Tuesday was a cold reminder that the cliché of "the NFL stands for Not For Long" possesses merit. Hundreds of players hit the streets as all 32 teams, who could hold up to 90 players on their teams in the offseason, were required to cut their rosters down to 53. However, some teams didn't want to see their potential free-agent targets snatched up by any of the other 31 franchises, so a deluge of trades occurred prior to the 4 p.m. ET cutdown deadline.
Here's a look at all of the deals that happened in the month of August leading up to the league wide roster cuts and how each team made out in every transaction.
Both the Cowboys and Dolphins were tired of their underachieving, early-round cornerbacks, so they both rolled the dice and made an exchange. Dallas sent 2021 second-round pick Kelvin Joseph to Miami while receiving 2020 30th overall pick Noah Igbinoghene.
Grades: Cowboys C+, Dolphins C+
Both teams are taking a flier on young potential. Both serve as depth additions while filling different roles. Igbinoghene slots in as the number two reserve, outside corner behind Daron Bland (five interceptions as a rookie, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL in 2022). Joseph can provide immediate versatility on special teams as well as either inside or outside corner down in South Beach.
New Broncos head coach Sean Payton adds a familiar face with Denver acquiring his former Saints kicker Wil Lutz in exchange for a a 2024 seventh-round pick.
Grades: Broncos B, Saints B+
The Broncos needed a kicker they could trust after exiled Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher couldn't convince Payton of his reliability in the preseason. Acquiring an experienced former Pro Bowler at the last second was a good move for a team that could play in a lot of close games. The Saints receiving draft compensation for a player they would've otherwise released is a savvy move.
Eagles acquire TE Albert Okwuegbunam from Broncos
The Eagles didn't have anyone of note behind starter Dallas Goedert, so general manager Howie Roseman acquires the 25-year-old former fourth-round pick for the cost of sending a 2025 fifth-rounder for Okwuegbunam and a 2025 sixth.
Grades: Eagles B, Broncos C-
Philadelphia adds a nice depth piece to their tight end room without losing a draft pick, and said depth piece was drafted higher than the pick they're swapping out of to acquire him. Payton didn't see a home for the Albert O, so at least he got something for him instead of outright releasing him.
The Giants add a 2021 second-round pick drafted by current general manager Joe Schoen when he was Brandon Beane's assistant general manager with the Bills. Buffalo also packaged a 2025 seventh-round draft choice along with Basham in order to net a 2025 sixth-round pick, per ESPN.
Grades: Giants B, Bills C
New York adds a nice depth piece to their edge rusher group that didn't have much going on after Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Giants get bonus points for acquiring a player both Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, then the Bills offensive coordinator at the time of Basham's selection, already know very well. The Bills get points off for the value loss of punting on a second-round pick just two seasons into his career.
Panthers acquire WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette from Chiefs
The Carolina Panthers add more depth to 2023 first overall pick Bryce Young's pass-catching group by acquiring wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette from the Kansas City Chiefs for the price of a conditional seventh-round pick swap for the 2025 NFL Draft.
Grades: Panthers B, Chiefs B
Smith-Marsette couldn't separate in a crowded, competitive wide receiver room in Kansas City, but Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer knew he didn't want Smith Marsette to hit waivers. The Panthers got their guy, and the Chiefs pick up a draft pick for a player they definitely intended on waiving.
Chiefs acquire DT Neil Farrell from Raiders
The Chiefs add some depth on their defensive front with 2022 First-Team All-Pro defensive tacklestill holding out for a new deal. The Raiders receive a draft pick, a 2024 sixth-rounder, for a player they were likely going to waive.
Grades: Chiefs B-, Raiders C-
Kansas City did well to add young, affordable depth at their defensive tackle with Jones threatening to hold out until. Las Vegas gets dinged for dumping a player for a sixth-round selection when they selected him two rounds earlier in 2022.
Texans acquire C/G Kendrick Green from Steelers
The Houston Texans improved the depth of 2023 second overall pick quarterback C.J. Stroud's offensive line before his NFL regular season debut against a stout Baltimore Ravens defense. The Pittsburgh Steelers received compensation for a player who no longer had a role along their offensive line.
