2015 NFL Trade Reviews

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Last year I combined my trade analysis with my free agency recap, but with so many trades this season I had to make a separate article, just to keep everything organized.  Here’s my take on the trades that have taken place so far in the new NFL year.

Mike Wallace traded to Minnesota from Miami
Dolphins gets Vikings 2015 5th round pick. Vikings get 2015 7th round pick.

Like I said after the Stills move for Miami, it was pretty clear they would be getting rid of Wallace, and at least they were able to get an asset (even if the value is minimal) for what would have been a cut if nobody made an offer. I think the offense takes a small hit, but if the Dolphins spend that money elsewhere the trade will be worth their while. The Vikings, after being relatively inactive in free agency, gave up a close to nothing for a player with a lot of speed and an up-and-down history of success.  They weren’t going to spend the money on anything this year anyway, and if Wallace doesn’t work out they can cut him without losing anything.  Probably not the ideal fit for the offense, but it’s a low risk move for sure.

Winner: Tie

Kenny Stills traded to Miami from New Orleans
Dannell Ellerbe to New Orleans from Miami
Saints get Dolphins 2015 3rd round pick

I’m not sure how the Saints got such a haul for Stills, who was a 5th round pick in 2013, has 8 total touchdowns in two seasons and is a pretty one dimensional talent. He has speed, and it’s elite speed, but that’s pretty much it. I don’t think too much of Ellerbe (he’s lucked into some nice stats playing next to Cameron Wake and has a big cap number), so the player swap isn’t important, but the pick seems like too much. I think the Saints will probably wind up cutting Ellerbe or restructuring, but even if they do it’s a nice move.

For the Dolphins, they got a good deep threat. Unfortunately, they already have a better version of that player in Mike Wallace, and if the last two year has taught us anything, it’s that Ryan Tannahill struggles getting the ball downfield.

I could see Miami cutting Wallace now and thinking that the addition of Stills will be a cheaper option for the same level of production, which could be very true. I just don’t think clearing cap space is worth the 3rd round pick.

Winner: Saints

Ben Grubs traded to Kansas City from New Orleans
Saints gets Chiefs 2015 5th round pick

Reports suggested that Drew Brees wasn’t happy with Grubs, and for a team looking to make cape room, stockpile draft picks, and build for the future instead of the present, that’s all it took for the team to cut ties with a stable part of their offensive line. The return was a little low, but isn’t that surprising of a move.

KC on the other hand relies on their offensive line possibly more than most other teams in the league. Alex Smith needs time in the pocket to watch plays develop downfield because the team doesn’t have receivers that can create separation on their own, and the team runs the ball at an incredible rate. If Grubs make the line better, it’s a worthwhile move.

Winner: Chiefs

Ryan Fitzpatrick traded to New York Jets from Houston
Houston gets Jets conditional 7th round pick that could be a sixth.

The Jets really didn’t give up anything of value for Fitzpatrick, who is familiar with Chan Gailey’s system.  If he starts, he’ll have some good weapons around him, and if he’s a backup, his experience and intelligence could come in handy as a mentor for a young QB (hopefully not Geno Smith).

The Texans clearly weren’t planning on using Fitz this season, so clearing the cap space and getting any pick is a good move.

Winner: Tie

Sam Bradford traded to Philadelphia from St. Louis
Nick Foles traded to St. Louis from Philadelphia
Rams get Eagles 2015 4th round pick and 2016 2nd round pick. Eagles get 2015 5th round pick.

I might be crazy, but I would have thought Nick Foles had more trade value than Sam Bradford, but the Eagles actually gave things up to make the swap. Bradford does have more upside, but the poor injury history along with having to adjust again to a new system doesn’t seem worth the risk.

That’s not to say Foles has a clean bill of health, and he clearly regressed to the mean last season. Either way, the Rams must be thrilled that they’re getting a cheaper QB that’s pretty serviceable, and some useful draft picks back. Foles shouldn’t be any worse than Bradford anyway.

If Chip Kelly has some genius plan, I’m exited to see the results, but right now, this move doesn’t exactly add up.

Winner: Rams

Haloti Ngata traded to Detroit from Baltimore
Ravens get Lions 2015 4th and 5th round picks. Lions get 2015 7th round pick.

It’s impossible to replace Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly, but Ngata is a nice start. He’s coming off a down yeah where he was also suspended, and the price is pretty high for a 31-year-old with a large cap number, but when he’s on the field he’s a force.

For the Ravens, it’ll be hard to replace his production. However, they have confidence in their scouting, and feel like they can make up the difference in the draft and with the added cap room. Ngata’s a big name, but it’s not a bad haul considering his age and production last year.

Winner: Ravens

Jimmy Graham to Seattle from New Orleans
Max Unger to New Orleans from Seattle
Saints get Seahawks 2015 1st round pick. Seahawks get 2015 4th round pick.

First off, I’m going to say I think the Seahawks win this trade, but I think it’s a lot closer than most people probably thing. Jimmy Graham adds another element to that offense, and will be a monster in the red zone. His statistical numbers overall will probably be smaller, but I think he’ll be a bigger impact than the numbers will show. The Saints also lose their best offensive weapon, and now Drew Brees will have a harder time finding his open man.

That being said, the Saints couldn’t have asked for more in return. Unger is a great center when he’s on the field, and will be a huge help in the running game (and with the team retaining Mark Ingram and adding CJ Spiller, all signs are pointing to the Saints converting from a pass-first offense to a power running team this season). They also added a 1st round pick this year, which they can package to move up in the draft if there’s someone early they’re targeting, or help them add more depth to the team.

Winner: Seahawks

Brandon Marshall traded to New York Jets from Chicago
Bears get 5th round pick and give up 7th round pick

Marshall seems like that master of being traded for mid round picks. There’s no way the Jets would have drafted a played better than Marshall with that fifth round pick, and if he’s healthy, he could put up the best receiver numbers the Jets have seen in a decade. The duo of Marshall and Decker could be really exciting, and will be a very reliable tandem for whoever’s under center.

I really didn’t see any reason for the Bears to trade him. Unless he upset people so much his last season with the team that it was hurting their on-field production, or he’s much more injured than everyone else knows, that offense will have a big hole to fill.

Winner: Jets

LeSean McCoy to Buffalo from Philadelphia
Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia from Buffalo

This trade might look lopsided towards the Bills because of LeSean McCoy’s name value, but I actually think Chip Kelly is getting a steal here. I know of Kiko Alonso’s injury last season, but he was a 2nd round pick who could have won rookie of the year in 2014. If I had the chance to choose a star running back or a competent and young defensive player, choose the defensive player every time.

That’s not to say LeSean McCoy won’t be great on the Bills. I think in a Rex Ryan offense that will run the ball to control the score, he’ll have the touches to earn his money and make his fans happy. Not only that, but Rex probably feels he can replace Alonso’s production with his play calling and other players on the roster.

Both player’s probably will be worth more to their new teams than their old one, so in that sense it’s a good trade by both sides. Personally though, I would rather get the defensive player for cheap than the expensive running back.

Winner: Eagles

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