5 NFL Trades That Should Happen Before Training Camps Open in 2022 | Bleacher Report

0 of 5

    Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

    The NFL may be at a relatively
    quiet point in the offseason when it comes to trades and transactions, but that
    doesn’t mean there won’t be any big moves in the coming weeks.

    With mandatory minicamps
    getting underway this week, teams will have a chance to seriously evaluate
    their full rosters for the first time ahead
    of the 2022 campaign. Those assessments could lead to trades as clubs look to
    patch holes.

    It would benefit several
    organizations to move quickly and get deals worked out ahead of training camp
    next month. Integrating new pieces at the start of camp makes preparing for the
    upcoming season easier on both players and coaches, affording them plenty
    of time to jell before Week 1.

    that in mind, here are five trades—factoring in team needs, rebuilding status, the availability of a replacement and cap space—that should get done before the start of
    training camp.

1 of 5

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The San Francisco 49ers are
    ready to move ahead with Trey Lance as their top quarterback. Unfortunately,
    the club still has its incumbent starter lingering on the roster with an
    albatross of a contract.

    Jimmy Garoppolo is set to make
    a whopping $24.2 million this season, the final term of a five-year, $137.5 million
    deal he signed in 2018. Even if the Niners aren’t sold on
    Lance as their QB1 of the future—as some reports
    —it’s still an exorbitant cost to pay for
    a projected backup.

    Garoppolo’s market has been
    cool following his decision to undergo surgery on his right shoulder after the 2021
    campaign. While the procedure was successful, the 30-year-old still hasn’t been
    cleared to throw.

    According to NBCSports.com’s Matt
    Maiocco, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan expects that to change in the next
    month, noting the veteran QB has been excused from minicamp to continue
    his rehabilitation. Shanahan had previously
    said he expects a trade to go down when Garoppolo is declared fully healthy, and those plans have not changed.

    The Carolina Panthers are likely
    keeping tabs on Garoppolo’s recovery. The team has been in the market for
    a proven QB this offseason but has yet to land one. The Cleveland Browns
    reportedly declined
    a deal that would have sent Baker Mayfield over during the draft, leaving
    Garoppolo as the best available option for Carolina.

    While finances submarined the
    Mayfield trade, SI.com’s Albert
    Breer noted the 49ers and Garoppolo are both reportedly flexible when
    it comes to the quarterback’s contract.

    Given Carolina has an estimated $24.6 million in cap
    space to work with, the club should have little issues fitting Garoppolo in, especially if he’s willing to renegotiate that final season on
    his current deal.

    The Panthers shouldn’t have to
    give much up to bring Jimmy G aboard. The 49ers would likely be happy to
    unload the Eastern Illinois product for a late Day 2 or early Day 3 draft pick
    at this juncture, finally putting an end to a chapter they had hoped to wrap up
    before the draft.

2 of 5

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    The Washington Commanders are
    all too familiar with how a minicamp holdout can turn into an unrepairable relationship.

    According to Al
    of the Al Galdi Podcast, Trent
    Williams and Albert Haynesworth were the two most recent players to skip the
    organization’s minicamp. Both were traded within a year of their respective

    Another storm could be brewing
    with Terry McLaurin’s decision to stay away from this year’s minicamp. The star
    receiver became eligible for a contract extension this offseason, and he’s holding out in an attempt to get it.

    ESPN’s Adam
    found that McLaurin wants an extension that is “consistent with
    other comparable WRs,” many of whom have signed big contracts following the 2021

    Two wideouts from the 2019 class
    have already inked new deals. Hunter Renfrow re-upped with the Las Vegas
    Raiders on a two-year, $32 million extension, while A.J. Brown signed a
    four-year, $100 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles after he was
    traded by the Tennessee Titans.

    Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Tyreek Hill, Christian Kirk, Cooper
    Kupp, Mike Williams and Allen Robinson II all received new contracts worth $15 million or more annually this offseason as well.

    If Washington isn’t willing to meet McLaurin’s asking price—which would be a puzzling decision given he’s already eclipsed 3,000 receiving yards and
    scored 16 touchdowns on 222 catches since coming into the league—the
    organization should trade him quickly for maximum value.

    The Titans returned first- and third-round selections for
    Brown during the draft, a trade that set the market for a wideout of McLaurin’s
    caliber. The Baltimore Ravens could offer a similar package for Washington’s
    disgruntled star, a move that would fill the void left by Marquise Brown, who Baltimore dealt to the Arizona Cardinals during the draft.

    The Ravens have their own picks in each of the first four
    rounds of the 2023 draft. Kicking over first and a third-rounders to
    the Commanders for a highly productive and healthy 26-year-old receiver just
    entering his prime would provide Baltimore with the ideal Brown replacement.

    Getting the deal finalized before training camp would give McLaurin time to get integrated into the Ravens offense and allow the
    Commanders to prepare for a campaign without their top offensive weapon.

3 of 5

    Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    Terry McLaurin isn’t the only
    wideout from the class of 2019 who is currently unhappy with how his contract
    negotiations are going. DK Metcalf is also skipping mandatory minicamp after the
    Seattle Seahawks failed to offer him a suitable extension this offseason.

    Metcalf has patiently watched while
    other elite wideouts cashed in on big paydays this offseason. Tyreek Hill,
    Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp and draft classmate A.J. Brown all signed new deals
    that will pay them over $25 million per
    year, while Metcalf is set to make a shade under $4
    million in the final season of his rookie contract.

    The Seahawks have made it
    clear they want to keep the 24-year-old around for the long term, but the lack of a finalized contract has already started to negatively
    impact their preparations for the 2022 campaign.

    According to NFL.com’s Grant
    Gordon, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll admitted this is a “crucial time” to work things out, and he wants to get an extension in place with his star wideout before
    training camp kicks off in July.

    During an appearance on The Pat
    McAfee Show
    , NFL insider Ian
    said he would be surprised if Metcalf is traded, but noted a deal
    is “not impossible,” either.

    There should be no shortage of
    suitors for Metcalf after the Ole Miss product racked up nearly 3,200 yards and
    scored 29 touchdowns on 216 catches to start his career.

    The Green Bay Packers should
    be one of the interested parties. They desperately need a true No. 1
    wideout after trading Adams to
    the Las Vegas Raiders earlier in the offseason.

    While the Packers did add
    second-round pick Christian Watson and free agent Sammy Watkins to shore up the
    receiver room following the Adams trade, the team would be foolish to pass up a
    chance to add a playmaker of Metcalf’s caliber.

    After signing Aaron Rodgers to
    a blockbuster $150 million extension that will keep him in Titletown for the
    next three seasons, Green Bay needs to augment the aging quarterback with a high-end
    weapon to keep the club contending in that window.

    Flipping a pair of early
    draft picks—the Packers hold their own selections in the first five rounds—may be enough to pry Metcalf away from Seattle.

4 of 5

    Chris Unger/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bears have been
    steadily plugging away at their rebuild this offseason, but they still have at least one more
    major move to make before training camp begins. The team needs to offload
    veteran Robert Quinn, a talented but aging edge-rusher who may no longer fit with the its timeline.

    Quinn racked up an impressive
    18.5 sacks last year—the second-most in the league—and made it clear he
    still has something left in the tank after a disappointing 2020 season. With Quinn’s value now
    sky-high, the 32-year-old could be most
    valuable to the Bears as a trade chip.

    The Los Angeles Rams would
    make an ideal trading partner. After giving up a pair of Day 2 draft picks to
    rent star pass-rusher Von Miller for a Super Bowl run, the defending champs
    could employ a similar tactic with Quinn.

    Miller’s decision to join the
    Buffalo Bills in free agency left a hole the Rams could opt to
    fill with another splashy trade. Los Angeles is quite familiar with what Quinn
    brings to the table after he spent the first seven years of his career with the
    organization, and a homecoming could greatly benefit both sides.

    Chicago already shipped a veteran edge-rusher to Los Angeles by dealing Khalil Mack to the
    Chargers earlier in the offseason. It would hardly be a surprise if Quinn, who
    CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported “wants out” of Chicago, soon
    joins him.

    While the Rams would have to do
    some finagling to fit Quinn’s contract under the cap—he still has three seasons remaining on the five-year, $70 million deal he signed in 2020—the team has nearly $10 million in
    available space after freeing
    up funds by extending Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp.

    Los Angeles may not be flush
    with draft capital, but the franchise does hold second- and third-round
    selections in 2023. Offering those picks could entice the rebuilding Bears to give up

5 of 5

    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Tyron Smith has anchored the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line for over a decade. Despite what
    he’s provided to the club in terms of on-field production and locker room
    leadership, Smith’s tenure in Dallas could soon be at an end.

    While Smith is still undeniably productive on the
    field—he made his eighth Pro Bowl last year despite appearing in just 11 games—his
    spotty availability, rising costs and readily available replacement could
    render him expendable.

    The veteran offensive lineman
    has been dealing with a back injury during OTAs, the latest in a string of
    ailments that have plagued him in recent years. The 31-year-old has missed 20
    games over the past two campaigns and hasn’t played a full season since 2016.

    Smith is due to make $13.5 million this season and $13.6
    million in 2023, the final two seasons of his eight-year, $97.6 million contract. While it’s not an exorbitant amount for a high-end left
    tackle, it’s still a rather steep cost in comparison to the four-year, $13.4
    million rookie deal the Cowboys agreed to with Tyler Smith.

    By drafting Tyler Smith, the No. 24 pick this year, Dallas
    has its heir-apparent at left tackle in place. The Tulsa product is almost certainly in
    line to take starting snaps during the 2022 campaign because of Tyron Smith’s durability issues. The Cowboys could speed up the transition by
    moving on from the incumbent starter before training camp even begins.

    While Dallas may not field many offers for Smith because of concerns about his health, there is precedent for aging tackles to return a
    decent haul of draft capital. A 31-year-old Trent Williams netted
    third- and fifth-round picks, and Duane Brown was traded
    for second- and third-rounders when he was 32 years old.

    Getting back a third-rounder for Smith would be a win for
    the Cowboys, and a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers should be happy to oblige. The Steelers had PFF’s No. 26-rated
    offensive line in 2021 while deploying ineffective rookie Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle.

    Upgrading from Moore to Smith would be a major boon for the
    Steelers as they prepare for life in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era. Even if
    he’s not available for all 17 games, Smith’s presence would allow Moore to further
    develop as a backup before returning as the full-time starter in a
    couple years.

Leave a Comment