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Grading the biggest deals at the 2021 NFL trade deadline

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It’s time for the NFL trade deadline grades 2021. Let’s analyze the biggest and most notable trades in the lead up to the 2021 trade deadline.

NFL trade deadline grades 2021

Teams are always in the never-ending process of improving their roster. Aside from the NFL Draft, they can also make trades before the trade deadline to bolster their lineup or get more draft capital.

While it’s a busy midseason for everyone, it’s worth noting that not all deals that took place are the same. Here are the best and worst NFL trade deadline deals so far…

Panthers acquire Stephon Gilmore

Carolina receives: Stephon Gilmore
New England receives: 2023 sixth-round pick

It’s no secret that the Panthers have one of the best defenses in the league. However, they lost Jaycee Horn and Juston Burris along the way due to injuries. This shows that they need to add secondary depth.


Acquiring Gilmore is huge for Carolina. They just traded away a sixth-round pick for a four-time Pro Bowler and former Defensive Player of the Year.

Meanwhile, the Patriots received a late-rounder for one of the best cornerbacks in the league. There’s no way that Gilmore is worth a sixth-round pick right now. Even though he’s not part of their plans anymore in the future, New England could’ve asked for more.

Panthers Grade: A
Patriots Grade: C-

Cardinals acquire Zach Ertz

Arizona receives: Zach Ertz
Philadelphia receives: Tay Gowan, 2022 fifth-round pick

The Cards traded for Zach Ertz as a replacement for Maxx Williams—who suffered a season-ending injury. He gives Arizona more firepower in the receiving corps and a veteran presence on the field.


Ertz’s impact is already well-documented in his first game as a Cardinal. His arrival catapulted them not just into playoff contention but in to Super Bowl conversation.

Meanwhile, the Eagles receive a young cornerback in Tay Gowan and more draft capital to build around Jalen Hurts.

Cardinals Grade: A-
Eagles Grade: B

Saints acquire Mark Ingram

New Orleans receives: Mark Ingram
Houston receives: 2024 seventh-round pick

This is a homecoming for Mark Ingram. He’ll be reunited with one of his closest friends, Alvin Kamara.

While he’s past his prime, he could still be a serviceable backup next to Kamara. After all, the Saints couldn’t just rely on Kamara to carry the rushing game alone. It’s still a long season ahead.

Meanwhile, the Texans received a seventh-round pick. It’s already clear that Houston isn’t going anywhere this season. They are looking to receive more draft capital in exchange for their veterans on the roster.

Saints Grade: B
Texans Grade: B-

Rams acquire Von Miller

Los Angeles receives: Von Miller
Denver receives: 2022 second-round pick, 2022 third-round pick

This deal showed that the Rams are all in this season. They just added an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro in Von Miller to their already stacked pass-rushing unit. Miller alongside Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd is a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.

It may be costly to acquire Miller as they traded away two of their draft capital for a one-year rental. But one thing’s for sure, that’s worth it if they win the Super Bowl this season.

Meanwhile, the Broncos acquired two draft picks in this deal. This is a great deal for them, especially that Miller is in his final year and isn’t part of their plans anymore.

Rams Grade: A-
Broncos Grade: A

Chiefs acquire Melvin Ingram

Kansas City receives: Melvin Ingram
Pittsburgh receives: 2022 sixth-round pick

Melvin Ingram headlines the NFL trade news right now. It was rumored that he fits with the Chiefs especially with their lack of pass rush. Now, it’s finally come to fruition.

Ingram’s arrival in Kansas City provides them a boost in the pass rush department. He may not answer their defensive woes alone but his tenacity and aggressiveness to pressure opposing quarterbacks are vital for them. Pairing him with Frank Clark is a great move.

Meanwhile, the Steelers got a sixth-rounder for him. That’s not a bad deal since Ingram wasn’t really fit in Pittsburgh and he just signed with them for one year.

Chiefs Grade: B+
Steelers Grade: B-

Stay tuned to this page for more NFL trade deadline roundups and grades.

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