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NFL Draft

3 Teams Who Should Trade For James Washington

  • The Draft Network
  • August 11, 2021
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James Washington Top Trade Destinations

Over the last few days, we’ve received a mixed bag of reports surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2018 second-round selection James Washington. Expected to be the deep intermediate/vertical threat in Pittsburgh from the onset of his career coming out of Oklahoma State, Washington’s career hasn’t come close to expectation, leaving much to be desired from all parties involved inside a crowded offense for targets.

A 23-game starter with 45 overall appearances in his first three campaigns, Washington has fallen victim to the arrivals of Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson, while JuJu Smith-Schuster remains in the forefront of Mike Tomlin’s offensive gameplan. Although Washington enjoyed a productive sophomore season in 2019 where he amassed more than 700 yards with a career-high 44 catches, year three was unproductive, and in a vacuum, has led to reports claiming the 25-year-old pass-catcher desires a new opportunity elsewhere. 

With all things considered, including the inopportune timing of Washington’s reported request as teams prepare to lock in their 53-man units, here are three franchises that should buzz Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert’s dial as preparations for Week 1 ramp-up.

Philadelphia Eagles

It doesn’t get more obvious than this. In what would be a small journey east of his current home, Washington’s arrival into an Eagles receivers room in desperate need of NFL experience could factor in mightily to the success of DeVonta Smith in year one and 2020 first-round selection Jalen Reagor, who will be looked upon as a heavily featured commodity in Nick Sirianni’s offense. 

As it stands, however, Smith is out for the foreseeable future and Reagor has had an unimpressive camp, once again leaving major questions as to who will take over the role of WR1 in Jalen Hurts’ first full year under center. Travis Fulgham was a nice story last fall and quarterback-turned-wideout Greg Ward should earn snaps in the slot, but let’s slow down here… no one inside the Eagles’ facility should bank on them developing into even an average duo, right? RIGHT?

This leads me to ask “why not?” when projecting Washington into an Eagles offense not expected to make any waves this season. A change of atmosphere can have massive implications on a player’s future; we’ve seen it far too many times. While the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it couldn’t hurt to entertain the idea. Plus, for Philadelphia, the pros mightily outweigh the cons.

Detroit Lions

It’s a new era of football in Detroit and newly acquired quarterback Jared Goff has been left with little to work with in his first season as a Lion. Although stout in stature, touting three wideouts over 6-foot-2 in Breshad Perriman, Geronimo Allison, and Tyrell Williams, with breakout candidate T.J. Hockenson in-line, the addition of Washington into a wily group of veteran pass-catchers could drastically increase the overall success of the Lions offense as they attempt to avoid the shackles of the division cellar. 

A sturdy-framed target with the ability to work both inside and out within the formation, a presence like Washington for Goff, who is similarly eyeing a jolt to his career path, could be the ideal home. 

New Orleans Saints

Whether it’s Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill lined up under center for Sean Payton’s Saints in Week 1, New Orleans is in desperate need of talent on the boundary, especially with growing concerns surrounding Michael Thomas’ ability to both stay healthy and his happiness with Saints brass moving forward. 

Whether No. 13 is on the field or not, the Saints will require the likes of Tre’Quan Smith, second-year man Marquez Callaway, primary return-man Deonte Harris, and second-year tight end Adam Trautman to fill the shoes of Thomas (injury), Emmanuel Sanders (Bills) and Jared Cook (Chargers). While New Orleans’ defense will surely keep them in ball games, the script has completely flipped since the retirement of Drew Brees, where you could chalk up 25 points for New Orleans any time No. 9 was on the field. Building an arsenal as versatile as possible around Winston or Hill could prove to be the ideal tactic if Peyton eyes a fifth consecutive playoff berth.

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