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NFL News and Notes: Lots Of Moves Being Made

We enter Week 8 as teams around the league continue to jockey for position within their divisions, hoping to put themselves in a position to make the postseason. Week 8 finds the return of one elite quarterback (Drew Brees) but two others being sidelined (Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan).

This week sees some really interesting matchups like the Packers versus Chiefs, Eagles versus Bills and Panthers versus 49ers. While there is a lot of excitement around this week’s slate of games, there has been plenty of news around the league this week. Let’s take a look at some of the headlines from this week:

Sanders Traded To 49ers

In a week that saw a flurry of trades, one of the most notable ones involved wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The Denver Broncos parted ways with the veteran, trading him to the San Francisco 49ers for third- and fourth-round picks in 2020. Also in the deal is a 2020 fifth-round pick going from the Broncos to the 49ers.

The acquisition of Sanders gives the 49ers a legitimate wide receiver and option for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo not named George Kittle. Though currently undefeated, this could be a big boost to a team that has a defense ready to win now, but an offense that has been inconsistent at best.

This season, Sanders has played in all seven games, hauling in 30 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns. The 32-year-old’s best season came back in 2014 when he had 101 receptions for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. While he certainly is not at this level anymore, he still represents a significant upgrade for the 49ers.

Falcons Deal Sanu To Patriots

Sanders certainly wasn’t the only big-name wide receiver traded ahead of the deadline, though. The Atlanta Falcons, who are in the midst of a disappointing season, traded wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots for a second-round pick.

Sanu and Sanders were probably the biggest wide-receiver names on the market, and they are both going to undefeated teams. The difference, though, is Sanu is going to one that not only has a solid defense but a stellar offense as well.

With Tom Brady at the helm, Sanu certainly should fit right in and be productive from the get-go. In an interesting story, Brady was so excited about the acquisition that he even offered his number (12) to Sanu, though Sanu politely declined.

Still, Sanu should fit in well and continue with his solid production. This season, with Matt Ryan and the Falcons, Sanu had 33 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown. One thing is for sure, he is going from one solid quarterback to now a sure Hall-of-Famer. Almost all trades present new opportunities for those involved, but this one may be of the Super Bowl-caliber for Sanu.

Gordon Put On IR; Time With Patriots Done

While one wide receiver may be coming in for the New England Patriots, another one appears to be on his way out. The Patriots announced that they have put embattled wide receiver Josh Gordon on injured reserve.

While he was put on the injured reserve with a knee injury, the belief is that Gordon is close to a return. Because he was put on the “minor” injured reserve, Gordon must be released by the team upon his return to health, which is expected in just a couple of weeks.

Part of the reason that they are not releasing him immediately is to try to ensure that he doesn’t go to a top contender (instead hoping that he will be claimed on the waiver wire), but regardless, his time with the New England Patriots is officially over.

This season, in six games, Gordon had 20 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown.

Patriots Trade Bennett To Cowboys

The Patriots still weren’t done this week on the transaction wire, though. New England also announced that it traded defensive end Michael Bennett to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a seventh-round pick (that can technically turn into a sixth-round pick).

Bennett has not seen eye to eye with the Patriots’ coaching staff, and this led to some public airing of frustration. Knowing the way the Patriots operate, it was not surprising to see that he has been moved as Bill Belichick and company generally don’t put up with a lot of flack.

The Cowboys hope to still get something out of Bennett as he adds to an already formidable defensive unit. This season, Bennett has five tackles and 2.5 sacks on the season.

Just last year, though, he recorded nine sacks for the Philadelphia Eagles. If he can return to that form, the Cowboys may have gotten a steal in this deal.

Raiders Deal Conley To Texans

In another trade, the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans agreed on a deal this week, as the Texans sent a third-round pick away in exchange for cornerback Gareon Conley. A first-round pick in 2017, Conley has started 20 games over the last couple of years.

The Texans certainly have shown that they aren’t afraid to deal away valuable picks as they continue to feel confidence in their ability to win their division this year. This season, Conley has played six games, coming up with 23 tackles and an interception.

While he may be leaving the Raiders, he will see them soon, just this time on the other side of the field, as the two teams play on Sunday.

Chargers Activate Okung

While the Los Angeles Chargers have injuries all over the field and generally have been a disappointment, they did get a bit of good news this week. Tackle Russell Okung has been activated and is set to get to work on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Okung has been battling blood clots this season, which has put him out of action. Okung was a Pro Bowler in 2017, and, given that the Chargers have been going with undrafted free agent Trent Scott at left tackle thus far this season, he will certainly be a notable upgrade.

It may not be enough to save the Chargers’ season, but at least it is some good news for what has otherwise been a bleak season for the organization.

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