Shield Talk: Eight trade deadline deals to ponder


Brent Jansen, Columnist

The NFL’s trade deadline is approaching and there has already been a bit of drama. The Cowboys have sold a first-round pick for a slightly above average player, the Giants traded the wrong Eli, and the Jaguars added insurance for Leonard Fournette. But with several days left before the trade deadline, it is time to do what every sports journalist loves to do: SPECULATE!

Here are eight trades and moves that should be made in each division but WON’T happen.

AFC North: Bengals trade for Cardinals’ safety Patrick Peterson

Everyone wants to hear about Le’Veon Bell and what his future might be. Bell was originally planning on reporting to the team this past week and play for the Steelers the remainder of the season, but Bell still hasn’t reported to the team. There is a good chance the Steelers trade Bell away making it a very probable trade and one that doesn’t belong on this list. That is why the trade that should but won’t happen is the Bengals trading for Patrick Peterson. After an ugly start to the season, Cardinals’ safety Patrick Peterson expressed a desire to be traded out. The Bengals need help in the secondary, especially going against the passing attacks of the Steelers, Chargers, and Saints coming up. Unfortunately for the Bengals, Peterson apologized and claims that he plans to stay with the team.

AFC East: Bills trade for Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

The Bills and Cardinals both are teams whose season is just about over. The difference is the strength of schedule. The Bills’ schedule for the remainder of the season is much easier (with the exception of the Patriots…twice) than the Cardinals. To say the season is salvageable for the Bills is generous, but Fitzgerald will help you win games, especially because Kelvin Benjamin is the Bills’ current number one receiver. Fitzgerald, who most likely will retire in the next two seasons, could also be bought for cheap since he is older. The difference is that Fitzgerald is still performing at a top level at age 35. The reason this trade won’t happen is that Larry Fitzgerald is a Cardinal and will want to retire a Cardinal. Fitzgerald is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer who has made his career in red. Leaving the team, while not hurting his chances of entering the Hall of Fame, will certainly tarnish the legacy he built in Arizona.

AFC South: Jaguars trade for ANY quarterback (except Nate Peterman)

The Jaguars have struggled, offensively and defensively. It is hard to understand why. Their defense is just about the same personnel-wise. Regardless, their offense is also struggling. This can be attributed to the lack of Leonard Fournette, who carried the offense last season. The issue now is Blake Bortles. Bortles was benched last week due to lack of performance. Bortles is a hot topic in Jacksonville because some believe the Jaguars cannot win a championship with him at the helm. If the Jaguars could upgrade their quarterback position (even slightly) they would get the boost in production needed to save their season and compete for a championship. The reason they won’t do this is that they just signed Bortles to a contract extension and want to show him that they are committed until they know they have a backup plan.

AFC West: Raiders continue selling talent

Jon Gruden is facing more criticism than any coach in the league for his shocking trades. Gruden sent Khalil Mack, arguably the best defensive player in football, to Chicago before the season starts. Gruden also sent top receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas. While this seems like bad moves, Gruden has somehow negotiated multiple first-round picks out of these deals. How? Good negotiating tactics maybe. But it is clear that Gruden knows how to get the best value out of a deal. So, why not keep dealing? Sell Carr. Sell Osemele. Sell Lynch. Stockpile draft picks and makes sure you use them correctly. The reason Gruden won’t do this is that of public perception. He doesn’t want to lose the trust of the front office before he has a chance to make use of his picks.

NFC North: Packers trade for Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell

This one might not be so crazy. The Packers need help in the run game and there just happens to be an all-star on the market. Bell may or not be traded, but if he is, whoever lands him will have to fork over some serious cash after the season. Bell is leaving Pittsburgh because they wouldn’t pay him what he believes he deserves. If the Packers traded for Bell, they would have to make him the highest paid running back in the league (most likely). And for a team that just paid Aaron Rodgers a ridiculous amount of money, they won’t likely be looking to pay Bell what he wants.

NFC East: Giants trade for Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles

Nick Foles is a name that hasn’t been talked about leading up to the trade deadline. He is a Super Bowl MVP and also not being utilized by his current team. That makes him ripe for a trade. Unfortunately, the Eagles won’t be dealing out Foles, at least not to the Giants. Foles is the perfect insurance policy for a recovering Carson Wentz, and while Foles is under his current contract, there is no reason not to keep him. From the Giants’ perspective, benching Eli got a coach fired last year, so Pat Shurmur wants to avoid making the same mistake that Ben McAdoo made. But in reality, the Giants need to do something about Eli. Foles could be that answer.

NFC South: Falcons trade for Cardinals’ safety Patrick Peterson

After losing two safeties to injury, the Falcons are in trouble. They need desperate safety help. Patrick Peterson is a great safety, and after the Cardinals disappointing offensive performance this season, Peterson is looking for a formidable offense to play alongside. But for the reasons talked about earlier, Peterson isn’t leaving the Cardinals…but he should.

NFC West: Rams sell wide receiver Cooper Kupp

Cooper Kupp has become a solid number three for the Rams prolific offense. The problem the Rams are facing now is that they will most likely hold a very late spot in the upcoming draft. Ask any NFL team, this is a good problem to have. But the Rams have already played games without Cooper Kupp this season due to injury. But Kupp’s injury is short-term and he plans to return this season. If you can sell Kupp for a second-round pick, you can gain draft stock without hurting your team’s current productivity. The Rams won’t do this, though, because a team looking as strong and successful as the Rams do not want to tamper with a winning formula.