Grading the NFL Trades

Chiefs trade Alex Smith to Redskins for Kendall Fuller and 3rd round draft pick

There were some people who I think believed that the Chiefs could get more for a starting QB, but when you factor in the fact they it was likely that he would be released and is in his mid 30s I’m not sure how anyone could have expected more. They bring back a 3rd rounder and a decent corner with upside. Washington really should not have had to give up a corner in the trade especially considering they will need to sign Smith to a new contract as well. The Redskins bungled the Kirk Cousins situation and were likely fearful that they would downgrade in free agency. Smith should at worst be a lateral move and more within the Redskins budget.

Chiefs Grade: B+; Redskins Grade: C

Chiefs trade Marcus Peters and 6th round pick to Rams for 4th round pick and 2019 2nd round pick

This may have been the most surprising trade of the offseason. Peters is just 25 years old, has 19 interceptions in three seasons, and has been named to the Pro Bowl twice and has also been an All Pro.  He has two cheap years remaining on his rookie contract and is in line to be the highest paid corner in the NFL when he receives an extension. Those are not players that you trade especially for nothing notable until a year later. This had to be a no brainer for the Rams. He is far better than anyone they could expect to get with that pick in 2019 and they have him for a few seasons on the cheap first.

Chiefs Grade: F; Rams Grade: A

Rams trade Robert Quinn to Dolphins for 4th round pick

Quinn was an elite pass rusher at one point in his career but he’s been injured a lot the last few seasons and was a potential release with his $12.4 million salary cap charge. What Miami was looking at here is questionable. They bring on $11.4 million for the year on a team that has salary cap problems and isn’t a player away from being competitive. Quinn by no means is old at just 28 and they can rework the contract to extend him, but this just comes off as a move for the sake of making a move. That said the compensation is reasonable for a pass rusher.

Rams Grade: B+; Dolphins Grade: C

Rams trade Alec Ogletree and 7th round pick to the Giants for 4th and 6th round pick

Ogletree just missed my cutoff for worst contracts signed in 2017. He isn’t an elite player yet he is paid elite money at a position that is generally reasonable from a salary perspective. The Giants will pick up a $10 million salary for this season and gave away more than the Dolphins did to acquire Quinn. Rams shed $5.2 million in cap space for the year with the cut.

Rams Grade: B+; Giants Grade: D

Bills trade Tyrod Taylor to the Browns for a 3rd round pick

This is a trade that makes a lot of sense for both sides. The Browns will likely draft a quarterback with one of their first two draft picks but could use a veteran QB to hold down the fort for a year and try to make the team somewhat competitive this season. Taylor isn’t a great QB but he won’t make a ton of mistakes and can push the ball a bit. The Browns take on $16 million for the year and will potentially get a draft pick back for him down the line when he leaves in free agency. The Bills have been trying to get rid of Taylor for over a year and to get anything back for him is a win since just about everyone in the league knew he was going to get cut. From a football standpoint they don’t have a better option right now but they are playing the long game and will save $10.44 million in cap space with the trade.

Browns Grade: A; Bills Grade: A

Eagles trade Torrey Smith to Panthers for Daryl Worley

This is a trade nobody saw coming. Smith should have had no value in a trade. Its been years since hes been a good player and with a $5 million salary everyone knew he was going to be cut. Worley hasn’t had a good career thus far but he is young, cheap, and has experience. To get that upside for essentially nothing is a great move. The only logic I can see in the trade for the Panthers is that they are bringing in a player with no guarantees which would not have happened if they had to sign him or any other player in free agency. Moving Worley was likely a new GM getting rid of an old GMs picks.

Eagles Grade: A; Panther Grade: F

Dolphins trade Jarvis Landry to the Browns for a 4th round pick and a 7th rounder in 2019

The Dolphins took a very big gamble that they could get something for Jarvis Landry and to their credit they did. Still I don’t know how you risk $16 million for what amounts to the compensatory pick they likely would have received if they let him walk. Maybe they felt they would be boxed in with free agency if they had to worry about protecting a comp pick. The Browns didn’t give up much and they get a player who may not have gone to their organization if free agency was clear.

Dolphins Grade: C; Browns Grade: C+

Seahawks trade Michael Bennett and 7th round pick to Eagles for Marcus Johnson and a 5th round pick

I love this trade for the Eagles. Bennett is cheap this season, costing the Eagles under $5.7 million. He is a significant improvement over Vinny Curry who should be released. The Eagles are in a win now mode and have a few years where they can take some risks while they have a QB under a rookie contract. It should be a perfect fit. Seattle I think grew tired of some things with Bennett and also needed to retool as they are in a different phase than the Eagles. Extending Bennett when they did was a mistake but this is probably close to the return they would have gotten as a comp pick so in that respect they got ok value back.

Eagles Grade: B+; Seahawks Grade: C+

Packers trade Damarious Randall to the Browns for DeShone Kizer

I thought this was a solid move for the Browns. Randall is a starting quality corner that has some upside to be above average. He can make plays on the football and should upgrade the Browns secondary. They don’t give up much for him since Kizer looks to be the odd man out following the trade for Tyrod Taylor and expected drafting of a first round QB.  Randall also gives them a chance for a compensatory pick in 2020 while Kizer was likely going to be released down the line. I’m not really sure what the Packers are thinking since Randall was likely their top corner and they are simply trading right now for a backup. I guess this means the Packers will be in the mix for a corner in free agency, and this is a deep group at the position. They also much love Kizer, who was terrible last year but is very young. I’m sure the organization got spooked by how bad they looked with Brett Hundley but they must really think they can coach Kizer up. Obviously if they can get some good preseason games out of Kizer they can  up his value and flip him two or three years down the line but that is a big if.

Packers Grade: D; Browns Grade: A

Broncos trade Aqib Talib to Rams for a 5th round pick

This is a clear win-win trade. The Rams get a guys who fits their scheme perfectly and isn’t that expensive at $11 million for the season. If he plays well the prize comes next year when he is under contract for $8 million.  Given where the Rams are as a team using a 5th round pick is perfectly fine. The Broncos have other pressing needs on their team and were likely going to cut Talib. To get anything back for that kind of player is great.

Broncos Grade: A; Rams Grade: A

Browns trade Danny Shelton and 5th round pick to Patriots for 2019 3rd round pick

This I guess qualifies as the Patriots yearly move to acquire a somewhat disappointing former first round pick from another team. This move is nothing but a salary dump from the Browns who were on the hook for $2M this year to Shelton. Shelton can provide some run defense in the middle and is a younger and cheaper option than Alan Branch. Browns were just looking to makeover the roster and jettison some guys. Not sure if they could have gotten more but there was probably more benefit to keeping him considering money is of no concern to the Browns.

Browns Grade: C-; Patriots Grade: B

Bills trade Cordy Glenn, 21st pick, and 5th round pick to Bengals for 12th pick and 6th round pick

The Bills complete the teardown of the big contracts with this trade to essentially move up 9 spots and get the ammunition needed to move into the top 5 in the draft to draft a QB. In a league where left tackles are so expensive regardless of talent level they should have gotten more for Glenn, even with his injuries. The problem for the Bills is they made it too well known that they wanted him off the team which seemed to hurt their leverage. Glenn’s contract averages an affordable $10 million a year for the next three seasons. In a year where there are few left tackles available the Bengals should be happy with a deal that has no guarantees remaining and could still be cheap. The Bengals moving down to 21 should also save them some money as the difference in value is about $4 million.

Bills Grade: C-; Bengals Grade: B+

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @jason_otc