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NFL trade deadline primer: Players and teams to observe


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The Carolina Panthers have been the focus heading into the NFL’s trade deadline, which looms on the primary day of November. That can remain the case.

The rebuilding franchise already has accomplished two deals — including last week’s Christian McCaffrey blockbuster that we told you was coming a couple of month ago — and the expectation across the industry stays that the Panthers will proceed amassing draft capital with a minimum of two more transactions, most probably focused on the offensive and line of defense. While there remains to be a probability they move one other star player — rival general managers proceed to poke and prod and make attempts to pry more young talent out of Carolina — the executives I spoke with over the weekend consider the percentages of Carolina dealing star pass rusher Brian Burns or versatile defensive back Jeremy Chinn are scant.

But don’t rule it out entirely. It seems clear the Panthers want it known that they turned down a suggestion of two first-round draft picks for Burns, although an ESPN report on the matter was perplexing in another front offices.

“They wanted a primary and a second for Burns once we spoke with them last week,” said a high-ranking official from one team who had been in touch with Panthers officials and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is just not permitted to discuss potential transactions.

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If the Panthers were in a position to get 2023 and 2024 first-rounders for Burns, the evaluators I spoke to consider they’d be silly to not take them. And while former Maryland receiver DJ Moore is more likely than not to remain in Carolina, a minimum of one general manager believes — given the exploding returns for receivers within the offseason — he remains to be in play should a suitor exude sufficient desperation.

Carolina General Manager Scott Fitterer is attempting to reposition the franchise on the fly and make the case why this front office should stay intact for 2023, despite coach Matt Rhule being fired lower than a 3rd of the best way into his third season. Collecting a kitty of high draft picks is one solution to impress the boss, team owner David Tepper, whose run atop the franchise has been undistinguished to say the least.

Contending teams, at all times seeking to fortify their pass rush and offensive line, consider Carolina end Henry Anderson is a main candidate to be dealt, with offense tackle Cameron Erving also seen as someone potentially on the move.

The Rams may be shopping again

Which teams do executives consider may be most willing to interact in that desperation-mode variety of midseason transaction? The three-3 Rams are one in all the more distinguished franchises named.

It was widely assumed among the many executives I spoke with that the Rams were the runners-up for McCaffrey. Also they are seen as a team that was more likely to have made a considerable offer for Burns. The Rams’ pass rush has gone to mush, three-time defensive player of the yr Aaron Donald is just not having a transcendent season by his standards, and the franchise is already highly leveraged in “win now” mode. (Rams GM Les Snead famously wore an “F— them picks” T-shirt while celebrating last yr’s Super Bowl win.) And the team’s offensive line play has been so poor that it’s undermining the Rams’ ability to maneuver the ball on the bottom or through the air.

They’re already depleted within the short term from their bonanza of trades, but there are at all times future drafts to chop into. Nobody in football believes the Rams are going to alter course now, with one general manager stating that payroll is rarely a problem for that franchise. Two executives pointed to Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil as a main potential goal; franchise left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired after the Super Bowl, and the void has been acute. Tunsil has a team-friendly $18.5 million base salary for 2023, the Texans are nowhere near competing despite their perpetual rebuild, and with an extension unlikely they may be smart to lean into 2024 and 2025 draft pick returns if that’s what it takes.

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Rams owner Stan Kroenke gives his football people wide berth and is already about $100 million over the cap in actual dollars spent in salary. There’s a powerful expectation across the league that the Rams could add one other pass catcher as well, with the team actively re-recruiting injured former all-pro Odell Beckham Jr., who played no small role of their championship ascent last season. Coach Sean McVay made it abundantly clear in an offseason chat that the Rams would push the boundaries to get Beckham back within the fold — and that was well before their season got off to a rocky start.

Don’t expect a Chase Claypool deal

For all of the chatter a couple of possible trade of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool to Green Bay, I wouldn’t get my hopes up, Packers fans. Such a trade wouldn’t come easy, and the Steelers aren’t in a rush to deal young, low cost talent.

There are ample teams seeking to add to their offense ahead of the deadline — the Rams, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to call a couple of — and there are ongoing conversations about Carolina’s Moore and several other Recent York Jets receivers. Teams are also probing the Steelers about Claypool, the 24-year-old third-year pro. With the Steelers already having already paid Diontae Johnson, with George Pickens emerging as a possible force in his rookie season, and with that team generally judicious about spreading salary around, the questions make sense.

However the Steelers try to offer as many options for rookie Kenny Pickett as possible because the franchise goes through the arduous strategy of breaking in a novice quarterback for the primary time in almost twenty years. Nothing is unimaginable on this league, but the percentages of somebody offering Pittsburgh a deal it could actually’t refuse for a player whose production has been this spotty don’t appear great.

Running backs could possibly be on the move

The running back market — on this age of throw-on-every-down football — isn’t often that strong, but there’s an expectation across the league that McCaffrey and Jacksonville’s James Robinson, who was traded to the Jets on Monday night, won’t be the last backs dealt.

The Rams have made no secret about their desire to maneuver Cam Akers, though getting much in return is already proving difficult and that appears unlikely to alter. Denver’s Melvin Gordon had a falling-out with besieged rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett, and with the Broncos’ season already looking lost, some executives think attempting to get a pick for the 29-year-old would make sense.

Just a few general managers have ruminated on the potential for a Kareem Hunt deal. The Cleveland Browns are reeling; with Nick Chubb rolling, Hunt sees only a fraction of the motion of their backfield that he might elsewhere, and maybe the Browns could get each a future pick and a veteran depth piece to assist fill their massive void at defensive tackle in the event that they dealt the 27-year-old.

“Hunt can be the most effective back in the marketplace, and it’s not even close,” said one GM who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is just not allowed to debate other teams’ rosters. “Don’t they’ve like 4 backs on their roster, anyway? That defense needs help.”

Hunt has 81 touches in seven games (Chubb has 135), hardly an insignificant role, but when the Browns were to get additional compensation based on Hunt’s participation increasing elsewhere, a deal may be much more price leaning into. With the Browns at 2-5, a Monday night loss to the visiting Bengals in Week 8 could possibly be damning to Cleveland’s aspirations.

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