The NFL trade deadline for the 2017 season is set for today, October 31st, at 4 PM EST. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks (traded for left tackle Duane Brown) and Philadelphia Eagles (traded for running back Jay Ajayi) have made moves to solidify playoffs contention, while the San Francisco 49ers (traded for quarterback Jimmy Garappolo) knocked down a domino that affects half a dozen teams.
The New Orleans Saints should not sit idle today. They should stay the course in pursuit of More Fun Things, and look at making their own go-for-broke move to go deep into the playoffs race. For a reminder, here’s the draft capital the Saints have at their disposal:
- 2018 1st Round Pick
- 2018 3rd Round Pick
- 2018 4th Round Pick
- 2018 5th Round Pick
- 2018 5th Round Pick (via Miami Dolphins for Stephone Anthony)
- 2018 6th Round Pick
- 2018 6th Round Pick (conditional, via Arizona Cardinals for Adrian Peterson)
- 2018 7th Round Pick
The Saints also have a full slate of future draft picks in 2019, 2020, and beyond to dive into. There’s some confusion over whether or not the Saints have another 2018 7th Round Pick (it was a conditional pick traded from the New England Patriots for WR Jalen Saunders), so I’ll leave it out of considerations.
It’s tough to say which players may be available but I’ll give it a shot. Tight end Coby Fleener has been bumped down to third on the depth chart due to the superior blocking abilities of Josh Hill and Michael Hoomanawnui; his high salary will be a hurdle for any teams looking his way, not to mention inconsistent on-field talent.
If NFL insider reports are to be believed, third-year pass rusher Hau’oli Kikaha has been inquired about despite his injury history. He isn’t someone I initially wanted to see traded but I can’t make an argument for why he should be taking reps away from free agent bargain Alex Okafor or playmaking rookie Trey Hendrickson. The Saints should entertain offers.
After those two you get into crazy town. Would the Saints flip Mark Ingram for a blue-chip defensive player? How do other teams value P.J. Williams? That’s a story for someone else. I’m just here to throw fun ideas at the wall and get shredded in the comments:
WR Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, and Willie Snead can all win outside. Snead can also play very well from the slot. Landry is the NFL’s best slot receiver and would add some much-needed bite to the Saints’ passing attack. He isn’t a conventional route-runner who plays with graceful body control, but Landry displays rare violence through the air while running into and through defenders with abandon. He’s a bully and would be a great fit. It’s easy to imagine him catching a pass down the seam, throwing a stiff-arm into a safety, and turning upfield.
LB Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers
Why would the Steelers trade a young playmaking linebacker? For the same reasons the Minnesota Vikings would trade Anthony Barr. They probably won’t, but I want them to, so I’m doing my best to will this scenario into existence. Shazier is a different type of linebacker from Barr; he’s smaller and faster, but just as alert and punishing a tackler. He would be the kind of presence at the second level that can make the Saints’ defense a unit that can truly threaten any team in the NFL on the ground and through the air.
DL David Irving, Dallas Cowboys
You may not know who David Irving is, but you should. The young Dallas Cowboys lineman has been a disruptive force in his brief career, bagging nine sacks in his last eighteen games. He’s huge (6-foot-7 1/2, 273-pounds, with unreal 37 3/4-inch arms) and explosive and is only improving. The Cowboys probably won’t consider trading him but we can dream. They’ll have to pay him soon and he’s coming off of a four-game suspension due to violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. The Saints built their defensive line with Nick Fairley in mind to spearhead it, but had to reshuffle without him. Irving could help get them back on track and let Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata pin their ears back to go after quarterbacks.