Pro-Bowlers Shift Pretenders into Contenders

Staff Writer: Ramon Elortondo 

For the first time in it seems like forever, the NFL trade deadline had some action. The NFL decision makers acted like fantasy football owners. Blockbuster trades with the biggest names in football dealt to new teams looking to get a shot at the biggest game on national television February 4th in Minnesota. Deals made up to the last minute, it seemed like the NBA deadline came early, many involving skill position players, that will help shape narratives for the rest of this season and beyond. 

An increased salary cap room across the NFL is turning a once dread upon day into an exciting day that we can now look forward to every year. In the years to come, these moves are to become more common.  

Just a year ago, the most exhilarating move came from the New England Patriots when they sent their starting linebacker to the Cleveland Browns. Jamie Collins, a former pro-bowler who is now out for the year has not panned out for the worst team in football for the past couple of years. In return the defending champions got the outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy. 

Rumors always fly around the date of the deadline, but it seems as though the trigger is never pulled. Teams rather wait until the players contracts run out or they just cut him. Names that circulated the trace rumors a year ago were Joe Thomas, Alshon Jeffery, Sheldon Richardson. These possible trade pieces never went anywhere in 2016. Another year passed with no blockbuster moves around the league.  

The trade deadline is getting much more exciting, though. 

We got a taste when the Jaguars traded for two-time pro bowler Marcel Dareus on Friday, and the Seahawks traded for three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Duane Brown on Monday. Brown is an aging left tackle that will help the Seattle Seahawks struggling offensive line tremendously. Brown could be the piece to the missing puzzle that puts the Seahawks over the top and gives Russel Wilson the extra time to throw to his receivers.  

I asked Tommy Zamorski, a die-hard Seahawks fan and senior at Woodstock what he thought about the trade and how he sees his team in the near future. “It’s definitely a move that says we want to win now. We’re not building for the future, the time is now to win and our new pro bowl left tackle gives us that chance at a ring this year.”  

Another team in the NFC didn’t hesitate on making a trade that left fans around the league shocked. Trading only a fourth round pick in 2018 for pro bowl running back Jay Ajayi. The Dolphins caught a lot of heat from not only fans of the team but the average watcher who knows the basics of football. Many asked ‘why would they give up such a good player and leader of that struggling team for so little in return?’ As a fanatic of the Miami franchise, I was infuriated by this trade. How could they give up one of our best players for so little? 

ajayi

Former Miami Dolphins running back didn’t have any touchdowns for the Dolphins this season. Dolphin executives believe Ajayi didn’t have a long-term future with the team because of his knees. Photo courtesy of creative commons, gathered by Nadia Jahoda.  

When talking to Lavoghn Curry, an Eagle fanatic, he couldn’t seem happier with the move, “A fourth round pick? What a steal! I don’t know that the Dolphins were thinking. I couldn’t be happier!” 

For the Eagles, the trade meant glory. It couldn’t have gotten better for the best team in the NFL. Ajayi adds power to an already bulldozing backfield. They are also in the hunt for their first super bowl with second year quarterback Carson Wentz, who’s playing out of his mind and could be the MVP of the league when the cleats are hung up at the end of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team holding up the Lombardi Trophy in February. 

Maybe the biggest move of the trade deadline this year was when the New England Patriots sent their backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. In my opinion, this is the move that could most change the future of the team. The quarterback position is the most influential position on the field and from the games Jimmy has played, he has proved that he is worth the second-round pick.  

jimmy garappolo

Jimmy Garoppolo is said to not start right away. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said he wants Jimmy to master the playbook before letting him go on the field for the 49ers. Photo courtesy of creative commons, gathered by Nadia Jahoda. 

The last big move came from an AFC East team who’s seen success at the beginning of the year, but seems like teams are starting to figure them out. A hot start has led to 5-4 and the last wildcard spot in the AFC. Former Florida State University star wideout Kelvin Benjamin was traded from the Panthers to the Bills in exchange for 2018 3rd and 7th round picks. For the Bills, this meant they got the number one wideout they’ve been missing since they got rid of Sammy Watkins to the Rams.  

What a year for the trade dead line in the NFL. An event that is usually not thought about came with exhilarating moves by contenders that have made moves to hopefully put them over the top. Hopefully this trend of big trades is a thing that occurs every year and we can look forward to the date like in the NBA.  

 

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