<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

NFL execs pick the best and worst trades this season

play
The most impactful NFL trades at the deadline (1:33)

Dan Orlovsky, Marcus Spears and Jack Del Rio analyze the biggest trades as the NFL trade deadline passed. (1:33)

The NFL's trade deadline was a dud, in part because the last few months weren't.

Teams don't wait to tear down their own mediocrity now. Young, creative general managers ship Pro Bowl players without hesitation. Deals have become so common -- 66 in 2019, up from the low-20s earlier this decade -- that the Cincinnati Bengals were chastised this week for not trading all of their good players. It's the new normal: Bad teams stockpile picks and prey on decent-to-good teams who believe they are one piece away. According to one league executive, virtually every general manager is comparing notes, and more players are being shopped than what's reported.

Everyone has a price. Giving up two first-round picks for a player was downright irresponsible a few years ago. Now? Go get your guy, at any cost. The Miami Dolphins -- who essentially paid for a fifth-round pick by absorbing Aqib Talib's bloated salary -- reminded us that the NBA model has arrived in the NFL.

Now that the physicals are passed and players are affecting wins and losses in new uniforms, let's take a look at this year's moves with help from those on the inside.


The boom or bust deal: Jalen Ramsey to the Rams

We know, we know -- generational talent, best corner since Deion Sanders, ungodly range. Ramsey is worth a serious draft haul in any scenario. But getting an island corner put the Rams on one. No other team was willing to give up what they did: two first-round picks and a future fourth-rounder, effectively shattering draft plans and forcing an all-in mentality with high-priced vets.

Even corner-starved Kansas City and Philadelphia wouldn't go that far, which is why one league source with knowledge of the trade market didn't love the deal, regardless of Ramsey's immense ability.