The 2015 NFL offseason began with big-name players like RB LeSean McCoy, TE Jimmy Graham and QB Sam Bradford being dealt to new teams. Don’t expect that caliber of in-season movement before next Tuesday’s trade deadline. In fact, bigger buzz will come from media speculation about who could be headed elsewhere than any actual deals. The most interested suitors will be winning clubs trying to add firepower for a playoff run or losing teams looking toward the future in hopes of acquiring draft picks for veterans who don’t fit in their long-term plans. FOX Sports Senior NFL Writer Alex Marvez ranks 10 players who might be dangled as trade bait or draw inquiries from franchises looking to swing a deal.
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10. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III
Contract status: Griffin makes $3.3 million this season as part of a guaranteed four-year, $21.1 million deal signed in 2012. Griffin is set to earn $16.2 million in 2016 after Washington picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. That salary is guaranteed for injury, meaning Griffin gets paid if hurt headed into the offseason. Should he stay healthy, the Redskins can rescind their offer next year and make Griffin an unrestricted free agent. The 2016 guarantee would apply to Griffin’s new team if he were traded. What’s the appeal? The nature of Griffin’s contract and mediocre play since suffering a major knee injury at the end of his 2012 rookie season stunted his trade value. He will likely keep sitting on the bench as Washington’s third-string QB. Trade likelihood: Highly unlikely.
Getty ImagesPatrick McDermott
9. Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith
Contract status: Smith makes $3 million in 2015 base salary and has one year remaining on his contract at $3M for 2016. What’s the appeal? Although the oldest active NFL WR at age 36, Smith remains one of the league’s best. His toughness is on display again this season as he plays through a painful back injury. With the Ravens (1-6) tied for the NFL’s worst record and Smith having announced plans to retire after this season, nobody would blame him or the team for seeking a trade to a Super Bowl contender. Smith, though, said he'd immediately quit if sent elsewhere and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said there is 'no chance' of a trade. Trade likelihood: Highly unlikely.
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8. Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White
Contract status: White’s deal runs through 2017. He is earning $2.2 million in base salary, which translates to $129,412 for each week of the season. What’s the appeal? White is the leading receiver in Falcons history. But with Kyle Shanahan now as offensive coordinator, White is no longer a focal part of Atlanta’s offense as he was when he signed a three-year, $18M extension during the 2014 preseason. White has only 14 catches for 186 yards and one TD, putting him on pace for his least-productive season since 2006. However, buzz about a potential deal has died down in recent weeks. White’s age (33) limits his appeal, plus the Falcons may want to keep him as insurance considering Julio Jones’ lengthy injury history. Trade likelihood: Unlikely.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
7. Dallas guard Ronald Leary
Contract status: Leary is earning $585,000, the minimum NFL salary for a third-year player. He is set to become a restricted free agent in 2016. What’s the appeal? Despite recently losing his starting left guard spot to rookie La’El Collins, Leary is a good player at a need position across the NFL. Plus, Dallas always can use a future draft choice because of the team’s perennially tight salary cap. The Cowboys currently have $141 million in player salaries set to count against the projected 2016 salary cap of $150M. The Cowboys wouldn’t be leaving the cupboard bare by trading Leary, either, as Mackenzy Bernadeau is a quality interior backup. Trade likelihood: Realistic.
Getty ImagesWesley Hitt
6. Miami wide receiver Greg Jennings
Contract status: Jennings is earning $900,000 in base salary, which translates to $52,941 for each week of the season. He is set to make $3.9 million in 2015. What’s the appeal? The Dolphins gave Jennings a $3 million signing bonus when adding him during the offseason but he has become an afterthought as Miami’s No. 4 receiver behind younger players. Although no longer an elite target like during his time in Green Bay, the 32-year-old Jennings still has enough left in the tank to help another team that needs receiver help. Trade likelihood: Realistic.
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5. Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson
Contract status: Johnson is making $4 million this season in the final year of his contract, which translates to $235,295 for each week of the season. What’s the appeal? Johnson is the top tackler in Chiefs history and on his way to leading Kansas City in that category again this season. But he also will turn 33 in December on a team going nowhere fast at 2-5. A Johnson trade also would give his heir apparent -- rookie Ramik Wilson -- a chance for more snaps depending on how much more time the latter will miss with knee and ankle injuries. Trade likelihood: Realistic.
Getty ImagesJamie Squire
4. Cleveland outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo
Contract status: Mingo is making $585,000, which translates to $34,412 for each week of the season. Mingo’s base salary is $675,000 for 2016, which is the final year of the deal unless his fifth-year rookie option is picked up. What’s the appeal? Yet another disappointing member of the 2013 draft class, Mingo never became the pass rusher Cleveland envisioned when making him the No. 6 overall pick. Mingo has yet to register a sack this year and is only used as a situational player. Mingo and his agent recently complained about a lack of playing time, which could open the door for a trade to a team that thinks a change of scenery would kick his NFL career into gear. Trade likelihood: Realistic.
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3. Oakland wide receiver Rod Streater
Contract status: Streater is making $2.4 million in the final year of his contract, which translates to $141,176 for each week of the season. What’s the appeal? When new coaches are hired, some players fall out of grace. That appears to be the case with Streater, whose 60-catch, 888-yard 2013 season is a distant memory with Jack Del Rio now running the show. Streater has appeared in only one game this season as a reserve and is the No. 5 receiver on Oakland’s depth chart behind Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts and Andre Holmes. Trade likelihood: Realistic.
Getty ImagesJustin Edmonds
2. San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis
Contract status: Davis has a base salary of $4.35 million, which translates to $255,882 for each week of the season. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016. What’s the appeal?: Now in his 10th season, it’s clear Davis will never become the difference-maker San Francisco had hoped for when signing him to a five-year, $36.8 million deal in 2011. Davis has gained 170 yards this season on 12 catches, which ranks tied for 28th in receptions among NFL tight ends. Still, Davis plays a position where there is a shortage of good players, and his salary is reasonable for teams strapped for cash under the salary cap. Trade likelihood: Realistic.
Getty ImagesChristian Petersen
1. Chicago running back Matt Forte
Contract status: Forte has a base salary of $7.05 million, which translates to $414,706 for each week of the season. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016. What’s the appeal? Forte is one of the NFL’s best all-purpose running backs, but he will turn 30 in December and is unlikely to receive the type of lucrative contract he is seeking from the Bears during the offseason. Chicago (2-4) is in rebuilding mode and has already traded two veterans for 2016 draft picks earlier this season in defensive end Jared Allen (Carolina) and linebacker James Bostic (New England). Trade likelihood: Realistic.