NFL Trade Scenarios: 7 Backups Who Could Walk into Starting Roles Elsewhere
Providing depth and forming part of a quality rotation must provide scant consolation for those NFL backups who receive limited playing time. Especially those backups who could easily start on another team.
Trade speculation will only increase in the coming months and several NFL backups merit being the focus of the chatter. These are players who have the ability to be very productive if given starting opportunities.
The likes of Arizona Cardinals wideout Early Doucet and Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling have been forced to bide their time behind more high-profile stars. While others, such as Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Pat Sims, have seen their status diminished by their team's decisions in the 2012 draft.
Here are seven NFL backups who would make good trade targets and be productive starters elsewhere.
1. Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints
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Lance Moore always seems to find himself the odd man out in a crowded wide receiver corps for the New Orleans Saints. However, the 28-year-old has the assets to be a starting flanker for any receiver-hungry team.
Moore is sure-handed and has a knack for finding the end zone. He has scored 16 touchdowns during the last two seasons, in only limited duty.
The 5'9", 190 pounder can operate out of the slot and also has the vertical speed to stretch defenses deep. He is never likely to supplant incumbents Marques Colston and Devery Henderson, but Moore would have legitimate No. 1 receiver potential on another team.
Teams that should make a trade: Cleveland Browns or St. Louis Rams
Both the Rams and the Browns are in need of quality weapons in the passing game. Moore has the big-play capability both of these anaemic offenses lack.
2. Darryl Tapp, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
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When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Vinny Curry in the third round, it not only provided a young backup for Trent Cole and Jason Babin, it also threatened the position of Darryl Tapp. The sixth-year veteran will find himself in competition with Curry and 2010 first-rounder Brandon Graham in a crowded Eagles rotation up front.
Yet the 27-year-old has the pass-rush skills to be a factor as a starter elsewhere. Tapp has excellent first-step quickness and would certainly be an asset for any team looking for ways to put more pressure on the quarterback.
Teams that should make a trade: Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans
These two AFC South rivals are both amongst the league's worst at generating a consistent pass rush. The Jaguars arguably have the biggest need, after the Titans added Kamerion Wimbley.
3. Jason Snelling, RB, Atlanta Falcons
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Restricted free agent Jason Snelling is worth the kind of compensation teams would have to pay to land his services. The 28-year-old would make an excellent workhorse for a team intending to feature a power running game.
At 5'11" and 234 pounds, Snelling is tough between the tackles and rarely goes down after first contact. While he is never likely to offer a true breakaway threat, Snelling is a durable inside bruiser who could certainly handle an increased workload.
Team that should make a trade: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts need a power running game to support Andrew Luck during his rookie campaign. New offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has favoured a power rushing attack during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers and would make excellent use of Snelling.
4. Thomas Davis, LB, Carolina Panthers
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Thomas Davis is an intriguing trade option for any team willing to take a chance on his long-term fitness. The former 2005 first-round pick of the Carolina Panthers has endured three ACL injuries in as many years.
However, Davis' talent when healthy is not in dispute. An active and physical linebacker, the 6'0", 240 pounder would fit well either outside in a 4-3 or even on the inside of a 3-4 front.
Davis is likely to be pushed even further down the pecking order after the Panthers selected Luke Kuechly with the ninth overall pick in the draft. Carolina can also rely on stellar veterans Jon Beason and James Anderson.
Teams that should make a trade: Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts
The Eagles addressed the middle of their linebacking unit when they traded for DeMeco Ryans. They could look to strengthen the outside by adding Davis to promising draftee Mychal Kendricks.
The Colts' transition to a 3-4 would certainly go a lot easier with a versatile and athletic presence in the middle.
5. Early Doucet, WR, Arizona Cardinals
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Early Doucet is a crafty route-runner and reliable pass-catcher who always seems to be denied the opportunity to prove his worth as a starter for the Arizona Cardinals. Having spent last season behind Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts, Doucet can expect more of the same after the Cardinals drafted Michael Floyd.
With those kind of riches at wide receiver, the Cardinals could use the underrated Doucet as trade bait. Many teams could use a young wideout with good size and a knack for exploiting the holes in underneath coverage.
Teams that should make a trade: Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams
Arguably no two teams in the NFL have a bigger need for quality additions at wide receiver. Both the Rams and the Browns have a habit of stockpiling draft picks and are usually expected to be choosing early. They should each have plenty of ammunition for what would be a welcome trade.
6. Pat Sims, DT, Cincinnati Bengals
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The Cincinnati Bengals clearly took notice when their usually stout defense was trampled all over by Rashard Mendenhall and Arian Foster. They added hulking tackles Devon Still and Brandon Thompson in the draft and the pair will provide competition behind starting duo Geno Atkins and Domata Peko.
That leaves the future looking murky for the recently re-signed Pat Sims. Yet although he has been blighted by injury concerns, Sims would be an excellent trade target for a team needing help along the interior of their defense.
Sims is a big-bodied plugger in the middle who relies on tremendous strength, aggression and leverage to push the pocket. The 6'2", 330 pounder is a natural run-stuffer who can play the shade technique as a nose tackle or even 2-gap, head up on a guard.
Team that should make a trade: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have a major need at defensive tackle and risked raising the ire of their fanbase by opting to ignore the issue in the draft. Sims could act as the focal point of the run defense and occupy the middle, while Charles Johnson wreaks havoc on the outside.
The 26-year-old also offers the frame to play as a traditional nose tackle, if Ron Rivera and Sean McDermott opt to show more 3-4 fronts this season.
7. Matt Moore, QB, Miami Dolphins
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Watching the Miami Dolphins bring in veteran David Garrard and draft Ryan Tannehill can't have done a lot for the confidence of Matt Moore. However, the fifth-year passer offers starting experience and has posted decent numbers with both the Dolphins and Carolina Panthers.
At 27, Moore can still be developed into a credible starter but his future likely lies away from Miami. If he found the right offense, Moore could yet prove himself a success.
Team that should make a trade: Jacksonville Jaguars
Anyone who suffered through a Blaine Gabbert performance in 2011 has to seriously question whether or not he will ever be the answer in Jacksonville. The Jaguars could provide some string competition and obtain some quality insurance against Gabbert's further struggles with a trade for Moore.
He would certainly represent a more competent option than free-agent acquisitions Chad Henne and Jordan Palmer. A strong camp showing from Moore would quickly put him ahead of Gabbert.