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NFL trade grades: Evaluating every deal from deadline day

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The NFL trade deadline is officially fun again.

A wave of notable deals on Tuesday confirmed that last year's action was no anomaly, with several contenders (and non-contenders) getting aggressive to add the pieces they need.

Let's take a look at all six trades made on deadline day to evaluate how each team made out.

49ers make a splash

49ers receive Commanders receive
DE Chase Young 2024 3rd-round pick

Of course, the 49ers were going to make a big trade at the deadline. Addressing a major need at cornerback would've been ideal if it came down to one or the other, but it's tough to argue with this move. Young reunites with former Ohio State teammate Nick Bosa to bolster an already-lethal 49ers pass rush. The 2020 No. 2 overall pick appears to be hitting his stride after some injury issues, having racked up five sacks and 38 pressures in six games this season with Washington, according to PFF. He may only be a rental, but getting this kind of talent for a late third-round pick is a steal - especially when you consider the return in the other trade the Commanders made Tuesday.

49ers: A
Commanders: D

Bears ... buy?

Bears receive Commanders receive
DL Montez Sweat 2024 2nd-round pick

Sweat is a supremely gifted defensive end who doesn't get nearly the love he deserves league-wide. That's exactly the kind of player Chicago has been looking for up front, so the fit makes sense in that regard. But the Bears once again becoming a surprise buyer at the deadline, just like they did when trading the eventual No. 32 pick for Chase Claypool last year, makes this an odd move. An early second-round pick is a big price to pay for the right to give a player top-of-the-market money before he hits free agency. When you consider that the pick will likely be 60-plus slots higher than the one the 49ers gave up to get Young, it's fair to question what exactly the Bears are thinking here. It's a strong return from the Commanders' perspective, but trading two Pro Bowl talents for a pair of Day 2 draft picks isn't ideal.

Bears: D+
Commanders: B-

Bills get their corner

Bills receive Packers receive
CB Rasul Douglas 2024 3rd-round pick
2024 5th-round pick

Buffalo had to hit the trade market for cornerback help. A typically stout defense just hasn't been the same after losing All-Pro defensive back Tre'Davious White, and the Bills can't afford to waste this opportunity to chase down a Super Bowl. Douglas is a savvy zone corner who should have no problem fitting into Sean McDermott's defense, so it's tough to knock this move too much. A third-round pick, though? In a trade market where Kevin Byard was acquired for late-round picks, this price tag feels a little rich. The Packers will happily take the draft capital; they're going to need it.

Bills: C+
Packers: A

Vikings add a QB

Vikings receive Cardinals receive
QB Joshua Dobbs 2024 6th-round pick
2024 7th-round pick

The Vikings aren't ready to punt on their season. It's an understandable position to take, considering how much work goes into preparing for a year in the NFL. But you're not fooling anyone into thinking this team, sitting 4-4 through eight weeks, is going anywhere without Kirk Cousins. Dobbs has proven himself to be incredibly adaptable, having already enjoyed success in multiple stops as a short-notice starter, and the price tag is a borderline steal with that in mind. But the Vikings should've been bold enough to understand what the Cousins injury meant for this season. We'll grade this one not for the move they made but for the ones they didn't. Minnesota passing on the draft compensation it could've received for Danielle Hunter and Harrison Smith, among others, was a mistake.

Vikings: C-
Cardinals: B

Jaguars upgrade O-line

Jaguars receive Vikings receive
G Ezra Cleveland 2024 6th-round pick

The Jaguars had to get better up front if the passing game was going to reach its full potential, and they did exactly that with this deal. Cleveland should slide in at left guard before long, allowing Walker Little to operate as a swing tackle behind starters Cam Robinson and Anton Harrison. This may be a rental, with Cleveland heading for free agency at season's end, but a sixth-round pick is a small price to pay for a quality starter on the offensive line. The deal doesn't make much sense from the Vikings' perspective, given their unwillingness to sell off from the rest of the roster. Pick a lane.

Jaguars: A
Vikings: C-

Lions bolster WR room

Lions receive Browns receive
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones 2025 6th-round pick

Detroit making a move for Peoples-Jones is much more than a low-stakes deadline swap. This offense needed another reliable target alongside Amon-Ra St. Brown. More specifically, it needed a big-bodied receiver who could contribute as a ball-winner on the outside. Peoples-Jones, a Detroit native, demonstrated those skills and more while recording a career-high 839 yards last year. Investments made in Elijah Moore and rookie wideout Cedric Tillman alongside Amari Cooper allowed the Browns to justify moving on before Peoples-Jones hits free agency next spring.

Lions: B+
Browns: B


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