Evaluating the NFL Trade Deadline

Written by on November 2, 2017

By: Chad Flannery

New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo becomes a member of the San Francisco 49ers

It seemed that Garoppolo would never be traded and was destined to be Tom Brady’s backup until Father Time took over. The Patriots believed Garoppolo was their QB of the future, but when was the future going to begin? The Pats did not want to wait, sending him to the 49ers for a second-round pick. Garoppolo is already 26, and 40-year-old Brady has not showed any sign of slowing down. The Patriots front office has shown confidence in Brady by trading away Jacoby Brissett and now Garoppolo, but it will be interesting to see how smart those moves were. The 49ers should be cautiously optimistic about how they made out on this deal. Garoppolo has only started two games and has only 94 career passing attempts, but his statistical line is what excited so many teams (690 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions). In New England, he had an arsenal of weapons, but in San Francisco, that is not the case.  he 49ers likely will not get to see Garoppolo play until next week at the earliest, since he must adjust to the new playbook. Some believe he will not be ready until after their bye in Week 11. This will give the 49ers 5-7 games to watch Garoppolo and determine if he is in fact their franchise quarterback. There is one looming question: Garoppolo can become a free agent after this year, so will he stay? If he plays like a franchise QB and the 49ers can sign him to a new contract, a second-round pick is chump change. However, if he does not play up to expectations or leaves the Bay, the 49ers will regret this trade.

 Grade: B+  

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi is dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles committed an absolute robbery on Tuesday, snagging a Pro Bowl, bell-cow running back for a fourth-round pick. Ajayi is fresh off a sophomore campaign where he ran for 1,272 yards and had three games of 200+ yards. The Dolphins showed frustration with Ajayi, but his struggles this year are not entirely his fault. He is running behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league; there never seems to be holes open for him to run through. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase called the Dolphins offense the “worst in the NFL.” Ajayi will join LeGarrette Blount in Philly to form one the most bruising 1-2 punches in the NFL. Both running backs can run downhill at productive clips, but Ajayi is a better pass catcher and outside runner. One of the biggest reasons Ajayi was added was his pass blocking ability – something the Eagles desperately needed, especially after the loss of future Hall of Fame tackle Jason Peters. Once Ajayi adapts to the playbook, he will become the feature back, something the Eagles have not truly had since LeSean McCoy. What makes this deal even sweeter is that the Eagles have control of Ajayi until after the 2018 season, and it is on his relatively-cheap rookie deal. This will allow the Eagles to assess different positions of need, such as offensive line and linebacker, in the draft and free agency this offseason.

Grade: A

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin traded to Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills upgraded their passing attack minutes before the trade deadline on Tuesday. They acquired Benjamin from the Panthers for a 2018 third-round pick and a 2018 seventh-rounder. Benjamin is a tall, big bodied wide receiver who will certainly cause matchup problems and possibly free up Zay Jones and Jordan Matthews to make catches. The only problem with this move is that Benjamin will be covered most of the time; he does not break away from cornerbacks that often. This will require quarterback Tyrod Taylor to abandon his typically-conservative play and trust Benjamin on 50/50 balls to beat the corner to the football. This may not work well for Taylor, so therefore, that is the only concern for the Bills. This trade makes absolutely no sense for the Panthers. They stockpile draft picks going into this year’s draft, but sitting at 5-3, they are very much in playoff contention. Trading away Benjamin gives quarterback Cam Newton one less option on offense, and he has already been struggling as of late. Rookies Curtis Samuel and Christian McCaffrey will have to step up in the passing game, especially since tight end Greg Olsen is still out with a broken foot. This was a questionable move on Carolina’s part.  

Grade: A-

Seattle Seahawks acquire Houston Texans tackle Duane Brown

This move was a win-win. The Seahawks got desperately-needed offensive line help for quarterback Russell Wilson, who may have been able to do it by himself on Sunday against the Texans, but it is highly unlikely he could do that for the rest of the season and the playoffs. They gave up a 2018 third-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick in the process, but they received a 2018 fifth-round pick along with Brown, who even at 32 is still a top blindside protector. For the Texans, they got rid of a player who held out for the first-half of the season (ironic that he only played against Seattle) and who wanted to make more money. The Texans were obviously not willing to pay the 32-year-old tackle and were able to receive compensation for a player they fared well without so far this season. Both teams got what they wanted out of this deal, and there is nothing wrong with that.  

Grade: A

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