Grades: Texans B-, Steelers C-
Houston needs reinforcements at many positions after finishing 3-13-1 and one last season. More offensive line depth in the form of a 24-year-old former third-round pick isn't a bad way to go. Pittsburgh gets some credit for squeezing a pick out of the Texans for a player who didn't touch the field for them in 2022. However, that pick being two drafts from now in 2025, and it being three rounds later than where they selected Green bumps their marks down a touch.
The Titans didn't have a kicker on their roster until after acquiring 15-year veteran kicker Nick Folk from the Patriots on Tuesday. New England gets to move on to their rookie fourth-round selection Chad Ryland while adding a 2025 seventh-round selection.
Grades: Titans B-, Patriots B
The Titans were desperate after all of training camp and the preseason, they literally didn't have a kicker on their roster. They needed a body, fast. Sure, Folk didn't have his best season in 2022, but he still ranked inside the top five for field goal percentage, connecting on 32 of his 37 attempts (86.5%, tied for the fifth-best in the NFL). New England was looking to shed salary since they were happy with rookie fourth-round selection Chad Ryland, so it's a win they received a pick for an aging player they were ready to move on from.
Bears acquire G Dan Feeney from Dolphins
The Bears offensive line suffered a major blow with left guard Tevin Jenkins set to miss an extended amount of time with a leg injury, so they needed reinforcements. The Dolphins provided Dan Feeney, a player who started only two games a season ago with the New York Jets, at the cost of a 2024 sixth-round pick.
Grades: Bears C+, Dolphins B-
The Bears needed more depth immediately after Jenkins' injury, and a sixth-round pick is a relatively light price to pay. The Dolphins are in a tenuous situation should injury occur up front, but for a player they may have cut anyways, not a horrible deal.
Browns acquire K Dustin Hopkins from Chargers
Second-year kicker Cade York struggled this preseason, and in a make-or-break year for general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns amended their situation. Cleveland acquired nine-year NFL vet Dustin Hopkins in exchange for a 2025 seventh-round pick.
Grades: Browns B+, Chargers B-
York went an ugly 4-for-8 on field goal attempts this preseason, including what could have been a 43-yard, game-winner. That kick was blocked in the Browns' preseason finale against the Chiefs, a 33-32 defeat. Hopkins is reliable: he has connected on 84.8% of his field-goal attempts (190 for 224) and 94.4% of his extra points (221 for 234). The Chargers probably could have extracted more than a seventh-rounder two drafts from now if they shopped Hopkins around to more suitors.
Patriots acquire OT Vederian Lowe from Vikings
The Patriots needed more offensive line help with starting right tackle Riley Reiff, a former Viking, out currently with a leg injury. So, New England went back to the Minnesota well, and acquired Vederian Lowe for the price of a 2024 sixth-round pick.
Grades: Patriots B, Vikings C
New England surrendered a 2024 sixth-round pick for a 2022 sixth-round pick offensive lineman with massive size, standing six feet-and-six-inches tall while weighing 320 pounds. That type of size and youth offers potential at a premium position. As for Minnesota, they gave up on an inexpensive depth piece a little too early.
Rams acquire G Kevin Dotson from Steelers
The Los Angeles Rams offense crumbled in 2022 thanks to major injuries to their offensive line, Super Bowl MVP wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and quarterback Matthew Stafford. So, Los Angeles bolstered their offensive front by acquiring former Steelers starting guard Kevin Dotson by swapping their 2024 fourth and fifth-round picks for the Steelers 2024 fifth and sixth-round picks.
Grades: Rams C+, Steelers B-
The Rams added a player who could start for them, but at the cost of two picks they could desperately use to re-stock their roster next April. Moving down in two rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft isn't prudent. Especially when Dotson may have been available on the open market after a release. The Steelers did well to get two mid-round picks from a shallow Rams team that could miss the playoffs once again in 2023. Dotson may have made their roster as a backup, but he also may have been cut.
