7 Hypothetical NFL Trades to Reunite QB-WR Duos
Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxX.com LogoCorrespondent IJune 17, 2024

7 Hypothetical NFL Trades to Reunite QB-WR Duos

0 of 7

    Tee Higgins, left, and Trevor Lawrence at Clemson in 2018.

    Tee Higgins, left, and Trevor Lawrence at Clemson in 2018.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Everyone loves a good reunion, even when bringing a quarterback and a receiver back together doesn’t always pan out.

    Two years ago, the Las Vegas Raiders reunited college teammates Derek Carr and Davante Adams, but the former was out a year later.

    The same offseason, the Arizona Cardinals traded for Marquise Brown, pairing him with college quarterback Kyler Murray. However, the receiver played out his rookie contract and departed this offseason.

    Still, the concept is solid and does occasionally work. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, for example, as a former LSU tandem that has become a Cincinnati Bengals superstar pairing. Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle have fared similarly, as have Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith.

    It can work for former NFL duos, too. Let’s not forget about how reuniting Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski helped bring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a Super Bowl in 2020.

    Teams continue using the tactic, hoping that past chemistry can yield positive future results. The Denver Broncos, for instance, just drafted Oregon teammates Bo Nix and Troy Franklin. The Bucs just reunited Sterling Shepard and Baker Mayfield after their Oklahoma days together.

    With this in mind, let’s examine some hypothetical but realistic trades that could reunite former college or NFL QB-WR tandems in 2024.

Pittsburgh Steelers Trade for Courtland Sutton

1 of 7

    ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO - JUNE 12: Courtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos walks on the field during Denver Broncos OTA Offseason Workouts at Centura Health Training Center on June 12, 2024 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Pittsburgh Steelers got themselves a new quarterback when they signed Russell Wilson in free agency. But they lack proven receiver depth behind George Pickens and may make a move to add another pass-catcher this offseason.

    “They’re going to add a wide receiver at some point between now and the trade deadline. That’s going to happen,” SportsLine’s Jason La Canfora told the In the Huddle podcast (h/t Noah Strackbein of FanNation).

    If the Steelers do make a move, they could reunite Wilson with former Denver Broncos teammate Courtland Sutton.

    While the 28-year-old ended his offseason holdout and has stated he’d prefer to stay in Denver, he is seeking a new contract that the Broncos may not be willing to offer.

    Sutton also believes Wilson’s two maligned seasons with the team don’t accurately reflect the quarterback.

    “I think he’s going to have a lot of success,” he told the DNVR Sports podcast (h/t Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot). “…I say that very boldly because I think he gets a bad rap from a few different things that didn’t go the way we wanted.”

    While the Broncos wouldn’t let Sutton go for cheap, this is expected to be a rebuilding year in Denver, so he could become available before the trade deadline.

    If so, Sutton, who recorded 823 receiving yards with Wilson in 2022, could become the veteran No. 2 receiver the Steelers need.

New York Jets Trade for Marquez Valdes-Scantling

2 of 7

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 11: Marquez Valdes-Scantling #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs lines up to run a route during Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

    Ryan Kang/Getty Images

    The New York Jets will be chasing a championship with Aaron Rodgers in 2024. While they have one standout receiver in Garrett Wilson and brought in Mike Williams in free agency, adding another talented pass-catcher could help maximize the tail end of the veteran quarterback’s career.

    Naturally, many fans may want to link the Jets to former Green Bay Packers No. 1 receiver Davante Adams, but that’s not realistic.

    “If I wanted to be gone, I’d be gone by now,” Adams said, per Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

    However, the Jets might be able to land another of Rodgers’ former Packers targets, if they’re willing to wait until the end of the summer.

    The Buffalo Bills signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling, most recently with the Kansas City Chiefs, in May. He signed on a fully guaranteed one-year, $2.3 million deal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a lock to make the final 53-player roster.

