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Offensive Player Rankings, Week 7: Nine players who should be pursued via trade

We’re just two weeks away from this year’s NFL trade deadline, and I’m expecting to see some exciting moves. Trader Bill O’Brien is no longer calling the shots for the Houston Texans, but there are still decision-makers willing to make splash moves. Buyers and sellers just have to find each other.

Today, I’m looking at offensive players who should be pursued via trade before the Nov. 3 deadline, listing potential compensation and possible buyers with my analysis. Let’s get to it.

Quarterbacks

It seems there are no good answers for the 0-6 New York Jets right now, but all options should be on the table. This includes trading away Sam Darnold, the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Darnold is just 11-19 in his career with the Jets, but he has proven he’s a talented passer who can elevate an NFL offense. I think the Jets could get a Day 2 pick (Rounds 2-3) for Darnold or possibly even a first-rounder. Who are the teams that should be considering such a move? Step right up New England, Minnesota and San Francisco. In New England, Cam Newton is due to become a free agent after this season and if the Patriots don’t re-sign him, it’d be worth trying Darnold out for the remainder of his rookie deal (runs through 2021 with a fifth-year option for 2022) to see if he can jumpstart his career.

The Vikings are in a world of hurt financially when it comes to their rapidly declining quarterback. Kirk Cousins signed a two-year, $66 million contract extension in March, but it seems highly unlikely that the team would part ways with him this offseason given that doing so would result in $41 million in dead money counting against Minnesota’s salary cap in 2021, according to Over the Cap. Might the Vikings trade for a QB with a high ceiling who’s still playing on his rookie contract? They’re going to have to do something because Cousins isn’t getting it done, and backup Sean Mannion hardly seems like the answer. 

As for the 49ers, I can envision a scenario in which John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan move on from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. Garoppolo is under contract through 2022 but the 49ers would eat just $2.8 million in dead money in 2021 and $1.4 million in 2022 if they moved on without him next year, which is a lot more manageable than the figures the Vikings are facing with Cousins. To me, Darnold is a much better quarterback than Garoppolo and would make the 49ers’ offense even more difficult to defend. Lynch and Shanahan aren’t afraid to make bold moves, and I’d love to see Darnold get a fresh start on the West Coast in an offense that would get the best out of the young QB. 

The decision to bench Dwayne Haskins for Kyle Allen after Week 4 was a clear indication of how Washington feels about its 2019 first-round draft pick. Given his struggles as a pro thus far (3-8 as a starter), he might draw just a fourth- or fifth-round pick in a trade. Ideally, Haskins would be dealt to a team that’s willing to take the time to groom him for a starting job. There’s potential for him to grow in the right system, with the right coach and quarterback to learn from. That’s why Seattle is the perfect landing spot for Haskins, whose playing style is comparable to Russell Wilson‘s. It’d be great for Haskins to reset and learn a boatload from the MVP front-runner.

Running back

Todd Gurley is playing on a one-year deal with the Falcons and after a 1-5 start to the season, trading him away for a draft pick shouldn’t be out of the question for Atlanta. Gurley has shown enough in Dirk Koetter’s pass-first offense to draw inquiries from other teams. With five rush TDs this season, Gurley has a lot of value in the red zone and could provide a backfield with a major boost as the weather changes. The Colts and Bears — two teams that have lost one of their top backs to injury this season (Marlon Mack and Tarik Cohen) — should consider making an offer. He’d likely cost a middle-to-late-round pick.

Tight end

Evan Engram is one of the more intriguing tight ends in the league. He’s not quite a Travis Kelce or Darren Waller, but he’s a capable blocker and exceptional route runner. If I’m the Giants, I’m not overly eager to trade my best healthy offensive player right now, but there’s always a price worth considering. There are several teams that should be in the market for a tight end, including the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. I could see any one of them offering up a second-round pick for the versatile tight end, who is signed through next season. I know rookie Cole Kmet is coming along, but I’m not convinced Jimmy Graham is the answer in Chicago. The Patriots are getting minimal production from the position. Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers’ offense would continue to climb with another receiving threat and willing blocker for Christian McCaffrey (when he returns from injury) in tow.

