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NFL Trade Deadline Grades Explained


San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) goes up to catch a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams. (Photo: Ronald Martinez for Getty Images)

Christian McCaffrey Deal:

San Francisco 49ers received: Superstar running back Christian McCaffrey

Carolina Panthers received 2nd 3rd and 4th round pick in the 2023 draft and a 5th in the 2024 draft.

The 49ers add another star to their, at times, stagnant offense in pursuit of a Super Bowl run, and on the other side the Carolina Panthers get draft compensation that they very much needed by trading away the most replaceable position in football.

49ers Grade: B

Panthers Grade: B+

Roquan Smith Deal:

Baltimore Ravens received: Star linebacker Roquan Smith

Chicago Bears received: Veteran linebacker AJ Klein and a 2023 2nd and 5th

This deal probably is in the favor of Chicago. Although Roquan has been solid for the Bears in years past he hasn’t looked the best this year regardless of what some stats may indicate. Smith has led the team in tackles up to this point, but tackles are not an indicator of success. Ultimately, the return may be better than what was sent for the Bears, but Smith could look as good as he formerly has under an amazingly coached Ravens.

Ravens Grade: C+

Bears Grade: B+

Bradley Chubb Deal:

Miami Dolphins received: Star pass rusher Bradley Chubb and a 2025 5th round pick

Denver Broncos received: Running back Chase Edmonds, a 2023 1st and 2024 4th

This deal ultimately favors the Denver Broncos who move on from the stud pass rusher, avoiding paying him out big in an extension and getting elite draft capital in return. The Dolphins pushed to improve what was an already solid pass rush for the squad, but all to improve the defense in pursuit of a Super Bowl. The 1st will likely be a late round pick as it's from the 49ers who should make a solid playoff push. Ultimately this deal lies in the valuation of Chubb. This draft class has been perceived to be worse than years prior though so this could end up a better deal for the Dolphins than assumed at first.

Dolphins Grade: B-

Broncos Grade: A

Chase Claypool Deal

Chicago Bears received: Wide receiver Chase Claypool

Pittsburgh Steelers received: 2023 2nd

Many fans believe a 2nd is too much to give up for a receiver of Claypool’s caliber. Claypool is still young, but simply hasn’t impressed thus far. He is a large receiver, but doesn’t seem to be a physical player which is something that could help quarterback Justin Fields succeed. The one thing that makes this deal seem somewhat reasonable for the Bears is the fact that this is a very weak wide receiver class, and a solid 1st year receiver is unlikely to fall to the 2nd in this year's draft with teams like New England, Green Bay, and Baltimore being so wide receiver needy. Many love this deal for the Steelers, garnering a great return and it frees up space for Dionte Johnson and George Pickens who seem to be solid fits for their rookie quarterback.

Bears Grade: C-

Steelers Grade: A+

TJ Hockenson Deal:

Minnesota Vikings receive: Tight end TJ Hockenson, a 2023 4th and a conditional 2024 4th

Detroit Lions receive: 2023 2nd and 2024 3rd

Hockenson may have been the most loved guy in Detroit besides coach Dan Campbell, so this really came to the surprise of many football fans, but it’s not necessarily an awful deal. The Lions honestly don’t seem to be able to compete this year, so the organization was definitely looking to the future at the deadline. The Vikings leave this deal better, adding another weapon to an already fluent offense, and they don’t even have less draft picks than before the trade heading into these drafts. The Vikings were able to minimize damage control if Hockenson doesn’t perform by getting picks back.

Vikings Grade: B+

Lions Grade: C+

Robert Quinn Deal:

Philadelphia Eagles received: Star defensive end Robert Quinn

Chicago Bears received: 2023 4th

Chicago moves on from an aging player who was tied up to a lot of money and gets a mid round pick while the Eagles add another solid veteran to their defensive line in their pursuit of another Super Bowl. Some feel the Bears could have gotten a slightly better return, but this is ultimately a good deal for each squad.

