The 2020 NFL trade deadline has officially come and gone, and it was a rather uneventful one with very little getting done on Tuesday. Thanks to the ongoing pandemic and ongoing financial questions, it appears as though NFL franchises were a bit more conscientious of making big moves this time around.
Nonetheless, there were still more than a few winners and losers from this year’s deadline, as a few franchises made upgrades or elected to stand pat.
Winner: Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have been hampered by significant injuries to several of the team’s cornerbacks this season, which obviously forced the hand of general manager Jon Robinson. The Titans completed a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers and acquired former All-Pro defensive back Desmond King. The return? Only a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which the Titans previously acquired from the rival Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year.
Granted King will be a free agent at the end of this season, but the former Chargers standout can definitely help a struggling Titans defense right off the bat. If Tennessee can pair King with a healthy Adoree’ Jackson and another veteran cornerback in Malcolm Butler, the Titans will be in business after a 5-2 start and a postseason berth presumably on the horizon.
Loser: Houston Texans
The Houston Texans do not own a first- or second-round NFL Draft pick in 2021, and they’re also slated to have minimal salary cap space heading into next season. With no full-time general manager or head coach currently on the books, the Texans could be in big trouble moving forward. The Texans could have unloaded some contracts while also acquiring future picks, specifically for 2021, before Tuesday came to a halt.
However, Houston made no moves and did not increase the team’s likelihood of making a selection before the third round in 2021. With the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans both on the upswing in the AFC South, the Texans’ immediate future doesn’t look too bright at the moment, even after signing franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson to a long-term deal earlier this year. At least the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars could wind up with a top-three pick in 2021.
Winner: New England Patriots
The New England Patriots once again flew under the radar on Tuesday, but still managed to make a small splash. The Patriots notably acquired slot receiver Isaiah Ford from the rival Miami Dolphins as a result of a rare divisional swap. The Patriots only gave up a future seventh-rounder to get Ford, who can potentially make an impact for the receiver-needy AFC East franchise.
Ford will get an opportunity in New England that he did not receive in Miami as he has shown flashes of impressive play at some points this season. Although not a trade deadline move, the Patriots also claimed defensive tackle Isaiah Mack, who was recently placed on waivers by the Tennessee Titans. Even though New England’s season isn’t trending in the right direction, head coach Bill Belichick can hardly be questioned at this point in his NFL career with both Ford and Mack slated to receive some playing time for the Patriots, who get the opportunity to closely evaluate these two players ahead of free agency — without giving much up or spending even more money, of course.
Loser: Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers were unable to secure some additional help on offense for Aaron Rodgers. The Packers were linked to several top-notch trade candidates, with Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller the most notable target. Fuller had a steep price tag attached to him, and Green Bay wasn’t willing to pay up in order to get a deal done.
While some may argue the Packers were wise not to overpay for Fuller, it’s also true to say that they should have done more to take advantage of one of Rodgers’ final years as an elite quarterback. Green Bay is still a Super Bowl contender, but not making a move for another weapon hurts those title chances. The Packers could come to regret this as their star quarterback only gets older.
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs seem to only be winners at this point, as the defending Super Bowl champions were able to unload running back DeAndre Washington to the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday afternoon. Leading up to this move, the Chiefs previously signed veteran running back Le’Veon Bell, who was released earlier in the season following a disgruntled stint as a member of the New York Jets.
With some future NFL Draft picks changing directions in the Washington deal, the Chiefs managed to increase the franchise’s 2021 draft capital. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and company have also been playing some pretty sound football lately and have a good shot at another Super Bowl win.
Loser: Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears have won five of the team’s eight games this season, but the NFC North franchise is headed toward a very slippery slope. With quarterback Nick Foles under center and the always dangerous Tennessee Titans up next on the schedule, the Bears probably should have made a move ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
Foles is so inconsistent that he definitely needs more help up front, and the Bears have the complete opposite going on in Chicago right now. The Bears’ offensive line is decimated for Week 9’s matchup against the aforementioned Titans, so it could be a long day under center for Foles on Sunday — and moving forward if this team is unable to sport a healthy offensive line. Foles and the Bears are perhaps the strangest team in the NFL this year, as it is hard to get a read of how good or bad this franchise is at the moment.