    The Bills brought back Khalil Shakir, signed Curtis Samuel and used a second-round pick on Keon Coleman. If Buffalo gets to the end of training camp and it doesn’t look like Valdes-Scantling is poised to earn a prominent role, it could still save $1.1 million in cap space by trading him.

    Buffalo would save nothing by releasing the 29-year-old outright. With just $7.6 million in available cap space, it might be willing to deal with a division rival.

    Valdes-Scantling spent four seasons with Rodgers in Green Bay and could be a capable ancillary target for the Jets. His presence on the rival Bills makes this hypothetical trade a long shot, but it’s still more realistic than New York landing Adams.

Cowboys Trade for Cedrick Wilson Jr.

3 of 7

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 24: Cedrick Wilson Jr. #11 of the Miami Dolphins looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of the game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 24, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

    Megan Briggs/Getty Images

    The Dallas Cowboys lack reliable receiver depth behind CeeDee Lamb. That’s a particular problem with both Lamb and Dak Prescott in contract years and 2024 shaping up to be a make-or-break season.

    Dallas could have targeted former Cowboys receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. early in free agency, but it chose instead to take a do-nothing approach. It signed Eric Kendricks, Royce Freeman and Ezekiel Elliott, and that’s it. It didn’t add a receiver until taking a sixth-round flier on Ryan Flournoy.

    After spending the last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Wilson signed with the New Orleans Saints in March. On a two-year, $5.8 million deal that includes $2.9 million guaranteed, he has a strong chance of making the roster.

    Yet, the 28-year-old could have a hard time earning playing time behind Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed and second-year man A.T. Perry. The Saints also signed Equanimeous St. Brown and used a fifth-round pick on Bub Means.

    If the Saints deem Wilson expendable by the end of camp, they could look to acquire some draft capital and $1.4 million in 2024 cap space by trading him. If that happens, Dallas should be very interested.

    Wilson spent the first four years and three seasons of his career—he was on injured reserve as a rookie—with Prescott and the Cowboys and had a breakout campaign in 2021. He had 45 catches, 602 yards and six touchdowns that season as Dallas’ No. 3 receiver.

    With this theoretical trade, he could return to that role in 2024.

Jacksonville Jaguars Trade for Tee Higgins

4 of 7

    CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 16: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) in a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium on Saturday, December, 16, 2023. (Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins requested a trade after receiving the franchise tag earlier this offseason. While the team has made no effort to move him, a trade remains a possibility.

    The 25-year-old did recently sign his tender, but until/unless a long-term deal is reached, his future in Cincinnati will remain unclear.

    If Higgins is or becomes available, the Jacksonville Jaguars should be interested. They did use a first-round pick on receiver Brian Thomas Jr., but they also lost Calvin Ridley in free agency.

    Adding a receiver of Higgins’ caliber could help maximize quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who just inked a massive five-year, $275 million extension.

    In four pro seasons, Higgins has racked up 257 catches, 3,684 yards and 24 touchdowns. Before entering the NFL, he was teammates with Lawrence at Clemson.

    And the idea of a reunion seems to appeal to Lawrence.

    “So many factors are at play, but of course, that’s a guy that I played with, we have a great chemistry, great player,” he told Yahoo Sports (h/t Adam Stites of Jags Wire). “I would not be upset at all if he came to Jacksonville.”

    It’s a reunion the Jaguars should actively pursue, as they hope to see Lawrence justify his new contract. In Higgins’ final season with the quarterback at Clemson, the wideout caught 59 passes for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Carolina Panthers Trade for Jameson Williams

5 of 7

    SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 28: Jameson Williams #9 of the Detroit Lions scores a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of the NFC Championship football game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    While Lawrence is now working to justify topping the quarterback market, the 2021 first overall pick has at least had one Pro Bowl campaign.

    Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young, who was taken first overall last spring, is still trying to prove he can be a functional NFL starter.

