As the National Football League season approaches the halfway point, teams prepare their rosters for a spot in the playoffs. In this preparation, teams look across the league for players who might add that special ingredient that takes their talent to the next level. The trade deadline gives teams the opportunity to re-sign or trade players until Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. EST. This year the trade deadline was chalked full of high-level talent and superstar names, making it one of the most notable trade periods in NFL history. 

On Oct. 21, news broke about a trade between the Carolina Panthers and the San Francisco 49ers for Pro-Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey, which stunned the NFL community. Drafted in 2017, McCaffrey quickly put the league on notice, showcasing his elite speed and balance. Initially, the Panthers were ecstatic to have drafted a generational talent at the running back position, but injuries began to plague the Stanford standout. In 2020 and 2021, McCaffrey only suited up 10 times for the Panthers. With his value still high, the Panthers decided to trade the stud back to the 49ers for a slew of draft picks: 2023 second, third, and fourth-round pick as well as a 2024 fifth-round pick. In the 49ers most recent game, McCaffrey looked like the old version of himself, posting 94 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns.

Following this blockbuster move, the New York Jets acquired a running back of their own. Trading a conditional 2023 sixth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for James Robinson. Robinson, similar to McCaffrey, has faced injuries throughout his NFL career but has impressed critics while on the turf. The Jets required more depth at the back position after their rookie sensation Breece Hall reported a season ending ACL injury. Robinson will pair nicely with Michael Carter in the backfield as the Jets have flown to an impressive 6-3 start. 

The trades didn’t stop there. Roquan Smith, one of the league's most formidable defensive players, was sent to the Baltimore Ravens from the Chicago Bears for A.J. Klein, a 2023 second-round pick and 2023 fifth-round pick. Smith was due for a large payday at the end of the season, and instead of accepting the demands of their star linebacker, the Bears shipped him off to Baltimore. 

While the Bears took away from the defensive side of the ball, they gave their quarterback, Justin Fields, a little help by acquiring Chase Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 6 feet 4 inches Notre Dame wide receiver will help Fields and a struggling Bears offense find their footing, only losing a 2023 second-round pick in exchange. 

One of the larger trades came on the day of the deadline when the Denver Broncos packaged Bradley Chubb and a 2025 fifth-round pick, sending it to Miami for Chase Edmonds, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick. The former fifth overall pick was a cornerstone for the Broncos' defense. In his five seasons, Chubb recorded 26 sacks, 170 tackles, and six forced fumbles. South Beach will be happy to have his talents on their roster as they push for a playoff berth in a competitive American Football Conference East division. 

Rounding out the notable trades are T.J. Hockenson and Calvin Ridley. Hockenson was traded from the Detroit Lions to the Minnesota Vikings; the Lions had not made an inner-division trade since 1998. The Vikings now have one of the most stacked offensive units after acquiring the Pro-Bowl tight end. Ridley, who is currently serving a year-long suspension due to gambling, will join the Jaguars receiving core next season. 

With the Super Bowl just months away, each team is trying to put their best foot forward as they inch closer to the end of the regular season. For the organizations mentioned, these trades may be the difference between watching the Super Bowl at home and actually playing in it.