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Five NFL trades worth pondering
The NBA and MLB trade deadlines bring a lot more rumors, activity and, well, actual trades than the NFL’s midseason trading deadline. Last year, we saw three notable players — Carson Palmer, Brandon Lloyd and Ronnie Brown — moved right before the deadline. This year, the NFL pushed the deadline back two more weeks. Though there’s been only whispers, here are five hypothetical trades I think would make some sense for both parties. And guess what? Tim Tebow isn't involved.
The Packers have won three straight games and appear to be hitting their groove. But the running game has struggled since Cedric Benson was lost for the year a few weeks back. Second-year man Alex Green hasn’t been the guy the Packers have hoped he would be this season and James Starks has only recorded six carries in two games this year. Williams appears to be the odd man out in Carolina. One hundred percent healthy, Williams is just 29 and only one year removed from a season in which he averaged 7.4 yards per game. The catch? There would be huge salary-cap implications for the Packers with this trade. Williams would cost $2.6 million in cap space the rest of this season and has $18 million remaining on a contract that runs for three more seasons. Green Bay would have to move some pieces, but this might be a move worth considering. Come January, Green Bay may want a running back in case they play a road playoff game at Chicago or New York.
Cincinnati’s lost three straight games and the passing game’s looking easier and easier to solve. The game plan? Cover A.J. Green and let someone else beat you. That “someone else” hasn’t stepped up. The second wideout spot was a concern before the season started and though 5-foot-7 Andrew Hawkins has made some plays, he’s not a legitimate No. 2. Dwayne Bowe would offer Andy Dalton a dangerous 1-2 combo at wide receiver. Bowe was unhappy with being franchised and not given a long-term deal in the offseason and would likely welcome a trade to a competitor. The Bengals, meanwhile, have both of Oakland’s first-round picks next year, making their 2013 second rounder less of a commodity. Cincy would have to pick up the rest of Bowe’s $9.5 million contract this season. He’d be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. This would be the rare “all in” move from Mike Brown and Co. I like it.
DeMarco Murray’s out indefinitely, Felix Jones isn’t an every-down back, and the Phillip Tanner/Lance Dunbar duo isn’t bringing Jerry Jones any Super Bowl rings anytime soon. With a 3-4 record and 7-0 Atlanta up ahead on the schedule, it’s officially “now or never” time for the Cowboys in the top-heavy NFC. Currently 12th out of 16 teams in the conference standings, Dallas should make a big splash this week. Jackson’s still got some good runs left in his legs. Though it looks unlikely he’ll reach 1,000 yards for the eighth straight season, he’d be an upgrade in Dallas’ backfield. He deserves better than being a second running back for the Rams. In those seven straight 1,000-yard seasons with St. Louis, Jackson’s teams went a combined 22-83. Trade the man to Big D and let him shake it up. For the Rams, it makes sense. They’re not winning a Super Bowl this year and they’re already loaded with future picks from the RG3 trade with Washington this summer. They can load up even more.
Trueblood was signed to a megadeal a few years back, but is currently a backup tackle in Tampa Bay. Making a guaranteed $4 million, he comes with a hefty price tag. He’d also be an upgrade at both tackle spots for slumping Arizona. Offensive tackles are rare to come by and the fact that Trueblood’s still versatile enough to play both spots makes him all the more tradable. Arizona’s offensive line is young, thin, and riddled with injuries. All the money they have invested in Larry Fitzgerald, Kevin Kolb and Michael Floyd is going to waste if the offensive line can’t keep the quarterback upright. They’re not out of the playoff race yet. Trueblood — though costly — could be just what Arizona needs to stay relevant into November and December.
I just feel terrible for Spikes. He’s played 15 years in the league and has never made the playoffs. Not once. Still a very capable middle linebacker, he could step up and serve as an upgrade to the platoon currently filling in for Ray Lewis in Baltimore. Spikes can join Jameel McClain and Daniel Ellerbe in a rotation and help provide some veteran leadership in the middle. He won’t bring what Ray Lewis brings, but he’ll help stabilize a defense that is trending downward. His contract isn’t absurd (roughly $2.85 million) and he can still lay the wood. The Chargers, like the Ravens, play in a 3-4 so the transition wouldn’t be so dramatic.