2022 NFL trade candidates: 12 notable names who could be shopped ahead of final roster cuts

The 2022 NFL season is upon us. With just one week of preseason remaining, teams are approaching one of the busiest days on the annual calendar. All 32 clubs are required to cut their rosters to 53 players by 4 pm ET on Aug. 30, just over a week before the first game of the regular season. Before then, however, a number of teams will attempt to get last-minute returns on notable players, shopping potential cuts around the league.

Here are a dozen names to keep an eye on as possible trade targets ahead of cutdown day:

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

He’s essentially been available for two years, so barring a major quarterback injury in practice or a preseason finale, the veteran is poised to be outright released, saving San Francisco $25.5 million. Odds are the proven but fragile signal-caller will still start games in 2022; it’s just a matter of where, and how soon.

Browns RB Kareem Hunt

The former Chiefs standout, a top-end complement to Nick Chubb, has reportedly requested a trade while seeking a raise. Due $6.25 million on the last year of his deal, he’d merely be a rental to anyone unwilling to immediately extend him, but his all-purpose abilities, including as a pass catcher, remain Pro Bowl-caliber.

Chiefs RB Ronald Jones

Two years removed from nearly a 1,000-yard season for the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, the former first-rounder is a forgotten man in Kansas City’s committee, and his paltry preseason work suggests he may well be cut. He’s been dinged for fumbling and mental miscues, but he remains a solid straightforward ball-carrier.

Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson

If Cleveland keeps the Chubb-Hunt duo intact, it could look to save a little cash by auctioning Johnson instead, especially after the former undrafted backup churned out 500 yards as an injury replacement in 2021. The team also has Demetric Felton Jr., who’s been getting lots of work as a pass catcher, on the roster.

Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne

He’s got a big fan in Mac Jones, he’s coming off an underrated 800-yard season, and he’s a cost-conscious option signed through 2023. But Bill Belichick held him out of both practice and preseason recently due to disciplinary issues, and New England’s receiver room is suddenly full with DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, Jacoby Meyers and Nelson Agholor locked into jobs.

Giants WR Darius Slayton

There are few, if any, players on the Giants’ transitioning roster who new general manager Joe Schoen wouldn’t be willing to deal, and Slayton, despite two straight 700-yard seasons to start his big-play career, has plummeted down the depth chart behind younger options like Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson. As a WR3/4 flyer, he might draw some looks.

Eagles WR Jalen Reagor

Most years, GM Howie Roseman might wait another season to see if such a big investment might still pan out. Reagor, after all, is just 23 after going 21st overall in 2020. But neither his top-end speed nor his hands have shown up on Sundays. A change of scenery feels more doable with AJ Brown and Zach Pascal joining DeVonta Smith out wide.

Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

The former second-rounder feels like the kind of rugged chess piece who might appeal to new coach Doug Pederson, but not when the receiver room has been completely remade for Trevor Lawrence, with Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Marvin Jones all locked into top spots . Besides, Travis Etienne is on track to be the Swiss Army Knife.

Lions WR Quintez Cephus

Detroit’s receiving corps is quite underrated, with DJ Chark and Jameson Williams joining Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds out wide. That leaves Cephus, just 24 and coming off an injury-shortened year, on the brink. It’s possible another team could have more use for his long-term upside as a reserve.

Bills TE OJ Howard

The big man seemed like a natural fit for the Bills’ tough, high-octane offense when he signed a one-year deal in free agency, but the former Buccaneers first-rounder has been curiously uninvolved and/or unspectacular during the preseason. Buffalo could try to sell Howard’s upside in exchange for a late-round pick.

Bears LB Roquan Smith

The heart of Chicago’s defense, he requested a trade during camp but failed to get the team’s permission to seek suitors. It appears the All-Pro wrecking ball is set to suit up anyway, in hopes of getting a bigger contract in 2023 free agency. But if an interested party comes calling with a premium offer, the Bears would surely listen.

Ravens S Chuck Clark

The six-year veteran finished the summer strong, staving off hype for rookie Kyle Hamilton to take over at safety. But Hamilton’s time will come, and with ex-Saints standout Marcus Williams also onboard for big money, Baltimore could look to capitalize on Clark’s value as an all-around defender before his second-to-last season under contract.

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