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2020 NFL Trade Deadline: Five players to target for the Cardinals

Scouring the trade block for one-year rentals and potential gaming-changing additions as trade deadline approaches

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The Arizona Cardinals (4-2) are in a great position in the NFC West standings as they are currently in second place, trailing only the undefeated Seattle Seahawks (5-0). With NFL trade deadline quickly approaching on Tuesday, November 3rd at 4 PM ET, this is the time for the Cardinals and many other winning teams to acquire more talent to further improve their chances in the battle for a spot in the playoffs.

One team that has already made some noise today is the Baltimore Ravens (5-1), who acquired the 25-year-old pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick. The Ravens are also expected to add former Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad.

General Manager Steve Keim has been amazing when it comes to trading, acquiring elite talent over the years such as DeAndre Hopkins, Chandler Jones, and Carson Palmer. Last season, the Cardinals traded for running back Kenyan Drake from the Miami Dolphins and he has turned out to be quite a find for this team.

Should the Cardinals be buyers before the trade deadline?

For a winning team like the Cardinals, they absolutely should be. With that said, here are five players Steve Keim should consider trading for to improve this team without having to give up too much draft capital.

Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Carlos Dunlap - Defensive End, Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals (1-4-1) are not in a good spot in their divisional standings, sitting in last place in the AFC North. Some of their leaders in Dunlap as well as Geno Atkins are unhappy as they are being phased out of the Bengals’ starting lineup, as what happened last week with Xavier Williams and Amani Bledsoe starting in their place in Week 6. Dunlap, a 31-year-old veteran, is the Bengals’ all-time leader in sacks (82.5) and would benefit greatly from a change in scenery. He is a proven player that would bring a big presence (6’6’’ 280lbs) to the Cardinals’ defensive line that could use some more athleticism that Dunlap can provide.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Everson Griffen - EDGE, Dallas Cowboys

Despite the Cowboys (2-4) sitting in first place in the NFC East, that entire division has been very bad to say the least. The fact that they are in first place with two games below a .500 record speaks volumes to how weak that division really is. Their defense is ranked last or near last in almost all major categories as the Cardinals dominated them in the 38-10 win at AT&T Stadium.

With Randy Gregory back in the mix for the Cowboys after being reinstated by the NFL, Griffen will likely see reduced playing time and instantly becomes expendable. With Chandler Jones out for the season, they need a replacement. Cardinals get a one-year rental in a proven pass rusher (76 career sacks) and also brings an Arizona native back home.

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Ryan Kerrigan - EDGE, Washington Football Team

Kerrigan has been one of the most dominant pass rushers of the last decade. Since being a 16th overall pick out of Purdue by the Washington Football Team in the 2011 draft, he has been voted to four Pro Bowls as well as becoming Washington’s all-time leader in sacks (93). Unfortunately for him, Kerrigan only played seven snaps last weekend in the 20-19 loss to the New York Giants. He is clearly being phased out of the defense by Head Coach Ron Rivera with the younger talents in Chase Young and Montez Sweat getting most of the work as the starters.

Rivera might view Kerrigan as a valuable mentor to the two young pass rushers but that has not won them many football games. With his lack of usage and being played out of position as a 4-3 defensive end, it might be time to send him to a place where his talent is needed and where he can play his more natural position as a 3-4 outside linebacker. If Ngakoue can be had for a third and a fifth-round pick, I highly doubt teams will have to give up much for Kerrigan.

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Trent Murphy - EDGE, Buffalo Bills

This 2020 Bills defense is not as good as it was in year’s past. As the Bills try to figure things with a two-game losing streak, they made some head-scratching moves by making Trent Murphy a healthy scratch last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Though he has not been a very consistent pass rusher with only 25 sacks to his name through seven seasons, Murphy has very similar size (6-6 260lbs) to Chandler Jones. He is not the most athletic pass rusher but wins with his length and power.

His best season was in 2016 when he had a career-high of nine sacks as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Washington Football team. Murphy is another player on the last year of his contract that is worth trading for. Murphy is from Scottsdale, Arizona and we know how much Steve Keim loves to bring Arizona natives back home. Jordan Phillips approves.

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J.J. Watt - Defensive End, Houston Texans

Watt is not a realistic target but is a player worth trading for if the rumors are true that the Texans are fielding offers for him. The Cardinals made the mistake of letting Calais Campbell go in 2016 and replacing him with a first-round bust in Robert Nkemdiche. Though the team made him a decent offer for him to stay in Arizona, Steve Keim truly thought his best days were behind him. They have not had a dominant 3-4 defensive end since Campbell and getting a player like Watt would make up for Keim’s mistake four years ago to take this Cardinals defense to the next level.

What are you thoughts? Should the Cardinals be buyers or sellers before the trade deadline? Should they just stick with what they have?