Rebuilding? It’s Time to Trade these Players
By: Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl)
Dynasty Owners, it is finally free agency time! While Dynasty Owner’s off-season is not in full swing just yet, the NFL sure seems to be as we have seen a few players sign deals already on top of two massive trades that included the number 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and the player who some may call the best cornerback in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey. If this is just a preview of things to come, we are in store for a very fun off-season. I don’t know if were done just yet as we very well may see Aaron Rodgers traded to the Jets before this article releases. Similar to Dynasty Owner, the NFL never sleeps!
In today’s article, we are going to look at players all of you rebuilders should be looking to trade immediately. All of these players listed below are great to have on a contending roster, but if you don’t have the right supporting cast around them, you’ll be picking in the 5-7 spot again next season. I did an article similar to today about a month ago when looking at players with one year remaining on their contract, but you will only find one repeat player on the entire list, and it just happens to be the first player listed.
- Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) – 1 year/$7,568,859
As I mentioned earlier, we have already discussed Tua’s future, but I believe it is important enough to touch on again. No, my opinion has not changed, and I am still firmly a believer in moving on from Tua while his contract is still on the cheaper side. My biggest concern with Tua has nothing to do with his talent and everything to do with injury concerns paired with a high salary in 2024 as the Dolphins already exercised his fifth year option of $23,171,000. It almost feels like we are at the point we can expect Tua to miss at least a few games each season and when paying someone what Tua will make come 2024 and maybe beyond, I need them on the field every game. If Tua does stay healthy, I believe he is worth the price tag he will receive but that’s a gamble. I am staying away from Tua here on Dynasty Owner. Salary cap space is too precious to waste.
- Lamar Jackson (BAL) – 1 year/$32,416,000
Despite playing for the Ravens, Lamar Jackson has been one of my favorite players to watch since he came into the NFL just a few years ago and I hate that I am telling you to trade him. Lamar is a fantastic talent and has proved he can be wildly successful in the NFL, but I am worried about how he will age throughout his career (missed 10 games over the last two seasons) as well as the amount he is going to get paid. I know it seems unfair to worry about longevity for mobile quarterbacks, but I have seen enough evidence that it is a real factor, and it should worry us. Since Jackson’s M.V.P. season in 2019, he has only reached 300.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points once (2020). When paying a player as much as Jackson is asking for you are definitely going to want him on the field as much as possible. Another huge concern I have with Jackson is the fact I do not see him staying in Baltimore which means the team acquiring him will have to cough up two first round picks on top of a huge contract for him. I’m not sure a roster can handle that over time, though I would bet on Jackson succeeding over Deshaun Watson ($46,000,000).
- Saquon Barkley (NYG) – 1 year/$10,091,000
Up next, we have another player with a checkered injury history in Saquon Barkley. While Barkley has been injured often throughout his career, that is not the main reason I am telling you to move on from him. The bigger issue for me is the position he plays combined with his age. Remember when rebuilding you want to operate on a 2–3-year window and I would bet a lot of money that Barkley looks like a shell of himself come 2025-2026 versus still being a high end running back. I also don’t think I want to bet on the Giants succeeding while paying Daniel Jones $40 million per season. It has Baltimore and Joe Flacco ($3,500,000) circa 2013 written all over it. All of that said I do believe this is the best time to trade Barkley as he is coming off a season where he finished as the 6th ranked running back on Dynasty Owner and his salary is only going just under $3,000,000 ($2,874,000). In 2022, Barkley racked up 1,312 rushing yards, 338 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns, good enough for 294.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. I would highly recommend trading Barkley before the Dynasty Owner draft and at the latest training camp where injuries are always a concern.
- Nick Chubb (CLE) – 2 years/$12,200,000
I always have to hate on a Cleveland Brown in my articles, don’t I? In all fairness, this is not a horrible list to be on because it means you can help a contender win a championship. While I do think Chubb will age better than most running backs, his lack of pass catching worries me as he gets older. In 2022, Chubb did have his best receiving season since 2019 by catching 27 passes for 239 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. If the Browns were bringing back a quarterback like Jacoby Brissett ($4,650,000). I would feel better about Chubb growing as a pass catcher, but I don’t see Kevin Stefanski wanting Deshaun Watson to dump the ball off all that often. Despite the lack of receiving throughout his career, Chubb has shown that he is an elite runner out of the backfield and should be running behind a good offensive line for another year or two. Chubb is exactly the type of player contending Dynasty Owners love and I would take advantage of that this off-season. Be sure to remind whoever you are trading with that Kareem Hunt ($6,000,000) will likely be leaving Cleveland this off-season.