Cardinals acquire QB Joshua Dobbs from Browns
The Arizona Cardinals released longtime veteran backup Colt McCoy, so they needed an additional quarterback alongside fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune while Kyler Murray continues to work his way back from a torn ACL. So, the Cardinals traded a 2024 fifth-round draft choice to the Cleveland Browns for Joshua Dobbs, who filled in for an injured Ryan Tannehill as a Tennessee Titan at the end of last season.
Grades: Browns A, Cardinals C+
The Browns saw rookie fifth-round Dorian Thompson-Robinson ball out this preseason, and they knew that made Dobbs expendable. Flipping him for what's likely to be a high fifth-round pick coming back their way from the Cardinals is great business. For Arizona, they get a quarterback with experience to begin the year with Murray on the bench before turning things over to Tune. The move does the job it needs to do: make it seem like the Cardinals aren't overtly throwing their offense away in 2023.
Patriots acquire OT Tyrone Wheatley Jr. from Browns in exchange for RB Pierre Strong Jr.
The Browns needed running back depth behind Nick Chubb, and they didn't have room for him on their offensive line. Meanwhile, Strong got lost in the shuffle of the Patriots running back room following their signing of Pro Bowler Ezekiel Elliott.
Grades: Patriots A-, Browns B
The Patriots running back room was one of their strongest while their offensive line group was one of their weaker links. They did a great job acquiring a more valuable position in exchange for one of the least valuable positions. The Browns likely needed to cut the developing, 26-year-old Wheatley Jr., and he probably wasn't going to get back to their practice squad off of waivers. Getting some depth at a position where they needed some softens the blow.
Cowboys acquire QB Trey Lance from 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers had a massive elephant in their locker room with 2021 third overall pick quarterback Trey Lance being demoted to third-string quarterback after being beat out by journeyman Sam Darnold, another former third overall draft pick, for the right to be Brock Purdy's backup. So, the Cowboys pounced on the opportunity to add a developmental passer behind Dak Prescott at the cost of a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Grades: Cowboys B+, 49ers C-
The Dallas Cowboys knew what they had in conservative, soon-to-be 30-year-old backup Cooper Rush. Will Grier, a fun , couldn't beat Rush out for the right to be Prescott's backup. Head coach Mike McCarthy always loves to have a developmental prospect in his quarterback room, and he got his wish with an athletic, 23-year-old top three-pick. A fourth-round pick is great value for a player who the 49ers once felt strongly enough about to part with three first-round picks in order to secure his services. It's nice San Francisco got something for a third-string quarterback, but Lance's draft selection is a sunk cost that could hurt them in future years.
Texans acquire OT Josh Jones from Cardinals
The Houston Texans improved the depth of 2023 second overall pick quarterback C.J. Stroud's offensive line before his NFL regular season debut against a stout Baltimore Ravens defense. The rebuilding Arizona Cardinals add a high 2024 fifth-round pick at the cost of opening a spot on their offensive line for 2023 sixth overall pick offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. and a 2024 seventh-round pick.
Grades: Cardinals B, Texans C
Houston needs reinforcements at many positions after finishing 3-13-1 and one last season. More offensive line depth in the form of Josh Jones, a 2020 third-round pick with 21 career starts isn't bad. However, the Texans could have acquired in the open market as Jones may have been a cut candidate entering the final year of his rookie deal. The Cardinals did a nice job getting a mid-round pick for a player not in their long-term plans.
Giants acquire S/ILB Isaiah Simmons from Cardinals
The New York Giants bolster their defense for the versatile Isaiah Simmons, a top-10 pick (eighth overall) from the 2020 NFL Draft, at the cost of a 2024 seventh-round pick. The Cardinals' new regime dumps an underachieving veteran who went through the motions for them this preseason.
Grades: Giants B+, Cardinals D+
The Giants provide savvy defensive coordinator Wink Martindale a young, athletic chess piece who could play a nice role in multiple personnel groups if New York can tap into his potential. The Cardinals take a hard L on this deal. Only getting a seventh-round pick back for a former top-10 selection is brutal. Sure, new head coach Jonathan Gannon and new general manager Monti Ossenfort didn't draft him, but it's a bad value proposition nevertheless. It is understandable why they felt they needed to make the trade now after his lackluster effort in their second preseason contest against the Kansas City Chiefs.