The 2020 NFL Draft will offer plenty of intrigue regarding this year’s rookie class, but Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa aren’t the only notable names who could officially be getting new homes when the league conducts its virtual showcase. The draft also happens to be a potential jump-starter for veteran trades, with teams looking to get last-minute value for players already on their roster.
While blockbuster swaps are the exception more than the rule when it comes to draft-day deals, there are no shortage of veterans who could be on the move while teams are on the clock. Here are 17 possibilities, including Pro Bowl trench warriors in Trent Williams and Yannick Ngakoue:
The Bengals have been shopping him for months. Any talk from Cincy about him potentially backing up presumptive No. 1 pick Joe Burrow is just meant to ignite Dalton’s obviously dim market. At the end of the day, he should be somewhere else in 2020, even if it means the Bengals agreeing to swallow a chunk of his $17.7 million 2020 cap hit. The biggest holdup? He’ll probably be cut anyway.
Potential fits: Bills, Broncos, Jaguars, Patriots
The Colts may not be inclined to move him, but they signaled loud and clear this offseason that he’s not their preferred QB of the future. You don’t sign a 38-year-old Philip Rivers for one, maybe two years max, if a 27-year-old Brissett is even close to emerging as Andrew Luck’s true successor. With Brissett entering a contract year and Indy potentially in the market for a rookie project for Frank Reich, why wouldn’t the Colts at least listen to calls from teams in need of a proven spot starter?
Potential fits: Patriots, Seahawks
Days after trying to advise the Jaguars front office on QB moves, Fournette is reportedly in the front office’s dog house and a near-sure bet to be the next in a long line of Jacksonville vets shipped out of town. It’s not hot to pay — or pay for — running backs (unless you’re Christian McCaffrey) right now, and Fournette hasn’t lived up to his first-round hype. But as a potential one-year rental at age 25, fresh off a 1,100-yard season with the Jags? Someone could talk themselves into that.
Potential fits: Bills, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Lions
In today’s NFL, Breida is exactly the kind of RB you’d want to target rather than trade away: Young, fast and productive, with relatively limited wear and tear and a reasonable contract. But the Niners, one of the league’s top running teams, already have Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon for 2020 and on cheaper deals. Someone could use his playmaking ability.
Potential fits: Chiefs, Rams, Steelers
A relatively big investment back in 2018 free agency, the former Chiefs speedster is due almost $11 million in 2020 despite missing 12 games and never topping 400 receiving yards in two years with Miami. The Dolphins could just cut Wilson to save big bucks, but they might also be able to squeeze a late-round pick out of a team that isn’t satisfied with WR depth during/after the draft. With a whopping 14 picks of their own, they’ll have plenty of chances to replace Wilson, who’s been explosive at times when healthy.
Potential fits: Eagles, Jets, Vikings
Three years removed from a Super Bowl run that saw him stand out as one of the Eagles’ most reliable red-zone weapons, Jeffery has been speculated as a trade candidate for months. While his perceived locker-room issues are probably overblown and he’s still capable of big games, Philly would likely prefer to unload his $15.4M salary in 2020, especially after two injury-riddled years. As long as compensation would be conditional upon a future physical, he could still be attractive to those familiar with his style.
Potential fits: Bears, Colts, Jets
The Titans surely aren’t in a hurry to move Davis, who’s just 25 and remains a proven contributor opposite A.J. Brown. But if they’re pretty sure he won’t be back once he hits 2021 free agency, why wouldn’t they solicit offers? Adam Humphries is still in the fold at WR, Tennessee could easily use one of its three top-100 picks on a deep WR class, and the team is increasingly built around the run game.
Potential fits: Eagles, Packers, Patriots
The Panthers aren’t actively shopping Samuel, but they’re reportedly prepared to listen to offers, especially after adding Robby Anderson in free agency. The 23-year-old former second-rounder is young enough to become a building block for new coach Matt Rhule, but with Anderson and D.J. Moore atop the depth chart, a change of scenery can’t be ruled out after a so-so start to his career.
Potential fits: Broncos, Eagles, Redskins
Stills was a big part of Houston’s offense down the stretch in 2019, but if Bill O’Brien’s roster construction has taught us anything, well, no one is safe. With Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb imported as DeAndre Hopkins replacements, the ex-Dolphins standout is reportedly also on the outside looking in. His $7 million cap hit isn’t ridiculous, especially considering he’s been a proven outside starter for years, never once averaging fewer than 14 yards per catch.
Potential fits: Broncos, Eagles, Raiders
The Lions are building their team like they’re a playoff contender rather than a club that’s won nine games in two years, so maybe they’ll cling to every veteran weapon for Matthew Stafford they can. But now would be the time to try to get something for Jones, who’s got a 1,100-yard season on his resume but hits free agency after 2020. The $9M cap hit won’t be alluring, but if Detroit takes on some of that money, it might be able to sell Jones’ big-play ability for a late-rounder.
Potential fits: Jets, Ravens, Vikings
A frequent subject of trade speculation, the former first-rounder might finally be on the table. Things have clicked here and there in Tampa, and you’d think Tom Brady would want his pass-catching upside in town, but Bruce Arians appears ready to cut ties nonetheless. At just 25 years old with a decent resume despite the disappointing reputation, he’ll have suitors.
Potential fits: Packers, Patriots, Redskins
With how much talking Williams and his reps have done about escaping Washington, you’d think Dan Snyder would’ve signed off on a deal by now. But the Redskins truly seem intent on squeezing every drop of trade value out of the seven-time Pro Bowler. You can debate whether Williams is still as elite as he claims, but the truth is the draft could be Washington’s last best chance to get something premium in return for the blind-side blocker.
Potential fits: Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Dolphins
The Jaguars may very well be done dumping lucrative veteran contracts now that A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell are gone, but why would they stop there? Norwell got huge bucks from Jacksonville just two years ago and at least offers interior insurance for protecting Gardner Minshew, but the Jags would probably kill to pass his remaining $45.5M onto someone else.
Potential fits: Dolphins, Lions, Redskins
Thuney has never missed a game in his four-year career, and he’s fresh off his best season yet, earning All-Pro honors as New England’s versatile left guard in 2019. But the Patriots reportedly aren’t close to a long-term deal with the franchise-tagged lineman, meaning Bill Belichick could be primed to sell him for more picks as the team rebuilds post-Tom Brady. He’d be a plug-and-play No. 1.
Potential fits: Dolphins, Chiefs, Lions, Panthers, Ravens
Outside of Trent Williams, no one’s campaigned more heartily to be traded than Ngakoue, who would’ve been this year’s most coveted free agent pass rusher if the Jags hadn’t tagged him. Team owner Shad Khan wants to keep the steady 25-year-old edge rusher, but all signs point to the club trying to get a big haul for the outspoken Pro Bowler during the draft. Will somebody pay up?
Potential fits: Browns, Giants, Raiders, Seahawks
The Vikings rewarded Harris for his nine interceptions between 2018-2019 by placing the franchise tag on the veteran safety, but talks on a long-term deal have been up and down, per reports, with lots of speculation about a potential trade. Minnesota almost needs to retain Harris in order to even field a secondary in 2020, but who’s to say they can’t add a few hybrid DBs with their own draft picks?
Potential fits: Browns, Cowboys, Giants
It’s not often a team still building a youth movement looks to deal a 24-year-old two-time All-Pro safety, but the Jets haven’t had a clean relationship with their former first-rounder for a while now. All signs are GM Joe Douglas is in no hurry to pay Adams, who’s after a big deal sooner rather than later, and local reports indicate a trade can’t be ruled out. Now would be the time to sell high.
Potential fits: Browns, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles