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AFC, AFC North

One player each AFC North team could trade before the 2020 NFL season

It has been almost a month since the 2020 NFL Draft concluded and teams are still shaping their rosters for next season. Some teams — specifically in the AFC North — could try to fine-tune their rosters a bit more this offseason.

Over the course of the offseason, the Baltimore Ravens have notably added rookies J.K. Dobbins and Patrick Queen. After winning the AFC North a season ago, there’s no reason to believe they can’t defend their division title in 2020.

The Cincinnati Bengals were able to land Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. As for the Cleveland Browns, they made a few noticeable changes in the AFC, signing Austin Hooper and Jack Conklin in free agency.

Lastly, the Pittsburgh Steelers are getting Ben Roethlisberger back from injury and also selected Chase Claypool in the second round of this year’s draft. With all four AFC North teams looking toward the future, they could look to complete some trades. In light of that, let’s take a look at one player each team in the AFC North could trade before the 2020 NFL season.

Baltimore Ravens — Matt Judon

Prior to free agency, the Ravens placed their lone franchise tag on Matt Judon. Just this past season, Judon was able to compile the best year of his career, notching a career-high 9.5 sacks, 33 quarterback hits, and four forced fumbles in 2019.

Despite his contributions, there have been rumors that Baltimore could entertain trade offers for Judon this offseason in an attempt to retain its top seed in the AFC. Seeing that he’s still with the roster though, a trade seems unlikely at this point. But if the Ravens were to trade anyone, Judon would be the most likely candidate.

Cincinnati Bengals — Alex Erickson

Alex Erickson has proven to be a solid contributor for the Bengals when his number is called upon. However, with Cincinnati loaded at the wide receiver position, he could become a possible trade piece for the Bengals.

Altogether, the Bengals now deploy a receiving corps in the AFC North that features Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and rookie Tee Higgins. Not to mention, Cincinnati also signed Mike Thomas this offseason, who could become a special teams contributor in place of Erickson. With Erickson entering the final year of his contract, maybe a team would be willing to offer a late-round pick for his services.

Cleveland Browns — David Njoku

To kick off the free agency period of the offseason, the Browns inked a deal with Hooper. Before joining Cleveland, Hooper was able to notch 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons in 2019 (all career-highs).

Besides Hooper, the Browns also selected Harrison Bryant in the 2020 NFL Draft, causing some concern for David Njoku. Nevertheless, Cleveland’s new head coach, Kevin Stefanski, seems prepared to feature an offense that deploys multiple tight ends on the field more often — as he did with the Minnesota Vikings.

Up to this point, the Browns have made it clear that they’d rather keep Njoku than trade him. Still, if a team offers a decent draft pick for the former first-round pick, Cleveland may be inclined to move him.

Pittsburgh Steelers — Deon Cain

While the 2019 NFL season was winding down, the Steelers decided to claim Deon Cain off the Indianapolis Colts practice squad in a piece of AFC intrigue. In his six games in Pittsburgh, Cain managed to record only five receptions for 72 yards.

In Cain’s defense, the Steelers didn’t have a serviceable quarterback on the field once Ben Roethlisberger got injured. With that being said, Pittsburgh has a crowded wide receiver depth chart with JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, and Claypool. Cain, a former standout at Clemson, could possibly garner a late-round selection from a team in need of depth at wide receiver.