Top wide receiver targets to monitor at 2022 NFL trade deadline


The San Francisco 49ers kicked off NFL trade season in a major way when they went all-in on Christian McCaffrey.

The team sent four draft picks to the Carolina Panthers and got one of the league’s top running backs in return. While there may not be any more players of McCaffrey’s caliber on the trade block, there are still options for teams that need to improve their offense on the outside.

Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson are among the quarterbacks that could use some receiver help during the second half of the season and into the playoffs. There is just over one week until the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 1, so the clock is ticking for front offices mulling a mid-season move.

As the trade deadline nears, here are the top wide receivers to keep an eye on at the trade deadline:

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers insist they are done dealing their franchise players, but that hasn’t stopped people from projecting D.J. Moore trades. 

Moore is having a down year after surpassing 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last three seasons. He did have his best game of the season immediately following the McCaffrey trade, picking up seven catches for 69 receiving yards and a touchdown in an upset victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Like McCaffrey, Moore is under team control for the long-term after signing a three-year, $61.884 million extension that kicks in next year. It could take an even greater trade package to pry Moore from Carolina, but he has the skillset to be a game-changer for a contender.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

Chase Claypool is one of three compelling receivers who has drawn interest in trade calls, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The third-year wideout has seen his numbers decline since a stellar rookie season in 2020. He is tied for second on the Pittsburgh Steelers with 28 catches through seven games, but he ranks fourth in receiving yards with 266. Though his per-game averages have increased since Kenny Pickett took over as the Steelers’ starting quarterback, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth still gather a lot of the receiving work, potentially making Claypool expendable in a rebuilding season.

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

Brandin Cooks is another receiver who has come up in calls, according to Rapoport. He leads the Texans with 28 receptions and is second on the team with 281 receiving yards through six games. He only has one touchdown on the year, and he has combined for just 66 receiving yards in the last two weeks.

The veteran wideout has gotten used to packing his bags during his NFL career. He has already been traded three times and could tie Eric Dickerson for the most trades in a career if he is dealt again.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

The final receiver in Rapoport’s Sunday report is Jerry Jeudy. The former Alabama standout is having a better year than Claypool and Cooks statistically, hauling in 24 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns. He is also coming off a strong Week 7 in which he tallied seven receptions for 96 yards with Brett Rypien at quarterback.

The Broncos expended a ton of draft capital to acquire Russell Wilson this offseason. It would not be ideal to ship out one of Wilson’s top targets, but the right trade package might entice Denver to turn Jeudy into picks.

Elijah Moore, New York Jets

While Jeudy was performing against the New York Jets in Week 8, one of their own young wideouts was notably absent.

Elijah Moore requested a trade out of New York on Thursday and was later ruled out for Sunday’s game in Denver. After a solid first month of the season, Moore had just one reception in a Week 5 win over the Miami Dolphins and zero targets in a Week 6 win over the Green Bay Packers. Jets head coach Robert Saleh said the team will not grant Moore’s trade request, but it remains to be seen how the saga will play out.

Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots

The New England Patriots’ offense has turned things around in recent weeks, but Kendrick Bourne still hasn’t found consistent playing time. He has just 14 targets on the year, though he has been efficient by turning those into 11 catches for 156 yards. Still, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, DeVante Parker and rising rookie Tyquan Thornton make for a crowded receiver room in New England.

Complicating matters for any possible Bourne trade is a turf toe injury. He reportedly will miss Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears and will have just one more game against the Jets on Oct. 30 to play before the trade deadline.

Kenny Golladay, New York Giants

Kenny Golladay’s trade value continues to plummet by the week. 

He had a disappointing 2021 with the New York Giants after signing a four-year, $72 million deal with the organization, and things have gone even worse in 2022. He has two receptions on the year – both in Week 1 – and has not seen the field since Week 4. It remains highly unlikely a team would give up a pick and take on his salary in a swap, but maybe someone out there still sees the 2019 version of Golladay that picked up 1,190 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

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