Agents Take Kareem Hunt and other players that should have

Agent’s Take: Kareem Hunt and other players that should have been dealt before the close of trading

On the day of the trading deadline, a record 10 trades were made. Most notably, the Dolphins sent running back Chase Edmonds, a first-round pick from 2023 and a fourth-round pick from 2024 for edge rusher Bradley Chubb, and a fifth-round pick from 2025 to the Broncos.

Rare intradivisional trading took place. Tight end TJ Hockenson is not leaving the NFC North. The Vikings, who have a 6-1 record, traded a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick to Detroit for the former Pro Bowler, a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick.

Here are three other trades that should have been investigated before the deadline that may have improved teams’ chances of going into the postseason. The financial implications of the move are highlighted. Salary cap range based on NFLPA data.

An acquiring team would have needed enough headroom for the salary cap to absorb the remainder of the player’s current salary. Since the trades would have taken place after week 8, the acquiring team would have been responsible for 10/18 of a player’s 2022 base salary and all other applicable salary components in their contract.

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  • Trade Compensation: 2023 fourth-round pick and 2024 sixth-round pick
  • Remaining salary 2022: $622,222 (Texan salary cap for 2022)
  • Packers’ 2022 Cap Room: $6.4277 million
  • The 2023 Texans Dead Money: $16,220,741 ($10,389,629 salary cap savings)

Making moves at close is uncharacteristic of the Packers, as they primarily rely on a design and development philosophy for building rosters. An attempt to fill a glaring need for wide receiver was made by making a push for Chase Claypool. The Steelers dealt the Bears Claypool for a 2023 second-round pick.

The Cowboys and Texans, who are battling for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft with a 1-5-1 record, have been in talks at close of trade about a deal with Brandin Cooks. The Texans signed Cooks in April on a two-year extension that runs through the 2024 season and costs an average of nearly $20 million a year. Cooks is expected to make $35 million over the next two years. His 2023 base salary of $18 million, which was fully guaranteed in overtime, was an issue.

The Texans reportedly wanted a second-round pick for Cooks. His remaining contract, specifically the salary guarantee, should have made the trade compensation less than the 2023 third-round compensation pick and 2023 sixth-round pick the Giants received from the Chiefs for the 2021 first-round pick (20th overall). Kadarius Toney, who has a cost-controlled rookie contract.

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Adding Cooks, who is unfortunate the Texans didn’t trade him, would have been challenging from a salary cap perspective due to the salary guarantee. The Packers already have $222.7 million in cap commitments for 2023 with 47 players under contract.

Some flexibility in approach is warranted when a 38-year-old Aaron Rodgers is quarterback on the just $50 million-a-year NFL contract signed in March. With a 3-5 record, the Packers have already lost more games than they did in 2021. Despite the record, the Packers are not in a build-up mode like the Bears.

Cooks, 29, has been traded three times in his career. The last trade was in 2020 when the Texans got him and a 2022 fourth-round pick from the Rams for a 2020 second-round pick. Cooks has been productive wherever he has played. He has rushed for 1,000 yards in a season with the Saints, Patriots, Rams and Texans.

  • Trade Compensation: 2023 Fifth-round equalizer pick and RB Cam Akers
  • Hunt’s remaining salary for 2022: $3.1 million
  • Aker Remaining Salary 2022: $650,659
  • Brown’s salary cap for 2022: $33.23 million ($2,449,341 salary cap savings)
  • Rams Salary Cap for 2022: $4,515,663 ($2,449,341 salary cap)
  • The Browns’ 2023 dead money: None (expiring contract)
  • The Rams 2023 dead money: $512,371 ($1,451,779 salary cap savings)

Backfighting was on the Rams’ radar screen. Christian McCaffrey was attacked a few weeks ago but the Rams were outbid by the 49ers. The Rams rank 31st in the NFL in both rushing (68.4 yards per game) and yards per carry (3.3).

The Browns were reportedly willing to part ways with Hunt for a fourth-round pick. Hunt was probably the next best running back option available.

The intended compensation draft did not reflect the declining trading market. James Robinson was acquired by the Jets from the Jaguars for a 2023 conditional sixth-round pick that could become a fifth-round pick. The 49ers traded Jeff Wilson to the Dolphins for the 2023 fifth round. The Bills got Nyheim Hines from the Colts for running back Zack Moss and a conditional sixth-round pick of 2023 that may become a fifth-round draft pick.

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The Rams have no choice for the 2023 fourth round because they acquired Sony Michel from the Patriots in a 2021 preseason trade. The 2023 fifth-round pick went to the Browns for cornerback Troy Hill during that year’s draft. However, the Rams are expected to receive two compensatory fifth-round picks in 2023.

Hunt, who requested a trade last season because the Browns refused to renew his contract, is expected to go free after the season. It’s conceivable that the Browns could get a compensatory fourth-round pick for Hunt’s impending departure in 2024, depending on the deal he signs in the open market.

An unlucky Akers has no desire to continue playing for the Rams. He could have let the Browns trail behind Nick Chubb the next season. Akers is under contract for $1,451,779 in 2023, while Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson have expiring contracts.

Hunt’s acquisition wouldn’t have solved all of the Rams’ problems. The offensive line could be a bigger problem and a consistent pass rush was lacking. The Rams, who have a 3-4 record, could become the first Super Bowl winner to miss the playoffs since the Broncos in 2016.

  • Trade Compensation: 2023 conditional sixth round pick (fifth round if Giants win playoff game)
  • Remaining salary 2022: $575,000 (Titans salary cap for 2022)
  • The Giants Salary Cap 2022: $3,118,856
  • The Titans 2023 Dead Money: $3.31 million (2023 and 2024 invalid contract years)

The Giants with a 6-2 record is one of the biggest upsets of the 2022 season. Fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger, out indefinitely after an unusual eye injury in Week 7 against the Jaguars, leaves a hole at the end. Chris Myarick and Tanner Hudson are the other tight ends on the roster.

Austin Hooper doesn’t seem to sit well with Tennessee’s run-centric offense. Geoff Swaim leads the Titans on the season with 65.2%.

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Hooper signed a one-year, $6 million contract that included a $4.965 million signing bonus to add a dimension to Tennessee’s offense that was missing in 2021 after Jonnu Smith went to the Patriots on a freelance basis. Aside from catching three game-high passes for 56 yards in a Week 7 win against the Colts, Hooper’s impact was minimal. He has 10 catches (on 15 goals) for 116 yards in seven games. It’s Hooper’s slowest start to the season since he was a rookie in 2016.

The Titans have four tight ends on the roster. Hooper’s departure could have opened the door for 2022 fourth-round Chigoziem Okonkwo to gain more playing time.