Trading Down in the Draft is Becoming Unlikely for the Vikings
Earlier this week, I detailed a potential trade with the Saints to move the Vikings down in the first round while picking up extra draft assets. My reasoning laid under the assumption that the Saints would be willing to go all in on this draft to find a quarterback with Drew Brees (still only probably) retiring.
With the rest of the Saints’ team being mostly complete, and Jameis Winston potentially commanding money elsewhere, this would have made sense. However, a few things have happened since I published that article.
One, Sean Payton and the Saints seem to be ignoring all their money issues yet again and are intent on doing whatever they can to bring Winston back. Two, the locker room seems to be attempting to bring Brees back for another run at a Super Bowl that will undoubtedly end in disappointment and failure. Thursday on Good Morning Football, Demario Davis expressed his desire for the 42-year-old quarterback to return for his 21st season.
Don’t forget that the team still has Taysom Hill on the roster, too. Sean Payton recently praised him on The Ringer’s Slow News Day hosted by Kevin Clark, saying “If Taysom Hill were available for a trade…we’d have 31 [trade suitors].” Apparently the Saints aren’t moving past their $16 million Swiss Cheese Knife, either.
The only explanation is that the entire Saints organization read my article and are doing everything they can to immediately debunk my theories. Well played, New Orleans, but you’re being ridiculous.
With Who Dat Nation seemingly no longer a viable trade partner, I began looking for other possibilities, and admittedly options look…slim. Outside of New Orleans, here are the other current quarterbacks for teams in the bottom eleven of the first round:
Whoever the Jets take with the second pick, Deshaun Watson, or Sam Darnold
Trevor Lawrence (99.9999% certain)
Whoever New Orleans pulls out of their hat that week (don’t count out Archie Manning)
Aaron Rodgers (or Jordan Love, I guess, if Green Bay’s front office runs Rodgers out of town)
Yeah, it doesn’t feel like any of these teams are in any dire need of trading up for a quarterback right now. Even looking past that, Miami drafted Tua last year and are in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes while the Raiders have Derek Carr, and Arizona has Kyler Murray.
New England probably won’t give up much to move one spot either, especially knowing how little a chance there is of Minnesota drafting a quarterback. Options are running thin, and Minnesota’s best choices may lie between 19-21.
Washington certainly headed into the offseason with some questions at quarterback. Dwayne Haskins was released, Alex Smith -despite a miraculous return to the field- has durability questions, and Taylor Heinicke just hasn’t seen much playing time. That said, with Heinicke’s performance in the wild card round against Tampa Bay and recent comments from former star Joe Theismann, the team may be willing to move forward with their young QB.
Along with that, Alex Smith has expressed an interest to come back to Washington in 2021. He recently on the Rachel Ray Show (no big time sports network, I know) and said that he “continued to get stronger and stronger and better and better” as the season went on.
It also lines up with comments Smith made on 60 Minutes even earlier when he said that he felt like this season proved he can be a competitive player in 2021. It seems like Washington may already have two players competing for a quarterback position going into next season, so why move up for another?
The Bears are looking for a new quarterback after they had a disastrous offense this season under Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. While neither quarterback seems capable of leading an NFL team long term, Chicago is another organization in the thick of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes.
They are one of the few teams that could offer immediate talent in exchange for Watson. They have a number of strong players on the defensive side of the ball, which we all know is an area that Houston could use some help on. Bringing in Watson could also entice Allen Robinson to stick around as he approaches his free agency this offseason.
The Bears seem like they are intent on going big or going home for their new quarterback. If they miss out on Watson and choose to take a QB in the draft, I would expect them to move higher than 14 and get one of the bigger names like Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance. Not only that, I have to ask this question: do the Vikings really want to be the team that helps Chicago find a potentially competent QB? I doubt it.
After being forced into a difficult situation in 2019 with Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement, the Colts brought in Philip Rivers for the 2020 campaign. It went about as well as it could have in a covid season, but now he has retired.
Indy is another team that could try to bring in Deshaun Watson, and they probably have one of the more enticing packages to offer between players and picks. They also have a very good offensive line which could influence Watson’s desire to play there. PFF ranked the unit seventh for the 2020 campaign.
Indy is also being connected to new trade rumors swirling around the disgruntled Carson Wentz. Wentz could have a desire to reunite with Frank Reich, who helped him to what would have been an MVP season in 2017 had he not torn his ACL. Wentz has not played the same since, so could Reich hold the secret formula behind the success?
In my not quite expert opinion, I would think that one of Watson or Wentz lands in Indy. This is an organization that has brought up star quarterbacks for generations from Johnny Unitas to Peyton Manning to Luck. Wentz or Watson may just be the next one on the totem pole.
While I think the best option for Minnesota is trading down, it certainly is not the end of the world. The Vikings would have a ton of options with the pick, and they are much more likely to get an immediate producer.
My only quarrels lie with what I said in my past article. The draft is deep with players that fit their needs (offensive and defensive lines). These needs are also needs of many other teams around the league, which is why I think their best bet was trading with a team looking for a quarterback.
They would be able to command even more draft assets as well, including the potential of getting into the second round. There is obviously still a long way to go in this process, so we will see what happens. If I were to guess as of now, though, the Vikings will probably be on the clock at pick 14.