It’s routine for a plethora of players to flow from one team to the next during the NFL’s lengthy offseason, but not often via trade.

Teams are typically scared of making major trades due to their perceived high risk, but there comes a time where the benefits outweigh the pitfalls – not the perfect time to make the trade, but the right time.

So, here are seven trades – some long-rumored, some not – that should be completed this offseason, for the better of all involved:

49ers, Redskins shake up NFC with Cousins trade

Every so often, the NFL provides us with a league-shattering move. This one has been setting itself up for some time.

Kirk Cousins is rumored not to want to be in Washington and the Redskins appear reluctant to hand him elite money, which his situation now dictates after a second straight franchise tag worth nearly $24 million.

The solution? Break up this partnership and reunite Cousins with his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco.

The 49ers have the cap room to hand Cousins the extension he covets and also the No. 2 overall pick, which should be enough to land the veteran pivot, along with several other premium selections in this and next year’s draft.

The Redskins will need to find a new franchise quarterback, but they’ll have the draft picks and cap space to do so, and it was obvious they never truly viewed Cousins as the future of their team.

Patriots send Garoppolo to Bears for king’s ransom

The Patriots reportedly are unlikely to trade their valuable backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, this offseason. While we aren’t dismissing the report, if there’s one team that knows how to play the game and force the market to provide maximum value, it’s the Patriots.

They might be “unwilling” to trade the young pivot, but if their unwillingness forces a team to offer a huge trade deal, then so be it.

The most logical landing spot for Garoppolo is the Bears. New England might take a slightly worse deal to send him out of the AFC, and Chicago desperately needs to make a splash with a huge hole at quarterback.

Head coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace could be out of work if the Bears have another poor season in 2017, so while the number of picks it’ll take to acquire Garoppolo is likely to be crazy, the duo probably won’t care because they might not be around to deal with issues down the line if he’s a bust.

New England receives multiple premium picks and reloads for another run at a Super Bowl title before Tom Brady retires.

Jets trade Richardson to Colts for 3rd-rounder

Sheldon Richardson has been the subject of trade talk for some time now, but with the Jets clearly intent on blowing this iteration of the team up and starting again, the defensive tackle should be traded now.

New York apparently wanted a first-round pick for Richardson last offseason. However, after a sub-par year for the 26-year-old, teams will laugh at that asking price.

The Colts are a logical landing spot for Richardson. Indy needs difference makers on defense, especially on the defensive line. They also have a ton of cap space and few marquee defensive free agents on which to spend it on.

It would be a significant risk for rookie GM Chris Ballard, but if Richardson can return to form and put his off-field issues behind him, a third-round pick might be a bargain. The Jets, meanwhile, are all-in on their rebuild.

Cardinals move up for Watson or Trubisky

The Cardinals know the end is near for Carson Palmer, but that doesn’t mean this team needs a significant rebuild – far from it.

Arizona has the talent to contend for years to come, and with superstar David Johnson in the backfield, they are the perfect team for a young quarterback.

Yes, trading up in the draft will cost valuable assets that could contribute to winning this season, but the Cardinals need to balance the short term and the long term.

This year’s quarterback class isn’t great, but it has several intriguing options. Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky are the top two prospects and both would benefit from a year sitting behind Palmer.

If one of them begins to slide, the Cardinals should jump into the top 10 and secure their quarterback of the future.

Thomas to Seahawks for 2nd-rounder

This is the offseason, folks. This is the year Joe Thomas finally escapes Cleveland.

The Browns’ longtime left tackle has consistently been part of trade rumors over the past few seasons and even seemed set to move to the Denver Broncos before the 2015 trade deadline.

But now, Cleveland should move Thomas, as his value will never be better thanks to a terrible free-agent offensive tackle market.

The Seahawks have never been shy about shipping off premium picks for impact players at positions of need, and there’s no doubt left tackle is a major flaw in this team.

A second-round pick and maybe a player or another late selection will be enough to tempt the Browns, who receive more ammunition for what they understand is a rebuild that will go beyond Thomas’ current contract.

Jaguars bolster pass-rush by acquiring Ansah

A year ago, this trade would have been unfathomable. Ansah racked up 14.5 sacks in 2015 and looked set for superstardom. The Lions wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of moving their top defensive player.

However, Ansah’s development ground to a halt in 2016, with the defensive end producing just two sacks in 13 games. Now, Detroit might be wary about handing Ansah a big-money deal, which he’ll need soon as he enters a contract year.

In terms of suitors, the Jaguars make the most sense. They have Dante Fowler and 2016 breakout star Yannick Ngakoue, but their pass-rush is still their most significant weakness. Jacksonville could flip a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to the Lions, who would then have enough draft ammunition to reload their defensive line in what is an outstanding edge rusher class.

The Jaguars could then immediately extend Ansah and use up their crazy amount of free cap room.

This trade may seem bold for Detroit, but don’t forget: Lions GM Bob Quinn spent 16 years in New England, so he’s likely learned about getting value for a player instead of overpaying for a non-elite talent.

Panthers jump up to Titans’ No. 5 pick, snag Fournette

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has emphasized that his team cannot continue to rely upon Cam Newton to carry the running game, so it makes sense to look to grab one of the top running backs in this year’s class in hopes of emulating the success of the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott.

The Titans hold the fifth overall pick, but could be one of the teams most interested in trading down. Carolina should send their eighth overall pick, along with its third- and fifth-round pick to Tennessee for the right to move up three spots.

There, they should run to the podium to select Leonard Fournette, who many believe is a better prospect than Elliott was a year ago. The Panthers could hold at eight and hope Fournette falls, but they should happily pay the relatively small price to secure his services.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Menu