With a handful of hot commodities available this offseason, it seems that this will be one of the busiest offseasons in recent memory in terms of player movement via trade.
Allow me to break down a few of the bigger names, as well as where I predict they’ll end up in 2009.
Matt Cassel, QB, New England Patriots (Franchised)
Cassel stepped in for Tom Brady, and played admirably considering he hadn’t started a game since 1999, as a senior in high school. He’ll be highly coveted, though his huge price tag against the cap will probably lower his value, or force a team to sign him to “Matt Schaub type money” before trading for him.
Prediction: Trade to Kansas City for conditional 2010 second round pick.
Derek Anderson, QB, Cleveland Browns (second year of three year, $27 million deal)
Lost in the shuffle is that 2007 Pro Bowler Derek Anderson could be starting in a new city in 2009. He’s got prototypical size, and a very strong arm, though his accuracy is a concern. He’d probably be a fit in a more traditional, old school offense.
Prediction: Traded to Arizona for second round pick
Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals (third year of six year, $50.8 million deal)
Leinart, only 25 years old when the 2010 season begins, has clearly lost some favor in Arizona. He was drafted under Dennis Green, and really doesn’t fit the team’s scheme. His fit is limited, as he’s probably a WCO quarterback going forward, though the offense runs rampant through the NFL. Minnesota, San Francisco and Tampa Bay seem like the most likely options.
Prediction: Traded to Tampa Bay for conditional fourth round pick
Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (second year of six year, $45.05 million deal)
The oft-problematic Johnson wants out of Kansas City. After carrying the ball 416 times in 2006, injuries and off-the-field troubles have limited the former star to 351 carries in the last two years. Johnson seems perennially unhappy, and no team should be overly optimistic about that changing.
Prediction: Poor 2009 performance with the Chiefs, cut in the 2009 offseason
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers (sixth year of eight year, $60 million deal)
The idea of trading Tomlinson boggles my mind. He’s the face of the franchise, an absolute competitor, and one of few players who truly take pride in the name on the front of the jersey, as opposed to the back. I hope this isn’t a Barry Sanders scenario in the making.
Prediction: Restructured contract, back-loaded, with $5 million in new guaranteed money.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona Cardinals (third year of a four year, $22.67 million deal)
Boldin wants Larry Fitzgerald money. Boldin’s partner in crime got a four-year, $40 million deal after the 2007 season. Words like “irreparable” have been thrown around about Boldin’s rocky relationship with the Cardinals’ front office.
Prediction: Traded to Washington for 2009 second round pick and 2010 first round pick
Chad Ocho Cinco (Johnson), WR, Cincinnati Bengals (fourth year of six year, $35.5 million deal)
Chad Johnson was once a guilty pleasure of mine. I rail against self-celebration in any arena of life, but Johnson didn’t tear teams apart, get in trouble off the field, etc. Enter Chad “Ocho Cinco.” Apart from the crime against the Spanish language, the WR formerly known as Johnson become a major locker room headache.
Prediction: Traded to Raiders for third round pick
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (third year of five year, $35 million deal)
Much like Ladainian Tomlinson, Gonzalez has been the face of the Chiefs franchise for years. However, Gonzalez wants to play for a winner, who can blame him? He’s played with a bevy of quarterbacks in recent years, and has a limited amount of time left in the league.
Prediction: Remains in Kansas City
Kellen Winslow Jr., TE, Cleveland Browns (fifth year of six year, $40 million deal)*
*Winslow’s contract has a murky structure, as he lost over $5 million his rookie season for not reaching incentives, not related to his 2005 motorcycle accident.
Winslow is seemingly constantly at odds with someone. He made a valid claim in 2008 in my opinion, stating his wishes for the Browns to fully address the problem which has led to six Browns players contracting staph infections in recent seasons.
Prediction: Traded to Atlanta for third round pick
Julius Peppers, DE/OLB, Carolina Panthers (Free agent/Potential Franchise tag)
Peppers wants out of Carolina. Not because of the team’s success, or money issues, but to maximize his potential. He wants to play OLB in a 3-4. Surely he’s athletic enough, I have a sick feeling that he’ll be a bargain for a contender.
Prediction: Signs with New England, five year, $40 million range. Traded for 2010 conditional first rounder if franchised.
LeRoy Hill, OLB, Seattle Seahawks (Free Agent/Potential Franchise Tag)
Despite Tim Ruskell’s efforts to clean up the Seahawks image, the past two high-profile free agents the team has had, Hill and Jerramy Stevens, have celebrated their free agency, apparently, by smoking weed, driving, and subsequently getting pulled over. Hill’s value took a huge hit after a stellar 2008 season. Hill’s a bit undersized and probably fits best in a cover-two scheme.
Prediction: Re-signs with Seahawks, three years, $15 million, chalked full of behavioral clauses, as well as potential opt-out incentives on Hill’s side.
Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Oakland Raiders (Free Agent/Potential Franchise Tag)
Asomugha has seemingly over-taken Champ Bailey’s spot as the NFL’s consensus best cornerback. He’s been a “good soldier,” under Al Davis’ mismanaged reign in Oakland in recent years. It’s probably put up or shut up time for the Raiders, as franchising Asomugha is becoming extremely expensive.
Prediction: Traded to Houston for 2010 first round pick, signs five year, $55 million extension