgers? They should give him the pieces to threaten in this postseason—and maybe even encourage him to return for another campaign.

Mike Freeman

The Panthers need to trade for a quarterback and, no, not Deshaun Watson. He could end up in the hoosegow. What seems certain is their current quarterback, Sam Darnold, isn’t the future. Yes, he played for a horrible franchise in the Jets, and the Panthers aren’t significantly better, but Darnold was benched this past week against a hapless, injured Giants team. If the Dolphins trade for Watson then the Panthers should pursue Tua Tagovailoa. He’d be a significant upgrade over Darnold. A lot of quarterbacks would be.

Mike Jones

Outside of the Houston Texans, who need to move Deshaun Watson (although it’s still a very complicated situation), the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants would be my picks.

The Odell Beckham Jr. experiment has not worked for the Browns. Health has been an issue his entire time there, but so too has chemistry. Baker Mayfield and Cleveland’s offense actually seemed to flow more naturally without Beckham last year. There are teams that could use improved depth at wide receiver, so the Browns should get on the horn (maybe hit up Green Bay?) and see if they can move OBJ.

The Giants are going nowhere, so they should save some money (a little more than $3 million in cap space) and trade away tight end Evan Engram. The Packers would make sense here as well. Matt LaFleur’s offense could use another impactful tight end. The Titans have strong receivers, but are a little weak at tight end. Engram seemingly could help them as well. The Saints also could use help in this department.

And I’m going to add one more. Brandin Cooks isn’t happy in Houston, and since they’re looking to move multiple players to save money and bolster their collection of draft picks, they should put him on the trading block as well. They’d be smart to call a team like Detroit, where Jared Goff could use some more help. In-season transitions can be challenging for some wideouts. But Cooks and Goff played together in L.A. and can benefit from that chemistry if they reunite.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

The Los Angeles Chargers are not ones for bold moves at the trade deadline, as general manager Tom Telesco has prized draft picks so highly that he hasn't acquired a player before the cutoff in his nine years as general manager. His team is a real contender in the wide-open AFC, though, and he needs to take a hard look at his run defense in the coming days. The Bolts were most recently gashed by the Baltimore Ravens for 187 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and things don't look promising for a front seven allowing a league-worst 5.4 yards per carry - barring a move by Telesco. Help at inside linebacker or on the defensive line would make it easier to buy into the Chargers' chances in the playoffs.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' NFL coverage on Twitter @usatodaynfl.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL trade deadline: Which teams should pull off deals?