(Image credit Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
The NFL Trade Deadline is approaching soon and this got me thinking. Who will be the teams that buy, avoid any negotiation, or sell players during the trade deadline? In this article, I will start with the NFC North and take a look at what each team will possibly do during the trade deadline.
Chicago Bears - Sellers
The trade deadline is a perfect opportunity for the Bears to get rid of some awful contracts on their team so they can invest during the offseason and help build a team for Justin Fields. I don’t see the Bears as a playoff team right now especially with the current core that is on this roster. Their o-line is a mess, lacks receiver depth, and their defense has regressed.
Players the Bears can trade away
LB Danny Trevathan - A lot of people may disagree with me on this one but Trevathan is past his prime and has had durability concerns. He may be coming off another injury but Trevathan has two more years left on his contract and according to Spotrac trading, Trevathan would clear around 5 million dollars in salary cap that the team can utilize to help resign players including DT Akiem Hicks, OL Germain Ifedi, WR Jakeem Grant, and OL James Daniels.
TE Jimmy Graham - Cole Kmet has taken over the starting Tight End position for the Chicago Bears. Jimmy Graham has not done much since losing the job to Cole Kmet. He is not the long-term option and currently has a cap hit at around 5.3 million in the salary cap. I can see a Tight End needy team who are pulling for a deep playoff push make an offer for Graham’s services.
RB Damien Williams - Currently David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen are dealing with injuries. I expected Damien Williams to have a big performance with their absence but it turns out that Khalil Herbert may take over as the starter. It really looks like the Bears may have something in him and has shown a ton of flashes during his time with the Bears last week against the Las Vegas Raiders. Once Tarik Cohen gets activated from the PUP list which hopefully for the Bears is soon I could see the Bears potentially get more draft capital by shipping off Williams for a late-round pick.
Detroit Lions - Sellers
No question here as the Lions are easily the worst team in the NFC North and even the entire conference. There is no chance that the Lions sacrifice draft capital in order to trade for players. So what they will do is sell anyone they can to get more draft picks to help rebuild the Lions.
Players the Lions can Trade away
OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai - Ok this may go what I said against sacrificing draft picks but this is a different scenario to get rid of the worst contract currently on the Detroit Lions Salary Cap as his cap hit currently is around 10.4 million dollars. Vaiatai is not worth that amount of money and has struggled during his tenure with the team. If you did not read my worst contracts on every team in the AFC Conference I said that Vaitai currently has the worst contract on the Detroit Lions. There is a way to get out of his awful contract without having to pay a ton of dead cap. The Lions currently have two first-round picks (Jared Goff trade) and they got a compensatory 3rd round pick due to losing Kenny Golladay in Free Agency. What the Lions could do in trade negotiations is offer one of those picks to a team but they have to take on Vaitai’s contract. I call this the Osweiler Effect as the Cleveland Browns did this by acquiring Osweiler from the Texans but the Browns admitted the interest was the second-round pick that the Texans were offering to take his awful contract. The Texans win by getting salary cap relief by getting rid of an awful contract and the Browns get a valuable second-round selection that they can use to rebuild. Fun Fact the pick turned into RB Nick Chubb so, in reality, the Browns won this trade. But the Lions can do something similar so that they can get salary relief and help improve the Lions during the offseason by signing top free agents.
Anyone on the Lions Secondary - The Lions secondary is a complete trainwreck right now but what you can't take away from them is that they are young and some teams are willing to take a risk and develop that player in their secondary. I can see the Lions offering anyone in that secondary during the deadline for any value. Heck, I think the Lions would take a long snapper in any trade involving their secondary. It is an extra draft pick that the Lions can help utilize when building their team.
Minnesota Vikings - Buyers
I absolutely believe that the Vikings will try to buy at the deadline especially as Jobs could be at stake at Minnesota if they don't make the players. I think Head Coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman are on the hot seat even though both signed three-year extensions with the Vikings in 2020. Even though they are tight salary-wise I can absolutely see the Vikings buy during the trade deadline and make trades for cheap players to help bolster the team
Positions the Vikings could trade for
Cornerback - Absolutely the Vikings desperately need help at cornerback. Excluding Patrick Peterson the cornerbacks are terrible. I am still shocked Bashaud Breeland is still on the Vikings roster as he is more of a liability than a benefit. I won't be shocked if the Vikings decide to sell Breeland during the deadline and invest in strengthening the secondary. This team almost lost to the Detroit Lions due to how bad the secondary was.
Linebackers - The Linebacker core has been completely disappointing for the Vikings Anthony Barr has been a complete failure for the team. Eric Kendricks has been okay but he is starting to decline. If I were the Minnesota Vikings I would absolutely start looking at trying to acquire more depth to help cover tight ends. The Vikings got heavily exposed in this during their last game against the Detroit Lions.
Wide Receiver - Excluding Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen the receiving core is not that good. KJ Osborn has promise but I don't have a ton of confidence in the receiving core. I can see the Vikings trying to bolster the receiving core especially if Adam Thielen or Justin Jefferson possibly suffer a season-ending injury. Plus the Tight ends are a complete mess and Chris Herndon has continued to be a tremendous disappointment and the Vikings paid a 4th round selection for him.
Green Bay Packers - Buyers
Absolutely the Packers will be buyers during the trade deadline. This is their last shot at winning a Superbowl with Aaron Rodgers as he will not return to the Packers next season. It's Superbowl or bust for the Packers. I think that the Packers absolutely have to buy at the deadline to ensure they get a Lombardi trophy.
Positions the Packers could trade for
Cornerback - Especially as Jaire Alexander is dealing with an injury and who knows when he will return. I like Erik Stokes and he has been a solid selection for the Packers but I would not trust Kevin King in the Packers secondary. Especially as last season during the NFC Championship game last year as that was the moment where his confidence was shattered. It would be a smart move to bolster the secondary at cornerback and look into options via trade on how they can improve the secondary until Alexander returns from injury.
Offensive Lineman - The Packers offensive line is a complete mess ever since the departure of Bryan Bulaga and Corey Lindsley. David Bakhtiari is still recovering from his injuries once he returns this o-line should be better. But remember the more a team invests on the offensive line the more successful an offense is. I think that it would be a brilliant idea if the Packers would bring more protection for Aaron Rodgers and another lineman that can open more holes for AJ Dillion, Kylin Hill, and Aaron Jones. If I am the Packers I think they should absolutely go after a guard to help make the offensive line a lot better.
Tight End - Look I like Rob Tonyan and I think he is a nice Tight End to have on the roster. A big issue is that Tonyan has not been as good as he was last season. I think it would be a huge benefit if the Packers get a consistent Tight end on their team, especially a blocking Tight End as Tonyan has been inconsistent as a blocker.