Eagles Grade: B

Bears Grade: C+

Calvin Ridley Deal:

Jacksonville Jaguars received: Star wide receiver Calvin Ridley

Atlanta Falcons received: 2023 conditional 5th and 2024 conditional 2nd

This was one of the best and most surprising deals of the deadline. The Jaguars move draft capital to grab their WR1 of the next few years. Second year quarterback Trevor Lawrence has struggled, and his weapons have been subpar. However, to make a move like this to get your young quarterback a pro bowl caliber receiver just makes sense. Now there are implications on this deal, as Ridley is suspended for the season due to gambling on NFL games. This can bite the Jaguars, but the insurance of the better of the picks coming later shows that the Jaguars at least know this deal could be bad.

Jaguars Grade: A-

Falcons Grade: B+

Former Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Calvin Ridley (18) catches a pass against his new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo: Will McFadden via

Kadarius Toney Deal:

Kansas City Chiefs received: Wide receiver Kadarius Toney

New York Giants received: 2023 3rd and 6th

This deal definitely hurts if you are a Giants fan, as they move on from the injury riddled former first round pick. The move was bound to occur as Toney never seemed to fit in with this Giants team, but the return feels low regardless of Toney’s production thus far in his career. Toney could be a major impact player for the Chiefs as a playmaker who has the potential to be a superstar.

Chiefs Grade: B

Giants Grade: C-

Nyheim Hines Deal:

Buffalo Bills received: Running back Nyheim Hines

Indianapolis Colts received: Running back Zack Moss and 2023 conditional 5th

This deal makes sense for both teams, the Bills add an excellent pass catcher to their backfield, and the Colts get a pure runner in Zack Moss and add a pick. Moss hasn’t shined in the NFL as he did throughout his college years at Utah. Hines will certainly have a chance to make a meaningful impact in a pass heavy Bills offense.

Bills Grade: B+

Colts Grade: C

Jeff Wilson Jr Deal:

Miami Dolphins received: Running back Jeff Wilson Jr

San Francisco 49ers received: 2023 5th

Jeff Wilson Jr has been solid this year stepping up for an injured Elijah Mitchell, but will surely not have a moment where his value is higher, and with the addition of McCaffrey it was for the 9ers time to cash in on that value. This deal makes Wilson Jr the RB2 in Miami behind Raheem Mostert, and he will serve as a solid backup.

Dolphins Grade: C

49ers Grade: B

James Robinson Deal:

New York Jets received: Running back James Robinson

Jacksonville Jaguars received: 2023 conditional 6th

The Jacksonville Jaguars move on from the former 1000 yard rusher for relatively cheap, and the New York Jets buy on running back at the deadline with Breece Hall on IR. This deal enables Jaguars current running back Travis Etienne Jr to take over the backfield after an impressive past few weeks, but the return leaves something to be desired for the Jaguars.

Jets Grade: C+

Jaguars Grade: D+

William Jackson III Deal:

Pittsburgh Steelers received: Cornerback William Jackson III and 2025 conditional 7th

Washington Commanders received: 2025 conditional 6th

The Pittsburgh Steelers grab a veteran corner for cheap to help their struggling secondary. The return for Washington seems low to give a pick and Jackson III, but it's not a steep price at all.

Steelers Grade: B

Commanders Grade: C+

Rashad Fenton Deal:

Atlanta Falcons received: Cornerback Rashad Fenton

Kansas City Chiefs received: 2023 conditional 7th

The Chiefs move a corner after their rookies impressed so far this year, and the Falcons grab a guy that has started games this year to add to their secondary for cheap.

Falcons Grade: C

Chiefs Grade: C

Dean Marlowe Deal:

Buffalo Bills received: Safety Dean Marlowe

Atlanta Falcons received: 2023 7th

Marlowe returns to Buffalo to give the Bills more depth in the secondary while the Falcons bring in a pick. Marlowe could have a serviceable year in Buffalo.

Bills Grade: B

Falcons Grade: C+

Jacob Martin Deal:

Denver Broncos received: Defensive End Jacob Martin and 2024 5th

New York Jets received: 2024 4th

This deal helps the Broncos to add a capable player to a depleted defensive line, and at a cheap cost as well. The Jets move on from a guy making $6 million a year, and move up in draft capital as well as opening up room on the line for Bryce Huff.

Broncos Grade: B

Jets Grade: C

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