Trade Deadline Changes the Landscape of the NFL


If you ever had a doubt that the passing game is key to the new NFL, take one look at the trade deadline. Those feelings can be quickly allayed.  Of the major transactions that occurred on deadline day, there were two marquee pass catchers – Demaryious Thomas and Golden Tate – on the move. Prior to those transactions Amari Cooper was dealt to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round pick.

On the other side of the ball, marquee pass defender Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and former top five NFL draft pick pass rusher Dante Fowler also found new homes with the Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams respectively.

While the very top of the league decided to remain unchanged, a few of the teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Redskins and Cowboys, made moves to join their elite brethren.

Philadelphia made what will likely end up being the shrewdest move during this trade deadline, sending a third round pick in 2019 for former Pro Bowler Golden Tate.  Tate will be of immediate use to an Eagles aerial offense that has, over the past few weeks, slowly started to look like the dynamic passing attack that made Carson Wentz seem like a virtual lock for MVP before his knee injury.

With the addition of the former Detroit Lion, the Eagles get one of the best yards after contact receivers in the NFL. Tate plays like a running back when the ball is in his hands, looking to bowl over opposing defensive backs, who are unable to match his physicality.  

Joining Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and rookie Dallas Godert, Wentz should have plenty of terrific targets to throw to for the rest of the season.

Tate does only have one year left on his contract and will likely be seeking a deal outside of what the Eagles can afford.

In Houston, Deshaun Watson was beginning to round into form, most notably in his five touchdown performance against Miami. The win came at a cost, Watson lost one of his safety valve receivers, Will Fuller IV to a torn ACL.

The Texans, not wanting to lose any of the momentum of their star quarterback, aggressively seeked out and traded with the Denver Broncos to bring in Demaryius Thomas for a fourth round pick (and a swap of seventh round picks).

While Thomas certainly is a talented receiver, he is not a like for like replacement for Fuller, so it will take a bit of time for the former Georgia Tech pass catcher to find his footing in Houston.

He is, however, a big body receiver with good hands and is unbelievably athletic.  He will win his fair share of one on one match-ups but his most important contribution should be taking some of the pressure off of the always terrific DeAndre Hopkins. When Thomas becomes comfortable in this offense, and defenses have to account for both receivers, the Texans offense should be dangerous.

Two of the more surprising teams to make a move this trade deadline were the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins.  The Packers traded former All-Pro safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins for a fourth round pick.

This trade comes as a surprise in that, at the beginning of the season, you would expect the Packers trying to add piece to put themselves into contention for a spot in the playoffs, while the Redskins would be building towards the future.  

The Washington get one of the better safeties in the league in Clinton-Dix and will hope that the former Alabama player will pair up with D.J Swearinger to form one of the best safety tandems in the league. 

For the Packers, this looked like a team getting compensation for a player that they didn’t really plan on signing after the season. Yet the move has forced Green Bay into using cornerback Tramon Williams as their free safety in some capacity. It feels like the Packers judged that they were probably not going to make a serious run at Super Bowl contention this year so they are trying to get as much compensation as they can.

With Aaron Rodgers record breaking (and well deserved) contract this offseason, the Pack will need to focus on astute drafting of young, talented and inexpensive players to step up immediately. 

The Cowboys headed into this season hoping that Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup and Tavon Austin would collectively hep provide some of the production that Dez Bryant and Jason Witten left behind, but none of the three stepped up when given the opportunity so the Cowboys paid a premium for a receiver who has shown the promise of an elite receiver.

Jerry Jones gave a first round pick to the Oakland Raiders for the rights to Cooper, hoping that he can be the franchise wide receiver Dallas has been hoping for since Michael Irvin.  

Cooper has the talent to be that marquee player, as evident by his two Pro Bowl appearances in his first two seasons in the league but he has not been nearly been as productive in the past two campaigns.

The Cowboys paid a high price, much higher than the Texans and Eagles, for a receiver with less production so it looks like a bad deal in the short run compared to what other teams were able to get this deadline.

It is important to note, however, that Cooper is only 24 years old and if he can get back to the productivity he showed early in his career, he might be enough to push Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to the being one of the elites in the NFL.

While the trade deadline greatly improved the chances of teams like the Texans, Cowboys and Eagles, you would still be hard pressed to say that any of these midseason improvements would move these teams ahead of teams like the Rams, Chiefs, Saints or Patriots. Then again, the NFL playoffs has produced surprises before and maybe one of these mid-season acquisitions provides the missing piece.



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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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