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October 31, 2023

Grading the NFC East teams' moves at the trade deadline

The 2023 NFL trade deadline has passed. Jimmy Kempski grades the NFC East teams’ moves.

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103123ChaseYoungMontezSweat Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

Chase Young and Montez Sweat celebrate their escape from Washington.

Now that the NFL trade deadline has come and gone, let's grade the moves made by each of the teams in the NFC East. We'll go in order of the standings.


The Eagles traded for S Kevin Byard

The trade: The Eagles sent fifth- and sixth-round picks in 2024 — as well as struggling safety Terrell Edmunds — to the Titans for Byard.

Analysis: Safety was very clearly the Eagles' biggest need at the trade deadline and in Byard they added a two-time All-Pro veteran playmaking safety who has picked off at least four passes in seven of his NFL seasons, including a league-leading eight in 2017. 

Byard's salary in 2023 is $4 million, $1.6 million of which has already been paid by the Titans. He didn't cost much in terms of draft capital or salary, and should be an upgrade over incumbent (and oft-injured) starting safety Justin Evans.

Grade: B+

The Eagles traded DT Kentavius Street

The trade: The Eagles sent Street and a seventh-round pick in 2025 to the Falcons for a sixth-round pick in 2024. The pick swap will only occur if Street plays in six games for the Falcons.

Analysis: With Julio Jones soon to be added permanently to the 53-man roster from the practice squad and Cam Jurgens soon to return from injured reserve, the Eagles need roster spots. Street was the team's sixth interior defensive lineman, ahead of only Moro Ojomo, a rookie who is in the team's long-term plans. Someone was going to have to go, and Street was a prime candidate. And so, it feels like Howie called around and got what he could whereas some other teams might've just cut him.

Grade: I mean, who cares? But... B, I guess?


The Cowboys made no trades

After beating the Rams on Sunday, Jerry Jones said that he did not think the Cowboys would be active at the trade deadline:

He seemed to have his mind made up two full days before the trade deadline. The Cowboys could certainly use help, notably at running back, along their offensive line, and at cornerback. But they were like, "Nah, we're good."

Grade: I debated between an F and an "Incomplete." We'll go "incomplete" for now, but if it turns out that the Cowboys didn't even explore ways to get better, make that an F. 


The Giants traded DT Leonard Williams

The trade: The Giants sent Williams to the Seahawks for second- and fifth-round picks in 2024.

Analysis: After a disappointing first five years in the NFL, Williams had a very good 2020 season in which he had 11.5 sacks. He cashed in during the 2021 offseason, landing a three-year deal worth $63 million, making him (at the time) the second-highest paid interior defensive lineman in the NFL behind Aaron Donald. That was a Dave Gettleman special. His declining production thereafter: 

• He had a lot of tackles (83) and 6.5 sacks on a terrible team in 2021. 

• 45 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2022.

• 21 tackles, 1.5 sacks in 8 games in 2023.

The Giants paid about $17 million of Williams' 2023 salary and they'll have a ton of dead money on their cap ($26,936,389 in 2023, $10,636,389 in 2024), but at 2-6 with a couple of hurt quarterbacks, who cares? Take the second-round pick and don't look back.

Honestly I don't know what in the hell the Seahawks were thinking here. Williams was never a great player and at 29 he is clearly in decline. It feels like second- and fifth-round picks could have netted a better player.

Grade: A


The Commanders traded DE Montez Sweat

The trade: The Commanders sent Sweat to the Bears (!) for a second-round pick in 2024.

Analysis: Sweat was a good edge defender for the Commanders during his 4.5 years with the team. He had a solid-but-unspectacular 35.5 sacks in 67 games, and also served as a plus run stopper. But, he was in the final year of his deal, and the second-round pick will likely be in the 30's. 

For the second year in a row, the Bears made an absolutely puzzling decision to trade second-round pick for a player when their season was already over. 

Grade: A-

The Commanders traded DE Chase Young 

The trade: The Commanders sent Young to the 49ers for a "Resolution JC-2A" third-round pick. Huh? What the hell is a "Resolution JC-2A" pick, Jimmy? Those are awarded to teams that lose minority personnel to head coach or GM jobs. They're very similar to compensatory picks, but they are awarded much sooner. The Niners already own those picks for the losses of DeMeco Ryans (HC, Texans) and Ran Carthon (GM, Titans). They can be traded, while 2024 comp picks cannot (yet), because they have not yet been awarded. Anyway, that third-round pick will be after the regular third-round picks, and before the fourth round.

Analysis: Young has been a disappointment in Washington after he was the No. 2 overall pick in 2020, however, he is having something of a breakout season, with 5 sacks in 7 games. What if he crushes it the rest of the season? The guy is only 24 years old. You can sign him to a long term deal, maybe tag him, and then see what kind of offers a new season might bring. But to just get rid of him for something close to the 100th overall pick? Good Lord what an atrocious return. 

Grade: D

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