After eight hard-fought and chaotic weeks of football, the NFL stepped aside for a couple days to set a new focus, which was the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline. One of the important days of the year for league GMs, it is the final day of the 2023 season to make official NFL trades until March 2024. This is the perfect opportunity for contenders to improve their roster while teams that aren't expected to compete for the playoffs can sell and try to rebuild for next season.
It was a crazy day full of trades as the Washington Commanders dealt two star defensive players in Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the Buffalo Bills upgraded their secondary, while the Minnesota Vikings tried to find their answer at quarterback to replace Kirk Cousins. Here are two winners and losers from this year's deadline.
Winner: Washington Commanders
The Commanders could fit both the winners and loser's category. You could argue they should have gotten more for Montez Sweat and Chase Young, and a pick for Jacoby Brissett would have been good, but overall, they got two good picks for players who are expecting big pay days. Washington got a second and third-round pick in the upcoming draft when they could have risked Young and Sweat leaving in free agency for nothing.
The real downside of this trade is that the Commanders basically turned their 2020 second overall pick into a third. But overall, this team has a bright future and if they can use these picks to fix the offensive line and other holes, they could be in the playoffs next season.
Loser: Green Bay Packers
Although they were not expected to be buyers like previous years, many were shocked when the trade was announced that they sent a fifth and cornerback Rasul Douglas to Buffalo for a third-round pick. An offer that Brian Gutekunst could not pass up, the 29-year-old leaving now has the Packers very thin at cornerback. With former first-round pick Eric Stokes on injured-reserve, Green Bay's cornerbacks behind Jaire Alexander are kick-returner Keisean Nixon and rookie seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine.
Besides being thin at the position, Douglas was one of Green Bay's highest graded players by PFF and was a leader in the locker room. They lost a great player, and an even better person who had another year on his contract.
Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
One of the trades that most are not talking about is the Jacksonville Jaguars trading for guard Ezra Cleveland from the Vikings. Cleveland has only played 372 snaps but has only allowed one sack this season and has a 73.8 PFF grade. The Jaguars have needed help from their offensive line, and they only gave up a sixth-round pick for a guard who can contribute a long way to helping this team protect Trevor Lawrence. The former second-round pick makes Jacksonville a winner.
Loser: Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns have a Super Bowl defense, a great offensive line, and plenty of weapons as well. Although the team delt veteran receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones to Detroit, that is not the reason they fall as losers on this list. The reason is because they did not upgrade at the quarterback position.
Cleveland traded a lot for DeShaun Watson, but he has failed to stay healthy all year and has not looked great on the field either. Backup PJ Walker has struggled a lot and it would be hard to go anywhere if he has to start most of the season. The Browns should have brought back Jacoby Brissett from Washington. Brissett is a great backup who started for Cleveland in place of Watson last year. Although he went 4-7 with the team, he threw 2,608 yards, 12 touchdown passes and six picks in 11 starts. This would be a big improvement over Walker's five picks to one touchdown ratio. Although reports said Cleveland offered a sixth-round pick and Washington wanted more, I would have offered a fourth if I were the Browns, because time is running out with this great roster and Brissett could have made a great return to Cleveland.
Philadelphia Eagles (Winner): Howie Roseman gets another elite player on this stacked roster.
Kansas City Chiefs (Loser): Chiefs hold put and do not upgrade wide receiver room.
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