Update: There was only one deal, with Aqib Talib going to the Dolphins. The Seahawks held onto their players and draft picks.
The NFL trading deadline is on Tuesday and a report from Manish Mehta has the New York Jets looking to deal running back Le’Veon Bell to a team that’s willing to take on part of the $52.5 million contract he signed this past offseason. Bell was after all a decision made by former general manager Mike Maccagnan, much like early third round pick Jachai Polite, who was released and briefly picked up by the Seattle Seahawks.
Bell is not a player that the Seahawks will be adding any time soon, but he could play a part in what happens for John Schneider and Pete Carroll today.
For any team that may be looking to add a running back to their playoff hopes, they’ll be able to consider Bell, but also perhaps Seattle’s Rashaad Penny and the LA Chargers’ Melvin Gordon. All three have unique contract situations.
Bell’s the highest-paid back of them all and the third-highest overall by APY after Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley. Adding Bell means taking on a $15.5 million cap charge in 2020. Of course of all the teams that need a running back, the Pittsburgh Steelers rank atop that list, but not only will there be no reunion with Bell but they’re in one of the worst cap situations in the NFL for 2020.
In the case of the Steelers, Penny wouldn’t just be the best option over Bell and Gordon, he’d likely be the only option. Especially after the Miami Dolphins already dealt Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional 5th/6th round pick.
Gordon’s situation is that he will be a free agent in 2020 and so a team is only renting him for the second half of this season. He’s also been one of the least valuable backs in the NFL since returning, averaging just 2.5 yards per carry on 44 attempts through his first four games back after holdout. A team trading for Gordon would be doing so because he’s a former first round pick who would almost certainly come at a cheaper cost than the conditional pick surrendered for Drake.
And then there’s Penny, the more attractive trade option over both perhaps, even if he’s proved the least.
Penny is 23 and carries cap hits of $2.9 and $3.4 over the next two years with a fifth-year option in 2022. He’s been seated behind one of the NFL’s leading rushers since the start of 2018 and a team could be convinced that he just needs an opportunity. One of the biggest obstacles in Seattle’s way is knowing which team it is that can give him said opportunity and wants to deal something better than a fifth round pick for him.
The 7-1 New Orleans Saints are dealing with an injury to Alvin Kamara and could want reinforcements at the position given how important the run game is for Sean Payton and Drew Brees these days.
The Kansas City Chiefs seem whelmed at best with LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams. The Chiefs have gone from 6th in YPC to 21st and the loss of Kareem Hunt has not in any way been replicated by a backup as you’d think it would be given how he wasn’t supposed to “matter” since he’s a running back. The two teams pulled off a big deal earlier this year for Frank Clark, so the phone lines are clearly open. It also absolves the Seahawks of having to face Penny or see him become a star within their own conference or division.
Andy Reid also took a liking to Spencer Ware and he shares a similar vibe with Carroll on philosophy, so it would make some sense to me.
The Steelers have won three of four to get back into the AFC North race, saw James Conner suffer an AC joint injury on Monday night, and also won’t be facing Seattle again any time soon. With only $3 million in estimated cap space remaining this season, Penny would again be a more simple add than Gordon. But Pittsburgh is without its first and third round choices and also dealt a fifth rounder to the Seahawks for Nick Vannett. They have two fourth round picks left and their second. Would they deal a fourth for Penny and deplete their 2020 draft class even more?
You could argue that if Minkah Fitzpatrick is worth more than their 2020 first rounder, then Penny should be worth more than a fifth or sixth rounder. He was taken in the same first round as Minkah and this would be a much cheaper cost to give something up for him, assuming it a fourth rounder or so.
And there’s always surprise teams to consider, including ones not in 2019 contention, but most teams currently in contention are set at running back and wouldn’t seem likely to give up the compensation desired for a back who was just recently taken 27th overall. Seattle clearly also needs a backup running back and hasn’t been utilizing C.J. Prosise very much at all. Penny just had eight carries for 55 yards. Was the team “showcasing” him for another team, or just for themselves?
Regardless, I think he’s easily the best option of the three for a team looking to add a back. That being said, deals for any of them would be surprising, even in the era of NFL trade abundance.
We’ll keep track of any and all of the moves right here in this thread, so throw all rumors and news you see into the comment section below!
The Rams have now moved on from both Marcus Peters AND Aqib Talib, sending him to the Miami Dolphins.
Trade: Rams are trading CB Aqib Talib AND a fifth-round pick to Miami for a future pick, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2019