NFL’s Top Preseason Trade Candidates: Who’s On the Block

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


WR Corey Coleman became the first player to be traded this training camp, when the Browns sent the former No. 15 overall pick to the Bills on Sunday. Who might be next, and why might they be on the move? Our NFL Nation reporters have the likeliest candidates.


Arizona Cardinals

QB Mike Glennon. This much is known about the Cardinals’ quarterback depth chart: Sam Bradford is the starter, and Josh Rosen is the backup. That leaves Glennon as the third quarterback and possibly the odd man out. If a team with a quarterback injury in camp needs an immediate body, Glennon could be an option as a backup or starter, as he has experience with both. However, the Cardinals would have to think long and hard about moving Glennon because should Bradford go down, Glennon would become the backup. — Josh Weinfuss

Buffalo Bills

DE Shaq Lawson. Bills coach Sean McDermott said at the start of training camp that it was time for Lawson to “step up” after the 2016 first-round pick was ineffective at outside linebacker as a rookie for Rex Ryan and posted only four sacks as the Bills’ full-time starter last season at defensive end. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said early in camp that Lawson was improving — and he has been more effective as a pass-rusher in practice — but acknowledged that Trent Murphy remains the team’s top option at defensive end. Spending most of training camp on the second-team defense, Lawson could provide value to the Bills as a situational pass-rusher, but it seems more than reasonable for the team to listen to offers for him. — Mike Rodak

Carolina Panthers

RB Cameron Artis-Payne. His name hasn’t come up, but he and C.J. Anderson play basically the same role, as the power running back behind Christian McCaffrey. It’s hard to see Artis-Payne getting many — if any — game reps, even though he has looked good in practice. He wouldn’t be a big trade value, but if a team is in need of a power runner, he would be a trade option if the Panthers are looking to add depth in the secondary or along the offensive line. — David Newton

Dallas Cowboys

OT Chaz Green. The Cowboys signed Cameron Fleming in free agency to be their swing tackle this year after Green struggled as Tyron Smith‘s replacement in 2017. Green opened last year as the starter at left guard, but he lost the job to Jonathan Cooper, and the Cowboys drafted Connor Williams to handle the spot in 2018. Green was a third-round pick in 2015, so teams could look at his potential more than what he has done in his first three seasons as a reason to give up something. The return would not be anything major — perhaps a conditional pick — but teams can be desperate for offensive line help. — Todd Archer

Detroit Lions

RB Ameer Abdullah and S Miles Killebrew. Neither of these players should be a surprise because both of them have been mentioned multiple times as possible trade candidates since the draft. Detroit brought in two running backs (LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson), so former second-round pick Abdullah might have a smaller-than-expected role, but he still has the skill set to be a difference-maker somewhere. And Killebrew is in a tight safety room in which there are a bunch of players seemingly ahead of him. It’s highly possible that neither player gets traded and both end up on the Lions’ roster this season, but those are two of the deeper positions, and the depth could make either player expendable at the right price. — Michael Rothstein

Indianapolis Colts

TE Erik Swoope. The former college basketball player turned football player looked like he was ready to move into the No. 2 tight end role after a strong close to the 2016 season and trade of Dwayne Allen. But Swoope missed all of last season with a knee injury, and the Colts added Eric Ebron to be the second tight end to go with Jack Doyle during the past offseason. Swoope is having a strong training camp, which could make him a legitimate trade candidate, especially with the Colts liking fellow tight ends Ross Travis and Mo Alie-Cox. — Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

DE Dante Fowler Jr. It’s a bit of a stretch, but Fowler is probably the only player who fits here. He is suspended for the first game and is currently on the PUP list with a shoulder injury, so it would be hard for the Jaguars to unload him. They do like him as a player, but they also like the players they have behind him (DE Dawuane Smoot and rookie DE/DT Taven Bryan), and they’re unlikely to re-sign Fowler in the offseason, so they might listen if a team that needs a pass-rusher were to call. Fowler has 12.0 sacks the past two seasons (8.0 in 2017), and he had a pair of sacks against New England in the AFC Championship Game. The Jaguars are going to give DE Yannick Ngakoue a big deal soon, and they can’t keep both, so why not see if they can get something for Fowler? — Mike DiRocco