Wide receivers

The Atlanta Falcons have two No. 1 receivers in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Jones, who’s missed two games with a hamstring injury, had his biggest game of the year in Week 6 (eight catches for 137 yards and two TDs), but I view Ridley as the team’s WR1 after watching the film. If the Falcons (1-5) feel like the best thing to do is to start to rebuild for the next regime, I’d put Jones on the block. He would be the ultimate gift for an offense that’s one player away, and there are a number of teams in that situation.  

The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, the NFC North’s top two teams, would be perfect landing spots for the veteran receiver. Perhaps these two division foes could get into a bidding war for him. The Falcons should get at least one first-round pick in return for Jones. Pairing Julio with Davante Adams would nearly sign, seal and deliver the Packers a playoff spot, maybe even a first-round bye. The Bears, led by their defense, need another reliable target for Nick Foles. Allen Robinson has been the guy in Chicago, but Julio would take the offense to the next level — exactly what the Bears need to capture the division crown.

Want one more option for Jones? How about New England? The passing game isn’t quite up to snuff with Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry off to quiet starts as the team’s top two receivers, but adding Julio to the mix would create nightmares for defenses. They would have to double-team Julio, putting Edelman and Harry in advantageous one-on-one situations. It would also keep defenses from putting an extra defender in the box to stop the Patriots’ top-five ground attack. Simply put: Julio Jones would make New England an instant Super Bowl contender.

A.J. Green‘s comeback season hasn’t been quite what we thought (or hoped) it would be. The 32-year-old veteran has just 22 catches on 45 targets for 215 yards and zero TDs. His 9.8 yards per catch and 48.9 percent catch rate are both career lows. Green is far from his prime, when he was a Randy Moss type who would run by and jump over defenders at will, but he’s still a good receiver who has the advantage over a majority of cornerbacks. Last week, Green acknowledged his frustration but said he wants to remain in Cincinnati. There’s no doubt Green has done a lot for the organization, but if I’m the Bengals, I view this as the perfect time to part ways with the seven-time Pro Bowler, who is playing on the franchise tag in 2020, and get some draft capital in return (most likely a third-round pick) to continue the rebuild. 

John Rosstrade request shouldn’t affect trade scenarios for Green, as the Bengals have good depth at wide receiver. Green would fit into a lot of the same scenarios as Julio in terms of potential trade partners. While Green isn’t as tough a matchup for defenses as Julio, he could still be a difference maker for a team with playoff aspirations. The aforementioned Bears, Packers and Patriots should be interested, but the Eagles and Colts could really use some receiving help, too.

The Jaguars are rebuilding, but they have pretty good depth at the wide receiver position. Why not utilize it? It looks like D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr. are set in stone as the future at the position, but any number of these three wideouts could bring in some much-needed draft capital. I believe Keelan Cole, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook — who have contracts that will expire this offseason — each would likely draw anywhere from a third- to fifth-round pick in a trade. Each player would provide a new team with a viable WR2 or WR3 option. The Baltimore Ravens could use a boost in their pass game, while the Philadelphia Eagles need more healthy targets for Carson Wentz.

Top 15 Offensive Players

Each week in the 2020 campaign, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr will take a look at all offensive players and rank his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season’s efforts. Now, let’s get to it — the Week 7 pecking order is below.

NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from last week’s rankings.

DROPPED OUT: Aaron Jones, RB, Packers (previously No. 9); Josh Allen, QB, Bills (No. 10); Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings (No. 13).

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8

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Soccer

Inter Milan vs AC Milan player ratings: Zlatan Ibrahimovic double clinches derby victory

Inter Milan

Samir Handanovic – 6. The Slovenian did well to deny Ibrahimovic from the spot, but the Swede scored the rebound. Helpless for the second.