    His first season in the NFL (2,877 yards, 11 TDs, 10 INTs, 73.7 QB rating) left a lot to be desired. Carolina did take steps to better support the quarterback this offseason, hiring an offensive coach in Dave Calanes, trading for receiver Diontae Johnson and drafting Xavier Legette in Round 1.

    However, reuniting Young with one of his favorite college targets might further speed up his development in the NFL.

    Young won the Heisman in 2021, which was also Jameson Williams’ lone season at Alabama. He caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns that year and went on to be drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round.

    Two years into his pro career, Williams has logged just 25 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, he missed much of his rookie season with a torn ACL, and the Lions still believe he can be a notable contributor.

    “I mean just about everything that we talked about for him improving and helping our offense, he’s hit,” Lions receivers coach Antwaan Randle El said, per Benjamin Raven of MLive.

    If Williams doesn’t show the desired progress on the field, however, Detroit might listen to offers at the trade deadline. It would behoove the Panthers to at least make a pitch and try reuniting him and Young in Carolina.

Titans Trade for Wan’Dale Robinson

6 of 7

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 11: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  Wan'Dale Robinson #17 of the New York Giants in action against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Packers 24-22. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The New York Giants have seen flashes from 2022 second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson, who finished his sophomore campaign with 525 yards and a touchdown. But they have parted with early draft picks in the past—it traded 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney midway through his second season.

    The Giants won’t actively shop Robinson now, but they may not remain committed to him if receivers like Darius Slayton, Isaiah McKenzie, Jalin Hyatt and rookie first-round pick Malik Nabers push him down the depth chart in 2024.

    If Robinson isn’t seeing much playing time leading into the trade deadline, the Tennessee Titans should make their move. They added Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd this offseason to complement DeAndre Hopkins. However, all three of their top receivers will be 30 or older by the end of the season.

    Hopkins and Boyd will also be free agents in 2025.

    Adding another young receiver to develop alongside Treylon Burks and second-year quarterback Will Levis would make plenty of sense for Tennessee. That makes Robinson an ideal trade target because he’s 23 and spent the 2021 season with Levis at Kentucky.

    Robinson caught 104 passes for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns that season, and he and Levis formed a strong bond.

    “I miss having him, he misses having me,” Levis said in 2022, per On3’s James Fletcher III.

    Levis and Robinson could rekindle their connection and continue developing together if Tennessee could pull off this hypothetical trade.

Patriots Trade for Antoine Green

7 of 7

    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 15: Detroit Lions wide receiver Antoine Green (80) during warmups of  the NFL Football match between the Tampa Bay Bucs and Detroit Lions on October 15th 2023 at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Lions wide receiver Antoine Green hasn’t seen much game action since being a seventh-round pick in last year’s draft. The 6’2″, 199-pound pass-catcher has largely been buried on Detroit’s depth chart and played just 106 offensive snaps as a rookie.

    However, he was far more productive in his final season at North Carolina, a campaign he finished with 43 receptions, 798 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. Playing alongside quarterback Drake Maye, he earned a reputation as a downfield threat.

    “Green’s size and deep-ball success make him a more intriguing Day 3 prospect than the overall production and skill set might suggest,” NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein wrote ahead of the 2023 draft.

    A year after Green was drafted, the New England Patriots made Maye the third overall pick. If the Lions cannot find a permanent role for Green, the Patriots should see if they can reunite the former North Carolina stars.

    While Maye could sit behind journeyman Jacoby Brissett to start the 2024 season, it would be a shock if he doesn’t take the field at some point as a rookie. New England drafted receiver Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker in April, but it’s still trying to revamp arguably the league’s worst receiving corps.

    Trading for Green would give Maye a familiar face and a target who has proved he can take advantage of the quarterback’s uncanny arm talent.

    This isn’t a hypothetical trade that would generate many headlines, but it could greatly aid the development of New England’s quarterback of the future.

    *Contract and cap information via Spotrac.

Read More

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here