Fact or Fiction: Making Sense of the NFL’s Latest Trade Rumors
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Not only is the rumor mill spinning rapidly as the 2022 NFL trade deadline approaches, but more reports are also constantly flooding the market.
This player is available, but that player is not. This team is buying, but that team is selling. Some rumors are true, yet others are best described as smokescreens or even straight-up lies.
Hey, that’s all part of the game. Still, it can be difficult to determine which reports to believe or dismiss.
But we have you covered. We’re making a judgment on key rumors heading into the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Panthers to Keep Brian Burns, 3 Others
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After the Carolina Panthers parted ways with head coach Matt Rhule, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said the team wouldn’t hold a fire sale.
Since then, they’ve shipped wide receiver Robbie Anderson and running back Christian McCaffrey to NFC West franchises. Isn’t that actually the beginning of one?
The short answer is no.
While the Panthers will agree to a few deals, they’re not tearing the roster down to the studs. Some of those appealing players—like defensive tackle Derrick Brown and edge-rusher Brian Burns—have cost-effective contracts and can be foundational pieces of a rebuild.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Carolina won’t trade Brown, Burns, wideout DJ Moore or cornerback Jaycee Horn before the deadline. Even as Moore signed an extension recently and Burns is headed towards one, the combination of financial certainty and long-term impact is reason to believe they’ll all stay on the team.
Carolina will be involved in plenty of rumors, but that quartet should not be leaving before the deadline.
Browns Now Open to Trading Kareem Hunt
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Shortly before the 2022 season began, Kareem Hunt reportedly asked for a trade. However, the Cleveland Browns did not acquiesce and decided to keep him in his complementary role.
Apparently, they’ve had a possible change of heart.
Brad Stainbrook of The Orange and Brown Report said the Browns are listening to offers for Hunt. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that Hunt is believed to be available for a fourth-round pick.
The discussion is all logical, too. Hunt, who’s in the final year of his contract, is unlikely to stay as a complementary back to Nick Chubb—and Cleveland shouldn’t reduce the latter’s workload anyway. Plus, the Browns already have D’Ernest Johnson as a capable replacement.
Now that Cleveland is 2-5 and exiting the playoff race, it’s only sensible to add value before Hunt’s seemingly inevitable departure.
Jets Won’t Budge on Elijah Moore Trade Request
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The good news for the New York Jets is that they’re 5-2 and have a terrific weapon in slot receiver Garrett Wilson. The bad news is that Wilson also plays the preferred position of Elijah Moore, who had a promising rookie year but has been relatively quiet in 2022.
Moore’s frustration led to a trade request, which Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic reported is not being considered.
In his absence, New York activated Denzel Mims—who hadn’t played this season since requesting a trade of his own in August—for a victory over the Denver Broncos.
Look, if the Jets wouldn’t move a player who’d been a healthy scratch until Week 7, a starter isn’t getting traded.
Moore is understandably upset about his limited number of targets, especially since the return of quarterback Zach Wilson. But the Jets are winning. They’ll be keeping Moore.
Daron Payne Is Worth a Day 2 Pick
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In the midst of a breakout year, Washington Commanders standout Daron Payne is a man in potentially high demand.
Ben Standig of The Athletic reported that “people with knowledge of the market for Payne” said the fifth-year defensive tackle could fetch a 2023 second- or third-round selection.
As usual, the question is not the validity of the conversation. The content, however, is a different story.
If someone traded for him, sure, that might not be unreasonable. But the rest of the league understands Payne is highly unlikely to re-sign with the Commanders, given the $72 million extension for Jonathan Allen and the impending talks with edge-rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Washington cannot keep all of them.
Why give up a Day 2 pick when Payne will be a free agent in a few months? The “head start” on convincing him to sign in March isn’t worth the offer Washington is hoping to receive.
All Options on Table for Rams, Cam Akers
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One of the most unexpected developments in 2022 is the developing relationship between Cam Akers and the Los Angeles Rams.
Last year, he practically missed the entire regular season because of an Achilles injury. Once healthy, though, the Rams—who’d leaned on Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson all year—immediately turned to Akers. He totaled 75 touches compared to 29 for Michel and seven for Henderson.
Akers seemed like the undisputed long-term option, but the tone has changed dramatically. He surprisingly handled just three carries in the opener, hasn’t logged more than 50 percent of snaps in any appearance and recently missed a game because of personal reasons. Head coach Sean McVay said the Rams are trying to trade Akers.
Jeremy Fowler reported a Los Angeles source said the team is considering all options of trading, releasing or keeping Akers.
But how does he possibly return after this?
From this perspective, only two options are seriously on the table. Akers, whether he’s traded or outright released, won’t suit up again for the Rams.
Broncos Entertaining Offers for Bradley Chubb
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Why bury the lady: Yes.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Broncos would like to keep Bradley Chubb, along with receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. Schefter also said, though, that the Broncos “have to ponder any serious” offer.
The focus here is solely on Chubb because of his contract situation. Unlike both Jeudy and Hamler, Chubb has an expiring contract. And it’s improbable that Denver will re-sign him.
In the offseason, the Broncos signed Randy Gregory to a five-year, $70 million deal. They also drafted Nik Bonitto in the second round and had elevated Baron Browning’s playing time before his recent hip injury. Denver only has so much money to spend on the D-line, and Chubb’s deserved payday may be too much.
Chubb will likely land the team a compensatory draft pick, but he’d be worth more on the trade market right now.
Packers Will Trade for Receiver
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The short version of Green Bay’s 3-4 start is the offense looks broken.
Early in the offseason, the Packers traded All-Pro wideout Davante Adams. Since then, on a scale of 1-10, the external concern level surrounding the receiving corps has been an 11. Basically everyone in the organization tried to stifle the worries, but Green Bay’s performance to date has justified it all.
As a result, Brandin Cooks, Chase Claypool and Jerry Jeudy are among the names ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has floated as possible options for the Packers. Any of them, in theory, would provide a much-needed jolt to an underperforming and injury-riddled group of wideouts.
The issues are deeper than the receivers, though. The offensive line has been underwhelming, and Aaron Rodgers is not excluded from the blame.
Further complicating matters is Rodgers’ uncertain future, so the Packers would be rightfully hesitant to send meaningful draft capital for a win-now player who basically only slaps duct tape on a cracking foundation.
Steelers Will Keep Chase Claypool
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Chase Claypool, one of those receivers softly connected to Green Bay, has found himself as the subject of trade rumors.
The conversation at least is sensible. After drafting George Pickens in April, the Pittsburgh Steelers also extended Diontae Johnson. Claypool will become a free agent following the 2023 season.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoporthowever, threw cold water on the warming rumor and said Claypool is unlikely to be traded.
And we’re inclined to agree.
Unless a franchise comes flying in with a couple of Day 2 draft picks, the Steelers should not be parting with a legitimate contributor. There’s little sense in making Kenny Pickett’s rookie season more difficult when they’re not in danger of imminently losing Claypool.
Perhaps the conversation shifts in the offseason, but Claypool will remain in the black and gold through 2022.
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