2018 NFL Trade Deadline Recap


By Chip Bayless






Lions trade Golden Tate to the Eagles in exchange for 2019 third-round draft pick


ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 30: Golden Tate #15 of the Detroit Lions taunts Chidobe Awuzie #24 of the Dallas Cowboys with the football before scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a game at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)


Golden Tate is a five foot ten dynamo of a wide receiver. He has the ability to play in the slot and as an outside receiver, but he does most of his damage with flashy yards-after-catch plays from the slot. Tate’s knack for explosive chunk plays and broken tackles is intriguing for an Eagles team that lost Jay Ajayi (who burst onto the NFL scene first with the Dolphins with back-to-back 200 yard games) and speedster and downfield threat Mike Wallace.


Aside from his trademark agility and remarkable acceleration, Tate has also occasionally flashed the makings of a complete receiver. Throughout the past two seasons he has shown an improved ability in making sideline catches and catches in traffic.

The lone concerning aspects about this trade for the Eagles are Tate’s age, his contract, and his struggle with drops. The Eagles themselves have struggled with drops this year, and now they add Tate who currently leads the league in drops with seven. Although, it is worth noting that his drop rate is 10.1% which ranks 13th in the league.


Tate will also become a free agent in 2019 unless the Eagles are able to sign him to a long term deal. However, if he does sign elsewhere in 2019 the Eagles will get either a third or fourth-round compensatory draft pick back due to the nature of the trade and his contract.


As for his age, while Tate is 30 he has still flashed his trademark speed and quickness on a pretty consistent basis throughout the season. In fact, Tate is currently on pace for 90 catches and his third straight 1,000-yard season. So far this season, he averages 7.5 yards per target, 11.8 yards per catch, and 2.21 yards per route run. Those stats tell you that Tate is a high-volume middle of the field receiver who must do most of his damage after the catch. After all, his average 2.21-yard route might only net an offense three yards facing a talented defense.


Sure enough Tate’s YAC numbers are staggering as he actually gains the majority of his receiving yardage after the catch. In 2018 Tate averages 6.4 yards after the catch, is second in the NFL in total YAC yardage, and his 281 YAC yards on the year equates to 54.4% of his total receiving yardage. This is great news for the Eagles considering their current YAC leaders are two running backs: Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood. Clement has 140 YAC yards which is actually more than his season yardage total. One might ask how that can even be possible. This is due to the Eagles frequent use of screens, and expect more screens with Tate in the mix now.

A third round pick is pretty good value for a starting receiver on the tail end of his prime, and the Lions have youngster Kenny Golladay—who has more yards right now than Lions presumed WR1 Marvin Jones—to take his place in the lineup, so the Lions are in pretty good shape after this deal too.




Broncos trade Demaryius Thomas to Houston in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round pick and swapped 2019 7s


DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 9: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos makes a catch on the edge of the end zone for a fourth quarter touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on September 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)


Thomas is a much different receiver than Golden Tate. Standing at six foot three and running a 4.38 40-yard dash when he entered the league, Thomas did most of his damage as a size/speed freak and was the WR1 for the Broncos for nearly a decade, topping 1,000 yards five seasons in a row from 2012-2016.


Thomas leaves Denver as an all-time franchise leader in a number of categories. Thomas is the Broncos all-time leading receiver in yards per game with 72.4, second in receiving touchdowns with 60, second in receiving yards with 9,055, and third in all-time receptions amongst Broncos with 665.

The past two seasons there was a noticeable drop in production for Thomas, which also might be due to his decreased role in anticipation of being traded. During 2012-2016, he averaged 9.8 targets per game, 85.9 YPG, and only had a drop percentage of 4.2. The past two seasons, his targets per game dropped to 8.1, his YPG dropped to 56.3, and his drop percentage increased to 5.7.

While Thomas’ trademark speed and athleticism is trailing off now at age 30, he still has strong hands and remarkable awareness as he is still capable of making contested catches in traffic, plays on jump balls, and sideline grabs that leave fans’ jaws on the ground. Check out his game against the Jets or his touchdown against the Seahawks this year if you don’t believe me.


