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10 NFL players who should be traded (but won’t)

The NFL free agent frenzy is about to begin. Each franchise will do its very best to improve its roster prior to adding younger talent through the NFL draft.

Traditionally, free agency and the draft have been the only two avenues to make improvements or changes to one’s team, but over recent years trading in the NFL has become a lot more prevalent. Major names such as Antonio Brown and Jarvis Landry along with several quarterbacks moved teams through trades the last two offseasons.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 NFL players who should be traded but likely won’t be during the 2019 offseason.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Unlike other players on this list, Sanu is still highly productive. He posted 66 catches for a career-best 838 yards with four touchdowns in 2018, and he did it despite the emergence of rookie wideout Calvin Ridley.

But with Ridley expected to take on an even bigger role, Sanu is likely to become the No. 3 receiver in Atlanta. The Falcons are in dire need of cap space this offseason, and dealing Sanu for draft picks could allow Atlanta more cap room to improve in the trenches.

With Ridley, tight end Austin Hooper coming off his first Pro Bowl and Julio Jones still one of the best in the game, Sanu is expendable.

Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals

A team such as the Pittsburgh Steelers could have really used Peterson down the stretch of last season. Heading into 2019, Super Bowl contenders should once again be willing to acquire the three-time All-Pro cornerback.

The Cardinals are in rebuilding mode and, for the second straight year, have a rookie NFL head coach. Even after drafting Josh Rosen at No. 10 last year, there are questions at quarterback. Peterson and Chandler Jones are all that’s left of their elite defense from 2015.

It’s highly unlikely, but Arizona would be wise to fully embrace its rebuild and trade Peterson for multiple picks.

Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals

Despite turning 30 last March, Atkins is still one of the most underrated forces at defensive tackle around the league. Since missing the final half of the 2013 season with a torn ACL, Atkins has 42.0 sacks in 79 games. He was slow to recover from that injury, so actually 39.0 of those sacks have come in the last four years.

Last season, Atkins posted 10.0 sacks with 46 total tackles, including 13 for loss and 19 quarterback hits.

Similar to the Cardinals, the Bengals enter 2019 expected to finish in last place with a rookie head coach. It would be best for Cincinnati to depart with its longtime defensive tackle and invest in a youth movement.

Josh Norman, CB, Washington Redskins

Signing Norman hasn’t quite worked out as Washington had hoped. Washington made him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history during 2016, but over three seasons in the nation’s capital, Norman has failed to even make the Pro Bowl let alone an All-Pro team.

Now at age 30 and with not much expected from Washington this season, it might be best for both parties to move on separately. Norman recorded 64 total tackles with three interceptions and nine pass defenses last season.

His contract, however, is going to make it hard for Washington to move him.

C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Even in the pass-happy NFL, teams can never have enough running backs. However, Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and J.D. McKissic are all higher than Prosise on the Seahawks depth chart. Seattle also signed seventh-round pick Bo Scarbrough in December.

Buried on the depth chart, Prosise has recorded only 12 carries the last two seasons combined. But in 2016, he did showcase flashes of explosiveness, averaging 5.7 yards per carry on 30 rushes.

Prosise is only 24, so the Seahawks should be able to find a suitor for him.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Green Bay Packers 

The Packers are never going to admit they are in rebuilding mode as long as Aaron Rodgers is their quarterback, but at the same time, surrounding their often-injured signal-caller with aging players isn’t the best strategy either.

Graham will turn 33 during the season, and he didn’t have the impact most hoped he would during his first season in Green Bay. Graham posted 55 receptions for 636 yards and just two touchdowns.

It took him a while to adjust to Russell Wilson too, and Graham did eventually record a 10-touchdown season during his third year with the Seahawks. But testing the trade winds with Graham wouldn’t be the worst idea for Green Bay.

Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Similar to the Seahawks, the Eagles have a plethora of backs who could make Clement expendable.

Undrafted Josh Adams emerged as more than serviceable, and Wendell Smallwood will be back as well. Darren Sproles could return too, giving the Eagles four mouths to feed.

Sproles, who is contemplating retirement, won’t receive a high volume of touches, but if the Eagles are comfortable with Adams and Smallwood and/or also add another back in free agency, they could shop Clement.

Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers are already losing linebacker Kwon Alexander, so it’s unlikely they want to depart with another major part of their linebacker core. However, there would be some advantages to dealing David.

The weak-side linebacker just turned 29, so his best seasons are likely behind him, but he’s still a tackling machine. David posted 120 total tackles, including 94 solos and 13 tackles for loss in 2018.

A contender may be willing to offer a significant draft pick for David.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, New York Giants

The Giants dealt fellow cornerback Eli Apple to New Orleans at the trade deadline last season, and Jenkins was close to moving out of town too. Of the 10 players on our list, he’s probably the most likely to actually be traded.

Jenkins has always been highly regarded, but he’s never made All-Pro and only played in one Pro Bowl. He had two interceptions with 70 tackles and 15 pass defenses last season.

Whether the Giants move on from quarterback Eli Manning, rebuilding with players under 30 (Jenkins turned 30 in October) will be necessary soon.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Oakland Raiders

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden loves veteran players, so it’s probably unlikely the team trades Nelson.

But with the arrival of Antonio Brown, Nelson is, at best, an average No. 2 receiver option for quarterback Derek Carr. Nelson is a shell of his former self, and he turns 34 in May.

If the Raiders add another receiver in free agency or draft a wideout, Nelson should be on the trading block.

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