The 2022 NFL Trade Deadline has come and gone. The contenders and pretenders of the playoff circle are expected to be finalized shortly after.
With every sport, there are clear winners and losers of a trade deadline. Some teams gamble enough to make it work out into a deep playoff run, while others have decided to strip their team down in a way to prepare for the future. Some gambles don’t always equate to wins, while some rebuilds don’t work out right away.
Here are some of the biggest winners and losers of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
Winners: Miami Dolphins
No team won the deadline more than the Miami Dolphins. Miami’s offense is already loaded with talent, but the trade for Bradley Chubb helps solve their one true issue: pass rush.
The Dolphins are one of the NFL’s worst units in sacking the quarterback, and it’s a big reason they weren’t able to win any games without Tua. Chubb is a pro-bowl player in a contract year that can help immediately. Add in a trade for Jeff Wilson, and the Dolphins have entered the conversation of true title contender in the AFC.
Losers: Green Bay Packers
If the Dolphins were true winners on Tuesday, the Geen Bay Packers were clearly the biggest losers. After the trade for Davante Adams, the Packers’ biggest team need was at receiver. After the draft, the team’s biggest need was at wide receiver. When the season started, the team’s biggest need was at wide receiver.
The deadline has come and gone and the Packers have STILL yet to address the issues at wide receiver. There’s no other way to put it, without a clear-cut number one guy to catch passes, it’s hard to see Green Bay compete for a playoff spot, let alone a championship.
Winners: Pittsburgh Steelers
Let’s be blunt here: the 2022 Steelers stink. They don’t have an offensive identity and the defense is a shell of itself without TJ Watt. It’s not a surprise that the Steelers would look to sell available talents to the rest of the NFL.
Getting a second-round pick for Chase Claypool is an excellent win for the franchise. The Chicago Bears aren’t going to the playoffs this season, and there’s a very good chance the Steelers could have three picks in the top 40 if the Bears’ struggles continue.
There’s plenty of ammo for the Steelers to make their rebuild a very quick one.
Losers: Brandin Cooks
When Brandin Cooks signed a contract extension with Houston in the offseason, analysts were confused why a good receiver like him would sign a large deal to be on a losing team like the Texans.
Now, it appears that Cooks is upset that the Texans did not trade him during the deadline. The Dallas Cowboys and other teams reportedly called to discuss trade negotiations for Cooks, but his $18 million cap hit was an albatross no other franchise would want to go through.
Cooks has no one to blame but himself. And now he has to sit and suffer in Houston.
Winners: Buffalo Bills
The Eagles and Chiefs had made a handful of moves, but perhaps none were bigger than the third true contender in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills. Depth trades for Dean Marlowe and Nyheim Hines have helped bolster areas of strength for the Bills.
Neither trade is for big-name pieces that change the scope of where the Bills are, but that is not always needed. Buffalo making a smart move to bolster a strength has been tried and tested throughout NFL history with excellent results.
Losers: Chicago Bears
There was first, training Roquan Smith to Baltimore. Then there was giving up a second-round pick (the higher selection of the two) to Pittsburgh for a receiver who is good but not great. Chicago isn’t really sure of what they want from their franchise and it shows with their deadline moves.
While a receiver is a higher value stock to pay than a linebacker, Smith leads the league in tackles and could have easily been a key blueprint for the future of the Bears. The moves just don’t go well together.
Winners: Minnesota Vikings
Irv Smith has been lost for the next few months. What is the Vikings’ response? Trade for a top tight end in TJ Hockenson. In the end, Detroit gets solid draft capital for a former first-round pick but Minnesota comes away with a lethal offense that can now challenge Philadelphia for the tops in the NFC.
The Vikings are a game and a half back of the Eagles for the top seed in the NFC playoffs. That could change with this trade. Minnesota is a true title contender in the NFL now.