Grading the NFL trade deadline deals that DIDN’T happen

Well, that was disappointing. The NFL’s trade deadline came and went on Tuesday and the only deal we got was an NBA-style salary dump by the Rams. None of the big names that were supposedly on the trading block were dealt, and your team didn’t fill that hole on the roster that you had been worried about.

The only trade made this week that involved a team in the playoff race was the Eagles sending a fourth-round pick to Cleveland for a pass rusher who had logged five snaps this season. So, yeah, the NFL landscape hasn’t changed much over the last few days.

Ordinarily, I’d write a post reviewing all of the trades that went down before the deadline, but since there weren’t many significant deals, I’ll take a different approach and grade that reported deals that weren’t made.

The Eagles fail to land Chris Harris Jr.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The report:

Analysis: The Eagles have had issues dealing with slot receivers this season, so bringing in the best slot defender of the last decade would have made a lot of sense. But if the asking price was too high, then it makes even more sense for the Eagles to pass.

Philadelphia still has a shot at the playoffs — a 53% chance, per FiveThirtyEight — but there’s a wide gap between the top of the conference (where the Saints and 49ers reside) and the rest of the playoff contenders, and trading for a single cornerback was not going to close that gap much.

Mortgaging the future for a season that isn’t likely to end with a trip to the Super Bowl would not have been a smart move. Philly’s best path was letting this season play out before reloading in the offseason.

Grade: B+

The Browns end pursuit of Trent Williams

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The report:

Analysis: 

USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones reported Tuesday the Redskins were never really interested in trading Trent Williams, and reports like that one above lend credence to that. There’s no way Washington seriously thought the Browns would part ways with one of their franchise cornerstones for an aging left tackle who has vowed to never play in a Redskins uniform again.

If that is what Washington was looking for in return, Cleveland made the smart move in not overpaying for Williams. Sure, the Browns offensive line hasn’t been good, but it hasn’t been awful either. And with the team sitting at 2-5, there’s no reason to trade valuable assets for a player who would only marginally improve the team.

The Browns have to look past the 2019 season, which may already be a lost one.

Grade: A

The Cowboys can’t land Jamal Adams

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The report:

Analysis: I don’t know how much trading for a safety like Jamal Adams, as good as he is, would have really moved the needle for the Cowboys, but that secondary is missing a playmaker of his caliber. Trading multiple first-round picks may not have been the best way to about acquiring one, and, reportedly, that was the asking price…

Hybrid players who can set an edge in the run game, cover slot receivers and drop deep into coverage are the new wave, so I would not have killed the Cowboys for doing whatever it took to land one, but there are other, less costly, ways to add a player like that.

Grade: B+

The Ravens also fail to get Jamal Adams

The report:

Analysis: I am a little surprised the Ravens were in on Adams, too. They are down a good safety with Tony Jefferson out, but there are far more pressing issues that this team could/should have addressed before inquiring about Adams.

Grade: A

… And don’t get a pass rusher either

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The report:

Analysis: The Ravens’ pass rush (or lack thereof) is a problem, and if Michael Bennett was available for a seventh-round pick, Baltimore not landing a good one has to be considered a failure. Bringing in Marcus Peters should help improve the backend of the defense; but, as we saw in the loss to the Chiefs, it’s going to be hard for the secondary to hold up if they are covering for more than three seconds at a time.

Grade: D+

Patriots don’t trade for O.J. Howard

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The report:

Analysis: It appears the O.J. Howard is a poor fit in Bruce Arians’ offense, where the first-round pick is being used as a blocker entire too much, so it would be in the best interest of the Bucs to deal him when his value is at its highest.

Apparently, the Patriots’ valuation was not in line with Tampa’s which is a loss for both teams. Howard will continue to be wasted as his value plummets and the Patriots are still without a tight end capable of threatening defenses downfield. As a matter of fact, they don’t have a receiver capable of doing that. It may have been in New England’s best interest to save that second-round pick it dealt for Mohamed Sanu and use it in a package for Howard.

Grade: C-

More NFL trade analysis:

The Ravens make smart trade for Marcus Peters

The Rams trade for Jalen Ramsey is indefensible

Why trading for Gareon Conley makes sense for the Texans

The fantasy implications of the Cardinals’ trade for Kenyan Drake

Justifying the Leonard Williams trade from the Giants’ perspective

How the Aqib Talib trade will help the Dolphins’ tank