It seems like just yesterday we were watching the Detroit Lions upset the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL season opener. Now, we are halfway through the year and the trade deadline has already come and gone.
The 2023 NFL trade deadline was not as dramatic as last year’s, where we saw Christian McCaffrey traded to the San Francisco 49ers and the suspended Calvin Ridley shipped off to Jacksonville, but we certainly did see some surprises. Let’s break down three teams that improved at the trade deadline, and three teams that should have done more on Oct. 31.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers only made one move at the trade deadline, but they were reportedly sniffing around as big-time buyers. San Francisco was in on Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson, per ESPN, and while the 49ers were unable to swing a deal to grab him, they did make arguably the biggest move of the day by acquiring Chase Young from the Washington Commanders for a third-round pick.
The former No. 2 overall selection is having a solid season, as he’s recorded five sacks, 15 combined tackles and nine QB hits. One has to wonder if Young’s future is actually in San Francisco, but this could be a move that makes the 49ers better contenders than they already were. According to SportsLine data analyst Stephen Oh, the 49ers’ chances to win the division jumped up 6.9% while their chances to win the NFC went up 4.5% and their odds to win the Super Bowl 3%.
The 49ers were already projected to get multiple third-round compensatory picks for the losses of Mike McGlinchey, Ran Carthon and DeMeco Ryans. Giving up one of those selections for a young pass rusher with potential isn’t a bad deal at all. A former Defensive Rookie of the Year joins one of the best defenses in the league and gets to rush the passer with one of his college teammates. Unreal.
With the Seahawks’ win over the Cleveland Browns and the 49ers’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last week, Seattle moved into first place in the NFC West. I’ve been buying stock in this team for weeks now due to their underrated defense, and now, that underrated defense adds a stud in the middle.
Sending a second-round pick and a future fifth-rounder to the New York Giants for someone who may be a rental probably makes this deal a “win” for the G-Men, but Williams is a player that automatically makes the Seahawks better. Note that he’s coming off of his best pressure performance of the season (7) against the New York Jets.
Since Week 4 the Seahawks have the No. 1 scoring defense, the No. 2 defense in yards allowed per game and are No. 1 in sacks. Watch out for Seattle.
Howie Roseman didn’t do anything on Oct. 31, but he did swing a trade for former Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard a little over a week ago. A two-time first-team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler, Byard led the league in interceptions back in 2017 with eight. The Eagles pass defense ranks bottom 10 in the league through eight weeks and the safety position specifically has dealt with a couple of injuries, so adding a playmaker like Byard for a couple of Day 3 picks was a great move.
Who should have made moves
It was reported earlier this month that the last team in the NFL to win a game was actually looking to be a BUYER at the trade deadline to acquire some receiver help. While the Panthers ultimately didn’t do anything, they should have been SELLERS.
As we mentioned, Carolina won its first game of the season this past Sunday against the Houston Texans. I’m not breaking any news in saying Bryce Young and Co. won’t be competing for a Super Bowl this year. The Panthers had a couple of assets they could have parted ways with for some draft capital such as cornerback Donte Jackson, linebacker Frankie Luvu, wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. or tight end Hayden Hurst to name a few. But general manager Scott Fitterer decided not to. Additionally, I kept an eye on star pass rusher Brian Burns.
The Athletic reported that the Panthers were still getting calls on Burns leading up to the trade deadline, but it didn’t seem likely that he would be traded. Remember that in 2022, the Los Angeles Rams reportedly offered the Panthers a deal that included at least two first-round picks! Carolina declined, as it viewed (views?) Burns as a pillar for the future, but the Panthers were unable to sign him to a lucrative extension this offseason. I was starting to wonder if anything had changed. Does Burns want to remain in Carolina? Is he going to be franchise-tagged? Can you imagine if he’s allowed to walk after the Panthers declined that absurd trade offer from L.A.?
I didn’t really expect Burns to be traded, but I think Carolina should have considered being sellers at the deadline.
Through eight weeks, the Raiders have the second-worst offense in terms of total yards per game (268.3) and third-worst offense in points per game (15.8). Jimmy Garoppolo is averaging career-lows in yards per attempt (7.2) passer rating (78.1) and TD-INT ratio (0.78), Josh Jacobs is 26th in rushing yards per game (51.0) and then Davante Adams is throwing his helmet on the sidelines. Personally, I think it’s offensive to NFL fans that Adams is on a team where he can’t shine, even if he’s reportedly set on playing in Vegas long-term. Trading him for draft capital could have been smart.
The same goes for Jacobs. I know running backs aren’t exactly the hottest players on the trade market, but is he really going to be back in 2024?
Kansas City Chiefs
I didn’t expect the Chiefs to actually be buyers at the trade deadline, but I think they should have explored adding another wide receiver. Too often, it feels like Travis Kelce is the entire Kansas City passing attack. Kadarius Toney hasn’t been the kind of addition many hoped he would be, Justyn Ross is now on the commissioner’s exempt list and fans are tired waiting on Skyy Moore. Rashee Rice has certainly improved, but he’s not even in the top 50 in receiving yards or receiving yards per game. Mecole Hardman was a fine addition, but was he enough?
Brett Veach is going to ride with his current group. Yes, the Chiefs are still the Super Bowl favorites, but imagine how good this fan base would have been feeling with another addition at wideout.