The NFL‘s Oct. 31 trade deadline is just around the corner. Teams have become far more aggressive in player acquisition in recent seasons, and the total number of pre-deadline trades has increased each year.
Which players could be on the move at the end of this month? Today, we’re examining trade candidates in the AFC South, a division that is perhaps tighter than most would have expected through six weeks.
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AFC South Trade Candidates
Houston Texans | EDGE Jerry Hughes
The Texans are a surprising 3-3 through six games and look closer to a fringe contender than the deadline seller we thought they might be. C.J. Stroud is the early favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Houston could consider bolstering its roster over the next 10 days or so.
Still, the Texans know they probably won’t win the Super Bowl this season, so they could part ways with veterans that aren’t part of their long-term plan. That could include Jerry Hughes, the 35-year-old pass rusher in Houston since 2022.
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Hughes, who paced the Texans with nine sacks and 58 pressures a season ago, has seen his playing time dip following Houston’s selection of fellow edge defender Will Anderson Jr. With Jonathan Greenard, fourth-round rookie Dylan Horton, and recent waiver claim Myjai Sanders also on the roster, Hughes could continue to lose snaps down the stretch.
Hughes earns just the league minimum and will be a 2024 free agent. He could make sense as a rental for any number of teams. Maybe the Baltimore Ravens, who need additional pass rushers, could send a late-round pick to Houston in exchange for Hughes.
Indianapolis Colts | CB Kenny Moore II
Like the Texans, the Colts have also been astonishingly component through six weeks. But Indianapolis is in a different position, as their first-round rookie quarterback — Anthony Richardson — will miss the rest of the season after suffering a shoulder injury.
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Garder Minshew is familiar with Shane Steichen’s offense, having worked with the Colts head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. While Minshew is one of the better backups in the NFL, there’s no guarantee he can keep Indy in contention.
The Colts will only play two more games before the trade deadline, so they must quickly decide if they’re buyers or sellers. If they choose to sell off parts, cornerback Kenny Moore II could be the first to go.
This summer, Indianapolis reportedly fielded trade calls on Moore, a 2024 free agent, before deciding to retain him. While he’s one of the top slot corners in the league, he’s also seen plenty of time (1,276 career snaps) on the outside.
Moore will have roughly $4.5 million remaining on his contract after Week 7, which could present a problem. But the Colts could offer to pay a portion of that salary to receive better draft compensation. The Philadelphia Eagles, who have already lost their top two nickel CBs, stand out as a suitor.
Jacksonville Jaguars | EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
The Jaguars won’t be sellers at the deadline. While they might not have looked as dominant as we predicted, Trevor Lawrence and Co. are still 4-2, leading the AFC South and situated as Super Bowl contenders.
Trading K’Lavon Chaisson would represent a straight salary dump. The former first-round pick has never come anywhere close to living up to his draft billing. He has five sacks in three seasons and changes, and Jacksonville already declined his fifth-year option for 2024.
A rival team might be willing to take a chance on Chaisson, who was mentioned as a trade candidate over the summer. But the Jaguars shouldn’t expect more than a late-round pick swap in 2025.
Tennessee Titans | RB Derrick Henry
The Titans viewed themselves as contenders entering the 2023 season — otherwise, they wouldn’t have signed veteran wideout DeAndre Hopkins. But Tennessee is now 2-4, and starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is dealing with a high ankle sprain.
It might be time for Mike Vrabel’s team to sell.
If the Titans decide to trade assets, Derrick Henry would be the club’s most attractive piece. Tennessee has reduced Henry’s workload this season, and his efficiency has dropped, too. While he’s averaging roughly the same yards per carry, Henry’s rushing success rate has fallen from 61% in 2021 to 53.8% this season.
Still, rival teams know precisely who Henry is — a battering ram that can evade nearly any tackle and help clubs close out games. He’ll have roughly $6.4 million remaining on his contract after this week. The Titans should be able to get at least a third-round pick in return for King Henry.
The Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, and Buffalo Bills are among the teams that could theoretically be interested in Henry if the Titans make him available.