This season has already been one of the most active trade deadlines in NFL history. Three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Duane Brown was traded from the Houston Texans to the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots traded its prized backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, the rumors are heating up that Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins could be heading to the Denver Broncos as well. No rumor, however, might be as surprising as former superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson being traded from the Detroit Lions.
Here are five teams that “Megatron” could push to the Super Bowl right now. It’s important to note that teams with offensive machines and systems like the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots don’t need Johnson because their system is going to be one of the league’s best regardless of who is lined up at receiver for them.
- Carolina Panthers
Quarterback Cam Newton has shown flashes of his 2015 MVP season this year and Johnson gives him a receiving option that he’s never had in his career. A guy with the size comparable to Greg Olsen, with both players being 6-foot-5 and Olsen weighing 19 more pounds, but with speed faster than Steve Smith Sr.’s, Johnson runs a 4.35 40-yard dash compared to Smith’s 4.39.
- Atlanta Falcons
Last season, it seemed as if the defense was the concern for the Falcons. This season, the problem is the exact opposite. One of the league’s most exciting units led by Julio Jones, reigning MVP Matt Ryan, Mohammad Sanu, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Jake Matthews and Taylor Gabriel is struggling to put the ball in the end zone like it did in 2015, if they make it down to the red zone at all. Ryan hasn’t figured out how to get the ball to a double covered Jones yet in new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s offense and he’s overthrown a lot of balls so far this year. Johnson takes a lot of the attention off Jones and is another freak option to throw the ball to when in doubt. As far as off field reasons go, Johnson is from and lives in the Atlanta area, so this may be one of the few teams he decides to come back and play for if he wishes.
- Kansas City Chiefs
Quarterback Alex Smith made it look far too easy in last night’s “Monday Night Football” win over the Denver Broncos. It’s no secret that tight end Travis Kelce is one of the most lethal weapons in the game today and adding Johnson for the postseason could be the piece that would push them over fellow AFC powers like the Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots.
- Houston Texans
If we’ve learned anything from the first few weeks of his career, when quarterback Deshaun Watson is in doubt, he airs it out. Johnson was one of the league’s best deep ball threats in his first stint and his attitude could bring the necessary balance it takes for the team to get over the hump and to the Super Bowl.
- Philadelphia Eagles
No one expected the Eagles to be 7-1 at this point of the year. Even after the team’s first couple of brutal-looking wins, no one expected the Eagles to be 7-1. Now that the team is playing with house money after exceeding expectations, Johnson could be the piece to Philadelphia that veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney was to the Falcons last year. Similiar to the Chiefs, the Eagles have one of the most dangerous weapons at tight end in Zach Ertz and the addition of Johnson would just make the team more unfair offensively.