It’s been the offseason of NFL trades, and just because the pace has slowed down doesn’t mean it’s over.
The NFL draft often functions as a de facto deadline for deals, in part because teams value this year’s picks more than next year’s. So with the draft upon us, there’s a chance for one final flurry of trades in the next couple of days.
Here's a quick rundown of a handful of prominent players who still could get traded before the end of this draft:
There’s a sense around the league that the Dallas Cowboys aren’t done making a push for Thomas, who’d fill a major need on their defense. Two sources said the trade discussions between Seattle and Dallas have centered around the Cowboys’ second-round pick (No. 50 overall) but that no deal will be done until the Cowboys figure out whether they can sign Thomas long term. Thomas has one year and $8.5 million left on his contract, which would make him a great deal for the 2018 Cowboys. But dealing a second-rounder for a one-year rental wouldn’t make a lot of sense. If a deal gets struck, expect news of a Thomas contract extension with Dallas to follow.
The noise around this situation has died down since October, when Bryant’s trade demands became public. But with one year left on his contract, Bryant is still hoping to find a situation that gives him a chance to function as a team’s No. 1 option. That’s not going to happen with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh, obviously, and Pittsburgh has been quietly listening to offers over the past couple of months. Part of the holdup has been that some of the league’s more receiver-needy teams, such as Baltimore and New England, are rivals to whom the Steelers wouldn’t want to trade such a talented player. Pittsburgh is a win-now team that believes Bryant can help it win in 2018, so the offer has to be good.
The offer doesn’t have to be as good to get Flowers, the 2015 first-round pick who’s fallen out of favor in New York. A three-year disappointment who’s ticked off teammates and coaches with his poor locker room attitude, Flowers lost his starting left tackle job to free-agent signee Nate Solder. The Giants said upon signing Solder that they planned to transition Flowers to right tackle, a position he hasn’t played since his freshman year at Miami. But he’s been absent so far from voluntary offseason workouts, and while the team can’t publicly criticize him for that, it’s fair to assume his absence hasn’t helped his standing with the front office. Flowers just turned 24 on Wednesday, and he’s making only about $2.4 million this year, the fourth year of his rookie deal. The Giants aren’t likely to pick up his $12.525 million fifth-year option for 2019, and any acquiring team wouldn’t be committed beyond this year. He may appeal to someone as a very low-cost flier.
He was trade bait this time last year, and he ended up filling a bigger role than the team initially imagined once Jordan Hicks got hurt. You can never rule out Eagles general manager Howie Roseman when you’re writing about potential trades, and the Eagles don’t have a Day 2 pick. Their roster has depth in some key spots, and they could be looking to move a player for a pick in the coming days.
Stick with me here: The Jets have veteran Josh McCown penciled in as the starter and are likely to take a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick. If that pick is a guy who might be able to play right away (Baker Mayfield? Josh Rosen?), that reduces Bridgewater’s chances of even making the team in training camp. Their commitment on the new contract is only a $500,000 signing bonus that already has been paid. If some team that hoped to get a quarterback in the draft ends up disappointed, the Jets could find a trade market for Bridgewater, who won’t present much risk at all to a potential acquiring team.