It's unusual for teams to trade their starting left tackles a month into the season, but two squads did just that this week.
Jacksonville traded left tackle Eugene Monroe, the eighth pick of the 2009 draft, to Baltimore for multiple third-day (rounds 4-7) picks, according to ESPN. CBS said it was for two mid-round picks. Then Arizona traded left tackle Levi Brown, the fifth pick of the 2007 draft, to Pittsburgh for a late-round pick, via multiple reports.
Even though each trade features a tackle once drafted in the top 10 going to a AFC North team, the situations are far different.
Brown has never lived up to the hype of being a top pick. That the Cardinals could get anything in exchange for him is a bit surprising, but a sign of how fed up the Steelers are with Mike Adams, a second-round pick in 2012. The Steelers look like they're done at 0-4, but perhaps this helps quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stay upright – though nothing in Brown's NFL history indicates he'll be much of an upgrade.
Monroe has been a pretty good player (he ranked sixth among tackles in 2011 and 15th in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus), good enough that the team kept him at left tackle and put No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel on the right side to start his career. But Monroe was going to be a free agent after the season, the Jaguars invested heavily in Joeckel to be their left tackle of the future and the extra picks can help the team rebuild. One wonders if this will lead to more trades for the Jaguars (running back Maurice Jones-Drew?) as they try to get younger. The deal allows the Ravens to upgrade at left tackle from the mercurial Bryant McKinnie.
In-season trades are not as common in the NFL as other sports. If these two deals and the Trent Richardson trade two weeks ago are any indication, maybe the NFL's trade deadline of Oct. 29 will be more lively than usual.