The NFL trade deadline has come and gone, and it was a trade deadline to remember, one we’ll talk about for some time. Roquan Smith, one of the best defensive players in the NFL, joins a linebacker group in Baltimore already loaded with talent in Patrick Queen, Justin Houston, and Josh Bynes.
The Detroit Lions proved that they can still compete with the Cleveland Browns in terms of front-office incompetence at the deadline. Detroit’s trading history is less than stellar, and this NFL trade deadline did nothing to help that reputation. Not only did they trade arguably one of their best pass catchers, tight-end T.J. Hockenson, but the Lions also traded him to a division rival, as the Minnesota Vikings are going all in.
In some ways, the impact of the NFL trade deadline may be felt more in the virtual world than the gridiron. Some of these trades will lead to some real waiver movement this week. Here are some upgrades and downgrades after the deadline.
NFL Trade Deadline Upgrade: Deon Jackson, Indianapolis Colts
Jackson is, of course, still behind all-world running back Jonathan Taylor on the depth chart, but there are numbers to be had here. Jackson has already received 44 touches on the season, including 14 receptions on 14 targets. He will likely inherit the touches intended for Nyheim Hines and more check-down opportunities with Sam Ehlinger under center for the rest of the season.
NFL Trade Deadline Downgrade: Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
Mooney has always been a product of circumstance because he’s fast, and Chicago doesn’t have a lot of weapons. The fact that the last average quarterback the Bears had, Jay Cutler, hasn’t been in town since 2016 means they haven’t deployed, developed, or acquired a quarterback at the NFL trade deadline in some time, either.
The Bears are attempting to give Justin Fields a chance with the acquisition of Chase Claypool, but it will likely come at the expense of Mooney. The third-year wideout from Tulane was already likely a bench fill-in for your team, but now he is probably not worth having on your roster outside of a best-ball scenario.
NFL Trade Deadline Upgrade: Kadarius Toney, Kansas City Chiefs
Toney, a second-year wide receiver out of Florida, is talented. The 20th selection in the 2021 draft has just had to suffer through injuries, incompetent coaching, and a quarterback named Daniel Jones. That is a lot to deal with in 18 months in the NFL.
If anyone can make a talented player come out of his shell and realize his potential, it would be Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs receiving corps is a bit of a “closer by committee” type scenario at the moment, and Toney should receive ample opportunity to work himself into the mix.
NFL Trade Deadline Downgrade: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
I know Green Bay is strapped for cash, but Claypool or Toney would have been a welcome addition to the offense of the Packers. Christian Watson is dinged up and inconsistent, Randall Cobb feels like he has been around Labeau Field since Favre was winning MVP awards, and Robert Tonyan is limited as a playmaker.
I have never seen an organization refuse to help a transcendent talent as much as Green Bay does with Rodgers. Rogers needs a little help, and he could make you a Super Bowl contender in just a couple of short weeks.
Instead, the Packers choose to stick with what is clearly not working while wasting one of the most talented signal callers to ever play in the NFL. It’s time to cut bait and find the donkey in your league that will trade for the name.
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