NFL Trade Speculation: Who's on the Block Heading into Minicamps?
With NFL minicamps underway, the trade block is already filling with offers from a few teams looking to move starters in favor of younger talent. Six names have surfaced in trade speculation so far, and all of them started for their respective teams in 2011.
As teams attempted to bring in fresh meat through this year's draft, five players found themselves getting pushed down the depth chart and one player in particular wants out for contractual reasons.
Finding trade partners early may be tough, but these players can add depth right away to teams that need it.
Terrence McGee, CB, Buffalo Bills
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The Buffalo Bills weren't taking any chances with their secondary when they drafted South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore as an insurance policy to 10-year veteran Terrence McGee. The Bills head into training camp with four possible starters at CB, including the most experienced of the group in McGee.
In the past two seasons, McGee has been healthy enough to play in a total of 15 games. A hamstring injury in the season opener kept McGee out of four games in 2011 before a patella tendon injury cost him the final six games of the season.
Despite the past injuries, Buffalo elected to keep McGee to compete for a starting job in 2012. Drayton Florence, however, wasn't so lucky. Florence may have been a nine-year veteran, but that didn't stop Buffalo from cutting him to make room for new talent.
While the Buffalo News reported that McGee is committed to finishing his career on a strong note with a successful 2012, there's no guarantee Buffalo will keep him if some of the younger players get it going early in the season.
McGee isn't likely to be a big pickup on the trading block considering he's nearing the end of his career, but a team looking for veteran help in its secondary would draw interest. In his prime, McGee led the Bills in interceptions in 2007 and 2008.
Should McGee overcome his past injuries, that leaves five-year man Leodis McKelvin as the possible odd man out. Either way, youth will be a predominant force in Buffalo's secondary.
Mike Jenkins, CB, Dallas Cowboys
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The drafting of LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne has prompted the Dallas Cowboys to place five-year man Mike Jenkins on the trade block, as reported by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. Last March, veteran CB Terence Newman was released to make room for new talent. Now Jenkins is another likely casualty with Claiborne joining a defensive unit looking to get younger.
Jenkins, a 2009 Pro Bowl selection, had an injury-plagued 2011 and is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Dallas figures to start Claiborne and Brandon Carr this season with Orlando Scandrick filling in the nickel role.
In his best season, Jenkins amassed 49 tackles and five interceptions in 16 games for the Cowboys during the 2009 season. Since then, Jenkins hasn't picked off more than one pass the last two seasons.
Aqib Talib, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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According to PewterReport.com, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly placed starting cornerback Aqib Talib on the trading block. The former 2008 first-round pick is entering the final year of his contract and faces trial in June for aggravated assault charges. At this point, the Buccaneers are just trying to get rid of what could be a complicated situation.
Even if Talib escapes a possible 20-year jail sentence, there's still a possibility the NFL could hand down a punishment of its own. Tampa Bay already has starters in veteran Ronde Barber and four-year man E.J. Biggers, but the Buccaneers prepared for Talib's potential absence by signing former Detroit Lions CB Eric Wright.
Finding a suitor for Talib will be a tall order considering his off-the-field issues, but his numbers the past four seasons may be too much for a team to pass up. Talib has recorded 17 interceptions and 161 tackles in his four-year career with the Buccaneers.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
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In early April, Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas reported that the Dallas Cowboys were shopping running back Felix Jones, but that report was immediately denied by Dallas' personnel. Dallas may be denying the rumors, but it's easy to understand why a trade could be forthcoming.
In four seasons with the Cowboys, Jones has rushed for eight touchdowns and 2,326 yards. On top of that, Jones was unable to stay healthy during 2011, which opened the door for third-round draft pick DeMarco Murray.
In Jones' absence, Murray rushed for 897 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie season. On three occasions, Murray rushed for more than 130 yards including a 253-yard performance against the St. Louis Rams last season.
Matt Moore, QB, Miami Dolphins
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The arrival of former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Miami Dolphins by way of this year's draft is easily bad news for Matt Moore.
The Dolphins signed ex-Jacksonville Jaguars QB David Garrard to a one-year deal to compete with Moore for the starting job, but now it seems like he'll be playing the mentor role in Tannehill's development.
It's obvious the Dolphins see Tannehill as their future starter under center, but until he learns the offense and gets adjusted to the NFL, Miami figures to let Garrard or Moore take the reins. Moore proved he can be a starter and manage a game last season after throwing 16 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions.
His stock on the trading block could rise if a team struggles out of the gate with their QB.
Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants
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CSN Washington's John Eisenberg linked disgruntled New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora as an ideal fit for a Baltimore Ravens team looking to fill the void left by an injured Terrell Suggs. Baltimore did draft a potential temporary replacement in Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, but a nine-year veteran like Umenyiora seems like the perfect match with fellow veterans Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.
The situation in New York with Umenyiora and the Giants' front office has gone nowhere fast, and a new contract is highly unlikely.
Umenyiora may not be displaying the best sense of character right now, but it would be hard to bring that diva attitude into a Ravens locker room under the leadership of Reed and Lewis. Not only would Umenyiora be straightened out in Baltimore, but the team could really use his sack production without Suggs on the field.