The Costs of Some Rumored NFL Trade Candidates

In the last few days I have received a number of questions about the costs of trading for certain players and thought I would just put together a post looking at each of those players. The post will not include franchised players because that is a different scenario where contracts have to be negotiated which is much different than acquiring an existing contract. So here is a quick breakdown of the players.

Joey Bosa, Edge, Chargers

If a team acquires Bosa that will take on a salary of $22 million for 2024 if the trade is executed prior to a roster bonus of $7 million being earned on the fifth day of the league year. If that was earned prior to a trade it would be the responsibility of the Chargers and the new team would take on $15 million in charges. Bosa also has a $22 million salary in 2025 but none is guaranteed.

Bosa has a $36.6M cap charge for the Chargers and $22.2M in dead money which explodes up to $29M if they pay that roster bonus. Those charges make it difficult for the Chargers to keep him. Bosa has an extensive injury history but would probably carry a 2nd and 3rd round return in an in-season trade if he were healthy and the Chargers at the entire cost of the contract. It would be a gamble but one that could pay off if he is healthy in October.

Khalil Mack, Edge, Chargers

A team trading for Mack takes on his $23.25 million salary for the year. Mack is in the final year of his contract so it is possible that the team could receive a late compensatory pick down the line if he leaves as a free agent the next year. Mack’s contract is similar to Bosa’s with a $5 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the league year. If that is paid by the Chargers his salary would drop to $18.25 million.

Mack’s cap charge for the Chargers is $38.5 million with $15.3 million dead if cut or traded. Depending on the return they would receive I could see the logic in paying $5 million in salary to get a higher draft pick. Keeping both Mack and Bosa makes no sense for the Chargers. Mack would have less value in-season, in my opinion, but more value now because he is a safer option.

Justin Fields, QB, Bears

Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the cost for him this season is just $3.23 million. The team trading for him would also have the option of picking up his fully guaranteed $25.664 million option for 2025, which would probably be a given if they envision him as their starter. In essence that makes this a two year $28.9 million contract which is pretty cheap for a starter. Trading for Fields also means that a team has to be prepared for the 2025 discussions that will come up about an extension even if Fields just has an average season.

Chicago probably should not be in a rush to trade Fields even though they should draft a quarterback. Fields may hold more value to a team come August than now and Fields would still have a trade market in 2025 even if the Bears have moved on from him as a starter.

Haason Reddick, Edge, Eagles

Trading for Reddick would cost a team $15.5 million in salary and $16 million in cap room in 2024. Reddick, who is in the final year of his contract, is going to be looking for an extension after posting 27 sacks in the last two years. The question is how many teams are going to want to pay $18-20 million a year for a 30 year old player and how much does that limit his trade market. The Vikings seemed to have difficulty trading Danielle Hunter last year in a similar situation.

The Eagles trading would Reddick would likely be due to them wanting to get younger and not deal with the headache of any summer extension drama. He has a $21.827 million cap charge and $20.515 million that would hit the cap if he is cut or traded. The Eagles should not need to restructure for cap room and there may be a lot of benefit to holding him and trading him in the summer or early in the season.

Josh Sweat, Edge, Eagles

Trading for Sweat this year will cost a team $16 million and there are different ways that they can account for his cap charge which could be as low as $4.3 million or as high as $16 million. Sweat is entering the final year of his contract and could be looking for an extension. Sweat will be just 27 this year so he is certainly young enough to command top dollar.

This trade possibility came out of left field for me and indicates that the Eagles may not have the desire to extend him which makes trading him a strong consideration. The way his contract is structured, trading him this year would leave the Eagles with a net cap charge of $14.515 million this season and have nothing on the books next year. If he plays the year they will have him on the team at $9 million in 2024 and $21.4 million in 2025 when he would be a free agent. There is no reason to rush into a trade here as they have all summer before they have to make the 2025 salary cap commitment.

Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers

Trading for Johnson would require a team to pay $10 million for 2024 if traded before a roster bonus is paid and $7 million if traded after the roster bonus is paid. The roster bonus is due on the 3rd day of the league year. Johnson is entering the final year of his contract and could be looking for an extension, but that could also mean possibly recovering a comp pick in the future for him.

Johnson is not a big play threat by any means but can be a steady enough option on a wide receiver needy team. His cap charge to remain in Pittsburgh is $15.8 million and they would free up $10 million if they cut or trade him before the bonus is due.

