With the NFL trade deadline less than a fortnight away, several teams have Nov. 2 circled on their calendars as the last-ditch attempt to improve their Super Bowl prospects. It also represents a date for franchises trending in the wrong direction to acquire draft capital as they concede defeat on their 2021 seasons.
General managers will look to add to critical pieces that could potentially put their teams over the top as they prepare to chase glory in January and February. Others will part with veteran playmakers with a firm eye pointed toward the future.
Brace yourselves, it’s trade season. Here are three contenders that should consider themselves active buyers as the deadline looms.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The 4-2 Chargers are off to a high-flying start on the back of a wonderful sophomore campaign from franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. Currently atop an extremely competitive AFC West division, the Chargers should leave no stone unturned as they attempt to prevent the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders from gaining ground.
Identifying an area of improvement for the Chargers is not a difficult exercise. Currently the 19th-ranked defense in the NFL in DVOA, per Football Outsiders, the Chargers have especially struggled to defend opponents rushing attack and are allowing a league-worst 162.5 rushing yards per contest. Things could get better with the returns of Kenneth Murray and Justin Jones expected in the coming weeks, but adding a veteran defensive tackle wouldn’t hurt.
Winners of five straight contests, the Ravens have the appearance of a team to fear in the AFC. Lamar Jackson is once again playing at an MVP level as the Ravens are the cream of the crop in an AFC North division that will likely send several teams to the playoffs.
With the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns refusing to go down without a fight, Baltimore could identify a few areas on their roster that could use upgrading. Offensive tackle is a key spot that especially sticks out, given the season-ending ankle injury to All-Pro tackle Ronnie Stanley. The 33-year-old Alejandro Villaneuva has struggled in pass protection in Stanley’s absence. Now that Stanley’s injury officially carries a year-long designation, the Ravens may be forced to look in another direction.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
We’re going back to the AFC West for our final selection. Nobody expected the Chiefs to own a 3-3 record through the first six contests, but alas, here we are. With Patrick Mahomes at the helm of an offense that is still producing at a historic clip, general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid will consider their team strong candidates to make a postseason run. There’s just the matter of an underperforming defense to address.
The Chiefs are in desperate search of production and playmakers at all three levels of their defense. Whether it's more in the form of pass-rushing consistency or a cornerback or safety to help stop the bleeding on the back end, Steve Spagnuolo's defense could greatly benefit from the addition of a quality NFL defender.
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