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NFC West Trade Conjectures

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

It figures to be a wild and woolly day and a half before the NFL trading deadline.

And I believe the teams in the NFC West will be on speed dial for the duration.

For starters, it looks as if Jimmy G’s tenure as the 49ers’ QB may be coming to an abrupt close—-and not just because of his ankle injury. It would not surprise me at all if the Patriots make a play to bring Jimmy G back to Foxboro, where he is a good fit with Josh McDaniels and the Patriots’ offense. it would be a very popular trade for the suddenly beleaguered Pats’ fans.

As for the 49ers, it wouldn’t surprise me if they try to find a way to acquire Matt Ryan from the Falcons. It would take some nifty maneuvering and a willingness on the Falcons’ part to go into full rebuild mode. But now appears to be the best time for the Falcons to rebuild, seeing as the next couple of years in the NFC South should be dominated by the Bucs and Saints, as long as Brady and Brees are still drinking from the fountain of youth.

After watching Brian Flores’ defense provide a blueprint as to how to stifle the Rams’ vaunted bootleg and waggle attack (as he helped to do when the Pats beat the Rams in the 2018 Super Bowl), Sean McVay may be thinking quite a bit these days about whether to remain committed to Jared Goff beyond this season. As Flores’ defense proved yesterday, if Goff can be relegated to the pocket, chances are increased that the Rams’ offense can be stymied. McVay is a superb teacher and he has shown exemplary patience in developing Goff, but McVay is so good at what he does because he is a perfectionist.

It was an impressive bounce back win for the Seahawks who laid a licking on the 49ers. It’s very likely that they will be very active in the trade market for an edge rusher. I would give it better than 50/50 odds that they wind up acquiring Ryan Kerrigan or Ryan Anderson from the Redskins. Keep an eye on TE David Njoku to Seattle as well.

As for the Cardinals, the local pundits are predicting crickets in believing that Steve Keim has already made his one big trade in acquiring Markus Golden, whom Vance Joseph has been calling a “great linebacker,” which is a little odd considering that Golden struggled as a 34 OLB in both the Cardinals’ and Giants’ defenses. Golden’s best value, or so it would appear, is as a nickel edge rusher where he can do what he does best—- relentlessly rush the QB.

The question is, what’s it going to feel like, Cardinals’ fans, if the Seahawks and 49ers make big trades, while the Cardinals decide to go with the status quo?

The truth is—-the Cardinals need a CB who can cover speedy field crossers such as Tyler Lockett, Deebo Samuel and Robert Woods—-and thus, the hope is that they can acquire a cover CB like Desmond King (Chargers) or Brian Poole (Jets).

Prince Amukamara is best suited to play as a boundary CB. But, maybe the Cardinals have added a budding star in De’Vante Bausby, although he seemed to play his best with the Broncos on the perimeter. Bausby has excellent speed, which could translate well into chasing the field crossers.

But if the Cardinals want to leave less to chance, acquiring Desmond King or Brian Poole (or a CB of their ilk) would take care of the Cardinals biggest need in the secondary.

Plus, it would be a bonus for the Cardinals to add a quicker “bandit” type edge rusher to the mix. The only edge rusher the Cardinals have right now who possesses above average quickness is Dennis Gardeck. Kylie Fitts can be sneaky quick at times, but he is more of a power rusher, as are Markus Golden and Devon Kennard. What the Cardinals lack, other than Gardeck, is a true “bandit” WOLB.

A player to keep an eye on is the Patriots’ OLB/DE Chase Winovich, whose snap counts have been very limited in recent weeks, especially now that Josh Uche has returned to action. It would not be surprising to see the Seahawks and 49ers make a play for Winovich, who had 5 12 sacks as a rookie and has 2 12 sacks this season.

If the Pats are interested in trading back for Jimmy G, then Winovich could be an attractive part of a trade package.

For the Cardinals to get involved they would likely have to offer their 2021 3rd round pick or perhaps do a straight up swap of Winovich for WR Andy Isabella who were picked #77 and #62 respectively in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Patriots have glaring needs at WR, especially now that Julian Edelman is out for a few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong—-Andy Isabella adds a much necessary deep threat to the Cardinals’ offense and in time he could be a dandy. But, at this point he is the #5 receiving option behind DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Chase Edmonds and Larry Fitzgerald. Which means, he’s typically is not going to be targeted very frequently.

These are some trade conjectures as we head into the wheeling and dealing throughout the next 36 hours.

What trades are you thinking about?

I think that it would be another big boost for the Cardinals emotionally and psychologically to see Steve Keim dial up another dandy of a trade. One that can further help the team improve in an area of greatest need.

I am convinced that when the Cardinals play the Seahawks two weeks from Thursday night, the Seahawks will have a new edge rusher across from D.J. Humphries.

The question is—-will the Cardinals have a new CB across from Tyler Lockett?

Let’s not forget what the 49ers’ trade for Emmanuel Sanders at this time last year did for their NFC West Championship and Super Bowl aspirations.

Sometimes, the addition of one key catalyst at a position of need can make a huge difference, especially in big games.