The NFL is losing its reputation for boring trade deadlines.
Jalen Ramsey, Marcus Peters, Emmanuel Sanders, Mohamed Sanu, Michael Bennett and Quandre Diggs have already changed teams in the past two weeks and several more established players could be on the move before Tuesday’s deadline.
Not long ago, it was rare to see a lot of trade activity during the season. There were occasional blockbuster moves — Herschel Walker, Eric Dickerson — but you had to look to MLB, the NBA and NHL for a flurry of deals.
Times have changed, and NFL teams are now more aggressive. General managers are wheeling and dealing, making things interesting for contenders trying to add the missing piece and bottom-dwellers looking to stockpile draft picks.
Ramsey, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, forced his way out of Jacksonville. He was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams (5-3) last week for two first-round picks and a fourth. On the same day, the Rams sent cornerback Marcus Peters to Baltimore (5-2). Ramsey forced a fumble and held Julio Jones to four catches in his Rams debut. Peters returned an interception — Russell Wilson’s first of the season — for a touchdown in his Ravens debut.
The New England Patriots (7-0) sent shockwaves through the league by trading a second-round pick for Sanu just hours after routing the Jets 33-0 on Monday night. It was a steep price for a 30-year-old wideout who has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season, but the Patriots wanted another quality target for Tom Brady to pair with Julian Edelman.
The deal drove up the market value for receivers. That was quickly evident when the San Francisco 49ers, the league’s only other undefeated team, also paid a big price to get the 32-year-old Sanders. The 49ers (6-0) sent a third-round pick and a fourth-rounder to Denver for Sanders and a fifth, giving Brady’s former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, another weapon.
Dallas (4-3) upgraded its pass rush by acquiring Bennett from the Patriots for a conditional seventh-round pick. The three-time Pro Bowl defensive end quickly wore out his welcome in New England as he did in Philadelphia after making nine sacks in one season with the Eagles.
Seattle (5-2) bolstered its secondary by getting Diggs along with a seventh-round pick from Detroit for a fifth-round pick. That move upset several players on the Lions (2-3-1) because they’re not ready to give up on the season.
Last month, the Steelers acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick along with two draft picks from Miami for three picks, including a first in 2020.