Football. Is. Back. We’ve dusted the cobwebs off of our lucky jerseys, fantasy league smack talk floods our water cooler conversation, and Hank Williams Jr. is back to serenading us on Monday nights. The 2017 NFL season is well underway, and although practice rosters have long since been whittled down to 53, there still remains a litany of roster moves yet to come.
While finding themselves on the trading block is typically anxiety provoking for an athlete, there are some players just begging for the opportunity to dress for a different team on Sundays. What makes 2017 particularly exciting is that many of the players who can’t wait to be traded are big-name stars, meaning some mid-season trades could easily have a dramatic impact on the complexion of the league (take a look at the Adrian Peterson transaction from last week!).
Ranked below are the 14 names we think are the most eager to be dealt this season.
14. JIMMY GAROPPOLO
Can you blame him? Backing up one of the game’s winningest quarterbacks of all time is not an enviable position, and barring an injury to Tom Brady it’s unlikely that Garoppolo will see many snaps as a Patriot, even if the Patriots are struggling this year. It doesn’t help that there has been no public talk from the organization about Garoppolo taking over under center once Brady is out of the game, and who knows when that will be anyway.
What’s interesting here is that the Patriots will be left without a true backup for Brady if Garoppolo walks during free agency – and the Pats know it. However, Garoppolo does offer the Patriots some value in a trade, being a better-than-average quarterback. While there isn’t a clear path showing where Jimmy Garoppolo will go this season, there’s no question that he didn’t come to the NFL to warm the bench on Sundays.
13. SPENCER WARE
A victim of unfortunate circumstances this year, Spencer Ware is no doubt looking for an opportunity to pack his bags and get out of Kansas City. First, there was the devastating knee injury suffered against the Seahawks during the preseason. An injury as serious as Ware’s is bound to make a player uneasy about their future, but in Ware’s case, there is insult to that injury going by the name of Kareem Hunt. Seemingly unstoppable, Hunt has all but cemented himself as the face of the Kansas City run game – dethroning Spencer Ware just as Ware did to Jamaal Charles.
As if coming off of an injury isn’t hard enough, Ware’s circumstances may lead him to do the unthinkable and come back seeking a trade. Obviously, teams are often tentative when it comes to trading for injured players – especially when it’s a matter of knees – but Ware still has plenty to offer to the list of teams looking to establish a run game in 2018.
12. TRUMAINE JOHNSON
Ahh, the franchise tag. Is there a better way to say “we can’t agree” in the NFL? For the second year in a row, Trumaine Johnson has been tagged by the Rams following strained contract negotiations during the offseason. There is no question that Johnson is the type of cornerback teams would be clamoring for should he land on the trading block anytime soon, but it is less clear whether the Rams are interested in trading a player of Johnson’s caliber.
What makes Johnson’s position so intriguing is the level of respect he has earned from his teammates. Having been voted captain this season, despite not receiving a long-term contract, shows that he has clearly made a positive impression not only on the field but also in the locker room. The rapport he has established with the other Rams might entice Johnson to build his career in L.A., but there’s no denying that he will be seeking another city to call home if the Rams price is not right come time for contract negotiations next February.
11. BRYCE PETTY
The Jets have struggled to develop quarterback talent, especially over the past few seasons, and Bryce Petty must be at least a little bit wary of beginning his career in New York. Without a strong veteran presence to learn from, Petty finds himself lost amid a bevy of other mediocre Jets quarterbacks. Lacking the talent to be a true starting quarterback in the NFL, Petty is essentially guaranteed to not have a substantive role for Gang Green, who is expected to turn to the 2018 draft to find the solution to their quarterback woes.
Just because Petty lacks the stuff to be a starting QB, though, doesn’t mean he can’t find a comfortable place to be the 2nd-stringer. There are plenty of teams in need of an effective backup quarterback, and under the right conditions, Petty could certainly be that. However you look at it, Petty is best off getting out of a Jets uniform.
10. JARVIS LANDRY
Over the past few years with the Dolphins, Landry has gained a reputation as one of the league’s most reliable receivers and is an undeniable asset for Miami. However, this soon-to-be free agent only stands to gain from switching teams. Despite his consistency and continued effectiveness, Landry has been seeing fewer passes come his way, as Jay Cutler seems to prefer DeVante Parker as his primary receiver.
Compound being targeted less frequently, with the inability to come to a long-term agreement this past offseason, and you have a recipe for a receiver with one foot out of the door. Hopefully, Miami realizes the potential benefits of trading Landry before he walks as a free agent next February.
9. JEREMY HILL
Jeremy Hill has long been the pride of the Bengals’ running attack, but with the emergence of rookie running back Joe Mixon, Hill’s spot as the top running back is suddenly in question. Early in the season, Mixon is already seeing his fair share of touches in the Cincinnati offense. With every carry or reception of Mixon’s, Hill is seeing another reason to leave town.
For the right offense, Hill offers power and consistency and, as teams suffer injuries and setbacks over the course of the season, it would be unsurprising to see some inquiries made for Hill. This could work out well for Cincinnati too, who will no doubt be in the market for some quality receivers.