Danilo D’Ambrosio – 4. He was beaten at will by Leao, and was booked for a challenge on Theo.

Steven de Vrij – 6. The Dutchman defended well in the second half, but Ibrahimovic dominated him in the first period.

Aleksandar Kolarov – 5. His performance echoed his veteran status, looking too slow throughout.

Achraf Hakimi – 7. The Moroccan got forward at will, and should have scored from a close-range header. However, his attacking mentality meant he was often caught out on the counter.

Marcelo Brozovic – 5. Booked for a soft foul, and failed to leave his mark on the game.

Arturo Vidal – 5. He was lucky to be on the pitch after an awful challenge on Theo Hernandez, and was otherwise non-influential aside from a brilliant pass to Hakimi.

Ivan Perisic – 6. His pace and direct dribbling was difficult to deal with, evidenced by his assist for Lukaku’s goal.

Nicolo Barella – 6. Linked up well with the front two, but it didn’t happen regularly enough unfortunately.

Romelu Lukaku – 7. The big Belgian striker tapped home, and he was the focal point of Inter’s attack.

Lautaro Martinez – 6. The Argentine was difficult to deal with, but he was erratic in the final third, often firing wildly.

Substitutes:

Christian Eriksen – 6.

Alexis Sanchez – 6.  

AC Milan

Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6. He had little to do, and didn’t get enough on Perisic’s cross that led to the Lukaku equaliser. Perhaps lucky to not concede a penalty for a rash challenge on Lukaku.

Davide Calabria – 7. The right-back was solid, and defended excellently against Perisic.

Simon Kjaer – 6. The centre-back was beaten consistently by Martinez, and was booked for a challenge on the Argentine.

Alessio Romagnoli – 7. The Italian made some excellent challenges on his return from injury.

Theo Hernandez – 7. The French wing-back offers an attacking threat, and was strong defensively as well.

Ismael Bennacer – 6. It was a composed performance from Bennacer, who helped ticket

Frank Kessie – 7. The midfielder was strong, outclassing Vidal in the battle of the holding midfielders.

Alexis Saelemaekers – 6. He made some good runs, but the young Belgian lacked maturity in his decision making.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu – 7. The Turkish international was excellent, running the show for Milan in the first half.  

Rafael Leao – 7. A constant menace filled with tricks, the Brazilian was one of the most exciting players on the pitch. His assist for Ibrahimovic’s second was brilliant.  

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 8. The divisive maverick continues to impress, scoring twice in the first half. He led the line well, physically imposing himself throughout.

Substitutes:

Samu Castillejo – 6.

Rade Krunic – 6.

Sandro Tonali – 6. 

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PLAYER RATINGS: James spoiled impressive first start with red card

PLAYER RATINGS: Reece James spoiled an impressive first start by being sent off after the final whistle and Harry Maguire’s woe goes on after seeing red for two rash challenges

  • James (6.5) let his frustration boil over after an impressive display on the right
  • Maguire (3) was sent off in first-half for two clumsy challenges on Dolberg
  • Coady (7) led the line well and forced his way into Southgate’s plans

England fell to a first home defeat in two years as Harry Maguire’s sending off was compounded by Denmark centurion Christian Eriksen scoring a controversially-awarded penalty.

Three days on from impressively coming back to beat Belgium to go top of their Nations League group, Gareth Southgate’s side stumbled to a first defeat on home soil since September 2018.

Eriksen’s penalty shortly after Maguire received two bookings in 31 wretched minutes were the key moments at an empty Wembley, where Denmark held on for a 1-0 win against visibly-frustrated England.

Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel rated the players. 

