Winners, losers from NFL trade deadline

Yardbarker

With Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline in the rearview, here are the biggest winners and losers.

Winner: San Francisco 49ers

They can’t keep getting away with this. The 49ers — who acquired star RB Christian McCaffrey at the trade deadline last season — won the trade deadline for the second consecutive season by adding former No. 2 overall pick Chase Young in a deal that sent a third-rounder to the Commanders. 

San Francisco’s defense has been as much of an issue as QB Brock Purdy (if not more) during the team’s current three-game skid. The pass rush, in particular, is a concern. Defensive end Nick Bosa has only three sacks after signing a five-year, $170 million extension in the offseason. With Young, the 49ers added a talented edge defender who offenses must account for, potentially freeing Bosa to exploit one-on-one matchups.

Loser: Chicago Bears

Did Chicago not ask for Young?

The Bears gave up a second-rounder to Washington for defensive end Montez Sweat, who is set to be a free agent after the season. It’s difficult to see what this achieves for Chicago. Yes, it makes its league-worst pass rush better, but instead of being five sacks behind the second-worst sack-producing teams, they might only be one or two sacks worse. If the Bears dream really big, maybe they can rank in the top 30 in the league in sacks by season’s end. 

Adding Sweat at the trade deadline also doesn’t guarantee he’ll want to re-sign with the organization once he hits free agency. The Bears could have kept their pick and courted him when he hit the open market. Instead, they traded a likely top-40 selection for Sweat, who they need to single-handedly lift an awful pass rush. He doesn’t have the benefit of playing alongside three former first-rounders in Chicago, as he did in Washington, making this a gamble not worth taking.

Winner: Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs

What a year it’s been for Dobbs, who went from Lions practice squad to Titans starter for the final two games of the 2022 regular season, then to the Browns as a 2023 free agent. On Aug. 24, Cleveland traded him to the Cardinals (along with a seventh-rounder) for a fifth-round pick. 

In Arizona, he started the first eight games this season but was traded for a sixth-round pick at the deadline to Minnesota, where he may be called into action depending on how rookie fifth-rounder Jaren Hall performs with Kirk Cousins (Achilles) done for the season.

It’s remarkable how in one season, Dobbs went from a practice-squad player to someone who commands draft picks. Dobbs is a rocket scientist, but even his NFL journey might be too difficult for him to explain.

Loser: Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams

It’s probably not a good sign for Williams — the second of Detroit’s 2022 first-round picks — that the team acquired receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones from Cleveland. 

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