As we pass the deadline for teams to agree to long-term contracts with tagged players, there’ll be another deadline to have our eyes on. The trade deadline will be here before we know it, Oct. 29 to be exact, and any lingering deals can be struck in the final seconds.
There are the big names, including New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell, as potential in-season trade candidates, but what about other under-the-radar players who could be moved in-season?
The factors will be different for each player, who to their respective team and fan base may not be under the radar at all, but to the NFL as a whole, haven’t garnered the same status as Bell or the players that have shaken up the league this offseason.
Here are three that stand out:
Bud Dupree, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bud Dupree is getting ready for his sixth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a first-round pick out of the 2015 NFL Draft and went 22nd overall to the Steelers. He played all 16 games his rookie season, with five starts, but then sat out most of the usually highly-anticipated Year 2 with a groin injury; Dupree only played in seven games in 2016.
Dupree continued to grow in his role at the heart of the defense and is coming off his best season to date: 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three passes defended. Why would Pittsburgh want to give that up? Dupree signed a one-year tender in April but recently “filed a grievance with hopes that he’ll be paid as a defensive end rather than a linebacker,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but “the sides are not close on a deal.”
Another wrinkle would be the Steelers’ quarterback situation. Veteran Ben Roethlisberger’s career is winding down and they’ll need to add another passer to the mix, preferably a good one who will need an adequate payday. The grievance shouldn’t affect Dupree playing under the franchise tag this season, but if he wants more money, Pittsburgh would be wise to seek offers.
Josh Jackson, CB, Green Bay Packers
Cornerback Josh Jackson is entering an important year with the Green Bay Packers. Jackson was drafted in the 2018 class along with Jaire Alexander to fill the Packers’ need at cornerback. However, Jackson and Alexander’s careers took two different turns. Alexander has put up consistent numbers and started in all 16 games last season. Jackson, on the other hand, had a decent rookie year but fell off in his sophomore season. He only played in 14 games with zero starts.
It’s a make-or-break season. Reports have suggested he’s had a falling out with Green Bay staff and the numbers show their displeasure. Jackson played in just 10% of snaps last season, compared to 68% during his rookie year.
If he’s not given a chance to succeed in the Packers’ secondary after they have already started preparing for their future, the team could test the market. Jackson took some time to break out at Iowa and that could be the case again in the NFL, it’s just a matter of how patient Green Bay can be.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos
Yes, Phillip Lindsay is good, very good actually. No, he shouldn’t be under the radar. Yes, there’s a possibility he’s traded. The Denver Broncos have to make a decision about what to do with the third-year running back who’s entering the final season of his rookie deal. Lindsay entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent and signed a cheap three-year, $1.725 million deal. He’ll be a free agent following the 2020 season and while he certainly exceeded UDFA expectations, the Broncos could move on—and move him sooner.
Lindsay has put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and rushed for no less than seven touchdowns each of those years. He’s carried the majority of the load with Royce Freeman’s help. The Broncos brought in reinforcements and signed Melvin Gordon to a two-year contract at the end of April. How does that bode for Lindsay? Denver hasn’t had a true, established star putting up numbers this consistently for the better part of the last decade, but he now has to share time with Gordon instead of commanding the position with help when needed.
The 2021 running back draft class—including Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, and Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill—and free-agent pool are also working against Lindsay. He’ll want a hefty new deal, and he’ll deserve one, but the Broncos could again opt for cheaper talent via the draft or allocate that money to the likes of Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones, or any of the other big names on the market as well. The odds aren’t currently in Lindsay’s favor to remain in Denver past 2020 and the team could decide to move on even sooner.
- Dec 01, 2022
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