2023 post-draft trade candidates: Dalvin Cook, Austin Ekeler lead options after Za’Darius sends Smith to Browns

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By Webdesk

Most of the big names available this NFL offseason have either found new homes or cashed in on their old ones. With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror and teams filling their rosters with young, cost-controlled talent, there are some veterans who could enter the trade market as their teams try to save some money against the cap or simply move on and offer opportunities to younger players.

With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the most likely candidates to be covered over the summer.

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It’s more likely that Tannehill will stay in Tennessee as a placeholder in the last year of his contract, but at a high salary, with the Titans just trading to draft Will Levis at number 33 overall, it’s entirely possible that the team can ask for offers. for his seated starter. Coach Mike Vrabel hasn’t committed to having Tannehill on the roster in Week 1, and while the Titans would certainly stand a better chance of battling for another playoff run if he stays, it’s clear that new general manager Ran Carthon thinks about the future.

Logical landing sites: Cardinals, falcons, packers

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Technically he’s locked in for 2023 under the franchise tag, but that doesn’t mean the Raiders wouldn’t pique – or demand – interest in the event that a future long-term deal is unlikely. Coach Josh McDaniels, remember, comes from the Patriots system that deploys multiple backs, even though he leaned heavily on Jacobs in 2022. And the veteran teased dissatisfaction with the current regime after Darren Waller’s departure this offseason. Moving the 25-year-old workhorse would immediately save Vegas $10 million.

Logical landing sites: Bills, Cardinals, Seahawks

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When on the field, Henry carries Tennessee’s offense; to this day no one can match his combination of size (6-3, 245), speed and experience at the position. But he has topped 300 carries in three of his last four seasons, suffering a serious injury in between. In other words, the wear and tear is there. The Titans are in a rebuilding phase, or at least should be, and could save $6.3 million by dealing the big man, who enters a contract year. They say they’re not buying him, but they’ve said the same about QB Ryan Tannehill, and he’s clearly expendable as Tennessee enters a new era.

Logical landing sites: Bills, Seahawks, Bengal

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There are already rumors that the Vikings want to leave Cook after June 1. At full speed, he remains one of the NFL’s top pure runners, fresh off a fourth consecutive 1,000-yard campaign. But he’s turning 28 with a history of nagging injuries, has 1,500 career contacts to his name and must pay at least $14 million in each of the next three years. Minnesota hasn’t been shy about parting ways with fan favorites to free up cash this offseason. Cook’s departure would save the Vikings nearly $8 million via trade, allowing Alexander Mattison to headline the next backfield rotation.

Logical landing sites: Bills, Bengal, Raven (More landing sites)

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If Los Angeles is serious about retaining an elite supporting cast for Justin Herbert, it will find a way to give Ekeler the raise he’s publicly been seeking, if only for this season. On the other hand, Ekeler himself doesn’t seem ready to last the season if he doesn’t get more money. Like Christian McCaffrey with his reliable high-volume pass catch, he’s pretty underpaid at $6.125 million a year (13th among RBs) going into a contract year. However, the Chargers could earn $6.25 million in savings if they sold him to a contender and tackled the position with a handful of cheaper bets.

Logical landing sites: Jets, Broncos, Texans (More landing sites)

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Hopkins, one of the most obvious off-season trade contenders, remains an elite technician when he’s healthy, but he’s missed 15 games in the past two years and has to pay nearly $30 million next season at age 31. Kyler Murray needs guns like everyone else, but 2023 is a true transitional year for Arizona as Jonathan Gannon remakes the culture. Marquise Brown is also in tow and eligible for an extension, and Hopkins, whose departure would save an instant $8.9 million, still ranks as a borderline No. 1 contender.

Logical landing sites: Bills, Chiefs, Lions, Packers, Panthers (More landing sites)

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After a solid 2021 season in his first year under Nick Sirianni (43 catches, 647 yards), Watkins’ pace did not match his production as the No. 3 behind AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith during the Eagles’ Super Bowl bid. His questionable hands could convince hyperactive GM Howie Roseman to fire him prior to a contract year, resulting in an immediate $2.7 million savings.

Logical landing sites: Chargers, colts, falcons, titans

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Oliver has been a solid part of Buffalo’s interior for the past four years, but he enters a contract year and could be angling for a lucrative renewal after huge deals for veterans like Javon Hargrave hit the open market. Sean McDermott would certainly much rather keep him around while the Bills make another title attempt, but if they can reallocate the $10.8 million he’s due in 2023 and further bolster Josh Allen’s guns, it’s a early split probably not ruled out.

Logical landing sites: Bears, cardinals, lions, saints

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An underrated mainstay of the Indianapolis front alongside DeForest Buckner, Stewart has been durable and sturdy as an upstart interior decorator over the past four years. He’s got a fair deal too, with $10.875 million in 2023 amid a somewhat bloated DT market. But the Colts have reason to shift to a more offensive focus under coach Shane Steichen, especially with a new QB coming in. And sharing Stewart before his contract expires in 2024, entering his 30-year season, would also free up $9.6 million.

Logical landing sites: Bears, loaders, cowboys, saints

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A polarizing four-year starter for Tampa Bay, White is an athletic freak who received high marks from coach Todd Bowles and posted ostentatious numbers for the position. But he enters a contract year and could command almost a record amount despite mediocre numbers as a reporter. reportedly request a trade the week of the draft. Selling him would deprive the club of a defensive leader, but would immediately save $11.7 million as the team prepares for potentially dramatic transitions after Tom Brady.

Logical landing sites: Bills, Broncos, Chargers, Raiders

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Young looked to become a cornerstone player for the Commanders as he was picked No. 2 overall from Ohio State and then made it to the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, injuries have dogged him ever since, and so has Washington declined to exercise his fifth-year option. Would another team be willing to give up something of value in the hopes of exploiting its massive advantage?

Logical landing sites: Chiefs, Lions, Seahawks, Texans, Bills

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Baker requested a trade from Arizona earlier this offseason, and given the position the roster is in, it may make sense for the team to give it their way and start replenishing the cabinet with draft picks. Baker, a high-impact secondary player who plays much bigger than his size (5-10, 195 pounds), has also shown himself to be very durable, missing just five games in six seasons. He has a base salary of $13.1 million and $14.2 million over the next two years, and he should be able to maintain a high level of play even after that, as 2024 is only his 28-year season.

Logical landing sites: Eagles, patriots, colts, commanders

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Like Ekeler and Cook, Mixon is probably already too expensive for his team to pay him again, and the organization may look for cheaper and/or younger in the position. Bengals Brass is unsurprisingly vague about Mixon’s future with the team, and if he isn’t traded, he could become a cap victim at some point this summer. As far as which teams might need backup, that’s a trickier question.

Logical landing sites: Buccaneers, saints, rams, bills

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