NFL execs regrade the offseason’s biggest trades: Russ, Khalil Mack and three star wideouts
- ESPN staff writer
- Previously a college football reporter for CBSSports.com
- University of Florida graduate
The NFL’s trade machine never goes unplugged. Blockbuster moves are commonplace now. Young general managers are hungry to deal and eager to cut losses on a bad fit, dead money be damned. Only a few players — Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen come to mind — are truly untouchable in trade talks.
Teams that used to horde draft picks are now treating them like Oprah giving out cars, in pursuit of a blue-chip player to fill a void.
That happened several times this offseason, when storied franchises altered their trajectories — for better or worse — thanks to a few phone calls.
This was, undoubtedly, the year of the wide receiver, with teams not only trading big capital to acquire a marquee pass-catcher but paying them $25 million to $30 million per year to put on their uniform.
Rarely do top-shelf quarterbacks hit the open market, but that’s what happened in March when Seattle and Denver got together for an unforgettable trade — or one Denver might like to forget, at least this year. Explosive pass-rushers were on the move, too.
But trades are not won or lost at the time of execution. The games must be played in new uniforms first, and newly acquired draft picks must be chosen skillfully. Twelve weeks into the 2022 season, some deals that once looked like win-wins for both sides are looking rough for one side, or both. Others have held up as a positive for both franchises and their general managers.
We went back to reassess and re\grade five of the offseason’s biggest trades, with help from nearly a dozen NFL executives and scouts. The perspective on some of these deals might surprise you.
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