There are a few moments in an NFL season where chaos reigns above all. One of those times is just around the corner.
The 2021 NFL trade deadline is less than three weeks away and the trade rumors are already swirling. The Carolina Panthers have already been active, acquiring Stephon Gilmore from the New England Patriots and C.J. Henderson from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Arizona Cardinals, meanwhile, traded for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
Last season’s deadline was extremely quiet, which likely can be chalked up COVID and all the protocols that would have come with changing teams.
However, we are just two seasons removed from a 2019 deadline that saw Jalen Ramsey, Marcus Peters, Emmanuel Sanders and Kenyan Drake all traded to new teams. Expect some big names to be on the move again at this deadline.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of the 2021 NFL trade deadline.
When is the 2021 NFL trade deadline?
The NFL trade deadline is right after the end of Week 8. It takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 2, with teams required to send in their trades to the league office before 4 p.m. ET.
Can NFL teams still make trades after the deadline?
Nope. The next time teams are allowed to trade is the beginning of the next league year, which is expected to be at some point in March.
Teams are allowed to discuss trades with each other, working out the details ahead of time. However, they cannot make deals official until the start of the new league year.
Who are the top NFL players that could be traded?
Any team looking for a backup QB? Nick Foles is stuck as a QB3 with the Chicago Bears and could very easily be another team’s QB2. Justin Fields is getting his young career started in Chicago and the infatuation with Andy Dalton is keeping Foles buried on the depth chart. The Bears listened to trade offers this past offseason, but nothing came to fruition. Foles has not seen any action thus far this season.
Another Bear who could be on the move is wide receiver Allen Robinson. While Chicago would likely rather keep their star wide receiver for Fields to build chemistry with, the long-term extension talks between Robinson and the organization failed to come together before the deadline this summer. Robinson, who’s playing on the franchise tag this year with a cap hit of just under $18 million, has 17 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown. Any team that is either trying to bolster their receiving corps or want a head start in signing Robinson long-term next summer should be looking to trade for him.
The writing was on the wall for Marlon Mack and the Indianapolis Colts after Jonathan Taylor had a breakout rookie season last year. Mack ruptured his Achilles in Week 1 of 2020, allowing Taylor to earn RB1 duties with the Colts. So it wasn’t a huge shock when Mack requested a trade being a healthy scratch in Week 3. Expect teams with injuries in the backfield to be calling the Colts about the 25-year-old, who has 20 carries for 85 yards in three games.
Another season, another New York Jet likely on the move. Marcus Maye, who is playing on the franchise tag this season, has expressed his desire to move on from New York. In the offseason, Maye said he would consider a trade request if the Jets franchise-tagged him again for 2022. The safety is currently out with an ankle injury and recently was arrested for a DUI in Florida, both of which could complicate trade discussions.
After plenty of trade rumors in the summer, Jimmy Garoppolo stayed with the San Francisco 49ers and entered the season as their starting QB despite the team drafting Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 draft. Garoppolo was OK to start the 2021 campaign, completing 66% of his passes for 925 yards, five touchdowns and two picks before suffering a calf injury in Week 4. It really seems like a matter of when, not if Garoppolo gets traded. It might be at this deadline if a team loses their starter to an injury, with Garoppolo on pace to possibly return by Week 7.
Brandin Cooks got off to a blazing start to the season. Through the first three weeks, he ranked third among all receivers in receiving yards with 322, but his production dropped off the last two weeks. He is the star on offense for a bad Houston Texans team, who could sell high on him to a contender looking to add a deep-threat WR. He’s signed for another season, but with a big cap hit of $15.5 million, the Texans likely want to move on from the wideout and add assets.
Depending on the state of the Denver Broncos come the deadline, they may be selling off some assets. One of those could be Kyle Fuller, who is a pending free agent. The Broncos have a loaded cornerback room, with 2021 No. 9 pick Patrick Surtain II likely to take over as the leader of that group soon. If Denver isn’t in position to compete for a playoff spot, Fuller could be put up on the trade block and boost another team’s secondary.