NFL Rumors: Updates on Players Who Have Hit the Wire

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIApril 22, 2012

NFL Rumors: Updates on Players Who Have Hit the Wire

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    As we sift ever closer to the 2012 NFL Draft, rumors abound about players who are balancing on the trade wire.

    Draft day trades in the NFL are certainly commonplace and may be even more frequent this year. 

    Talks of the Minnesota Vikings moving back from No. 3 or the Miami Dolphins moving up to make certain they can pull the trigger on drafting Ryan Tannehill have erupted on recent sports shows as well as the Internet.

    The final draft order seems far from set in stone, but draft picks may not be the only things moving around later this week.

    Here are updates on some of the NFL players who have been rumored in trade talks throughout the offseason.

Asante Samuel, CB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    The trade talks surrounding Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel have been rampant since the Eagles' additions of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

    Those talks have not abated.

    As little as four days ago, the Samuel rumors have been heating up. They seem to get hotter as we get closer to the draft.

    It certainly makes sense for the Eagles to trade Samuel and his $9.9 million salary considering they have two corners on the roster who get the bulk of the playing time.

    Samuel has also said that he would rather be a starting cornerback instead of being buried on the Eagles depth chart.

    The Eagles have been rumored to want to trade up in this year's draft, and it's certainly possible that Samuel could be involved in a draft day trade.

    The Buffalo Bills are a team in need of some help in their secondary, and they would certainly welcome a dynamic corner like Samuel.

    However, if the Bills were to make a trade involving their No. 10 overall selection, they'd likely be trading back with thoughts of taking a cornerback in the draft.

    The Denver Broncos have been a team rumored to be in on the Samuel sweepstakes. The move certainly makes sense for John Elway's club now that Champ Bailey is no longer the player he once was.

    Only time will tell where Samuel will play next year, but there's a high possibility that it won't be for Philly.

Aqib Talib, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Aqib Talib is another NFL cornerback who has been rumored to be on the trade block.

    One thing is certain for whatever team targets Talib—he'll come with some baggage.

    When you type this guy's name into Google, the top four recommended searches are: Aqib Talib shooting, Aqib Talib jail, Aqib Talib arrested and Aqib Talib trial.

    Needless to say, Talib has more than his fair share of off-field issues.

    Nevertheless, Talib's play on the field may be enough to make up for it in the eyes of some league owners.

    In four professional seasons in the NFL, Talib has tallied 17 interceptions, three of which he's brought back for touchdowns.

    Despite the aggressive trade rumors surrounding Talib this offseason, it's also possible that Bucs end up keeping the troubled corner.

    In fact, Bucs coach Greg Schiano said recently that he wants to keep Talib on the roster.

    The situation is certainly an enigma.

Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys

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    Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones had high hopes for Felix Jones coming into the NFL. Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, the former Arkansas standout has underperformed because he's had trouble staying healthy.

    Last season, injuries opened the door for backup running back DeMarco Murray to perform well enough to emerge as the team's primary runner.

    As a result, Jones' name has been rumored in trade talks.

    Although mock drafts from numerous different sources have the Cowboys taking safety Mark Barron with the 14th overall selection, Jones may not be out of the woods.

    Boise State running back Doug Martin was invited to the Cowboys' pre-draft visits. This could be another sign hinting that Jones will be traded in coming weeks.

    Running back has become a very volatile position in recent years. More often than not, when a starter goes down due to injury, the backup runner steps up and takes away the starter's job.

    Even with the plethora of trade rumors surrounding Jones, Cowboys executives have said recently that there is no truth to the rumors.

    They could just be saying so to quell the rumors surrounding their player. I wouldn't be surprised if Jones got moved before the start of next season.

Jabar Gaffney, WR, Washington Redskins

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    Washington Redskins veteran wide receiver Jabar Gaffney has reportedly been told that the Skins are shopping him.

    Trying to trade their leading receiver from a year ago seems like a bizarre move for the Redskins at this point. Especially when you take into account that they'll be adding Robert Griffin III in Thursday's draft.

    Gaffney is a weapon that RGIII could use while he acclimates himself to the pro level.

    Nevertheless, Gaffney has been told by the team not to show up for the offseason conditioning program.

    You'd have to think that the Skins would want a 10-year veteran on the roster to help out their soon to be franchise quarterback. Evidently Washington management thinks otherwise.

Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers

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    It has been rumored recently that the Green Bay Packers may be looking to part ways with oft-injured running back Ryan Grant.

    The trade of Grant looks like it could occur sooner rather than later.

    Grant did have some injury troubles while a member of the Packers, but he was always a solid player when he was on the field.

    In 2010 however, Grant missed all but one regular season game due to injury. As a result, he split time in the backfield last season with James Starks.

    Ironically enough, Starks and Grant put up extremely similar numbers last season.

    Starks: 133 rushes, 578 yards and 4.3 yards per carry.

    Grant: 134 rushes, 559 yards and 4.2 yards per carry.

    It will be interesting to see if the Packers will use him as a chip to move up in the draft, or if they simply want him out of town to open up a spot for another back.

Osi Umenyiora, DE/OLB, New York Giants

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    Osi Umenyiora is a bit of a loose cannon as far as what he wants for the future.

    The Giants pass-rusher has been rumored in trade talks during the offseason as he enters the final year of his contract.

    Recently however, it has been rumored that the Giants are looking to offer a contract extension to Umenyiora to keep him in New York.

    Whether the rumors say that Umenyiora will stay in New York or get traded to another team, they seem to change on a weekly basis.

    Nonetheless, I don't think that it's in the Giants' best interest to trade the pass-rusher in the long run.

    The emergence of stud defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul may have made Osi "expendable" in the eyes of some, but what makes the G-Men a yearly championship contender is their powerful pass-rush.

    Oh, and some guy named Eli Manning.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

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    It appears that Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is the odd man out for next season.

    After the Panthers signed free-agent running back Mike Tolbert this offseason, it created a bit of a log jam in the Panthers' backfield.

    Stewart and Tolbert are similar players because they are bigger, tougher runners when compared with DeAngelo Williams. Both Tolbert and Stewart also thrive on third down when they have the opportunity to catch passes out of the backfield.

    Unless the Panthers plan is to juggle three running backs next season, we could see Stewart involved in a trade.

    As far as a Stewart trade is concerned, it appears that the New York Giants are the best suitor.

    The Panthers may be willing to trade Stewart to New York, and the G-Men may prove to be a likely destination after they lost the services of Brandon Jacobs, who signed with the San Francisco 49ers this offseason.