Greg Newsome, CB, Browns

Newsome carries a $2.398 million salary this year and the team would also have the ability to make a decision on an option for 2025 worth a fully guaranteed $13.377 million.

The rumor on this seems to be due to the Browns depth at the position and likely their need to really restock some of their draft capital that has been lost primarily in the Watson trade. By no means has Newsome been a great corner for the Browns but he could certainly find a role on another team and those teams may see upside at the right price.

Zach Wilson, QB, Jets

Zach Wilson carries a fully guaranteed $5.45 million salary in 2024. Most of that salary comes in the form of a roster bonus due in August. There is also an option a team can pick up for 2025 but that would not be a consideration considering Wilson may struggle to win a backup job.

Wilson counts for $11.18 million on the Jets salary cap and the team would take on that whole charge if they cut him. The Jets probably need to pick up at least half his salary to find a trade partner. It would be hard to imagine the Jets getting more than a 6th in return for him. The only salary savings the Jets will realize is whatever salary is remaining when he is traded.

Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys

Gallup carries a salary of $9.5 million this year of which $4 million will be guaranteed if a team trades for him. The acquiring team will also take on non-guaranteed salaries of $11.5 million in 2025 and 2026.

Gallup’s cap charge with Dallas is $13.05 million and they save no virtually cap room with his release of trade. He has $4 million that becomes guaranteed on the 3rd day of the league year so a decision needs to be made before that date. Gallup’s impact has tailed off significantly and I can’t see any interest at this salary level nor any reason for Dallas to pick up any salary for a late pick. My guess is he will be released.

This next group of players are players I have not really heard anything official on but had questions about (though I have speculated on a few of the names myself).

Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos

Sutton has two years remaining on his contract. He would cost a team $13.5 million this season and they would inherit a non-guaranteed $14 million salary in 2025 as well.

Sutton would be intriguing as a trade target since his numbers are still ok and he has been paired with some very poor quarterback play the last few seasons. A team would be ok with the risk of a $13.5 million salary if they could get 1,000 yards from him. The Broncos would open up $9.8 million by trading him. There would be no rush for Denver to make a trade and any trade consideration may come after the draft. Trading Sutton would be a future looking move and just keep the Broncos churning the players Payton inherited.

Garett Bolles, LT, Broncos

Bolles is entering the last year of his contract and would cost a team $16 million this season. Bolles missed significant time in 2022 but was healthy in 2023.

Bolles has a $20 million cap hit with Denver and the team would have just $4 million in dead money if they trade him. There are plenty of left tackle needy teams and the Broncos could see how free agency and the draft shakes out for some of those teams to feel out any potential market for the veteran.

David Bakhtiari, LT, Packers

Bakhtiari’s current contract would cost a team $21.5 million in 2024. Even Jets assistant GM Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t make that trade. His cap charge with the Packers is over $40 million and the team saves $21 million on the cap when they release him.

Jonathan Allen, DT, Commanders

Allen has a $15 million salary in 2024 and a non guaranteed salary of $17 million for 2025. Allen is always available and could offer a team a boost at a position that keeps getting more expensive. My concern with trading for him is that I am not sure the upside exists here at these salaries and you can get similar production from free agents who can be found for about $7 million. The Commanders would save $9.44 million in cap room if they trade him.

Daniel Jones, QB, Giants

 Jones would cost a team $36 million in 2024. Jones has a $30.5 million salary in 2025 of which $23 million is injury guaranteed and $12 million of that would be fully guaranteed if on the roster in early 2025. There is a balloon salary of $47.5 million in 2026 that carries no guaranteed salary.

Trading Jones would leave the Giants with $33 million in dead money, opening up nearly $14 million in cap room while also getting him completely off the books for 2025. Right now cutting him in 2025 will cost $22 million on the cap. His current cap charge is just over $47 million. The Giants should jump at a chance to make a trade but I can not envision any team doing it.

DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks

Trading for Metcalf would mean a team takes on $13 million in salary for this season and a non-guaranteed $18 million salary for 2025. Seattle would gain $9.5 million in cap room if they traded him but I don’t see any reason to do that now. Maybe in-season if the year completely got away from the team, but he is going to be expected to be the main receiving target for Seattle.

DJ Jones, DT, Broncos

Jones is in the final year of his contract and would cost a team $10 million to trade for him. I think that price is too high for a team to consider and there is a better chance he would be cut than traded.