Three top-10 receivers traded in the past 15 months. Five starting quarterbacks dealt in the past four months. Thirty-three first- or second-round picks exchanged in 2021.
The NFL's trade market is booming like real estate. Julio Jones is the latest legacy name to switch jerseys after the Titans sent second- and fourth-round picks to the Falcons in exchange for Jones and a sixth-round pick, a move that cleared $15 million in 2021 salary from the Falcons' books. Jones plans to thrive with Tennessee, just like Buffalo's Stefon Diggs and Arizona's DeAndre Hopkins, who combined for 242 catches and 2,942 yards with their new team last season.
Four former top-three overall picks -- Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold -- either asked or got asked to leave since the regular season ended. And we're not counting the top-tier passers (Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson) who have been disgruntled or want out.
The NFL is on pace for more than 100 trades for the second time in three years, a threshold not hit from 2010 to '18. It feels like anything is possible, that anyone's favorite player could be dealt for the right price.
A hot trade market is not exactly new. The pre-CBA-agreement 2010 season brought 93 trades, as did 2017. But the stakes aren't always this high, with teams relinquishing serious draft capital while fitting big-money talent under the salary cap. Thirty-three of the 52 trades executed in 2021 involved first- or second-round picks, or 63.5% -- the highest clip since 2016 and the second-highest of the last decade, per ESPN Stats & Information. And there will be more.
Let's examine five of the reasons trades happen so often now, and forecast what's next -- or who's next -- on the trade market.
Jump ahead: Future trade targets