The 2020 NFL season is right around the corner, which means cut-down day is even closer. Despite the cancellation of this year’s entire preseason schedule, all 32 teams will be required to trim their active rosters to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. And typically the final cut-down doesn’t just facilitate all kinds of activity on the waiver wire; it also intensifies last-minute trade talks.
Few big names tend to be moved as teams finalize their Week 1 lineups, but that doesn’t mean teams won’t be calling. Take Leonard Fournette, for example; the Jacksonville Jaguars waived their former first-rounder on Monday, but only after trying to auction him off to the other 31 teams. The preseason has always been a hotbed for bottom-of-the-roster swaps, whether they be for emergency insurance at a key position or simply to beef up the following year’s supply of draft picks.
As final cuts approach, here are 14 names to keep an eye on as potential trade candidates:
Rosen is still just 23, and he’s under contract through at least 2021, with a fifth-year option available for 2022. But Ryan Fitzpatrick is the surefire stopgap at QB, and Tua Tagovailoa is the guy beyond that. It’s tough to say if his upside/value will ever be dramatically higher than it is now, even after a horrendous 2019 showing.
He’s the veteran of the committee tasked with replacing Todd Gurley, and Sean McVay assuredly values his consistency. But Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson are sure bets to have bigger and better roles. If they can save a little money here, the downside isn’t that significant.
Once hyped as a Swiss Army Knife, the 24-year-old seems like the odd man out at a suddenly crowded position featuring James Conner, Benny Snell, fourth-rounder Anthony McFarland and veteran Wendell Smallwood. Someone would take a flyer on his pass-catching ability.
At some point, you have to be able to take the field and play. Ross has never consistently been able to do that going on four years in the NFL. And look at the guys ahead of him: A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Auden Tate. His time has pretty much come and gone. Still, a 24-year-old burner should excite someone.
He’s young with good size and a few flashes through two seasons, but the writing is on the wall: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler are virtual locks atop the depth chart, with Noah Fant and Tim Patrick also in line for plenty of targets.
Carolina shouldn’t necessarily feel obligated to move a 24-year-old wideout with his versatility, but his fit remains unclear with D.J. Moore and new addition Robby Anderson locked in as starters. It still seems unlikely they’d re-sign him as a 2021 free agent.
The vet cost New England a second-rounder less than a year ago, and he’s apparently got a good rapport with Cam Newton. But at 31 with an injury history, not to mention noticeably decreased speed, you have to think Bill Belichick would recoup some kind of draft capital here if he could.
On any other team, Stills’ $7 million salary wouldn’t be ridiculous. But the former starter, acquired in the team’s big Laremy Tunsil trade ahead of 2019, is pretty much fourth on Houston’s pecking order behind Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller V and Randall Cobb. Someone (looking at you, Packers) should jump at the chance to rent him for a year.
By all accounts, Everett is well-liked in the building and still has a sizable pass-catching role. Tyler Higbee just got paid big bucks as the TE1, however, and Everett is headed for free agency in 2021. The Rams could also use salary cap space like anyone.
Las Vegas has reportedly been dangling its starting right guard since early in the offseason, and there’s reason to believe Jon Gruden and Co. could be even more comfortable shipping him elsewhere with Clemson product John Simpson in tow.
Odds are Buffalo won’t force a move here as it tries to make a deep playoff run, but the 29-year-old is easily the Bills’ top overpay ($9.75M) in 2020, with all signs pointing to a split following the year. With Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison and rookie A.J. Epenesa all vying for pass rushing reps, a trade wouldn’t necessarily torpedo their depth.
Here’s a guy primed to be released if not for a trade. The former first-rounder has been widely hailed as a bust, but you never know who might see an inkling of upside in a 25-year-old with defensive versatility.
At 26, with ascending production over the last three years, he seems like the right kind of mid-tier building block for a team in transition. But Ron Rivera has plugged the LB corps full of vets, with Thomas Davis, Jon Bostic and Reuben Foster set to start.
GM Howie Roseman may be holding out hope that his former second-rounder will stay healthy enough to grow into a No. 1 CB, and Jones had some strong moments in limited late-season reps in 2019. There’s simply no clear path for him to make a difference in Year Four, however, with Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas all warranting the coaches’ trust.