Harry Maguire was sent off after committing two clumsy challenges on Kasper Dolberg

Jordan Pickford 

Has been unconvincing for Everton and has now taken that worrying form onto the international stage. 5.5

Kyle Walker

Unfortunate to be caught in the middle of his goalkeeper’s rash decision-making. Comfortable otherwise. 6.5

Conor Coady

Made some important interventions on a busy night. Will surely be a fixture in Southgate’s plans moving forward. 7

Defender Reece James let his frustration boil over after an impressive display on the right

Harry Maguire

An unmitigated disaster. A shadow of his usual self, the Manchester United defender looks troubled. Red card. 3 

Reece James

Spoiled an impressive full debut by getting sent off after the final whistle but looks viable alternative to Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right. 6.5 

Kalvin Phillips

Overrun by Denmark’s midfield during the early stages but somehow improved when England were reduced to 10 men. Booked. 6

Declan Rice

Appears to be an automatic choice for Southgate. Unspectacular but kept things ticking over in England’s midfield. 6

Harry Kane battled away but looked short of fitness after suffering from ‘muscle fatigue’

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Took to international football like a duck to water on his full debut until he was unluckily sacrificed following Maguire’s red card. 6.5

Mason Mount

The hero against Belgium on Sunday and was one of England’s better players again. Has improved from last season. 7

Harry Kane

Clearly not fully fit. Missed the win over Belgium with ‘muscle fatigue’ and didn’t look comfortable. A penny for Jose Mourinho’s thoughts? 5.5

Marcus Rashford

Some bright moments coupled with some sloppy ones. His performances encapsulated England’s night. 6

Subs: Mings 5.5 (Maitland-Niles 36); Sancho 5.5 (Mount 73) ; Calvert-Lewin 5.5 (Rashford 73); Henderson (booked) (Rice 76)

Subs not used: Pope, J Henderson, Saka, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Ward-Prowse, Grealish, Ings, D Henderson.

Manager: Gareth Southgate

A lack of creativity and a lack of discipline. A miserable night at the office for the England boss. 5.5

DENMARK (4-3-3)

Schmeichel 8, Wass 7, Kjaer 7.5, Christensen 6 (Jorgensen 46), Skov 6 (Pedersen 46); Eriksen 8.5, Hojbjerg 7 (Jensen 88), Delaney 7; Poulsen 6.5, Dolberg 6 (Sisto 37, 7), Braithwaite 6.5 (Vestergaard 74). Subs: Billing, Vestergaard, Dalsgaard, Gytkjaer, Lossl, Wind, Hansen. Booking: Christensen, Hojbjerg

Kasper Hjulmand – 7.5 

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (SPA) – Had no choice but to send Maguire off but made some strange decisions afterwards. 5 




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England 0-1 Denmark: Player ratings for Gareth Southgate's side as Harry Maguire is sent off and they suffer Nations League defeat

Christian Eriksen’s penalty and Harry Maguire’s red card made it a sorry night at Wembley for England on Wednesday, with their 1-0 defeat in the Nations League to Denmark dispiriting Gareth Southgate’s side after their win over the world No 1 side Belgium on Sunday.

Maguire picked up two first-half yellow cards with rash challenges, leaving his team-mates with work to do. That task got even harder when a mix-up between Jordan Pickford and Kyle Walker saw a penalty awarded to the visitors.

England’s 10 men were unable to find a way back. Here’s how their players performed…

Jordan Pickford – 6

Dealt well with an early difficult pass back from Maitland-Niles but wildly rushed out and got in Walker’s way when Denmark were awarded a penalty. Lacked assurance and even his usually reliable footwork let him down when he mis-hit a last-gasp free-kick, with England looking for an equaliser.

Reece James – 8

This was James’ first start for England and he embraced the opportunity. Began in positive fashion with a tempting cross across the box and continued to deliver quality from the right flank, both as a wing-back and then as a full-back. Forced Schmeichel to tip his fierce free-kick over late on. Sent off after the final whistle after airing his views to the referee.

