Don’t look now but the AFC North has turned into a top division in football once again between the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers. They have the only undefeated team in the league along with the No. 1 seed in the AFC from the 2019 season.
The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger back and they are looking like a new team. They are 6-0 and have arguable the best defense in football. They will prepare for a huge AFC North matchup against the Ravens in Week 8. Baltimore is 5-1 with their only loss from the Kansas Chiefs.
The Browns are still trying to prove they are a contender. At 5-2, they sit third in the AFC North with two blowout losses against the Steelers and Ravens. Cleveland is waiting for that one statement win to prove themselves this season. As for the Bengals, they are competing with Joe Burrow under center but have not found ways to win games.
Heading into the trade deadline, there are some options in the AFC North to make a big move. Here are five players who could be dealt over the next two weeks.
5. Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati Bengals
Carlos Dunlap has been trying his best over recent weeks to get off the Bengals. He has been in Cincinnati for his entire 11-year career. He has totaled 82.5 sacks in a Bengals’ uniform but they are beginning to cut his playing time. This is not making Dunlap happy and he has made it clear that he wants to be dealt.
Dunlap played just 12 snaps in Cincy’s 37-34 loss to the Browns on Sunday. He has taken his frustrations to social media where they have been aired out. This has become an ugly situation that could force the hand of the Bengals. A trade would not be the worst situation for both sides.
The Bengals are not using Dunlap and the 31-year old could flourish in another system. There is still value in Dunlap which could get a good return for the team.
This trade should be a done deal. It should not be difficult to find a partner for this trade.
4. John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals
John Ross was inactive for Sunday’s game. He has requested a trade from the team as we approach the trade deadline. Ross has struggled with injuries throughout his career and this has caused him to be underwhelming for the Bengals during his career.
Ross needs a change of scenery. He has totaled just 733 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns since being drafted in the first-round in 2017. The Bengals are not going to get a huge return for Ross, but they are not using him so it would benefit both sides if he was sent away. Ross entered the league as a speedster wide receiver who was drafted to take the top off defenses.
The market on receivers heading into the deadline is extremely high. There are many teams in need of skill position players and Ross could be one that is dealt sooner than later.
3. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens
Heading into the 2020 season, Gus Edwards was a name that floated around trade rumors. The Ravens were the best rushing team in 2019 and they got stronger when they drafted J.K. Dobbins in the second round of April’s draft.
Baltimore features a deep rushing attack with Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, and Dobbins. They have kept Edwards as part of the offense. He has carried the ball 48 times for 218 yards and a touchdown this season. A trade for Edwards means more touches for a player like Justice Hill. Edwards is a solid backup runner who could be used in many situations.
Any team in need of another option in the backfield should take a flier on Edwards. The return will not be huge but there is a chance that the Ravens decide to send the Rutgers product to a different team.
2. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
AJ Green is another Bengals’ receiver who could be moved but his situation is much different than that of Ross. Green is a veteran receiver who was one of the best in the game for many years. He is an attractive target for a contending team looking for depth.
Green has not drawn significant interest yet which means the price will have to be dropped. The New England Patriots immediately come to mind as a perfect fit for Green. He is still a red zone threat and reliable receiver with great hands. Green is a leader on and off the field who can help younger players.
The Bengals are looking to rebuild and getting rid of a veteran like Green would jumpstart the process. It will be interesting to see how the Bengals move forward with Green.
1. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
David Njoku emerged as one of the biggest names on the trade market in recent weeks. There might not be room for Njoku on the depth chart moving forward.
Harrison Bryant made the start in place of Austin Hooper against the Bengals. He finished with four catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant is in the future plans for the Browns along with Hooper, who Cleveland signed to a big contract in the offseason.
This leaves Njoku on the outside looking in. At 24-years old, Njoku is a weapon with a high-ceiling but had a chance in Cleveland.
As the trade deadline approaches, the talks involving Njoku will get louder and louder. This trade would benefit both sides moving forward. The Browns would get a nice return while Njoku could get a fresh start where he would be at the top of the depth chart.