NFL Trade Deadline

NFL Trade Deadline: 3 Contenders Get Defensive Help

Written by on November 3, 2020

The NFL Trade Deadline is Tuesday afternoon, but three legitimate Super Bowl contenders didn’t bother waiting until 4 p.m. ET on Election Day in the United States as they made deals Monday. Here’s a breakdown of those moves with odds to win the Super Bowl.

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Steelers Get Linebacker Help

A few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost stellar young linebacker Devin Bush to a season-ending torn ACL. The former first-round pick from Michigan already has had surgery and began the rehab process in the hopes of being ready for 2021 Training Camp. Standard recovery from ACL surgery is nine months but can range anywhere between eight and 12 months.

It was long presumed the Pittsburgh would trade for some help at the position and the team has acquired linebacker Avery Williamson from the winless New York Jets – yes, Williamson goes from the league’s only winless team to its lone unbeaten. The Jets will receive the Steelers’ 2022 fifth-round draft pick in exchange for Williamson and a 2022 seventh-round pick.

“Going to the ‘Burgh. Let’s go, Man,” he said on Instagram when learning of the deal. “I need me a Super Bowl, Pittsburgh. I couldn’t even sleep last night. I’m hype. I’m a baller, now. I’m ready to go hit s–t, man. I can’t wait to be part of this defense. We’re gonna go crazy, man.”

The 28-year-old Williamson missed all of last year with a torn ACL he suffered in the preseason and has played well so far this season, producing 59 tackles, three passes defensed and an interception. Williamson is in the final year of his contract, making $2.75 million (based on a full season) after taking a pay cut in the preseason.

Pittsburgh is +550 to win the Super Bowl following Sunday’s comeback win in Baltimore.

Former Pro Bowler Dealt To Titans

The Tennessee Titans had some major holes in their secondary and they addressed it by trading for ex-Chargers Pro Bowl cornerback and returner Desmond King. All it cost the Titans was a sixth-round pick. Tennessee’s defense has been struggling, notably in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals.

In 2018, King was recognized by The Associated Press as a first-team All-Pro at defensive back and a second-team All-Pro at punt returner, joining S Derwin James (first-team S and second-team DB in 2018) as the first Chargers in history to be named an AP All-Pro at two positions. King’s interception return for a touchdown and punt return for a touchdown in 2018 made him the first player since 2011 and seventh since 2000 to do so in a single season.

This season, King played 248 defensive snaps (54.6%), posting 24 tackles and a sack. King was a healthy scratch for the Chargers’ Week 8 loss to the Denver Broncos.

The most glaring issue for the Titans defense has been on third downs. Tennessee has given up two of the five highest third-down conversion percentages allowed in a game this season. One was in a 42-16 win over the Buffalo Bills (second-highest, 76%) and the other was the 27-24 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers (fourth-highest, 73%).

For the season, opponents have converted an NFL-high 61.8% of their third downs against the Titans. Last season, their defense allowed teams to convert on just 36.3% of their third downs.

Tennessee is +2100 to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Saints Land Pro Bowl Linebacker

The New Orleans Saints are clearly going all-in for this season as they have acquired former Pro Bowl linebacker Kwon Alexander from the San Francisco 49ers. The Saints gave up veteran linebacker Kiko Alonso and a conditional fifth-round draft pick.

The 49ers signed Alexander to a four-year, $54 million contract as a free agent from Tampa Bay last season. But the 26-year-old was limited last year by a torn pectoral before returning for their playoff run. Alexander missed the past three weeks with a high ankle sprain but returned to practice last week. Alonso, meanwhile, has not played yet this season after tearing his ACL in January. But he also returned to practice last month.

When healthy, Alexander would represent an upgrade for New Orleans in the middle of a defense that has struggled to find a reliable linebacker opposite Demario Davis. Alexander compiled 145 tackles in 2016 and earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2017 with Tampa Bay. He hasn’t played a full 16-game slate the past four years, however.

The Saints will only owe Alexander $3 million for the year and they will save about $900K by getting rid of Alonso, so just $2 million. Alexander has only $2 million in injury protection left so they can walk away next year with no cap issues.

New Orleans is +1400 to win the Super Bowl.

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