The NFL trade deadline is lining up to be pretty fun this season. Or at least more fun than usual.
And as we’ve well-established, NESN.com is a pro-fun space. The Oakland Raiders have already traded wide receiver Amari Cooper for a first-round pick, and the New York Giants traded defensive tackle Damon Harrison for a fifth-rounder. Teams are clearly willing to wheel and deal.
The Raiders and Giants seem intent on having fire sales, and the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals also appear to be sellers near the deadline.
So, let’s go through those four rosters and determine some potential fits for the Patriots, who at 5-2 with freed-up cap room, appear to be buyers before the Oct. 30 deadline.
We’ll also list each players’ cap hit prorated over nine weeks, assuming the Patriots would make each trade next week. The Patriots currently have $5.38 million in cap room. They’ll need excess cap room at the end of the season to pay out not-likely-to-be-earned roster bonuses, however.
CB GAREON CONLEY, OAKLAND RAIDERS
Prorated cap hit: $498.1K
New Raiders head coach Jon Gruden must just not like Conley. The 2017 first-round pick began the season as a starter but played just 12 defensive snaps in Week 5 and none in Week 6. He was playing pretty well before the benching, allowing 10 catches on 22 targets for 218 yards with no touchdowns and an interception, according to Pro Football Focus.
He’s under contract on a rookie deal through at least 2020. He also has a 2021 fifth-year option. Even if he didn’t start for the Patriots in 2018, he’d be a smart add for the future given his still-high upside.
The Raiders are lowering Conley’s value by benching him. He’s at least worth a mid-round pick based on his upside and contract status.
S KARL JOSEPH, OAKLAND RAIDERS
Prorated cap hit: $794.1K
Does Gruden just hate first-round defensive backs or something? Joseph, a first-round pick in 2016, has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, but he played just 11 defensive snaps through the first three weeks of the season. He’s on his rookie deal through at least next se ason. He’ll have a fifth-year option in 2020.
Safety isn’t a major need with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon on the roster, but the Patriots could use athletic defenders in the middle of the field in sub packages. If the Raiders want to give Joseph away for a fourth-round pick, he could be a smart pickup.
OLB BRUCE IRVIN, OAKLAND RAIDERS
Prorated cap hit: $4.24M
Irvin has a pretty high cap hit, but the Patriots could use a player to help boost their pass rush. Irvin also has experience dropping back into coverage from his days with the Seattle Seahawks.
Irvin is signed through 2019. The Patriots could cut him without penalty after this season. Given his cap hit, he’s probably only worth a mid-to-late-round pick.
TE JARED COOK, OAKLAND RAIDERS
Prorated cap hit: $2.65M
If the Patriots have any concerns about Rob Gronkowski staying healthy, then this could be a Martellus Bennett-esque addition. Cooks is in the final year of his contract and would add another receiving threat at the position. As a mid-season rental, Cook isn’t worth more than a mid-to-late round pick. He has 32 catches for 400 yards with two touchdowns in six games this season.
CB CHRIS HARRIS, DENVER BRONCOS
Prorated cap hit: $3.92M
The Broncos would be nuts to trade Harris, but so would any team that doesn’t reach out about his availability. Harris is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL with his ability to line up outside in regular defenses and inside in sub packages.
He’s let up just 22 catches on 41 targets for 179 yards with one interception and no scores this season, per PFF. He’s signed through next season and is worth at least a second-round pick.
OLB SHANE RAY, DENVER BRONCOS
Prorated cap hit: $888.6K
Ray missed Week 7 with an ankle injury, and he previously only was playing sparingly. The Broncos declined to pick up his fifth-year option, so he’ll be a free agent after the season.
Ray hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing, but he still has the potential to provide some pressure off the edge.
RB DEVONTAE BOOKER, DENVER BRONCOS
Prorated cap hit: $333.5K
The Patriots need a running back who weighs more than 205 pounds until Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead return from injuries. Booker can carry the ball between the tackles and catch out of the backfield, providing some valuable unpredictability. The Broncos prefer rookie running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Booker probably could be had for cheap.
S LANDON COLLINS, NEW YORK GIANTS
Prorated cap hit: $672.2K
Collins will be a free agent after the season, where he’ll garner big bucks on the open market. If the Giants let him leave, they’ll likely receive a 2020 third-round compensatory draft pick. If a team gives up a 2019 third-round pick, they can likely get him.
Safety isn’t the biggest need, so that would be a hefty price to pay. He’s an intriguing playmaker, however.
CB JANORIS JENKINS, NEW YORK GIANTS
Prorated cap hit: $3.39M
We don’t love this option, but we’d be remiss not to mention him. Jenkins is high-priced and might not be a better option at cornerback than what the Patriots currently have in Jason McCourty.
LB DEONE BUCANNON, ARIZONA CARDINALS
Prorated cap hit: $4.62M
We’re hesitant about the cap hit attached to Bucannon. He likely only would serve as a sub-package linebacker. That’s not worth $4.62 million. The Patriots might be better off waiting to see if the Cardinals cut Bucannon.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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