‘The most active trade deadline ever’.
The NFL went all Transfer Deadline Day on us on Tuesday, as big blockbuster trade deals – like Jay Ajayi’s and Travis Benjamin’s – got over the line, or didn’t. We’re looking at you, Cleveland Browns.
The winless Browns missed out on bringing in Cincinnati Bengals back-up quarterback AJ McCarron – the Bengals managed to get the trade approved by the NFL five minutes before the 8pm (UK time) deadline, the Browns did not.
The missed deal was symptomatic of a day filled with drama. We try our best to guide you through all that went on here…
While they were undoubtedly big news on trade deadline day itself, deals for Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown and New England Patriots back-up QB Jimmy Garoppolo were actually completed overnight, with deals struck late on Monday evening in the US.
The Seattle Seahawks get the help they so desperately need on their offensive line by bringing in Brown (and getting a fifth-round 2018 draft pick) – a trade that had initially seen cornerback Jeremy Lane heading the other way but, having failed a physical, the Texans instead received a 2018 third-rounder and 2019 second-rounder.
Meanwhile, the Patriots shocked many by opting to roll the dice with their 40-year-old QB superstar Tom Brady without the insurance of their promising young back-up Garoppolo. He instead is off to San Francisco to help out the struggling 49ers.
Sky Sports reporter Richard Graves explains why New England have let quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo go
Winless at 0-8, the 49ers hope Garoppolo can harness that Brady and Bill Belichick magic from his three years under their tutelage and be the man to turn the franchise’s fortunes around.
Undoubtedly, the biggest move of the day was still to come. At lunchtime in the UK it was broken that British-born running back Ajayi was on his way out of Miami and switching from a Dolphin to an Eagle, making the 7-1 Philadelphia even stronger!
Sky Sports reporter Richard Graves gives an insight into Ajayi's shock move to the Eagles
After a Thursday night 40-0 drubbing at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, an angry Miami head coach Adam Gase said: “We’ve got to stop trying to hit home runs all the time. How about take the four or five yards you’re going to get? That’s on the running back. Do your job. It’s not hard.”
While he didn’t mention Ajayi specifically, the subtext was there for all to see. Are Philadelphia inheriting a back with an attitude problem perhaps? And one with a dodgy knee? Ever since coming out of the 2015 draft, the concern surrounding Ajayi has been whether he might be a ‘one contract’ player, with his long-term value hampered by a troublesome knee.
Ajayi’s switch sent the NFL rumour mill into overdrive.
Suddenly it seemed that Miami were apparently looking to move on their whole offence which, given their disastrous displays so far in 2017, wouldn’t have been all too surprising!
The main name being talked about was their leading wide receiver Jarvis Landry, with the majority of that noise coming out of New York, though not necessarily by the Giants. Instead, it was their own star wideout, and Landry’s former college team-mate at LSU, Odell Beckham Jr that was begging the higher powers at his team to make the move. They didn’t.
Meanwhile, the other big news of the day in the NFL was of Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension being reinstated. With the Eagles adding Ajayi, there was briefly some excitement in Dallas that the Cowboys might look to bring in a new back of their own in order to keep pace with Philadelphia at the top of the NFC East.
Late deal drama
Rashard Robinson swapped San Francisco for the Jets of New York for an undisclosed draft pick, but generally it appeared that things were winding down as the 8pm deadline neared.
Just three minutes – yes, three minutes! – before time was up, the Buffalo Bills added big-bodied wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for third and seventh rounder in the 2018 draft.
Similarly, the Browns looked to get their own bit of late business done, by bringing in McCarron from the Bengals. But, the Browns were the Browns and had that old familiar feeling of falling short.
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