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Kyle Walker – 6

Impressive with the ball at his feet when he was bringing the ball up and linking with James and Mount on the right but got in a bit of a mess with Pickford for Denmark’s penalty – although the decision against him was a harsh one. Nearly caught out in the second half when he lost his man but Wass headed over.

Conor Coady – 7

Made a key interception in his own six-yard box early on and relished the physical battle. Took on a vital role after Maguire’s sending off and led the backline well. Had a late penalty shout waved away as he tried to convert a corner and then saw a goal-bound header cleared. Growing presence in this England group.

  • England 0-1 Denmark – Match report and highlights
  • How England and Denmark lined up | Match stats
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Harry Maguire – 3

Booked inside the first five minutes for a nasty challenge on Poulsen and sent off on the half hour for another reckless follow through. He had looked shaky before then, too. The Manchester United skipper is going through a miserable time right now.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6

Some positive forays forward down the left early on in his wing-back role but sacrificed just 36 minutes in after Maguire’s red.

Declan Rice – 6

Tried his luck from distance during the first half but his primary role was to screen in front of England’s defence and was busy even before the red card, with Denmark having an extra man in midfield. Subbed off with 15 minutes to play after putting in a big effort.

Kalvin Phillips – 6

Blocked Dolberg’s early shot from a corner and was in the right position to pick up a number of loose balls and interceptions on the edge of England’s box in the first half. Put in several firm challenges after the break – some more fair than others – and will have learnt plenty from the experience. Booked late on for a clash with Poulsen.

Mason Mount – 7

England’s main threat early on down the right side, and a real danger cutting in off the flank. Denied in the second half when Schmeichel made a brilliant save to parry away his header. Replaced with 20 minutes to play after an energetic performance.

Marcus Rashford – 6

Gave the ball away a couple of times early on, allowing Denmark to counter, and was mainly limited to ambitious efforts from distance. Forced to drop into a deeper, more defensive role in the second half before coming off with 20 minutes to play.

Harry Kane – 6

Had a half-chance from a Mount cross midway through the first-half which he mis-controlled and understandably was short on opportunities after Maguire’s red. But battled hard with the captain’s armband on his sleeve and tried to inspire his team-mates with some determined play around the box.

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SUBS

Tyrone Mings – 6

Came on after Maguire’s red card to play at heart of a four-man defence but had little to do defensively as Denmark looked to hold on to their advantage.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 6

Immediately up to speed, flicking a long pass to Kane, but there was no goal this time.

Jadon Sancho – 5

Sent on in the hope he would provide the spark for England as they went in search of a late equaliser but failed to ignite and struggled to get into the game. Disappointing.

Jordan Henderson – 6

Came on fired up and picked up a booking for dissent but could not lead England to a leveller.

What’s next?

With New Zealand cancelling their trip to Wembley for the proposed friendly on November 12, England’s next arranged match comes away at Belgium on Saturday November 15 at 7.45pm in the Nations League, before hosting Iceland on November 18.

LAST CHANCE To Land The £1m!

You read correctly. The £1m Super 6 jackpot is up for grabs for one last time this weekend. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.

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PLAYER RATINGS: Kyle Walker shines on his 50th England cap

PLAYER RATINGS: Kyle Walker shines on his 50th England cap but Trent Alexander-Arnold still struggling to replicate Liverpool form as Three Lions come from behind to beat Belgium

  • Kyle Walker (7.5) shone on his 50th appearance for England at Wembley
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold (6) is still struggling to replicate his Liverpool form 
  • Marcus Rashford (7) was coolness personified from the penalty spot

England came from behind to beat Belgium 2-1 at Wembley to go top of their UEFA Nations League group.

Romelu Lukaku converted 16th minute penalty to give the visitors the lead after the former Manchester United striker was fouled by Eric Dier in the area.

But England levelled after Thomas Meunier pulled down Jordan Henderson at a corner with Marcus Rashford scoring the resulting spot-kick. 

