5 NFL Players Likely to Be Dealt Before NFL Season Opener

Marques EversollAnalyst IAugust 14, 2012

5 NFL Players Likely to Be Dealt Before NFL Season Opener

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    Trades in the NFL are very different than in other sports.

    Unlike the NBA and MLB, rarely are star players traded in the NFL. And while draft-day trades are incredibly common, player-for-player trades are extremely scarce in football.

    Last year with the lockout in full effect, there were a plethora of preseason trades with the likes of Reggie Bush, Greg Olsen, Brodrick Bunkley, Lee Evans and Tim Hightower being shipped elsewhere. Already this offseason, star players Brandon Marshall, DeMeco Ryans, Asante Samuel and others have found new homes.

    Oh, yeah. And the Jets acquired a new backup quarterback.

    Let's take a look at five players who could be moved prior to the 2012 NFL season opener.

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    Marques Eversoll is a Packers writer at Jersey Al's AllGBP.com, and an NFL Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

5. Chris Williams, OT, Chicago

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    The offensive line has been a weak spot for Chicago in recent years, but with Gabe Carimi returning to the field from injury, the Bears could afford to unload Chris Williams.

    Carimi figures to be Chicago's starting right tackle, while J'Marcus Webb is slated as the Bears' starting left tackle. Despite not being a starter, Williams is the team's best reserve lineman—that is when he's healthy.

    Williams was the 14th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, but injuries have prevented him from living up to his potential. After he's missed 17 games in four NFL seasons, the Bears may finally be willing to cut the cord on Williams if the price is right.

    Chicago likely wouldn't get much in return for the veteran tackle, but a package of late-round draft picks may be enough to pry him away from the Bears.

    Chance of Trade: 25 Percent

4. Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland

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    The Browns traded up to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft.

    Richardson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday, but the team is still hopeful that he'll be ready for Cleveland's Week 1 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Behind their new "feature back" in Richardson, the Browns have three capable runners in Chris Ogbannaya, Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty.

    Ogbannaya has shown flashes when given an opportunity, Jackson is one of the most reliable pass-protecting backs in football, but it's Hardesty who would likely be the most attractive Browns running back available via trade. At 6'0", 225 and with 4.4 speed, Hardesty certainly passes the eye test for the position.

    Given the numerous weaknesses on Cleveland's roster, unloading a player at a position of strength like running back would make some sense.

    Chance of Trade: 25 Percent

3. Mike Jenkins, CB, Dallas

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    After putting on a porous display of pass defense last season, the Dallas Cowboys made it a priority to improve their secondary this offseason.

    In free agency, Jerry Jones signed former Kansas City cornerback Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million contract. Then in the draft, Jones moved up from No. 14 all the way to No. 6 to draft LSU's Morris Claiborne—the top cornerback in the 2012 NFL draft.

    Claiborne and Carr sounds like a presidential ticket, and the Cowboys will hope their new cornerback duo brings change to a unit that struggled in 2011. All of the sudden, Dallas has quality depth at cornerback, as both Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick have starting experience and potential.

    And despite the fact that Jason Garrett has insisted on the Cowboys keeping Jenkins, the team may receive an offer they can't resist. The Colts have shown serious interest in Jenkins, and if they're willing to up their offer, the Cowboys' overhaul in the secondary could continue.

    Chance of Trade: 40 Percent

2. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver

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    Going from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning at quarterback is like going from the merry-go-round to Disney World.

    Tebow was a success story last season in leading the Broncos to the playoffs, but the former Heisman Trophy winner struggled throwing the football. At one point last season on the Rich Eisen Podcast, comedian Hank Azaria summed Tebow up perfectly, "He combines all the fiery leadership of Ray Lewis with the throwing ability of Ray Lewis.”

    With a new-look offense in place under Manning and the "feature back" role occupied with Willis McGahee, the Broncos spent a third-round pick on San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman. The rookie has missed several practices, as well as the team's preseason opener, but Hillman appears to be an ideal fit for Manning's high-tempo spread attack.

    Denver is very deep at running back behind McGahee and Hillman with Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball as reserves. If the Broncos were to unload Moreno for a veteran at another position or a draft pick in the middle rounds, they'd still be in good shape at the position with McGahee, Hillman and Ball.

    Chance of Trade: 30 Percent

1. Colt McCoy, QB, Cleveland

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    The most likely player to be traded prior to the 2012 season is Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy.

    Green Bay and Philadelphia have been mentioned as possible landing spots for the veteran entering this third season, but nothing has come to fruition quite yet. McCoy didn't mince words when asked by ESPN to comment after the Browns named rookie Brandon Weeden their starting quarterback Monday:

    "I haven't taken any snaps in walk-through or in practice with the first group. I thought coming in it would be a competition."

    If the Packers were willing to ship a fifth-round pick to the Browns—which is certainly not a sure thing, given Ted Thompson's reluctance to part ways with draft picks—that may very well be enough to pry McCoy away from Cleveland.

    The Browns' backup quarterback position will be in solid shape regardless of whether McCoy is around in 2012, as third-stringer Seneca Wallace may even be better than McCoy. It's far from a certainty, but there seems to be a strong chance that McCoy will be playing elsewhere in 2012.

    Chance of Trade: 65 Percent