The NFL’s boring trade deadline

One big splash and a bunch of ‘meh’ from the NFL trade deadline

The NFL deadline has come and gone and per usual, it was pretty quiet. I think the yearly tradition of fans talking themselves into their team having an excited deadline only to ultimately be disappointed stems from the NBA and MLB deadlines usually being fairly wild.

Part of this likely comes from the large section of NFL teams that make up the NFL middle class. There is not a lot separating the 10th best team in the NFL, and say, the 2nd best team. Just last week four backup quarterbacks won their matchups. How is a front office supposed to buy or sell when they’re not certain how good their team actually is?

The biggest storyline of the trade deadline might have been about the one player that did not get dealt, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. There was speculation in place that Houston and the Miami Dolphins had a deal in place and were working out the finer details, but the deadline has passed and Watson is still a Texan. Time will tell when and if Watson, who is still in the middle of a serious legal battle that includes over 20 sexual assault allegations, will see the football field again.

Nonetheless, there were still a few notable deadline deals. Let’s get into it.

Von Miller

Far and away the biggest deal of the deadline, the Denver Broncos traded the former all-pro Miller to the Los Angeles Rams for a pair of day two picks in the 2022 draft. Miller further solidifies an already stout Rams defense, and proves the Rams faith in their Matthew Stafford offseason trade as they hope to win their first Super Bowl title since 1999.

While other rebuilding teams are selling off pieces to horde draft picks as they plunge head first into full rebuilds, the Rams are doing the exact opposite. The Miller trade now leaves the Rams with just four 2022 draft picks. Additionally, the Rams haven’t picked in the first round since 2016 when they selected Jared Goff.

Les Snead and the Rams’s front office have taken an approach that values established NFL veterans over unknown draft picks. This strategy has led to short-term success and an open Super Bowl window, but how long that window will stay open with the amount of big contracts the Rams will need to dish out to keep their core, is unknown. Either way, it’s fun to see an NFL team attempt such a unique and aggressive approach.

The Broncos lose a legend and fan favorite in Miller. The dominant Denver teams of the mid-2010’s were due in large part to Miller (and a guy named Peyton Manning) and leaves Brandon McManus as the lone player from the 2015 Super Bowl winning Broncos team. Maybe Vic Fangio keeps his job in 2022, but my bet is Denver hits the reset button completely and looks for a new head coach and quarterback this offseason.

Melvin Ingram

The Pittsburgh Steelers flipped the veteran pass rusher Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs for a six round pick on the final day of the deadline on Tuesday. It’s a low-risk, high-reward deal for the Chiefs who hope Ingram can provide a spark to what’s been an abysmal team defensive effort through the season’s first eight weeks.

Ingram notched just one sack and 10 tackles in his brief stint as a Steeler, so while Pittsburgh is not losing much production on the outside, they are losing a nice depth piece. While the odds are this deal won’t provide many ripple effects, if Ingram can turn back the clock in the second half of the season and Kansas City can get right on offense, this could wind up being a steal for Kansas City.

Mark Ingram

While Ingram seemed destined to live out the rest of his NFL days on a non-competitive Texans team, New Orleans was willing to give up a few late round picks to get Ingram back in a Saints uniform. Sure Ingram can still play and provides some running back depth behind Alvin Kamara, but this deal feels more like a locker room addition than it does an on-the-field one.

Aging running backs aren’t exactly a hot commodity, so it’s hard to imagine any other team besides the Saints trading for Ingram who was a fan and teammate favorite during his time in New Orleans. Still, you can’t put value on steady veteran leadership, which is exactly what Ingram provides.

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