The Biggest Deals of the 2018 NFL Trade Deadline

At 4 PM on October 30th, the NFL Trade Deadline hit and a few teams made last-ditch efforts to improve their teams mid-season. Sometimes, there’s very little action within the NFL at the deadline, but this year we got some fun movement. There were a few surprises, a few trade-happy teams (hello, Packers), and a few deals, well, that we already knew about. Like the Raiders’ Amari Cooper going to the Cowboys.

NFL trades are rarer than trades in other professional sports – like the NBA, MLB, and NHL – largely because of the salary cap rules and the fact that many players receive a hefty signing bonus when they join a team. No general manager wants to throw away all that money on a player only to trade him (and the cash) away to another team. Instead they’ll just stick it out and try to make it work. And if a team wants to acquire a player before the trade deadline, they’ll need room under that salary cap (also known as “cap space”) to seal the deal.

There’s also an issue with negotiations since these trades are rarely “player-for-player” like in other pro sports. Teams usually have to throw in additional compensation or future draft selections to execute a trade.

But things got a little more interesting a couple years ago when the NFL moved the trade deadline back two weeks, more toward the middle of the season. Now teams have a better look at how they’re performing, what their players look like, and really, if the team is going to be a Super Bowl contender or not. Basically, they’ve got more information to work with before making a trade than before.

If you want to know more about the nitty-gritty of NFL trades, read this.

Here’s a breakdown of the biggest NFL trades that went down this week.

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Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles wanted Amari Cooper but they weren’t willing to trade away a first-round pick to the Raiders for him. Instead, they opted for the Detroit Lions’ Golden Tate, tossing them a third-round pick for the star wide receiver. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is playing well this year and his passing game should only improve with the addition of a solid receiver to his options on the field. Tate is catching 63% of passes this season (which is actually low for him) and the Eagles now have him for eight games. Most agree the Lions have only made their roster worse with this trade despite the fact that they’re not even that far behind in the NFC East. After this season, Tate becomes a free agent again.

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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Washington Redskins

The Redskins needed a receiver and they couldn’t get Tate or Demaryius Thomas. But at the last minute, they grabbed safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from the Packers in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. Hey, if the Redskins don’t have any receivers to throw to, at least they can stop other teams from completing passes, right? Clinton-Dix is one of the top safeties in the league this season, giving Washington a stout defense, especially when he’s combined with fellow safety D.J. Swearinger. The Redskins are already leading the NFC East and they can use Clinton-Dix for eight games or perhaps try to sign him to a longer deal or franchise tag him if they want to keep him around.

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Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans

Everybody’s happy with this one. Demaryius Thomas is going to a contender team while the Broncos get to let Courtland Sutton move into a starting position. Denver was going to get rid of Thomas in the offseason anyway (they didn’t want to pay him $14 million again) and the Texans needed a receiver after Will Fuller was injured last week. They traded away a fourth-round draft pick and swapped seventh-round picks with the Broncos to get him. Thomas has experience, locker room presence, and heck, he was the Broncos’ number-two all-time leading receiver. The Texans have won five games in a row and they’re in a decent position to win the AFC South.

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Dante Fowler Jr. to the Los Angeles Rams

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Dante Fowler Jr. to the Rams (as if that team could get any better) for a third-round draft pick and a 2020 fourth-round draft pick. Fowler hasn’t really performed to the Jags’ expectations considering he was a number-three overall pick. He’s only had two sacks this season and the Jacksonville was preparing to offload him in the offseason. Now he gets to hang with Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers, and Aaron Donald on the defensive line to see if he can improve the Rams’ rushing issues. Fowler becomes a free agent after this season so it’s likely an eight-game rental, but the Rams are really betting this is their season so they’re going all in. Can’t really blame ‘em…

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Ty Montgomery to the Baltimore Ravens

The Packers traded running back and wide receiver Montgomery out of spite for a seventh-round draft pick in 2020, which is basically a free giveaway. Montgomery made a crucial mistake on Sunday when he fumbled the ball against the Rams, ruining any chance at a last-minute comeback by the Aaron Rodgers. Montgomery was a third-round pick and formerly a very good player, starting for the Packers at running back, but things have been going downhill for him in Green Bay. The Ravens, who are 4-4 and third place in the AFC North, have been looking for running back help and eyeing players like the Bills’ LeSean McCoy to fill a big role in their backfield. This was a crucial move for John Harbaugh, and it could be a fresh start for Montgomery.

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Not Traded!

So much for all the fuss about Le’Veon Bell possibly being traded because it didn’t happen! And no, he still hasn’t shown up to the Steelers. Ditto for running back LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills.

Landon Collins and Pierre Garcon weren’t traded either despite ongoing rumors.

Any of these trades got you fired up? Who should’ve made trades?