For the majority of the NFL offseason, there was a growing sense that Aaron Rodgers was going to be traded by the Green Bay Packers. However, Rodgers and the Packers would negotiate a new contract that allows Rodgers to control his future, likely making the 2021 season his final one in Green Bay. Just because Rodgers wasn’t traded this offseason doesn’t mean that we won’t see a blockbuster trade in the NFL sometime in the next few months.
Whether it be due to a contract dispute, a team’s situation, or another reason, players can be traded in the blink of an eye. It may be early to predict what is going to happen between now and the trade deadline in the NFL. But that won’t stop me from attempting to highlight a few star players in the league that could be headed to a new team between now and the next trade deadline.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Since the end of the 2020 season, it has become more and more evident that Deshaun Watson no longer wants to be a member of the Houston Texans. It all began with the team trading DeAndre Hopkins before last season and the fact that the organization doesn’t converse with Watson on roster decisions.
While Watson wants out of Houston, the Texans seemingly want to repair their relationship with the Pro Bowl quarterback. However, there are legal issues that Watson is enduring right now that could have a lasting effect on his career in the NFL. Despite his legal concerns, there are multiple teams still probing Watson’s situation with the Texans.
Even though Houston is being stubborn in trading Watson, I believe it will end in a divorce at some point. Seeing that his legal issues could take some time to determine, some teams may be willing to overlook — whether it be right or wrong — his potential off-the-field concerns to address their quarterback position.
Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
It was reported ahead of training camp that Chandler Jones requested a trade from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. Jones is reportedly upset with his current contract situation and is unsure about his future in Arizona.
Up to this point, the Cardinals haven’t shown any interest in appeasing his trade request as they’d love to see him on the field with J.J. Watt. Jones has accrued 97 sacks since entering the NFL in 2012, but he was limited to one sack in five games in 2020. Despite missing 11 games last season, Jones is still one of the premier edge rushers in the league and teams are always looking to bolster their pass rush during the season.
While Arizona would prefer to keep Jones moving forward, there’s a chance that they elect to move on from him ahead of the trade deadline in 2021, allowing him to join a team that is willing to give him a new contract.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
There has been an ongoing rift between Michael Thomas and the New Orleans Saints since last season. Thomas suffered an ankle injury early in the 2020 season, and as he was set to return to the field, he got into an altercation with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in practice. The All-Pro wideout also got into heated exchanges with coaches on the Saints, leading to a one-game suspension from the team.
After missing nine games in 2020 due to his ankle ailment, New Orleans and Thomas disagreed on whether or not he should undergo surgery. Instead of receiving surgery at the end of last season, Thomas underwent surgery in June, causing him to miss the start of the 2021 season. New Orleans was upset with his decision to wait to get surgery, which could lead to a divorce in the future.
There are always teams seeking wide receivers at the trade deadline, and if the Saints struggle out of the gates, Thomas will be a name to watch at the NFL trade deadline.