The NFL season isn’t even half over but it’s already time to start looking at the top NFL trade deadline candidates in 2023. After all, some of the biggest NFL trades ever happened in the middle of the season right before the trade deadline. But who are the best players available before the NFL trade deadline this year and what players could be on the move before the October 31 deadline?
Who are the top NFL trade deadline candidates in 2023?
As sad as it might be, it can sometimes only take a month and a half for it to become obvious that the playoffs aren’t a realistic possibility. Therefore, teams have to pivot and decide to trade off players who aren’t going to be a long-term solution. At the same time, they can potentially be a short-term solution for another team with playoff aspirations. That’s the formula that helped us to come up with a list of 10 NFL trade candidates in 2023.
In order to be traded, Kirk Cousins would have to waive his no-trade clause, and it doesn’t appear that he’s ready to do that. However, the Vikings could still explore their options after a disappointing start to the season.
With Justin Jefferson on the sidelines for a little while, Minnesota’s chances of recovering to make the playoffs are slim. Also, Cousins is 35 and in the final year of his deal, so the Vikings might look to draft a quarterback next year while Cousins is seeing his window to reach a Super Bowl start to close. If a team with a good supporting cast and a genuine shot at the playoffs approach Cousins and the Vikings, both parties would have to consider a deal.
Some teams are already lining up to trade for Brian Burns with the Panthers heading for another lost season. If Carolina hopes to keep building around Bryce Young, adding more draft picks in the next couple of years could prove beneficial.
Burns figures to be Carolina’s best trade chip at the deadline. He tallied 12.5 sacks last year and already has four in six weeks this season. There is a limited number of pass rushers on the trade market right now with that type of productivity. The Panthers could start a bidding war for Burns, who will likely be playing somewhere else in November.
For a variety of reasons, things haven’t worked out for Jerry Jeudy and the Broncos. At times, he’s shown flashes of being the receiver who was worthy of a first-round pick in 2020. But between injuries, coaching changes, and the struggles of Russell Wilson, Jeudy’s career has stalled out a little.
It might take a change of scenery to get him going, which is why Jeudy would be a good trade candidate. Obviously, he’s not going to come with a guarantee. However, Jeudy has the potential to be explosive in the right offense and be a difference-maker if he’s traded at the deadline.
It doesn’t look like the Giants are making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. With Adoree’ Jackson nearing the end of his three-year contract with the G-Men, he’s an obvious trade candidate.
Among the top NFL trade deadline candidates in 2023, there aren’t a lot of defensive backs. That could certainly add to Jackson’s value and make more teams interested in him. The more interested parties, the more likely Jackson is to get traded.
There have already been trade rumors involving Danielle Hunter. He already has eight sacks in six games, putting him on pace for a new career high and making him one of the best players available before the NFL trade deadline. If the Vikings don’t see a clear path back to the playoffs, it’d be foolish not to listen to offers for Hunter after re-signing him to a one-year deal during the offseason.
It seems like a rebuilding project in Minnesota is inevitable given the uncertainty with Kirk Cousins. If they can get an early-round pick for Hunter at the deadline, it could help the Vikings to reload quickly next year rather than rebuild regardless of the situation at quarterback.
At 3-3, the Raiders aren’t quite out of the playoff race just yet. But they also don’t have much of a reason to keep Hunter Renfrow if another team wants to trade for him. Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers are clearly the preferred wide receivers in the Las Vegas offense while two tight ends have more receiving yards than Renfrow this year.
Clearly, the Raiders don’t plan on utilizing him much this season. But Renfrow can still be a productive slot receiver for a team that knows how to use him. He could also be a rather affordable trade acquisition for a contending team.
At this point, Yannick Ngakoue isn’t doing much to help the Bears. While he has just two sacks on the season, he plays for a team that hasn’t had the lead that often and isn’t going to come close to reaching the playoffs this season. Since he’s on a one-year deal with Chicago, the Bears could easily trade him and get something decent in return.
The Bears are the sixth team that Ngakoue has played with over the last four years, so he’s used to changing teams and can still provide a contending team with an extra pass rusher.
New England’s season is going nowhere fast, which has made Kendrick Bourne a potential trade chip. While Bourne is the team’s leading receiver and has been a bright spot for the Pats this year, he’ll also be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
He should get plenty of interest on the open market and probably doesn’t want to stay in New England given the quarterback situation. The Patriots should be able to add an extra draft pick or two while also allowing some of their younger receivers to get some experience in what is becoming a lost season.
It doesn’t appear that Ryan Tannehill has a future with the Titans beyond this season. At 2-4, why should Tennessee even bother playing Tannehill for the rest of 2023? Malik Willis has already seen some game action while the Titans could also give second-round pick Will Levis a look.
In other words, if somebody wants him, the Titans would surely be open to trading Tannehill. Granted, his numbers haven’t been pretty this year. But he also doesn’t have much around him to help. A team like the Jets or another team that suffers an injury at quarterback could take a chance on trading for Tannehill with the hope that his play will improve if he gets out of Tennessee.