By Alexander C. Lawrence
Going into this deadline I didn’t believe there would be many, if any, blockbuster deals. The NFL typically doesn’t have the most active teams making trades right up until the deadline and with big names involved. I was very wrong. In fact this may be one of the most arguably active deadlines in history. Some pretty big names were moved and we could be witnessing some teams pull away and prove they are true contenders. Like any NFL fan I enjoy to see trade action, especially big names on the move to new teams. Here’s a look at some of the best and worst deals that were made at the deadline.
1) Jay Ajayi – He was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Philadelphia Eagles for just a fourth-round pick! There was a lot of mixed reactions about his snap count in Miami and that he’d be reduced to a part-time role in Philly with LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement and Wendall Smallwood lurking in the backfield. However, I’m not too concerned about his ability to make an impact with that impeccable offensive line.
It’s no secret that Ajayi through the first half of the season didn’t live up to expectations after breaking out in 2016 with Miami. I don’t understand why Miami didn’t ask for more in compensation for him, but nonetheless he is an Eagle now and I believe he was the missing piece to help the Eagles soar and compete in the playoffs with the way Wentz and that offensive have already performed this season. I see nothing but improvement in that offense coming as Ajayi has too much talent not to do so.
2) Duane Brown – Brown was a big part of the reason Deshaun Watson succeeded so quickly in his rookie year prior to a devastating ACL injury. The Seahawks got a proven offensive linemen who will make Russell Wilson much happier in Seattle. The potential of the production that Wilson and can put up with a significantly now upgraded offensive line is exciting.
Left Tackle is one of the most important positions and sometimes that’s forgotten in the mist of all these touchdowns being scored. This trade is one of the best things Seattle could’ve done. To put this in perspective Seattle’s production from the left tackle position has had Wilson under pressure 84 times. Brown has given up less than half the amount of pressure in the last 17 games he’s played.
3) 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo – A second rounder is what it took for the Patriots to move the prized back-up of Tom Brady and hand him over to the 49ers, the team Tom Brady grew up rooting for. After sitting and learning behind Brady for four years all eyes are on Jimmy to see what he can do. He is in a contract year so, the ball is now in the 49ers court to evaluate him in their facilities, and not the few snaps he got with the Pats, and determine if he is indeed their franchise QB worthy of a contract that matches that.
The Browns offered a trade to the Patriots six months ago during the 2017 NFL draft. Cleveland would deal a second rounder in exchange for Garoppolo. The question remains; what changed six months later? We may not ever find out that answer, but I do expect Jimmy Garoppolo to suit-up for the 49ers soon and I think this may play out well for San Fran. A second rounder for your highly regarded back-up who was seemingly the heir to the Patriots throne once Brady hung it up is not a bad price. But the time is now for Jimmy Garoppolo to make his NFL mark.
4) Tom Brady – At 40-years-old a lot of people were wondering what the job security of arguably the best QB of this generation was like. The Jimmy Garoppolo trade shed some light on the situation as it seems the Patriots are okay with the age of Tom Brady and his ability to continue playing at an elite level. There’s no question Garoppolo would’ve commanded massive money to remain a back-up and then there’s the issue of a highly paid back-up QB and wasting that money for someone to ride out the bench. Brady’s fight with father time continues and don’t be shocked, based on their history, if they draft a QB in the 2018 NFL draft.
5) Rashard Robinson – A week ago he was one of the worst teams in the NFL (49ers) but he has since moved to the New York Jets who sit at 4-5 (last place in AFC East). Coming into the season people thought the Jets would be getting a top three pick in the 2018 NFL draft, but now that seems highly unlikely. This move indicates the Jets are not giving up, and improving themselves on defense with the addition of this defensive back. Don’t expect big things, but no one can deny the Jets are playing significantly more competent football than what was expected heading into the 2017 season.
1) The Jaguars trading for Marcell Dareus – To say Dareus has been a bust in Buffalo would be an understatement. He experienced success when he recorded 19 sacks between 2013 and 2014, but other than that all he’s done is wind up with a few suspensions and headaches for the Bills front office. There is risk, but that’s why he was traded for a sixth-rounder. The potential is there for Dareus to be an impactful defender for the Jags but he doesn’t always give it a 100% on the field. If the Jaguars can change his training habits and mature him he could very well be an excellent addition to an already-talented defense that features Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey.
2) Kelvin Benjamin – When I heard about this trade I was partly confused as most people wrote the Bills off after they traded away Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, and Reggie Ragland. It made me wonder what the Bills’ organization was doing. And then it turned out their team played better without them.
Benjamin was never a #1 receiver in Carolina in my opinion and I still don’t like him in Buffalo, but the Bills are making their team work as they are 5-3 (second in the AFC East), which most fans did not expect coming into 2017. Bills fan it is time to start believing this team can end their lengthy playoff-drought, but temper expectations for Benjamin. He won’t be a #1 receiver here either with the likes of Jordan Matthews and rookie Zay Jones around. The move just doesn’t seem poised to work out and the Panthers were getting the most out of Benjamin with Cam Newton so Tyrod Taylor may not do much better for his real life or fantasy value.