NFL’s deadline features 3 big trades for a change


By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer



FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi laughs during a press conference after a training session at Allianz Park in London. The NFL-leading Eagles have bolstered their offense by acquiring running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round pick in 2018. The big move was announced hours before Tuesday's, Oct. 31, 2017, trade deadline. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)


The NFL trade deadline finally featured some big-name buzz.

The winless San Francisco 49ers acquired New England backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo , and the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles bolstered their running attack Tuesday by adding Jay Ajayi from Miami.

The trades came a day after the Seattle Seahawks agreed to send cornerback Jeremy Lane and two draft picks to Houston for left tackle Duane Brown .

Kelvin Benjamin was shipped by Carolina to Buffalo for a pair of 2018 draft picks. Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott was the defensive coordinator in Carolina during Benjamin’s first three years in the league.

Midseason trades rarely bring much excitement or shake up the playoff races. Most years the NFL trade deadline comes and goes without much happening.

The Niners agreed to send a 2018 second-round pick to the Patriots in the deal that will be official once Garoppolo passes a physical.

San Francisco (0-8) had been expected to either draft a quarterback high in the first round next year or try to acquire a proven starter such as Kirk Cousins in free agency.

Instead, coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch decided to strike early and put the fate of their franchise in the hands in a quarterback who has started just two games in four NFL seasons.

Garoppolo, a second-round pick in 2014, is in the final year of his contract. By acquiring him now, San Francisco gets a head start on negotiating a long-term deal to keep him or can use the franchise tag on him in free agency.

Garoppolo won two starts in place of a suspended Tom Brady at the start of the 2016 season. He completed 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He got hurt in the second quarter of his second start and has thrown just four passes since then.

The Eagles sent a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Dolphins for Ajayi, who has 465 yards rushing and is averaging 3.4 yards per carry with no touchdowns. He went to the Pro Bowl last season after running for 1,272 yards, including three 200-yard games.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase signaled his displeasure with Ajayi last week after Miami was routed 40-0 at Baltimore, noting missed blocking assignments in pass protection.

LeGarrette Blount leads Philadelphia with 467 yards rushing and is averaging 4.7 yards a carry with two touchdowns.

The Eagles (7-1) have the fifth-ranked run offense and have won six straight games heading into Sunday’s game against Denver (3-4), which has lost four of five.

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FILE – In this Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi laughs during a press conference after a training session at Allianz Park in London. The NFL-leading Eagles have bolstered their offense by acquiring running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round pick in 2018. The big move was announced hours before Tuesday’s, Oct. 31, 2017, trade deadline. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/10/web1_119092891-a44625771a0f4370ad841198eb74466c.jpgFILE – In this Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi laughs during a press conference after a training session at Allianz Park in London. The NFL-leading Eagles have bolstered their offense by acquiring running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round pick in 2018. The big move was announced hours before Tuesday’s, Oct. 31, 2017, trade deadline. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)

By ARNIE STAPLETON

AP Pro Football Writer