Perhaps playing the role of General Manager on Madden is a little easier than in real life. If I do make a really bad move in the video game, no one is taking away my X Box and telling me I can’t play anymore. Unfortunately, Ryan Grigson just had his gaming console smashed to pieces by the Indianapolis Colts, following many poor draft picks and whiffs in free agency. These are the harsh realities real-life NFL GMs are forced to deal with.
Just because us pretend GMs don’t face the same pressures, it doesn’t mean we don’t know a good trade when we see one. Using the players who have been rumored to be on the trading block, I have picked up my controller and worked out a trade for each that makes sense for both teams involved.
Just for the record, Marshawn Lynch has already been traded to the Raiders in my world; so don’t expect to read about him here.
Richard Sherman to the New Orleans Saints
Both John Schneider and Richard Sherman have been public about the possibility of the All-Pro corner being traded. And more recently, the Seahawks GM revealed they are looking for a Revis-like package in return (first and fourth-round picks).
The Saints need to pounce on this immediately. In 2016, New Orleans ranked dead-last in pass defense, and neither Delvin Breaux nor P.J. Williams are viable no. 1 corners. Having to play big, dominant receivers like Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin twice per year calls for a true shutdown corner.
Unfortunately, corner is far from the Saints’ only need on the defensive side of the ball, and I expect them to use the 11th-overall pick on a pass-rusher. However, after trading Brandin Cooks to the Patriots, they also possess the 32nd-overall pick in the 2017 Draft. Mickey Loomis needs to be on the phone offering this pick, along with their own third-round selection (76th-overall) for Richard Sherman.
Odds it happens: 7/1
Odds Sherman is traded: 2/1
Sheldon Richardson to the Oakland Raiders
Richardson has been rumored to be on the trading block since last season, when the Jets were hoping to retrieve a first-round pick for the big defensive lineman. However, now entering the final year of his contract, carrying a less-attractive $8 million cap hit, the asking price has to come down a little for the odd-man out on the Jets front.
With that in mind, the Raiders are a perfect fit. Derek Carr and co. are ready to win now, but need a defense to complement their high-scoring offense. Oakland (can I still call them that?) allowed 4.5 yards per carry in 2016, and ranked 23rd against the run. Richardson is a run-stuffer who can also provide a pass-rush from multiple different positions along the line, another Raider-need.
If Reggie McKenzie can get away with it, flip a fourth-round pick for an interior defensive lineman who has proven he can dominate in the league. I’d be willing to offer a third, though. This would also allow the Raiders to avoid reaching on one of the top defensive tackles in the draft, who have their own off-field issues, as well.
Odds it happens: 6/1
Odds Richardson is traded: 5/3
Malcolm Butler to the Green Bay Packers
The hero of Super Bowl XLIX entered the offseason as a restricted free agent, and has until June 15th to sign the RFA tender extended by the Patriots (a one-year deal). But Butler’s future isn’t so certain in New England. We all know how much the franchise hates paying their players, constantly opting for cheaper guys. And the big bucks shelled out for corner Stephon Gilmore also brings to question what the Pats’ plans for Butler are.
The corner was rumored to be in the trade talks involving Brandin Cooks, but still remains a Patriot, for now. It is clear that New England believes he is worth a first-round pick, and that’s what the Packers should offer.
Green Bay’s most glaring hole is at corner, and addressing the position seems like their only reasonable option with the 29th-overall pick. Unfortunately, the crop may be a little scarce by the time they’re on the clock. The Packers ranked 31st against the pass last season, and need to bring in a corner who can matchup with a top receiver.
Odds it happens: 9/1
Odds Butler is traded: 5/2
A.J. McCarron to the New York Jets
The Cincinnati Bengals are not going to move on from Andy Dalton any time soon, and after seeing Mike Glennon get paid this offseason, A.J. McCarron must be feeling pretty good about becoming a free agent at the end of the 2017 season.
The New York Jets have proven they aren’t capable of drafting and grooming a QB, so they should probably take one who doesn’t need as much work. Josh McCown is a decent temporary fill at the position, but, as was the case in Cleveland last year, there is no benefit to having him under center on a team that is in need of a rebuild. Bryce Petty failed his audition, and Christian Hackenberg may not ever receive one.
Acquiring the backup from the Bengals would only take a third/fourth-round pick. McCarron could be the long-term solution for a franchise whose last 4,000-yard passer came in 1967, before they were even in the NFL.
Odds it happens: 9/1
Odds McCarron is traded: 7/2