Biggest Winners and Losers at the NFL Trade Deadline

The NFL trade deadline this past Tuesday was the most active in recent memory. We saw a few teams make moves to bolster their playoff chances, while others made deals that left many scratching their heads. Here are the biggest winners and losers of the NFL trade deadline.

The Biggest Winner: The New England Patriots

The Patriots addressed their two biggest needs at the trade deadline by acquiring WR Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons and defensive lineman Michael Bennett from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots have struggled to find consistency in the passing game this season, so the addition of Sanu will help tremendously. Also, they were able to add another weapon on defense to complement Stephon Gilmore, who has been fantastic in coverage this season.

The Biggest Loser: The Buffalo Bills

It’s hard to see where this team is going after shipping off wide receiver Zay Jones and cornerback Kevin Johnson. Jones was a second-round pick just two years ago, so it seems like a bit of a head-scratcher for them to give up on him so early in his career. They also gave up on former first-round pick Kevin Johnson after just four games with them this season. They got some picks back, but those will be tough players to replace for a team that is

The NFL trade deadline is a time for teams to make last-minute additions to their roster, whether it be for depth or star power. These trades can be the difference between a playoff berth and a top-five pick in the upcoming draft. The 2016 NFL trade deadline provided plenty of intrigue, as a pair of star running backs were traded on the same day.

Let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers from this year’s NFL trade deadline.


The Cleveland Browns had a very successful deadline, acquiring two picks in return for starting linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive back Justin Gilbert. They also picked up former first-round pick Barkevious Mingo from the New England Patriots for just a fifth-rounder. All in all, Cleveland added three picks for players who were unlikely to play big roles going forward.

Another team that came away with strong value was the Houston Texans, who acquired Brock Osweiler from Denver for practically nothing. It’s hard to call a team that gave up $37 million guaranteed over four years the winner in any situation, but it’s clear the Broncos were desperate to dump Osweiler’s contract.

Other winners include the San Francisco 49ers, who got rid of Colin Kaepernick’s contract and collected a couple

The NFL trade deadline is a spectacle unlike any other in sports. It’s one part actual competition, one part sportswriters trying to fill space and then one part agents trying to get their clients traded. Oh, and in the middle of all that is the NFL team trying to make the right decision for its franchise.

So how did your team do?

The following is a list of winners and losers based on trades they made or didn’t make leading up to the deadline. This isn’t a definitive list. I don’t have time for that nonsense. This list is just my take on who fared well and who fared poorly.

If you disagree with me, great! Just give me a reason why in the comments below or on Twitter at @toddkaufmann.

In no particular order:

It’s the time of year to give thanks, so let’s take a moment to offer our thanks to the NFL’s only undefeated team.

Yes, the Packers are 9-0 and they’re on a roll, but they didn’t get here because of their big trade deadline deals on Tuesday. In fact, they don’t really have any big trade deadline deals to speak of.

The Packers did make one move on Tuesday, acquiring tight end Ryan Taylor from the Ravens for an undisclosed draft pick. That’s a good move; the Packers have had injury issues at tight end and Taylor is better than just about anyone they could get off the street. But it’s not going to win them any championships.

It’s also not going to make anyone forget about the Packers’ other trade deadline move, which was not making a move for Marshawn Lynch. The Packers need help at running back, and Lynch would have been an ideal fit in Green Bay if the Seahawks were willing to sell him at a reasonable price, but that price apparently ended up being too high for Ted Thompson’s blood. We’ll see if Thompson ends up regretting not budging on that price tag.

If you love your team, don’t even look at the rest of this article.

Last year, I wrote about how much less interesting the NFL offseason was when it was just a bunch of trades and not trades plus free agency. The NFL trade deadline has always been boring, but now it’s really bad. I mean really, really bad.

The Rams made several trades in September to clear out their salary cap space for the 2018 season. And then the Patriots did something similar: they cleared out their 2019 salary cap space by trading away a bunch of expensive players who didn’t fit into their long-term plans. The 49ers traded away their entire draft class to get Jimmy Garoppolo, and then they used that money to get Richard Sherman, who also didn’t fit into their long-term plans. And so on.

This year, there were only four significant trades: The Seahawks traded Frank Clark to the Chiefs for a first-round pick; the Lions sent Golden Tate to the Eagles for a third-rounder; and the Bills traded Tyrod Taylor to the Browns for a third-rounder. There were also two other minor deals that involved picks: The Jets traded Teddy Bridgewater to the Saints for a

The NFL trade deadline has officially passed, and we’re here to grade it.


Buffalo Bills

It was a great day for the Bills, who added one of the more talented wide receivers in the league in Kelvin Benjamin. He’ll be an immediate upgrade over just about every option that Buffalo had on its roster before today, and his presence should help Tyrod Taylor improve upon what has been a pretty uneven 2017 season. The Bills also added backup quarterback Nathan Peterman, who could take over for Taylor if Buffalo decides to move on at some point this season.

The price tag was steep. The Bills gave up two 2018 draft picks: their third-round selection and seventh-rounder. But with a 5-2 record and legitimate playoff aspirations, it’s hard to blame Buffalo for going all-in this year. If they’re going to make a run at the playoffs, they’re going to need more talent at wide receiver—and Benjamin is far and away the best receiver on their roster now.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts acquired cornerback Kamar Aiken from the Eagles today, giving them another wide receiver option alongside T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Aiken hasn’t been much of a playmaker since catching 75 passes

It’s hard to fault the Raiders for the deal they made. The team is all in right now, and Amari Cooper gives them an explosive option on offense that they just didn’t have before. But still, it feels like they paid too much. The last time a first-round pick was traded for a receiver was back in 2012, when the Rams gave up their No. 6 overall draft pick for the rights to pick Tavon Austin eighth overall.

If Cooper fails to develop, this trade could really hurt Oakland. They won’t have a first-round pick again until 2020, which means they’ll miss out on several chances to add blue-chip talent to their roster. On the flip side, if Cooper does become a star receiver, it’s worth it for Oakland. He’s only 23 years old and he has shown flashes of brilliance in his first three NFL seasons. So while I don’t love this trade from Oakland’s perspective, I think it’s certainly a gamble worth taking.

The Cowboys are big winners after landing Amari Cooper. They needed a playmaker at receiver with Dez Bryant gone and tight end Jason Witten retired (at least for now). And while I don’t think Cooper is going to be a superstar, he should be able

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