In fact over the past two seasons, Thomas is actually tied with his new teammate DeAndre Hopkins for receiving TDs in windows of one yard or fewer of separation with five TDs per ESPN Stats & Info, which ranks second in the league during 2017-2018.

After the Texans lost Will Fuller for the year with a torn ACL, they felt the need to go after Thomas to give Deshaun Watson another trustworthy playmaker and a counterpart opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Thomas actually has more career TDs than Hopkins as he has 60 while Hopkins has 42. Thomas and the Texans high-scoring offense will have their shot at the Broncos as well as both teams face off this week. The Texans offense is coming of a Thursday night win that included scoring a season-high 42 points while Deshaun Watson hucked TD passes all over the field.

Granted, it remains to be seen if this is just a one-year move or not as the Texans will have to pay a lofty 14 million in base salary to the 30 year-old Thomas if they want to keep him on the roster in 2019.

For now, the move makes sense for both teams because the Texans needed another playmaker to help them into the playoffs with Fuller out, and the Broncos now have an opportunity to get rookie wide out Courtland Sutton more involved in the offense and got a fourth round pick and a better seventh rounder in return. Sutton has earned praise from teammates, coaches, and John Elway throughout the season as they have all said at various points that they are excited about his potential and would like to have him more involved in the offense. Sutton has so far been on the field for 69.2 percent of the Broncos offensive snaps and ranks third in the NFL in YPC with 19.1.



Jags send Dante Fowler to the Rams for a 2019 third round pick and 2020 fifth-rounder

OAKLAND, CA – DECEMBER 25: (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)


Dante Fowler was once one of the most hyped pass rushers to ever come out of the draft, and has since been labeled a bust for the Jaguars. Although, I don’t think Fowler has had an opportunity to showcase his true potential. He tore his ACL and missed his entire rookie season in 2015, and what most people fail to recognize is unless you are literally Adrian Peterson, you aren’t going to come back from that injury in a flash.


For most athletes who suffer torn ACLs, it actually tends to take 1-2 years post-surgery before their quad, hamstring, and surrounding muscles are really built back up to what they once were. Likewise, it takes about 1-2 years before most athletes regain or exceed their previous lower body strength, speed, and explosiveness.

The injury aside, the Florida product undoubtedly has yet to produce like a top five pick. He has amassed just 14 sacks so far in his career, and just has two in 2018. Fowler was also suspended for violating team rules in early August and was suspended for week one by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.


Fowler now joins an already stacked Rams defense and D-line where he’ll join forces with Aaron Donald (who might just be the best player in the league). If Fowler can tap into his top five potential, the Rams will likely boast the best defensive line in the NFL. If not, then the Jags were able to swindle a steal of a deal in getting a third and fifth round pick for a bust that did not have a future with the organization.


Green Bay sends Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins for a 2019 fourth-rounder

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 23: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix #21 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates breaking up a pass during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 23, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Packers defeated the Vikings 24-21. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)


Clinton-Dix was once considered one of the best safeties in the league, if not the best. Drafted in the first round in 2014, while Dix might not be the best safety in the NFL anymore, the Alabama product is still in his prime at age 25, and is still one of the league’s hardest hitters and most versatile players.


It is no coincidence that he has been on the field for every single Packers defensive snap this season. He once had a streak of 2,033 consecutive defensive snaps played, and at his worst is still a starting safety on any other NFL team, and is probably still a top 10 safety overall. This season Clinton-Dix has three interceptions, a sack, and a forced fumble through seven games.

As a versatile safety who can play in the box and deep in coverage, he will likely form one of the best safety tandems in the league in Washington with D.J. Swearinger. In all honesty, the Packers did not get enough in compensation for the level of talent Clinton-Dix is with only a fourth rounder. Few fourth round picks develop into the player Clinton-Dix currently is.

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