With the NFL draft and free agency quickly approaching, it’s time to focus on the players who have a chance of being traded this offseason.
As the headline would indicate, Ben Tate is an obvious offensive piece who could find himself on a different squad. There are plenty of additional names who will be rumored in trades and linked to different teams, and this article is out to mention nine beyond Tate.
Here are the top 10 players likely to swap clubs this offseason.
Ben Tate stepped up big time for the Houston Texans this last season when star running back Arian Foster went down with a leg injury.
Tate is a nice complementary back, but would an offense use him as a featured every-down back?
Tate is certainly expendable for the Texans. Foster will not be challenged for his starting role, so if Houston can find a team like the Browns, who will need running back help, and let him go for a low second or high third, it might be in Houston’s best interest to pull the trigger and make the move.
New England struck it rich on two tight ends in the same year when they took Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
Now, with Gronkowski the dominant tight end, this could mean the Patriots might have trade bait in Hernandez.
It’s no secret the 2011 NFL season was tight-end heavy, with that position dominating defenses regularly. The NFL is a league of "follow the leader," meaning that when one team does something nontraditional and it works, every other team is going to replicate it.
Squads might find Hernandez as their potential franchise tight end. His price tag might equate to a second-rounder or better. A bit steep, but if he fills a need, then do it.
The Eagles are loaded at cornerback.
Between Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel, Philadelphia can afford to dump one of them off onto another team for a draft pick or player in return.
More than likely, Samuel would be the piece to move.
Just about any team except for the Jets and Eagles could use a cornerback or second cornerback.
Samuel would look nice on basically any roster in the league. Plenty of teams need help at the position, and the Eagles could grab a third-round pick for him.
It’s not that Chad Henne is a bad quarterback, but can he ever crack the top echelon of QBs in the league?
Will a team ever go to the playoffs and contend because Chad Henne is calling the shots? That’s hard to believe.
If the Dolphins decide with their high first-round draft pick they want to pursue Robert Griffin III and make a change for the new coaching staff, they could make a move and pawn off Henne to a team that needs help at the starting position or a squad looking to lock up a backup quarterback.
His contract is very sexy as well because it’s only a four-year, $3.5 million deal and he only has one year left.
While examining the Miami Dolphins, would moving wideout Brandon Marshall pay off big dividends for the Fins if some team is desperate to find a dominant No. 1 receiver comes calling?
Marshall’s salary is a bit over $9 million for the 2011 season. His salary might be unattractive, but teams that are $20-30 million under the cap might see him as a great addition.
One team specifically, the Chicago Bears, would benefit greatly from making the move. Not only would it reunite Jay Cutler and Marshall from their Denver Broncos days, but they have the money to spend.
I’m not saying it’s likely to happen, but it’s possible.
Osi Umenyiora has stated he is unhappy with his contract, and thus, wouldn’t mind changing zip codes. Especially now with another Super Bowl ring on his hand, Osi will be looking to hit payday while he can.
In Chicago, linebacker Lance Briggs has expressed dissatisfaction with his current contract because it was front-ended, and now, his money isn’t coming in like it used to.
A trade proposed by Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times mentioned swapping the two one-for-one straight up and redoing both deals with the new clubs.
That’s not the most outrageous proposal ever, plus it would make a lot of sense for the Giants and the Bears.
It seemed like the Minnesota Vikings were having an in-house, miniature starting-quarterback battle at the end of the regular season. The team played both in the regular-season finale when the starter Christian Ponder was injured.
Joe Webb has demonstrated before that he's capable of running the Vikings offense and can make plays happen. Would another team want to make a move for Webb?
Hell, even for Ponder? While that's highly unlikely, there’s no reason Minnesota shouldn’t at least entertain offers for one or both quarterbacks.
Depending on if there’s a big fish in the market to make a trade for either, the Vikings could pull the trigger.
DeMarco Murray came out of nowhere in 2011 to explode for nearly 900 yards on only 164 rushing attempts while starting in seven games for the Dallas Cowboys.
Murray became the starter once he demonstrated he’s a home run threat and can churn out over 20 rushes a game for huge amounts of yardage.
What does this mean for Felix Jones, who became the starting back for the Cowboys after they released Marion Barber?
Just like Tate, teams like Cleveland and Denver that could use some help in the backfield might be interested in acquiring Jones. His asking price shouldn’t be too high, so his value would certainly be affordable.
And last but not least, what NFL trade rumor slideshow this offseason is complete without a slide on perhaps the biggest name that could switch jerseys this summer?
It’s been nothing but back-and-forth drama between the Indianapolis Colts and Manning as the March 8 deadline for his 2012 roster bonus approaches.
Do the Colts cut him or do they draft Andrew Luck No. 1 overall in April and save the franchise $28 million? That’s the question, all right.
There are almost an infinite number of contenders who would step up for the services of Manning, so listing them would be a waste of space. But he will be playing somewhere in 2012; we just have to figure out where.
Brett Lyons is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials.
Follow Brett Lyons on Twitter @BrettLyons670.