8. TYROD TAYLOR
The Buffalo Bills do not intend to hitch their wagon to the Tyrod Taylor star — You know it, I know it, and he knows it. Sean McDermott has made a swath of changes to the Bills’ roster and there’s no telling how many more he intends to make in the future. Two things are clear though, 1. the Bills have no intention to keep Taylor around for any length of time, and 2. the lack of a receiving corps leaves whoever is in the unfortunate role of quarterback in a seriously tricky spot.
This must be particularly frustrating for Taylor, having been under-utilized in Baltimore and then moving to Buffalo where it finally seemed like he would get the respect he deserved, having won the starting spot. Tyrod Taylor is a good quarterback, he’s been consistent for the Bills over the past two seasons, and he’s a dual threat being able to run and throw effectively. Considering the number of
teams who are desperately in search of a reliable QB (the Jets, among others, come to mind as a good fit for Taylor) there is no lack of a market for a player like Tyrod.
7. T.J. YELDON
Once a highly touted prospect, Yeldon has seldom impressed the Jaguars and was eclipsed by rookie running back Leonard Fournette following training camps this summer. Heading into the third consecutive year of disappointment in Jacksonville, Yeldon’s best bet is probably to start fresh with a more tailored offense that will help bring out the best in him.
Yeldon has potential in the NFL, but he will need a team with a strong offensive line and a physical running mentality in order to truly shine. The good news for Yeldon is that the Jags want him out just about as much as he wants to be gone, so you can probably expect to see him moved to a different offense soon enough.
6. LATAVIUS MURRAY
Latavius Murray finds himself among the many other running backs who are looking to cut ties with their current teams – what’s interesting about Murray is that he’s only been with Minnesota since mid-March. From what we’ve seen so far, the Vikings are impressed with their rookie Dalvin Cook, and they seem to have chosen to have run their offense through him as opposed to Murray.
Understandably, this leaves Murray a little unhappy, especially considering he played a solid role in Oakland’s offense and has demonstrated his ability to be a starter in the NFL. Though there are some negative opinions circulating about just how much Murray really brings to the table, his ability to grind out yards is sure to be sought out by other teams around the league.
5. AARON DONALD
Aaron Donald does not like playing for the Rams, there’s no question about it. There is also no question about Donald’s ability to play in the NFL. Donald and the Rams have been at odds for the last several months over contractual disagreements and the tides don’t look like they’ll be changing anytime soon.
Aaron Donald has dominated, averaging 38.7 tackles and 9.3 sacks per season over his first three seasons, and it’s unlikely that Rams will want to part ways with a player as talented as Donald, who still has two seasons left on his contract. However, should the Rams choose to sell Donald due to the personal clashes, there will be no shortage of teams looking to spend big to get him.
4. MARK INGRAM
Not unlike Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram has voiced his concerns about the number of touches he’ll get as a Saint. Ingram has proven himself reliable in the backfield following years of being the Saints’ leading man, but the allure of Rookie Alvin Kamara seems irresistible. With Kamara now in the mix, and looking more and more like the Saints’ back of the future, Ingram is restless to find a new home.
As much as Ingram may be looking to leave, it seems unlikely that the Saints will be looking to trade him, considering they’ve already pawned off the older (and more vocally dissenting) Peterson. Ingram still has value to the team and if Kamara hits a bit of a midseason slump or finds himself injured there is a spot for Ingram to slide right in.
3. RICHARD SHERMAN
Richard Sherman was itching to move this past offseason, or at least the trade rumors would hint to that. Here we are, though, at the start of 2017 and Sherman is still suiting up for the Seahawks. Sherman leaving the Seahawks would be a tough break for the squad, which may be reluctant to ditch their marquee player, but there’s no misunderstanding why Sherman wants out.
These Seahawks are not Super Bowl contenders, not this year and probably not next year either. Even though Sherman is going on 30 years old, he continues to show his abilities at the corners and it’s perfectly reasonable that a player of his caliber is seeking out another Super Bowl ring. Seattle might be reluctant to trade away one of their stronger defensive assets, but teams will pay a premium for Sherman and the Seahawks might be able to take advantage of a draft pick or some young talent to develop tomorrow’s Legion of Boom.
2. LESEAN MCCOY
LeSean McCoy finds himself alongside Tyrod Taylor as a maligned member of the Buffalo Bills. With all of his peers having been dealt away for draft picks or prospects, McCoy must be unhappy with the prospects of the Bills, to say the least. McCoy is a veteran in his ninth NFL season and offers too much experience to be left on his own with a rebuilding offense.
McCoy not requesting a trade to a legitimate playoff contender would be a surprise. He is still a premium running back who offers a wealth of veteran experience and skill from the backfield. Nearing the end of his career, McCoy is no doubt interested in making a move that will wind up with a little more bling for his jewelry box.
1. ANDREW LUCK
There is absolutely no way that Andrew Luck can be happy to call himself a Colt these days. The Colts’ worst enemy over the past several years has been the Colts’ and that’s frustrating for the players and the fans alike. Luck is a real deal quarterback and everybody around the league know it, but his potential is being squandered in Indianapolis. Although the hapless GM Ryan Grigson has been ousted, his managerial decisions will not disappear overnight, and sadly for the Colts faithful that likely means that Luck is vying for the first ticket out of Indy.
Luck may be injured right now, sure, but he will come back and when he does you better believe he doesn’t want to be wearing blue and white for too much longer. The only thing on Luck’s mind right now besides selling his house in Indianapolis is proving that he has the same arm with the same accuracy once he returns from injury later this season.
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