The 2022 NFL offseason is going to be picking up soon, as free agency begins on March 16th. There will be a flurry of moves made as teams look to get under the salary cap, creating some unexpected free agents along the way. There are always a ton of players on the move during free agency, and before we know it, the 2022 NFL Draft will be upon us.
This year’s draft class features a lot of depth in the trenches on both sides of the ball and defensive backfield.
Teams looking for a quarterback may come away disappointed, as this is considered a down year at the position based on the quarterbacks in last year’s class and who could be coming out next year.
As with every draft, there will be teams looking to line up needs and value, which leads to some trades being made. Which teams could be looking to move down the draft this year? Here are five who should look into trading down in the 2022 NFL Draft.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the No. 1 overall for the second consecutive season. Already having their quarterback of the future and with so many needs on the roster, it would make sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars to see what kind of offers they can get for the first pick.
If a team falls in love with a quarterback prospect, would they be willing to jump all the way up to the No. 1 spot to acquire them? Or maybe a team desperate for a pass rusher or offensive lineman leaps up to the top spot with multiple excellent prospects on both sides of the ball available.
It is unlikely this pick is moved, but the Jaguars are a team that should definitely look into the possibility of trading down. The more picks the new regime has the better as they look to fix the damage that Urban Meyer did.
4. New York Jets
The New York Jets are in an excellent spot this offseason. They have a ton of cap space to use in free agency and have two first-round picks in the top-10. With that kind of capital, they should be working the phones to see if they can move out of at least one of the spots and collect more assets.
This roster needs help at numerous spots, so trading back from one of their top-10 picks would net them more selections in the middle rounds to fill out the roster with plug-and-play prospects.
Heading into Year 2 of the Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh regime, the Jets would be smart to continue stockpiling as many picks as they can. They are still in the early part of their rebuild and could certainly use more building blocks, which can be acquired by moving down in the draft.
3. New Orleans Saints
Teams that are in a salary cap bind are prime candidates to make moves during the NFL Draft. There isn’t a team in a worse salary cap situation than the New Orleans Saints, who are $74 million over the cap.
First-round picks give a team a chance to add an impact player at an affordable price, but the Saints could have multiple holes to fill with how many cuts they’ll have to make. So, to replace those veterans they move on from, it would be smart for them to move down in the draft and compile as many draft picks as possible.
The more rookies the Saints nab that they can play right away, the easier of a transition this will be. Rookie contracts provide the most value in the NFL and if the Saints can find a few starters from this class, it will go a long way to fixing their salary cap woes.
2. New York Giants
The New York Giants are under new management with Joe Schoen taking over as general manager and bringing Brian Daboll along with him from the Buffalo Bills to be the head coach. He has said his goal is to clear $40 million of salary, which is easier said than done.
With two picks in the first round, the Giants are in a good spot to start overhauling the roster. However, they are in a prime trade-back position.
New York owns the fifth and seventh picks in the first round. Those happen to fall in front of the first teams that could take a quarterback in the draft in the Carolina Panthers at No. 6 and then the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos at No. 8 and 9. If a team wants to ensure they can select the quarterback prospect of their choice, the Giants are who they will be calling.
This would be the second straight year the Giants moved back, trading with a team looking to select a quarterback. It would be a prudent move, especially if they add future draft capital, as the Giants could be in the market for a new quarterback next offseason. Loading up on picks to build a potential package around would be a good plan.
1. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers made numerous trades last year which has sapped a lot of their draft capital in the 2022 NFL Draft. Acquiring Sam Darnold from the New York Jets and C.J. Henderson from the Jacksonville Jaguars cost them their second, third and fourth-round picks.
As a result, they could use the No. 6 pick in the draft to help recoup some of the selections they traded away. With only one selection in the top-100 in this year’s draft, the Panthers would be smart to try and pick up more picks by trading down.
They could be in prime position to select a quarterback at No. 6, but they will have to figure out if any of this year’s prospects are worth selecting that high. The answer could very well be no, as acquiring extra selections could be the way to go.
Depending on how long they move down in the first round, some of the top quarterbacks in the class could still be available when they come back on the clock.