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The first few waves of NFL free agency have passed, and the 2021 NFL draft feels like a distant memory. But a fair amount of player movement could transpire before the start of training camps this month.
We’ve seen late-offseason trades crop up in recent years—like last July’s deal that sent safety Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks—and the fall deadline is months away.
At least a few teams are likely to take advantage of the trade window before the start of the 2021 regular season Sept. 9.
Which recent trade rumors are grounded in truth, and which are strictly smoke? We’ll dig into the latest trade buzz here.
Eagles Preparing for Life After Zach Ertz
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Derik Hamilton/Associated Press
The Philadelphia Eagles have not pressed for a Zach Ertz trade, but now that June 1 has passed, they could save $8.5 million by moving the tight end. While the three-time Pro Bowler has been a mainstay of the offense, it appears that Philadelphia is preparing to move on.
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According to John McMullen of Eagle Maven, the team has informed Ertz that Dallas Goedert is the franchise tight end moving forward.
“What we do know is that the Eagles are planning for life after Ertz and trying to work out a big-money contract extension with Goedert,” McMullen wrote. “More so the team has informed Ertz that Goedert is going to get the lion’s share of snaps at the position no matter what.”
New head coach Nick Sirianni reportedly wants to move away from frequently utilizing two-tight end sets, while the Eagles are comfortable with Richard Rodgers as a depth option. With Goedert emerging as a premier receiving tight end, Ertz appears to be expendable.
An Ertz trade feels like a matter of when, not if. My guess is that Philadelphia will accept a trade offer for Ertz at some point before the regular season but is comfortable carrying him as a rotational piece if a fair deal doesn’t materialize.
‘No Trade Market’ for Aaron Rodgers
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Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been the face of the NFL trade market ever since ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported over draft weekend that the reigning MVP wanted out of Green Bay.
“Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday,” Schefter wrote April 29.
Rodgers has not reported to the team for offseason activities, but according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there is “no trade market” for Rodgers right now—with a big caveat.
“No market because GB still giving zero indications it’s trading him,” Fowler tweeted. “Hence, there’s nothing for monitoring teams to do right now.”
In short, teams cannot set the market for Rodgers if the Packers aren’t listening to offers. However, the idea that there is no market whatsoever is likely only true in a technical sense. It would be foolish to believe that at least one team hasn’t put together a hard offer and is simply waiting for the opportunity to pitch it.
Verdict: Sell (sort of)
Stephon Gilmore Doesn’t Expect to Be Traded
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Winslow Townson/Associated Press
New England Patriots star cornerback Stephon Gilmore is entering the final year of his contract. He has not reported for offseason workouts while angling for a new deal. However, it doesn’t appear that Gilmore expects a trade to be the end result of his holdout.
Fowler said the following on SportsCenter (h/t Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels):
“And I’m told that Gilmore has largely not expected to be traded throughout this process because he knows the Patriots have made moves with Gilmore in mind. They haven’t gotten a cornerback to replace him. And as one source told me, ‘Do the Patriots really want to go into Week 4 against Tom Brady without their top cornerback?'”
This paints a far different picture than the one surrounding Gilmore at the start of the offseason.
“Most GMs have considered it a foregone conclusion that the Patriots would trade top corner Stephon Gilmore this offseason,” CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora wrote in March.
New England probably won’t dump Gilmore without a succession plan in place, as its offseason spending spree indicates a desire to contend in 2021.
It’s more likely that the Patriots will either work things out with Gilmore or allow his holdout to continue.