Miami Dolphins

DE Andre Branch. After signing a three-year, $24 million contract with Miami last offseason, Branch started 14 games but finished with only 4.5 sacks last season. The Dolphins tried to upgrade the position this offseason by acquiring Robert Quinn to pair with the ageless Cameron Wake, as well as William Hayes and 2017 first-round pick Charles Harris at defensive end. Branch was listed as part of the third-team defense in the Dolphins’ first preseason depth chart, which could put him on the fringe of the 53-man roster. His trade value could be reduced by his $7.9 million fully guaranteed base salary in 2018, though any team acquiring him would not owe him any guaranteed money in 2019. — Mike Rodak

New England Patriots

RB Mike Gillislee. The Patriots have Rex Burkhead, James White and Sony Michel as locks at running back, with Jeremy Hill competing against Gillislee for what could be a fourth spot. Gillislee was beaten out by Dion Lewis last season and was inactive for the Super Bowl, but there’s always a chance he could re-emerge this year. If not, perhaps the Patriots could find a willing trade partner for a hard-charging rusher they gave up a fifth-round pick to sign as a restricted free agent in 2017. Also, a player such as TE Will Tye might generate some modest interest based on his prior production (90 catches with the Giants between 2015 and ’16) and the Patriots’ crowded depth chart. — Mike Reiss

New Orleans Saints

CB P.J. Williams. The Saints appreciate the value of cornerback depth better than most teams after being plagued by injuries at the position in recent years. But Williams is currently penciled in as their No. 4 CB after they added veteran Patrick Robinson in free agency. He could have more value elsewhere if teams are in the market for a corner with some starting experience. — Mike Triplett

Oakland Raiders

DE Khalil Mack. Wait, what? Sure, the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year who made NFL history a year earlier by being named first-team All-Pro at both defensive end and outside linebacker is a foundation piece for the Raiders. But his holdout, which reached 10 days on Monday, is mystifying to many in the organization. Now, would it be smart for Oakland to trade the face of its defense as it begins a rebuild under Jon Gruden? Probably not, but as Gruden himself recently told NFL Network, the Raiders’ defense was not that good in 2017 with Mack. Ouch. GM Reggie McKenzie (jokingly?) asked me at the NFL owners meetings in March if I had an extra $100 million to help him pay Mack. And if a team flashed a first-round pick at Oakland for the services of Mack, who wants an extension beyond the almost $13.5 million he is scheduled to make this season under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract and the two franchise tags that could await him in 2019 and 2020, the Raiders would be silly to not at least listen. — Paul Gutierrez

Philadelphia Eagles

CB Rasul Douglas. Not that there has been heavy trade buzz, but the Eagles are well-stocked at corner and are in position to trade a DB if the right offer comes in. Douglas, a third-round pick out of West Virginia, is a big (6-foot-2, 209 pounds), physical cornerback with some upside. The Eagles have decent depth at receiver and along the offensive line as well. — Tim McManus

San Francisco 49ers

DB Jimmie Ward. The Niners have repeatedly said they’d be happy to keep Ward around as the ultimate insurance in their secondary, given Ward’s ability to play outside corner, free safety and in the nickel. That type of versatility undoubtedly has value, but the fact remains that Ward is not expected to start and comes with a price tag of $8.526 million. That’s a lot of money for a backup, but it might not be for a team that needs a starter at any of the above positions. The 49ers don’t need cap relief, so it’s unlikely they’ll actively shop Ward, but if a team has injury issues in its secondary during the preseason, it’s possible that the Niners could get an offer that would be too hard to pass up. — Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

S Earl Thomas. There might not be a more high-profile trade candidate in the NFL than Thomas, who is seeking a new deal that he isn’t likely to get from the Seahawks. Thomas seems to realize as much, recently calling again for the team to trade him if it isn’t going to extend him. Will conversations with the Dallas Cowboys ramp back up as the season opener draws near? The Cowboys could use an All-Pro playmaker on the back end of their defense, and the Seahawks could use a high draft pick as they continue to remake their roster (and perhaps an extra pass-rusher if Dallas is willing to part with one of those). A trade makes enough sense from each team’s perspective for it to be at least a decent possibility. — Brady Henderson

Washington Redskins

RB Samaje Perine. The Redskins have a glut of running backs, including Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. The first two will be their top two backs, and coach Jay Gruden continues to praise Kelley, who coaches say looks quicker this camp. They’d also like to keep another third-down back behind Thompson in either Byron Marshall or Kapri Bibbs. That leaves Perine as possibly the odd man out. He started eight games last season and averaged 3.4 yards per carry; he had to learn to run with patience and with more power. The Redskins’ fourth-round pick in 2017 could attract some suitors. — John Keim


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