NFL Trade Deadline Delivers Tough Choice For Teams Uncertain About Buying Or Selling

Bradley Chubb was chatting (it’s how they talk in London) with reporters after Sunday’s Denver Broncos victory when the topic of bye week plans and the NFL trade deadline entered the conversation.

After telling reporters he has no plans for this week when the Broncos get several days off as part of their bye, Chubb asked what the reporters planned.

“Waiting to see what happens at 2 o’clock on Tuesday (Mountain time),” one reporter said, referring to the NFL’s trade deadline.

“That’s why I’ve got no plans,” Chubb answered.

NFL Trade deadline present questions for Denver Broncos.
Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Russell Wilson celebrated a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars days ahead of the NFL trade deadline. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Broncos Have NFL Trade Deadline Decisions To Make

The Broncos ended a four-game losing skid and multiple players talked of rallying the rest of the year after their victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. “The season’s not over,” safety Justin Simmons said.

But Chubb is keenly aware the Broncos are seriously considering trading him by 4 p.m on Tuesday. Teams are being told to make their best offer that must include a first-round draft pick plus other considerations and then a decision will be made.

So the Broncos find themselves in an uncomfortable situation at the trade deadline. They are among multiple teams that are fence sitting at the NFL trade deadline.

Those teams are weighing whether to be sellers or not. Or whether to be buyers or not. Because it’s not necessarily clear what to do.

That’s the reason they’re kind of between and betwixt and feeling all awkward.

The Broncos aren’t sure whether trading Chubb or any of the receivers on the lips of trade rumor sources — K.J. Hamler and Jerry Jeudy — is right because doing so unmasks them as a club giving up on this season.

And we get it because a 3-5 team should perhaps be doing just that. But the Broncos have so far been unsure because selling would mean they’re giving up eight games into coach Nathaniel Hackett’s first season and saying they don’t believe quarterback Russell Wilson can rally them only months after they gave him a $245 million contract to do exactly that.

Tough spot.

NFL trade deadline presents dilemma for multiple teams.
The Los Angeles Rams face tough questions at the NFL trade deadline. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Multiple Teams Face Tuesday Dilemma

The dilemma is similar for teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New England who probably should be sellers but are not certain they want to be.

Similar is the dilemma for teams such as the Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, and perhaps Atlanta Falcons who might be right to be buyers but aren’t sure that’s exactly right, either.

Consider the Broncos first: Re-signing Chubb after the season or placing a franchise tag on him will severely affect the Broncos’ salary cap. So a trade is a real option for general manager George Paton even though it will be wildly unpopular among players and fans.

“It’s tough, Chubb said.

Consider the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the NFL trade deadline: They’re 3-5 and under-achieving and not really trying to extend cornerback Jamel Dean’s contract with him slated for free agency in 2023. So should they consider one of the multiple trade offers they’ve gotten for him? Or should they keep him because good cornerbacks are cornerstone pieces and a rally is always possible with Tom Brady as the quarterback?

The Rams don’t look like their Super Bowl championship defense is on schedule. They’re reeling and don’t have much by way of draft choices to add an offensive lineman or running back or pass rusher. And yet coach Sean McVay was speaking about possible additions after a 31-14 loss to San Francisco.

carolina-panthers-eddy-pineiro-dj-moore-penalty-overtime
Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro missed a big kick for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, which led to a loss, which is another reason team should be a seller at trade deadline.

Some NFL Teams Should Be Sellers

The Carolina Panthers should be sellers. We all know that because they’re in last place in the lowly NFC South and have already traded Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey. So they have already sold off talent.

And yet the Panthers are telling teams they’re not willing to trade edge rusher Brian Burns or receiver D.J. Moore, barring an amazing offer.

The Panthers are 2-6 with both Burns and Moore but somehow must think the return of Baker Mayfield from injury might somehow improve their situation.

The New England Patriots are in last place in the AFC East and their quarterback situation is not good because Mac Jones has so far regressed from his rookie season.

But the Patriots are the perfect fence-sitting team at the NFL trade deadline because they’re 4-4 and could yet salvage the season with a playoff push. So calls (incoming and outgoing) involving receiver Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor or offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn have so far gone nowhere.

The New York Jets last week added a running back and were searching for offensive line help. But following Sunday’s disastrous three-interception outing by quarterback Zach Wilson is that going to continue?

The Jets are tied for second in the AFC East and are in position to make the playoffs as the No. 5 seed. So do they go for it? Or do they stand pat and see if the current team can finish what it started without giving up future draft choices?

Aaron Rodgers wants the Packers to be active at NFL trade deadline.
The Green Bay Packers are one NFL team unsure whether to add talent, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers has advocated, or simply do nothing as Tuesday trade deadline passes. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Some Teams Should Probably Sit Things Out

The Packers are out of the playoff picture in the NFC and Sunday night’s loss to Buffalo certainly didn’t help, regardless of their postgame optimism that they fought in the second half. They should not be buying.

But quarterback Aaron Rodgers is pushing for wide receiver help and given this might be his final season with the team if the club crashes, he makes a compelling point.

The Falcons have made some really good decisions in unloading Julio Jones and Matt Ryan under new general manager Terry Fontenot. Rebuilding teams should unload older guys.

But the Falcons are in first place in the NFC South. So should they be looking to add talent at the NFL trade deadline to improve their chances of finishing strong?

The New Orleans Saints have a good team when healthy. But with Jarvis Landry, Michael Thomas and others rarely healthy, they haven’t been good to the tune of a 3-5 record. They’ve reportedly gotten calls from the Bills for running back Alvin Kamara, which so far have been rebuffed.

You know how Saints players would react if Kamara, a team leader, were traded? It wouldn’t be pretty.

On the other hand the Saints are seemingly going nowhere despite Sunday’s 24-0 beating of the Las Vegas Raiders so it would be smart for them to at least listen.

“I don’t really pay attention to it,” Kamara told NOLA.com. after touching the ball 27 times and gaining 158 total yards.

Maybe that’s good advice until the NFL trade deadline comes and goes at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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