Mason Mount was the match-winner with the midfielder hitting a deflected strike over Simon Mignolet just after the hour mark

Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel gives his verdict on the performances from the players involved.

England came from behind to beat Belgium to go top of their UEFA Nations League group

PICKFORD – Back in the starting XI – but despite Belgium’s possession he didn’t have an awful lot to do. 6  

ALEXANDER-ARNOLD – Still unable to replicate his brilliant Liverpool performances on the international stage. Appeared subdued. 6

MAGUIRE – Needed eyes at the back of his head to cope with Belgium’s fluid attack. Not entirely convincing but did the job. 7

DIER – Recovered from a nightmare start after conceding a penalty to produce a composed performance in the heart of defence. 7 

WALKER – On his 50th cap, the right-back was again asked to play in an unfamiliar role at centre-back but was arguably the pick of England’ defenders. 7.5

Kyle Walker Kyle Walker was the pick of England’s defenders on his 50th cap for his country

HENDERSON – His first appearance of any kind since September 20. Won England’s penalty and was his usual combative self. 6.5

RICE – Did the job required and was economical in possession. One venture forward was particularly memorable. Booked. 7

TRIPPIER – The right back once again had to fill in down the left side. Required all his experience to see him through the test. 7

MOUNT – Selected ahead of man of the moment Jack Grealish and produced the crucial moment of the game, albeit via a big deflection. 7

RASHFORD – Fresh from being awarded his MBE, the national hero was coolness personified as he slotted home England’s penalty. 7

Marcus Rashford was coolness personified as he slotted home England’s first half penalty

CALVERT-LEWIN – A far sterner test than his dream England debut against Wales. Was left isolated at times, but still posed problems for Belgium. 6.5

SUBS: Phillips (Henderson 65); Kane (Calvert-Lewin 65); James (Alexander-Arnold 79); Sancho (Mount 90)

SUBS NOT USED: Mings, Pope, Coady, Maitland-Niles, Ward-Prowse, Grealish, Ings, D Henderson.

GARETH SOUTHGATE – His side were second best for much of this game – but beat the world’s No1 nation. You can’t say fairer than that. 7

BELGIUM (3-4-3) 

Mignolet 6; Alderweireld 6.5, Boyata 6.5, Denayer 6.5; Meunier 6, Tielemens 7, Castagne 7; De Bruyne 6.5 (Verschaeren 73), Lukaku 7, Carrasco 7 (Doku 83). Subs: Kaminski, Benteke, Roef, Batshuayi, Dendoncker, Trossard, Origi, Mechele, Kayembe, Vanaken. Booked: Meunier

Roberto Martinez: 6 

 REFEREE – Tobias Stieler (GER): Brandished two yellow cards but the game barely had a bad tackle. 6




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One Titans player, two staff members test positive for COVID-19

Positive test results continue to surface for the Tennessee Titans in wake of a recent COVID-19 outbreak.

One Titans player and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday, per source.

The news brings the current total of positive COVID-19 cases within the Titans organization to 16 between eight players and eight personnel members.

On Thursday, the NFL postponed Tennessee’s Week 4 game against Pittsburgh as a result of the positive cases and the Titans facility remains closed.

The Minnesota Vikings, who last played the Titans in Week 3, had zero positive results from Friday’s round of testing, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports, per source. Minnesota is set to play Houston this Sunday.

The NFL updated COVID-19 protocols on Thursday in a memo sent to all 32 teams, which implements enhanced measures for teams following possible exposure to the virus. On Friday NFLPA and NFL officials went to Nashville to monitor the ongoing situation with the Titans and their positive COVID-19 cases.

One reason the NFL has been optimistic the #Titans outbreak may not have spread to the #Vikings: Proximity tracking device data did not show "close contacts" between the teams. Yes, they were blocking and tackling. But not the type of contact concerning for COVID-19 transmission.

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