Every jaw-dropping deal seems to leave the football world craving more, doesn’t it?
Just as fans were digesting news of Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension Friday afternoon, the Buffalo Bills announced a pair of stunning trades, sending Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and acquiring Jordan Matthews from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Wishful as the thinking may be, there’s still plenty of time for other deals of this magnitude to take shape in advance of the regular season.
We’ve got a few ideas.
Broncos pick up Tyrod Taylor
The Watkins trade further illustrates a front-office strategy based on building for the future. At this point, there are few players in Buffalo who shouldn’t be made available. And considering the back-and-forth about keeping Taylor earlier this offseason, it’s probably safe to assume the dynamic quarterback wouldn’t be considered a part of any such group.
It’s been made abundantly clear just a few weeks into camp that the Denver quarterback group is in no better shape than last year. Trevor Siemian is not a long-term starter at this level, and there’s been no indication that Paxton Lynch has made any significant strides heading into his second season. Let’s not forget: the Broncos were one of the teams linked to Taylor when it was thought he might become available this offseason.
This is a deal that lands Denver a major upgrade at the most important position on the field, allowing the offense to better complement what remains one of the league’s best defenses. John Elway has to know better than anyone that the Broncos aren’t a playoff team with Siemian or Lynch. Taylor gives them a chance.
Saints trade for Rob Gronkowski
The Saints and Patriots already gave us one blockbuster this year, with the former sending the latter Brandin Cooks in exchange for a first-round pick. This time, it would be a 2018 first-round pick going the other direction for the best tight end ever to play the game.
It sounds crazy, but the Patriots have done this sort of thing before. They like to be a year early letting guys go, not a year late. Gronkowski is coming off back surgery, which often spells the end of a player’s physical dominance, and could soon start complaining about being underpaid. And let’s not forget the Patriots just won the Super Bowl with Gronkowski on IR. He’s a luxury they don’t necessarily need.
In Gronkowski, the Saints would get a player who can be what Jimmy Graham once was for Drew Brees – and much more – and help the Saints push for a Super Bowl ring to cap Brees’ career.
Raiders add NaVorro Bowman
For all the strong work Reggie McKenzie has done in turning around the Raiders organization, the annual oversights at linebacker have been particularly puzzling. This is far and away the roster’s most concerning area, and Oakland can’t afford to sit around and hope that a pair from their unheralded group in that spot will emerge.
Bowman, an eighth-year veteran who will likely be well past his prime when San Francisco is ready to compete, is the perfect short-term solution. With first-round pick Reuben Foster turning heads at 49ers camp, the three-time Pro Bowler is without question expendable.
The Raiders should be more than willing to part with a mid-round pick and make any necessary contract adjustments to stay under the cap and get this done. Adding Bowman to the middle of that defensive front would go a long way toward helping their chances of bringing a Super Bowl title to Oakland before moving to Las Vegas.
Packers acquire Mark Ingram
The Packers rarely make trades, or anything close to a big-splash player acquisition, but they should make an exception here and trade for a player who can be the missing piece in their offense.
It’s not really clear why, but the Saints seem to dislike Ingram despite his overall strong play and cheap contract. This offseason, the Saints brought in Adrian Peterson, gushed non-stop about how good he looks, and also traded up in the draft to select Alvin Kamara, who has also generated very positive buzz at camp.
Ingram is the third wheel in New Orleans, but on the Packers he would be the unquestioned starter and allow Ty Montgomery to move into a receiving-down role. Ingram is a hard-nosed inside runner, a fully adept receiver, and would thrive in the Packers’ high-scoring offense. He’d probably come cheap, too.
Giants upgrade O-Line with Joe Staley
An impressive group of talent at key spots will give the Giants an opportunity to put together another deep playoff run. If there’s one spot that could hold them back, it’s almost certainly offensive tackle.
Finally accepting that reality, and no longer looking to Ereck Flowers to make good on his first-round draft status on the blind side, is imperative for this front office. Taking advantage of the 49ers’ rebuild and scooping up Staley would be a no-brainer.
New York can take care of its most glaring roster need for as little as a mid- to late-round pick. The upgrade Staley would provide in pass protection, most notably, would allow Eli Manning to make the most out of what may be the NFL’s best receiving corps. New York should know as well as anyone that getting to the quarterback effectively can shut down the most talented of offenses.
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