NFL Trade Speculation: T.J. Yates and 10 Targets Who Most Boosted Stock in 2012

David LevinSenior Writer IIFebruary 9, 2012

NFL Trade Speculation: T.J. Yates and 10 Targets Who Most Boosted Stock in 2012

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    Remember, this is only "speculation," which is about as good as a three-dollar bill. But with the upcoming free-agency period (March 13 cannot get here soon enough) and the NFL draft in April (another date on my calendar), football will be in the hearts and minds of fans all year round.

    There are many teams looking to move up draft boards, find "diamonds" in free agency and make the one trade that can free themselves of issues on and off the field and solidify their chances of making the postseason with the hope of becoming next season's New York Giants.

    But what if a team has a player (or two) who improved their stock in 2011 and would be welcome additions anywhere they go (with the exception of a few teams that might not need their services)? Isn't it worth a look? I mean, not everyone has a Drew Brees or Tom Brady behind center or Adrian Peterson in the backfield.

    These players not only helped their trade value this past season, but they also showed at times how very important they are to their team's success.

Cadillac Williams

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    Cadillac proved to be a great fill-in for Steven Jackson while he was nursing injuries. Williams still showed he could run through defenses.

    Most teams need two dependable runners to get through a season, but the draft could bring this team a capable runner at a cheaper price.

    While the Rams are reloading and getting over injuries that crippled the team last season, could Williams be a valuable trade option for a wide receiver or to get draft choices?

Roy Helu

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    Helu was a late-round draft pick last season and came on to be the Redskins' best offensive weapon.

    While the defense was good, the offense left something to be desired. Well, a lot to be desired.

    Could Helu be part of a package to trade up for Robert Griffin III, who is the target of many teams, including the Redskins?

    I could also see Helu in Green Bay and Arizona as other running options on teams that need more scoring and more firepower.

Peyton Manning

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    The fact that Manning did not play this season is proof of how valuable he is to this team and shows what a commodity the NFL has.

    Manning will likely either be traded or released. If he is traded, teams will trade based on what they hope to get, which is the old Manning. He should bring a king's ransom.

    A young upstart team could provide draft choices, but a team looking to get to the playoffs and to the Super Bowl could offer players to help rebuild the Colts fast.

T.J. Yates

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    Yates proved he could be an NFL quarterback and lead a team to the playoffs, even if it was the end of the season before he played.

    Yates is a clock manager much in the same way as a Kyle Boller or Jason Campbell. He also has plenty of trade value since Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart figure to be back next season.

    But because he is still "green" and needs more experience, a handful of teams would trade for him and develop him. I could only see one team in this league where he would be an instant starter.

Ben Tate

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    Arian Foster may be a free agent, but he is not going anywhere, and the Texans are in a great situation with two dependable backs.

    But Tate would bring a king's ransom in a trade and may allow the Texans to move up in the draft to acquire a solid offensive lineman or a defensive back.

    Tate could start for half the teams in the NFL. And some teams may come calling to see what it would take to lure him away from Texas.

C.J. Spiller or Fred Jackson

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    Another team that has the luxury of two good backs. Each one would bring a draft pick or other components to a growing game plan under Chan Gailey.

    Jackson is the more "lunch pail" type, while Spiller offers more versatility.

    If you had to pick the one who could bring more in a trade, it will probably be Spiller based on youth and speed.

Tony Romo

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    He was an enigma this season. We saw the best and worst of him at the same time.

    The fact is, Romo plays tough, fights through injuries and tries to will his team to victory even in the oddest situations.

    Could he be the one to finally get this team back to the Super Bowl, or after one playoff win on his resume, is it time for management to look at other avenues to earn another Lombardi? I put Romo in the same category as a Matt Schaub and Matt Hasselbeck—great performers who cannot win the big game.

    If Jerry Jones made a play for, say, Peyton Manning, it would upset the apple cart. But that is something Jones would do in a heartbeat.

    Romo could be a real asset to Arizona, Cleveland and New York with the Jets, and maybe in Denver.

Matt Moore

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    Is he the "Little Engine That Could" of the NFL?

    Moore was thrust into action when Chad Henne was injured. And at times, Moore looked like he could deliver in the clutch. But this is still a 6-10 team.

    Moore is a great game manager. He had Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall as two main weapons in the offense, but it is clear the Dolphins want a little more fire from their signal-caller, and they'll make a move if they have a chance to get a Tony Romo, Matt Flynn or a high-rated passer in the draft.

    With that, it could be Moore moving to another team.

John Skelton

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    Kevin Kolb or Peyton Manning?

    That may be the biggest question of the offseason for the Cardinals. While Kolb fought injuries this year, Skelton showed he can move the ball in an offense with a great receiver like Larry Fitzgerald.

    Skelton does not strike fear in any defense, but he does the little things. Arizona played much better in the second half of the 2011 season.

    Will Cardinals brass stick with the youngster or seek riches now and not later? Arizona could possibly make a play for Manning or stick with Kolb, who did not appear to be the answer last season.

Tim Tebow

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    He was told he had the Broncos' starting job in training camp.

    Team president John Elway also said the team would look at quarterbacks in the offseason.

    Could Tebow be an attractive piece to someone else's puzzle?

    Teams like Jacksonville and Miami may be interested.

Michael Bush

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    I think Darren McFadden may be dangled out there as trade bait, but Bush may garner more attention in the trade market.

    Bush is a free agent, but you figure the Raiders will re-sign him before the draft. He is too valuable to let go. Unless the right price comes along.

    There aren't that many big bruising backs over 240 pounds who can run like Bush (unless you are the Giants), and he would look good in Detroit or Cincinnati. Green Bay may also have some interest.