NFL Trade Deadline: Most Impactful Trades


Star players acquired in midseason trades that could make immediate impact with their new teams

As the NFL season reaches its midway point, the identities and goals of every team become clear. Some teams are looking at another wasted year, some are working to sneak into the playoffs, and others are looking like definite contenders for a deep playoff run. Teams that hope to boost themselves look into trading for players that can make a large impact heading into the later part of the season. When arriving to a new team, some players take a few games to adjust to their new team, but others can make an impact immediately upon suiting up in their new uniform.

Oct 21: Running Back Christian McCaffrey to San Francisco 49ers

With the Carolina Panthers entering an era of rebuilding after firing head coach Matt Rhule on Oct 10, the San Francisco 49ers sent a selection of draft picks – a 2023 second-round pick, third-round pick, fourth-round pick, and a 2024 fifth-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter – to acquire the 2019 Pro Bowl running back. In two games, the do-it-all back has run for 132 rushing yards and caught 10 passes for 79 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. In his second game with the team, McCaffrey became the fourth player in NFL history to run for a touchdown, catch a touchdown, and throw a touchdown pass all in one game, leading San Francisco to a 31-14 win over the division rival Los Angeles Rams. Entering Week 10, the 49ers sit in second place in the NFC West at 4-4. 


Oct 27: Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney to Kansas City Chiefs

The 2021 first-round pick by the New York Giants, Kadarius Toney, was traded to Kansas City for a 2023 third-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick per Adam Schefter, after a disappointing start to his career with the Giants. Despite the Giants entering the 27th with a 6-1 record, Toney has only played in two games this season, being on the field for only 26% of offensive snaps. Now entering an offense with the 2019 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, Toney may be used more often in the #1 passing offense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Reference. With the addition of Toney, the Chiefs hope to return to the AFC Championship game for the fifth year in a row. 


Nov 1: Tight End T.J. Hockenson to Minnesota Vikings

In a rare inter-divisional trade, the Detroit Lions made a surprising move by sending their 2020 Pro Bowler to the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota sent a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick in exchange for Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick, per Schefter. After losing tight end Irv Smith Jr. to an ankle injury in a Week 8 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Hockenson gives quarterback Kirk Cousins another prime target along with star wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Theilen and running back Dalvin Cook. In his first game with the team, Hockenson caught 9 catches for 70 yards in a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders, giving Minnesota a 7-1 record and a 3.5-game lead over any other team in the NFC North. 


Nov 1: Linebacker Bradley Chubb to Miami Dolphins

Going into the trade deadline with a disappointing 3-5 record, the Denver Broncos opted to send the 2020 Pro-Bowl edge rusher to the Miami Dolphins, along with a 2025 fifth-round pick. In return, Broncos gained running back Chase Edmonds, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick. Chubb immediately signed a five-year, $110 million extension two days after being traded per Schefter. Although Chubb had a quiet debut against Chicago, he is an experienced player with 26 career sacks in 49 career games. Along with the addition of 49ers running back Jeff Wilson, Miami is making a strong push at the deadline to be contenders in an AFC East division that holds four teams with an above-.500 record. 


Nov 1: Wide receiver Chase Claypool to Chicago Bears. 

Being on the second-to-last year of his rookie contract, Chase Claypool is being traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2023 second-round draft pick, per Schefter. Although the Chicago Bears are at a lowly 3-6 record, Claypool adds a reliable target to 23-year-old quarterback Justin Fields, with Claypool gaining over 850 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons in the NFL. In his first game in Chicago, Claypool caught only two catches for only 13 yards while playing only 35% of offensive snaps. However, his presence could help Fields’ development, who has thrown six touchdown passes and ran for three in his past three games, throwing only one interception. 


Nov 1: Linebacker Roquan Smith to Baltimore Ravens

After the two-time second team All-Pro requested a trade from the Chicago Bears before the season started, linebacker Roquan Smith finally gets to join the Baltimore Ravens, with Chicago receiving linebacker A.J. Klein, a 2023 second-round pick, and a 2023 fifth-round pick, per Schefter. Smith started in his first game in Baltimore, playing 76% of all defensive snaps and finishing with five total tackles. Sitting atop the AFC North at 6-3, Smith could provide energy to the 18th ranked scoring defense in the NFL according to Pro Football Reference.


Nov 1: Running back Nyheim Hines to Buffalo Bills 

Six days before Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich was fired, the team sent running back Nyheim Hines to the Buffalo Bills for a 2023 fifth-round pick and running back Zack Moss. Buffalo, who has the highest odds to win the Super Bowl according to BetMGM, Fanduel, and Caesar’s Sportsbook, acquires a running back who has mainly performed in the passing game. Hines, in his fifth year in the league, has 235 career receptions for 1725 yards. His skills will be very useful in the third best passing offense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, led by quarterback Josh Allen.