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Here are the seven trades that need to happen before the 2019 NFL Draft

The NFL’s free agency period might have died down over the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be anymore excitement this offseason, and that excitement could very well come in the form of some wild trades. 

If NFL teams have proven one thing this offseason, it’s that they love making trades. Over the past two months, we’ve already seen Joe Flacco, Case Keenum and DeSean Jackson get dealt. Not to mention, it’s become pretty clear that every player in the NFL can be acquired at the right price. Last year, it didn’t even seem remotely possible that Odell Beckham or Antonio Brown would be playing for new teams in 2019, but that’s exactly what will be happening after both players were dealt during what has been one of the wildest offseasons in NFL history, and we might not be done. 

With the best players no longer available in free agency, teams will be looking to fill any voids on their roster by making a potential trade. For example, the Patriots are going to have a giant hole to fill on their offense now that Rob Gronkowski has decided to retire and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make a big trade before the NFL Draft kicks off on April 25. 

With that in mind, let’s check out seven trades that teams need to make before the draft, starting with the Patriots. 

Patriots land two weapons for Tom Brady

1. Falcons trade Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots 

Patriots get: Mohamed Sanu
Falcons get: 2019 third-round pick (97th overall)

2. Packers trade Jimmy Graham to the Patriots

Patriots get: Jimmy Graham
Packers get: 2019 third-round pick (101st overall)

If we’ve learned one thing about Bill Belichick during his 19 seasons in New England, it’s that he’s not afraid to make a trade for an offensive weapon if he thinks the Patriots need one, and the Patriots definitely need one. Since March 2007, we’ve seen Belichick go the trade route to add receivers like Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Brandin Cooks. Last year, we even saw the Patriots add Cordarrelle Patterson

With the receiving depth chart looking pretty thin behind Julian Edelman, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Belichick try and make a deal for a wide receiver and Mohamed Sanu would make a lot of sense. For one, the Patriots previously showed some interest in Sanu the last time he was a free agent. Back in March 2016, Sanu visited with New England before signing a five-year deal with the Falcons. On the Falcons’ end, Sanu slowly seems to be turning into an afterthought in Atlanta thanks to the presence of both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. With Jones expected to land a record-setting contract at some point this offseason, the Falcons might not be interested in keeping Sanu and his $6 million base salary hanging around for 2019.

As for the tight end spot, with Gronk now retired, the Patriots depth chart is basically made up of players that you’ve probably never heard of. Seriously, if you want to stump people with some trivia this weekend, just ask them to name two tight ends currently on the Patriots roster (Answer coming up). The tight end plays a pivotal part in the Patriots offense, which is why there’s basically a 100 percent chance that Belichick is going to beef up the depth at the position at some point this offseason. Although the Patriots will likely draft a tight end, a trade also seems completely possible and that’s because Belichick loves to trade for tight ends. In 2016, we saw the Patriots trade for Martellus Bennett. In 2017, the Patriots added tight end Dwayne Allen in a trade with the Colts.    

Although Jimmy Graham might be on the downside of his career, he’d still be a huge step up in talent from anyone the Patriots already have. The veteran would also be able to serve as a mentor to any tight end the Patriots might end up drafting. 

As for the Packers, dumping Graham and taking a younger tight end with one of their two first round picks is a move that would make a lot of sense for them, and our draft writers here at seem to agree. In the mock drafts put together by our six writers, four of them have the Packers taking a tight end in the first round (You can read those mock drafts by clicking here). 

Now, let’s get back to New England. If the Patriots want to be even more daring, they could try to make a play for Kyle Rudolph, but he’s such a vital part of the Vikings offense that it’s not clear if they would be willing to give him up. That being said, Rudolph does have a hefty salary for 2019 ($7.3 million) and the Vikings don’t really have the cap space to extend his contract right now since they gave all their money to Kirk Cousins and Anthony Barr, so Minnesota might at least be willing to listen to any offer that the Patriots make. 

For the Patriots, the beauty of these two potential trades is that they would be using picks they didn’t even have two months ago. In each trade, the Patriots would be using a compensatory pick that they were given in February, which means they would be turning free picks from the NFL into weapons for Tom Brady. Classic Belichick. Using the system to his advantage. 

**Two tight ends on the Patriots roster answer: Stephen Anderson, Matt Lacosse

Former first-rounders get shipped off

3. Cardinals trade Josh Rosen to the Giants

Giants get: Josh Rosen
Cardinals get: 2019 first-round pick (17th overall)

Dave Gettleman might not be too popular with Giants fans after trading away Odell Beckham, but he’d probably gain some of that popularity back if he were to pull off this trade and land a potential franchise quarterback for his team. In this deal, the Giants would use the first-round pick they acquired in the Beckham trade to push this deal to land Rosen. With Eli Manning’s contract set to expire after the 2019 season, the Giants could let Rosen sit on the bench this season and then make him the starter in 2020. If they did that, they’d still get Rosen under two years of his very affordable rookie contract. 

Besides getting Rosen, the other upside of this deal for the Giants is that they’d have multiple options on how to use their other first-round pick. The Giants were a horrible team last year and their roster has a lot of holes, which means they could use the sixth overall pick to fill one of those holes. if the Giants feel that Rosen is as good or better than any quarterback in the 2019 draft class, then this deal would be a no-brainer. Using your 17th overall to get Rosen sounds like a lot better deal than using your sixth pick to grab Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray. 