- Davante Adams (LV) – 4 years/$28,000,000
In 2022 Davante Adams was traded from the team that drafted him, was no longer playing with a 4-time M.V.P. at quarterback, saw his starting quarterback get benched for a player making his first career start, and played for a new coach who failed in his first stint. Despite all of that, he still finished as the number 4 ranked wide receiver in all of Dynasty Owner. Adams finished the Dynasty Owner season with a stat line of 95 catches, 1,443 receiving yards, and a whopping 14 touchdowns proving he will always be an elite red zone threat. If Adams can overcome all of that and see his production virtually unchanged, I’d say he can overcome the age barrier as well, but at 30 years of age, there is not much room for error if you are rebuilding which is why it is time to move on from the superstar. Adams does have a huge salary, but you should still be able to get good value for him in a deal if you can find a way to make the salaries work.
- Keenan Allen (LAC) – 2 years/$20,025,000
About a month ago, I heard rumors that the Chargers may cut Keenan Allen and that now seems like a far-fetched idea, thankfully. Allen is the perfect fit alongside Justin Herbert ($6,644,688) and as long as he is in Los Angeles and on the field, I feel he will be a consistent Dynasty Owner player and should be on any contending roster. In 2022, Allen did deal with injuries, but when he was on the field he was as consistent as always scoring double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points in all but one game, the game he was re-injured in Week 7 against Seattle. Despite only playing in eight full games during the Dynasty Owner season, Allen finished with 58 catches, 650 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. All of that said, Allen is at that dreaded age for receivers of 30 and it is time for rebuilders to move on as he will likely be out of Los Angeles and a few steps slower by the time you are ready to compete. If your trade partner has reservations just point to the 7-game stretch Allen had to end the 2022 season as your leverage.
- George Kittle (SF) – 3 years/$15,000,000
George Kittle may be the toughest player to judge on this list. Kittle has shown he can be an elite tight end, but has had numerous injury issues on top of inconsistent production. Over the past couple of years, it seems when all of the 49ers playmakers are on the field, Kittle takes a step back and becomes more of a blocker. All of that leads me to believe it is the correct decision to move on from Kittle unless you are contending. For the 2022 Dynasty Owner season, Kittle had a stat line of 56 catches, 736 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns while playing in 14 games. Another negative for Kittle is the fact that heading into 2023, there is a lot of uncertainty in the Bay Area at the quarterback position. Should the 49ers go with Brock Purdy ($934,252) over Trey Lance ($8,526,319), I do believe it benefits Kittle as he seemed to perform his best with Purdy on the field, though he did put up a few stinkers with Purdy at quarterback. Overall if you are rebuilding and can get a good draft pick or player/players in return for Kittle, I would do it. If you are contending, I would keep Kittle unless you can get Mark Andrews ($14,000,000), Travis Kelce ($14,312,500), or T.J. Hockenson ($9,392,000) in a deal.
- Evan Engram (JAC) – 1 year/$11,345,000
Steve Van Tassell and I talked about Engram quite a bit on last week’s Dynasty Owner podcast, be sure to check it out if you are looking for a more in-depth answer on Engram. I do like Engram heading into 2023 and it has a lot more to do with Trevor Lawrence ($9,198,372) than it does with Engram himself. Nonetheless, I’m expecting Engram to be a top 5-7 tight end again in 2023. Engram was inconsistent at times last season, but he did manage to score double digit points in eight games, which is not bad for the tight end position in 2022. Engram finished the season with a stat line of 73 catches, 766 yards and 4 touchdowns and was ranked 5th at the tight end position on Dynasty Owner. Engram’s salary did go up a little over $2,000,000 ($2,345,000), but another year with Lawrence should offset that cost. The big worry with Engram is the addition of Calvin Ridley ($11,116,000), but I feel that will affect Zay Jones ($8,000,000) much more as Ridley and Jones play the same position. If you are rebuilding and have Evan Engram on your roster, it shouldn’t be hard to find a good roster with a hole at tight end to wheel and deal with. It is possible to trade Evan Engram for value, I did it late last season!
Thank you all for reading and be sure to check out all of the upcoming Dynasty Owner content. We have the Dynasty Owner podcast, the Dynasty Owner Livestream, and articles to help with your Dynasty Owner teams. Good luck on your 2023 Chase for the Ring!