3 NFL Trades That Should Happen in 2022, According to Coaches & Execs

Ravens Darius Slayton

Getty New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton stiff-arms a defender during a November 2021 game.

The NFL preseason is here and training camps are in full swing, but the roster-building efforts in front offices across the league are far from finished.

Whether due to injuries to key players at key positions, or simply teams aiming to bolster the overall depth of their roster prior to Week 1, the next few weeks could be chalked full of trades as general managers cycle through the bottom of their rosters.

Here’s a look at three trades that should happen, with insight from executives around the NFL on the value of the players involved:

Browns Trade for 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The Browns know that they are going to be without Deshaun Watson for at least six weeks, but as the league appeals the quarterback’s suspension in the fallout of settling 23 cases involving allegations of sexual assault, there’s a chance an indefinite suspension could be looming.

Meanwhile, Cleveland has built a roster plenty capable of competing for a Super Bowl this season, and it is difficult to envision Jacoby Brissett reaching those heights, after compiling a 14-23 record as a starter.

Following an offseason’s worth of veteran quarterback movement, there may not be a better match remaining for 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo than the Browns.

For all of Garoppolo’s shortcomings, he’s still a 67% passer who owns a 71-38 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 33-14 career record as a starter with a Super Bowl appearance on his resumé.

If nothing else, Garoppolo’s presence would steady the ship in the crucible of the AFC North until Watson’s eventual return, and at this point could likely be had for a relative song.

NFC personnel exec on Garoppolo’s trade value:

“The Niners could probably get at least a third-round pick from a team like the Browns, but the longer they hold him, the price could go way up. Imagine if a team loses their starter between now and Week 1. What would the Rams trade the Niners if Matthew Stafford goes down? It has to be much higher. The longer San Francisco holds him, the better they’ll do, in any trade.”

Broncos trade for Eagles WR Jalen Reagor

If there’s one position Denver Broncos general manager George Paton will be scouring the wire for following final cuts, it’s going to be wide receiver.

Following Tim Patrick tearing his ACL, the Broncos will likely turn to Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy to take on significantly larger pieces of Russell Wilson’s target share. However, the Broncos currently have three rookie receivers on the roster, and could use an additional veteran presence.

Denver, of course, signed veteran Darrius Shepard, but don’t be surprised if the Broncos aren’t finished adding at the position.

Jalen Reagor is exactly the type of player who could benefit from a change of scenery and could find his stride outside of the pressure-cooker of playing in Philadelphia as a first-round pick whose production never matched his pedigree.

Reagor, 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds, has all the physical tools to be a big-play threat but has yet to consistently put it together. Now, buried in a suddenly loaded Eagles wide receiver room, behind the likes of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Zach Pascal, the Eagles may look to take whatever they can get for Reagor.

Paton and the Broncos have shown interest in Reagor, league sources have told Heavy, so perhaps Denver can find a way to maximize the TCU alum, and the Eagles can add yet another asset to Howie Roseman’s bountiful 2023 NFL draft war chest.

NFL head coach on Reagor’s trade value:

“It’s probably not much more than a sixth or seventh-round pick, at this point. He just hasn’t had the production to justify anything more than being a flier.”

Cowboys Trade for Giants WR Darius Slayton

James Washington’s injury combined with Dallas trading Amari Cooper to the Browns earlier this offseason suddenly has the Cowboys walking on a razor’s edge at the offensive skill positions.

While big names such as Odell Beckham Jr., and Cole Beasley make some sense, the Cowboys desperately need immediate help at wide receiver, and ideally a speedster with upside to plant opposite CeeDee Lamb.

Enter, Darius Slayton, who is suddenly buried on the Giants’ crowded wide receiver depth chart.

Slayton showed plenty of promise as a rookie, as a fifth-round pick out of Auburn back in 2019, catching 48 passes for 740 yards and 8 touchdowns, but he’s only reached the end zone 5 times combined over the past two seasons.

While trades between division rivals are rare, they certainly aren’t unheard of, and this may be an ideal match for what both organizations desperately are looking for at the moment. The Cowboys need an immediate contributor with upside, while Giants general manager Joe Schoen has eyes set on building sustained long-term success, so adding a draft pick in 2023 for a player who will likely open the season behind Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Won’Dale Robinson, and Sterling Shepard feels like a best-case scenario.

AFC coach on Slayton’s trade value:

“After his rookie season, I thought the needle was pointed way up. I’m not sure what happened there. The fact that he doesn’t play special teams could really hurt his value. He should play a lot in the preseason, and if he plays well, maybe they can get a fifth-round pick, at most.”

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