On the Cardinals’ end, even if they’re unsure about when they want to do with Rosen, they would almost certainly trade him if someone called and offered a first-round pick. 

4. Jaguars trade Leonard Fournette to the Eagles for Nelson Agholor

Eagles get: Leonard Fournette
Jaguars get: Nelson Agholor

If the end of the 2018 NFL season was any indication, the Jaguars are definitely not happy with Leonard Fournette. If you need a refresher on what happened, here’s a quick synopsis: First, Fournette was suspended for one game (Week 13) after getting into a fight with a Bills player in Week 12. In his first game back from suspension, Fournette was caught on video telling a fan he was going to “beat his ass.”

Oh, and he also got ripped by Tom Coughlin for looking completely disinterested while sitting on the bench during the Jaguars’ season finale against the Texans, which Jacksonville lost 20-3. 

It’s probably also worth mentioning that Fournette’s suspension led the Jags to remove all the future guarantees from his contract.

Although the relationship isn’t necessarily beyond repair, the Jags would probably be more than happy to move on if they were to receive an intriguing offer, and that’s where the Eagles come in. If the Eagles have one glaring issue on their offense, it’s at running back, and although they could look to fix that problem in the draft, that’s not usually how they operate. Over the past 10 years, the Eagles haven’t spent a single first or second round pick on a running back, which means a trade makes the most sense, especially when you consider that the team’s front office is run by one of the most trade-crazy guys in the NFL (Howie Roseman). 

For the Jaguars, not only would they be able to get rid of Fournette and all the distractions he’s brought to the team, but they’d also get to bring in a familiar face for Nick Foles. If the Jags are expecting Foles to put up big numbers in Jacksonville, then adding Agholor would make sense. During the Eagles Super Bowl LII win over the Patriots, Agholor caught nine passes for 84 yards from Foles. The other potential upside for the Jags is that Foles seems to function just fine without a strong running game. 

If Fournette does end up in Philadelphia, the Eagles would have him under contract at a very reasonable rate over the next two seasons ($2.9 million in 2019, $4.2 million in 2020). 

5. Bengals trade John Ross to the Chiefs

Chiefs get: John Ross
Bengals get: 2019 fifth-round pick (167th overall)

If the Bengals are actually shopping John Ross, then the Chiefs might want to think about giving them a call. With Tyreek Hill under investigation for alleged battery involving a juvenile, the addition of Ross would give the Chiefs some insurance in case Hill’s legal situation takes a turn for the worse. Although Ross was a top-10 pick in 2017 (ninth overall), it’s highly unlikely the Bengals will be able to get anything close to that in return. A fourth-round pick could potentially make sense here, but the Chiefs don’t have one, so we’re going to have them offer their fifth-round pick. 

Although Ross has struggled for the better part of two seasons, the 24-year-old has shown some flashes of talent. In 2018, Ross’ receiving numbers weren’t eye-popping (21 catches for 210 yards), but he did catch seven touchdown passes, including five that came inside the 10-yard line, which was tied for the fourth most in the NFL from inside the 10 last season. Ross would also get the chance to play with Patrick Mahomes, who has a slightly stronger arm than Andy Dalton, which basically means the Chiefs quarterback is way better equipped to take advantage of Ross’ speed (Ross set the 40 record at the NFL combine in 2017). 

6. Jets trade Darron Lee to the Bengals

Bengals get: Darron Lee
Jets get: 2019 fifth-round pick (149th overall)

With C.J. Mosley now on the roster in New York, there’s a good chance the Jets could end up trading Darron Lee, which is potentially good news for a Bengals team that’s having some serious depth problems at linebacker. If the Jets are hoping to land draft picks out of this deal, the Bengals have plenty of them to offer. As a matter of fact, the Bengals have seven picks between the fourth and sixth rounds this year.  

For Lee, who was the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, this deal would likely be a welcome change of scenery. It would also bring the linebacker, who went to both high school and college in Ohio, closer to home. 

As for the Bengals, if they were to deal John Ross to the Chiefs for a fifth-round pick and then give up a fifth-round pick for Lee, they’d effectively be trading Ross for Lee, which wouldn’t be a bad deal. 

The Raiders aren’t done making trades

7. Bears trade Jordan Howard to the Raiders

Raiders get: Jordan Howard
Bears get: 2019 fourth-round pick (106th overall)

The Raiders only had two running backs rush for more than 300 yards last season (Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch) and neither of those guys are under contract for 2019. Although the Raiders have added plenty of receivers this offseason, they seemed to have forgotten about the running back position. Actually, to be fair, they haven’t forgotten about it, they’ve just decided not to take care of it yet. 

The Raiders might not have a running back yet, but the good news is that they do know what they’re looking for. 

The Raiders could use one of their three first-round picks on a running back in the draft, but that kind of seems like a reach. Instead of wasting a first-round pick, the Raiders could call up the Bears and make an offer for Jordan Howard. The upside for the Raiders is that they’d be getting a running back who could instantly start, and all they’d have to give up to land that starter is a fourth-round pick. 

For the Bears, their running back room is a little bit overcrowded after adding Mike Davis during free agency, which is why it would make sense for them to part ways with Howard. The Bears haven’t really been trying to hide the fact this offseason that they would be open to trading Howard, and getting a fourth-round pick in return would seem to be good value, especially for a team that currently only has five picks in the entire draft, which is the second lowest number of any team in the NFL. 

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team

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