2023 NFL trades that should happen: Aaron Rodgers to Jets, Kirk Cousins to 49ers and eight other deals

2023 NFL trades that should happen: Aaron Rodgers to Jets, Kirk Cousins to 49ers and eight other deals
2023 NFL trades that should happen: Aaron Rodgers to Jets, Kirk Cousins to 49ers and eight other deals

One of the biggest dominoes of the 2023 NFL offseason has fallen, with Derek Carr joining the Saints. But lots more is on tap, with free agency right around the corner. Technically, teams can strike trade agreements anytime between now and the start of the legal tampering period on March 13, but deals can't become official until the start of the league year on March 15.

With that in mind, here are 10 different blockbusters we think would make sense for both sides:

Jets get: QB Aaron Rodgers
Packers get: 2023 second-round pick, 2024 conditional first-rounder

If Rodgers doesn't retire, a split from Green Bay after 18 seasons really does make sense. The Packers are primed to get an extended look at Jordan Love, who flashed true arm talent in limited work last year, and could use the relief of resources that would accompany a Rodgers trade. The Jets, meanwhile, might be better off pursuing a top draft prospect in the long term. But few teams are as well-rounded without a proven QB; even if Rodgers is past his MVP prime, his addition alongside an ascending run game, receiving corps and defense would surely propel New York into playoff contention.

49ers get: QB Kirk Cousins
Vikings get: 2023 third-round pick, 2024 second-rounder

You thought Rodgers was the only NFC North QB set for a big move? Cousins is the contemporary poster child for the middle-tier QB; while his resume and traits have a surefire ceiling, he's been too productive to convince his bosses that the alternative -- a total rebuild -- is worth the risk. But Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is forward-thinking, and the 49ers know better than anyone how important it is to have multiple options under center. Reuniting Cousins with Kyle Shanahan would allow both Trey Lance and Brock Purdy to be patient in rehab and/or actively shopped down the road. As for the Vikings? Freed of annual re-commitments to Cousins, they could explore a trade up in the draft and/or a cheaper placeholder (old friend Teddy Bridgewater?) as they restock premium positions on both sides of the ball.

Dolphins get: RB Derrick Henry
Titans get: 2023 third-round draft pick

No one should be in the business of paying big bucks to a nearly 30-year-old bruising running back with almost 2,000 career touches, which explains why the rebuilding Titans are reportedly shopping the former All-Pro. With Ryan Tannehill's future also up in the air, it's a no-brainer for Tennessee to thank Henry and bid him adieu. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have no real answers under contract in the backfield, and they've already signaled they're in win-now mode by adding Tyreek Hill and Vic Fangio for very different but equally important roles the last two years. He'd also lessen the burden on QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Buccaneers get: 2023 third-round pick, 2024 conditional fifth-rounder
Ravens get: WR Chris Godwin

Tampa Bay just extended Godwin on a $60 million deal last offseason, but a lot has changed since then; Tom Brady is gone, Mike Evans also costs a lot, and the Bucs badly need to free up money as they restock both sides of the ball. Other teams may not be jumping to pay a premium after Godwin looked less explosive coming off a serious knee injury, but he's still topped 1,000 yards three times in the last four years, and at 27, he's theoretically got plenty of gas in the tank. Assuming the Ravens retain Lamar Jackson in some form or fashion, why not finally get him a proven No. 1-caliber pass catcher?

Bears get: WR DeAndre Hopkins, 2023 fifth-round pick
Cardinals get: 2023 second-rounder, 2023 fifth-rounder

Arizona has little reason to retain Hopkins at his massive price tag -- he's due $30.75M in 2023 -- while rebuilding under a new coach and GM pairing, especially with Marquise Brown in tow for the rehabbing Kyler Murray. The Bears, meanwhile, should be more motivated than most to acquire an alpha out wide. Even if Chicago collects picks it can use on younger pass-catching help in the draft, the Bears could use a reliable possession target for QB Justin Fields, and Hopkins is exactly that when on the field. His presence alone could offset the misfire that was the Chase Claypool trade in 2022, lessening Darnell Mooney's burden, too.

Cowboys get: WR Brandin Cooks
Texans get: 2023 conditional fourth-round pick

Dallas was reportedly all over Cooks during the 2022 in-season trade deadline, but Houston retained the disgruntled wideout. Now, the Texans should be ready to sell his $26.5M cap hit, even if securing a pick may mean eating some of that money. Cooks has battled injuries before, but he somehow won't turn 30 until late-September, and he's still got top-level speed and route-running ability, making him a logical plug-and-play complement to CeeDee Lamb.

Giants get: TE Darren Waller
Raiders get: 2023 third-round pick

Assuming Daniel Jones is back in New York, the Giants figure to prioritize downfield weapons for the young QB. And with the veteran WR market lacking star power, GM Joe Schoen could opt to reallocate some of their excess cap space to the TE spot, where Waller has peaked as one of the game's best. Availability has been an issue for the former Pro Bowler recently, hence Vegas' reported willingness to deal the veteran as it rebuilds post-Derek Carr. But New York can afford to use one of its two third-rounders to give Jones easily the most talented safety valve of his career.

Buccaneers get: 2023 sixth-round pick
Chiefs get: OT Donovan Smith

Smith isn't necessarily well-regarded after a rocky run as Tampa Bay's left tackle in 2022, and all indications are the Bucs will outright cut the eight-year veteran unless they can find a trade partner. Enter the Chiefs, who are risking their own LT hole by declining to use the franchise tag on Orlando Brown Jr. Kansas City is surely eyeing reinforcements in the draft, but if the Bucs agree to eat some of Smith's remaining contract, the Chiefs could take the flyer for insurance to keep Patrick Mahomes upright.

Broncos get: DE Cameron Jordan
Saints get: 2023 third-round pick, 2023 fifth-rounder

Sean Payton might prefer to accumulate picks rather than trade them away as he wades into his first year as Broncos coach, but he also knows the value of leadership, and Jordan was an anchor of

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