5 NFL players who should be traded this offseason: DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans to continue WR trend?

The 2022 NFL offseason was marked by a number of high-profile deals, in which wide receiver position played a key role.

Three of the most explosive playmakers in football – Davante Adams, Tyreke Hill and AJ Brown – were transferred after just over a month last spring. Interestingly, two of these trades involved teams that would compete in Super Bowl LVII. Third? Well, Adams’ move from Green Bay to Las Vegas didn’t quite work out as planned for either team, as the Packers and Raiders missed out on the playoffs. But maybe in the off-season, these two teams will make another deal, and Aaron Rodgers will follow in the footsteps of Davante!

However, at the moment that Rogers is currently contemplating living in a lair of darkness, who knows what will happen next on that front? In the meantime, I’d like to highlight five other notable players who should be sold this offseason. What do you know? I have two WRs at once – the main candidates for the continuation of the trend of the last off-season.

DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins
Arizona Cardinals · WR

The Cardinals have a new general manager and a new head coach, but when will Monty Ossenforth and Jonathan Gannon actually see their $230.5 million quarterback on the field? It’s unclear as Kyler Murray is currently recovering from an ACL tear sustained in December.

“I understand that he’s going to take his time and make sure everything is 100 percent correct,” NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport recently revealed. “He is young. He has a long career. He’s not going to be rushed, so don’t be surprised if we don’t see him early in the season or maybe even in the middle. This injury needs to heal completely.”

In short: this franchise is undergoing big changes, and there’s no sense of urgency in 2023. It doesn’t look like it’s the best fit for Hopkins, who turns 31 this summer and should be earning nearly $20 million next season. Arizona could make room in the cap by producing a five-time pro bowler who should still be in high demand in this league where everyone loves passing and the Cardinals get valuable draft currency for rebuilding. It would make sense for Arizona. This would make sense for a trading partner who wants to really compete on the 23rd. And that would make sense for Hopkins, who is too good a player to wrap up his best years on a transition team.

Mike Evans
Mike Evans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · WR

I’ve seen the trade talk around Tee Higgins, but the Bengals need to bring back the young stallion, No move it. DJ Moore and Jerry Jeudy were two other wide receivers that came to my mind, but no: Evans is the right guy for this slot.

With the retirement of Tom Brady, I’m not sure how close the Buccaneers are to being competitive. Even if they could catch an experienced veteran signalman like, say, Derek Carr, I’m not sure how high the ceiling is. Win the diluted NFC South again? Okay, yes, maybe. But really fight for the title? Hard to see. So moving away from 29-year-old Evans in the last year of his contract makes too much sense.

Many may think that I am only saying this because I want him to go to Chicago. (NEWS FLASH: I’m a Bears fan.) Well, those people would be right. But Evans would actually be a great addition to many teams, including those who are serious about playing in the Super Bowl. Like the Dallas Cowboys, who are desperately trying to get out of the divisional round for the first time since Bill Clinton’s first term. It turns out that Jerry Jones and Co. probably made a mistake trading Amari Cooper last year. Duck Prescott needs more juice, and I think Evans — a Texas native who starred in Texas A&M — would love to play for the Boys. If the Rams wanted another try, there is another option. How about Chiefs? Would it even be fair??

Daron Payne
Daron Payne
Washington commanders · DT

This is an interesting case. The former first round pick just made his first Pro Bowl with 11.5 sacks and five passes defended. But now his rookie contract has expired. So what’s next?

It would be hard to just let Payne walk away with free will. He is still only 25 years old and just finished the season when he showed off the interior destruction that everyone wants. But Washington has already invested so much dough and black currency in the defensive line… Is a long-term mega-deal with Payne really feasible? Let’s open door #3: tag and share!

It’s not the easiest thing to do, as a player must first sign a franchise label, but it’s not unprecedented, especially among linebackers. Frank Clark, Dee Ford, Jadevon Clooney and Yannick Ngakue have been spotted and traded over the last four off-seasons. Clarke and Ford immediately signed long-term agreements with their new teams after the deal closed. Washington can find a fiancé who has cap space and the need to pressure DT, right?

Roy Robertson-Harris
Roy Robertson-Harris
Jacksonville Jaguars · DL

Sorry, I know the minor liners aren’t exactly hype, but I’m trying to find real candidates here. Besides, yes, I still have a soft spot for that former Bear. And it would make sense for him to play somewhere else in 2023.

The Jaguars spent a lot of money last offseason. Well, the waiter just left the check at the table. Currently deep in red when it comes to the ceiling seat, Jacksonville will have to give up some players. Robertson-Harris is not “STOP THE PRESSES!” type of trading chip, but he’s the sort of low-key acquisition that the smart front office lacks to help the line of defense. Especially one that should get better against a ground game.

Jalen Ramsey
Jalen Ramsey
Los Angeles Rams · CB

Okay, back to the noteworthy suggestions! Although, to be honest, I’m a little upset about it.

If LA doesn’t empty out again in 2023 due to injuries, this roster still has a lot of elements to compete with. And it’s hard to imagine Sean McVeigh returning to his performance for a restoration project. Still, maybe it’s time for the Rams’ “Eff Picks Them” actually acquire some choices. I won’t pretend to know how much Ramsey can get back in a trade, but it should be relatively significant considering he just won his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl. Los Angeles needs to expand a little richness, restore some depth.

As hard as it is to see Ramsey leave LA, it would make a lot of sense. In fact, my NFL Network colleague Bridget Condon just asked Rams COO Kevin Demoff about Ramsey’s future, and judging by his unanswered answer, it certainly seems possible that the cornerback could change address this offseason. Ramsey in Cincinnati would be a lot of fun, wouldn’t it?

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter.


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