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NFL Trade Rumors: 3 NFL trades that could change the landscape of the 2021-22 NFL season

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
ANALYST
Modified 23 Feb 2021
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As NFL trade rumors continue to do the rounds on the NFL network and social media, fans of at least 28 of the 32 NFL franchise teams dream of a life with Deshaun Watson under center. Hardly a surprise, given that the Houston Texan led the league in passing yards (4,823-yards) in 2020.

Why are fans across the NFL dreaming of Deshaun? Well, when a player of Watson's caliber decides to jump ship to another team, the results can be pronounced: just look at the effect Brady had on the Bucs last season; the entire organization went from also-rans to contenders the moment the GOAT walked through the door. Every fan knows that if Watson touches down in their state, their team is in with a chance of honors.

On that note, let's take a look at 3 earth-shattering (yet realistic) trades that could change the landscape of the 2021-22 season; the ones that would blow divisions wide open were they to bear fruit.

In no particular order:


#3 NFL Trade Rumors: Houston Texans trade Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins for QB Tua Taigovailoa, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick.

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans

If you believe everything you read in the rumor mill, you'd think the New York Jets were in pole position to snap up Deshaun Watson.

I'm not so sure: the Jets have quite possibly the worst set of receivers in the NFL, and one of the worst offensive lines to boot. Add to that the fact the Jets have been in a state of a constant overhaul for over a decade now, even with all their cap-room and Robert Saleh as head coach, New York seems miles away from being a playoff contender. Why would Watson want to go there? I just don't see it, personally.

With both teams on the edge of success, it's far more likely that Watson moves on to one of the Miami Dolphins or the San Francisco 49ers. If I were a gambling man, I'd bet on Miami as Watson's next destination; Miami for Tua, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick.

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If Dolphins head coach Brian Flores could pull this trade-off, Miami immediately becomes a lead contender in the AFC East; possibly even in the Conference.

The Dolphins already have one of the NFL's most respected defenses: the Miami D will give up yards but the unit's stingy endzone defense and penchant for coming up with big interceptions make them tough to score against. The Dolphins conceded an average of 20.1 points per game (6th best in NFL).

Watson's accuracy with the football and ability to scramble and prolong plays would bring the Dolphins' offense up to the level of Josh Allen's Buffalo Bills, especially if Miami were able to compliment his arrival by snapping up one of the talented receivers (Golladay, Godwin, Robinson ll) from the free agency pile.

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As for the Texans: we don't yet know how good Tua Taigovailoa is, so it's hard to say how much success he'd have in Houston. The Hawaiian native showed glimpses of promise under center in Miami last year; he played great against the Chiefs in the week-14 defeat, for example, but with a playoff appearance on the line, Tua struggled up against the Bills in Miami's biggest game of the year, throwing 3 picks.

Tua is certainly inconsistent, but then again, the rookie only played half a season; had no preseason, and operated behind one of the league's lowest-ranked offensive lines (28th via PFF); I mean, what do people expect?

Tua could still go on to big things if he were to be traded to the Texans, especially if they spent some of those hypothetical drafts picks from the Watson deal on fixing up their very own weak OL.

Deshaun Watson strutting his stuff in aqua and white would absolutely change the landscape in the AFC East and beyond, though -- that's for sure. To be perfectly honest, such is the talent in his hands and feet, Deshaun Watson traded almost anywhere would have severe ramifications for the NFL hierarchy -- just not the Jets!


#2 NFL Trade Rumors: Patriots trade Stephen Gilmore to the Cleveland Browns for 2021 second-round pick and 2022 third-round pick

Denver Broncos v New England Patriots
Denver Broncos v New England Patriots
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New England's offense is one of the worst in the entire NFL, averaging a sub-par 20.4 points per game in 2020 (26th in the NFL). Trading Gilmore to the Browns and using the picks to strengthen the receiving corps and running back rooms makes perfect sense for the Patriots.

The Browns do already have Greedy Williams (second-round 2020 draft pick) and Denzel Ward in deep coverage. Ward had a great year and ranked 3rd in the NFL for forced incompletions (14), but injuries and poor form saw Williams fall short of expectations, and the Browns have issues at safety too, leaving their pass coverage unit ranked 26th in the league via PFF.

Bringing in a player of Stephen Gilmore's caliber would immediately fix the big chink in the Browns' defensive armor, especially if coach Stefanski could convince the Patriot to continue operating in the slot (as he did for Belichick for much of last year), so that Ward could continue his fine work on the outside. Gilmore’s 82.5 coverage grade ranked sixth in the NFL last season.

His 54.5% completion percentage allowed put him in third, and his 12.7% forced incompletion rate tied him for fourth in the NFL -- Gilmore is still elite. Greedy Williams would also benefit immensely from watching a player like Gilmore up close, and it never hurts to have quality depth in the cornerback position either.

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The Browns have the NFL's coach of the year; an elite pass rush; possibly the best set of backs in the NFL in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, and an ability to make big plays downfield via the arm strength of Baker Mayfield and the supple hands of Landry and Beckham Jr.

Considering this, it's little surprise the Browns made it to the divisional round of the playoffs last season and the introduction of a player like Gilmore at cornerback could be the final piece of the jigsaw that sees the Browns finally make it to their first Super Bowl.


#1 NFL Trade Rumors: Dallas Cowboys slap the franchise tag on Dak Prescott and then trade him to Washington for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 first-round pick

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys

This last one is a bit more out of the left-field, but Cowboys QB Dak Prescott did recently begin following Washington on Twitter, which makes this a trade worthy of consideration.

The football team had a great 2020 draft class, uncovering the likes of DE Chase Young (NFL defensive rookie of the year), RB Antonio Gibson (+1,000-yards from scrimmage; 11 TDs), and S Kamren Curl, who was a steal considering the 7th round pick was a key part of the football team's secondary during the latter half of the year. These rookies are each slated to improve in their respective sophomore campaigns.

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To go alongside the young talent in Washington, coach Rivera has one of the league's best wideouts in Terry McLaurin, the 6th ranked pass rush unit via PFF, and the 6th ranked offensive line via PFF, too.

If Washington could land a legitimate franchise quarterback such as Dak Prescott, you'd have to call it a full house at that point. Ron Rivera's team would be more than capable of retaining its NFC East divisional crown and perhaps even able to mount a serious challenge for major honors. Dak Prescott to Washington would send tremors through the NFL landscape.

What do you think of our picks? Is there another trade you think could blow the NFL wide open? Have your say in the comments section below:

Published 22 Feb 2021, 23:49 IST
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