The NFL trade deadline may be a bit more exciting than in years past. A new rule has been put into play, moving the deadline back two weeks to after games in Week 8.
We have reached the end of Week 6, and the trading period is normally over at this point. The new rule will give teams time to figure out which direction they are headed before making a move.
This is great for a team like the Arizona Cardinals, who have lost four key players for an extended period of time due to injury.
They are tied for first place in the NFC West at 4-2, but have a couple of issues to address to become a playoff team.
Arizona could be looking to make a couple of moves between now and Week 8. Here are five realistic transactions that the Cardinals could make over the next two weeks.
The Cardinals running game has been terrible so far this season. Through six weeks, they've averaged only 83.2 yards on the ground. They have also rushed for just two touchdowns, and their 3.4 yards per carry is among the worst in the league.
Arizona was able to have some success running with William Powell. The rookie had 70 yards on just 13 carries last week. While his performance was great, they are still in need of another running back.
This is where Jonathan Dwyer comes into play.
Ken Whisenhunt has brought in a lot of ex-Steelers over the years, so why not make a trade with them? With Rashard Mendenhall back, Pittsburgh no longer needs Dwyer and could be looking to move him.
The Cardinals could use some depth behind Powell and sending a mid- to late-round pick or a corner to Steel Town would give them that depth.
Of all the moves Arizona could have made on the offensive line this offseason, the signing of Adam Snyder was weak. By no means did I think he was going to be this bad, but he wasn’t exactly an upgrade over Rex Hadnot, either.
The Cardinals seemed to have the interior of their line figured out.
Lyle Sendlein and Daryn Colledge both played well in 2011 and they added depth through the draft with the Senio Kelemete pick. That was until Adam Snyder decided he was going to underperform.
Luckily for Arizona, former Titans right guard Jake Scott is still a free agent. He was offered several contracts in the offseason, but felt he was worth more than the veteran minimum.
At this point, just about anyone is worth more than the veteran minimum if it means that Snyder is replaced. Scott would be a pretty big upgrade and is someone who the Cardinals should sign.
If the front office is unable to strike a deal with Pittsburgh, then another running back potentially on the trading block is Chris Ivory.
Ivory is stuck at the bottom of a New Orleans depth chart that features former Heisman winner Mark Ingram, veteran Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.
In just over two seasons as a pro, Ivory has had six starts and averages over five yards per carry. He has proven that he has the capabilities of being a decent running back. Between him and William Powell, the Cards might be able to get a run game going this season.
In return, Arizona could ship a corner or a mid-round pick over to the Saints.
If the trade market is not working for them or they do not want to give up anything for a running back, then look no further than the free-agent pool. Sure, there are no big names, but Joseph Addai and Steve Slaton can both be auditioned.
LaRod Stephens-Howling can be used on screen and toss plays as well as in the Wildcat. There is no reason for him to be running up the middle. Arizona needs another running back, at least until Beanie Wells returns in Week 12.
Both Addai and Slaton are experienced running backs who can eat up carries and provide Alfonso Smith with a bit of competition. The Cardinals should look to sign one of these two backs if they cannot work out a trade.
In a perfect world, the Cardinals would trade for Chris Johnson; he would restructure his contract, and return to 2008 form. That, however, is about as likely as Peyton Manning choosing Arizona over Denver.
The only real big name I can see Arizona targeting is Dolphins left tackle Jake Long. Miami is in a rebuilding process. They drafted their quarterback of the future and traded away Vontae Davis for draft picks.
With more than one hole to fill, who’s to say that Jake Long isn’t the next to go?
The Cardinals offensive line has been putrid this season, but the addition of Long alone could put them back into playoff contention.
Working alongside Daryn Colledge, the left side of the line would be solidified. This is a great move for Arizona for the present and for the future. When Levi Brown returns from injury, he can be moved over to the right side or even into guard.
Miami will likely be looking for a first-round pick and an additional pick or player. They are currently in need of a wide receiver, so that player could be Early Doucet.
While this deal may seem a bit far-fetched, it is one that the Cardinals and Dolphins should be able to pull off in two weeks.