Don’t look now, but the NFL’s trade deadline is only two weeks away. Before this season, the normal deadline would fall on today’s date, but a rule change over the offseason pushed it back two weeks.
After a disappointing 3-3 start to the season, the Green Bay Packers are one of many teams that may look to shake up the roster at the deadline for some rejuvenation heading into the second half of the 2012 season.
Here are four possible moves Green Bay could make. Since NFL trades are almost always for draft picks, all these moves are assumed to be for just that.
Now that the New York Jets are 3-3 and are in a four-way tie for first (and last) place in the AFC East, they are very much alive in the playoff race.
Needless to say, New York is most lacking in the passing game, especially after losing top wide receiver Santonio Holmes for the year.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the possibility of Greg Jennings, and I wrote earlier this year the Packers shouldn’t go through with it. But with the recent emergence of James Jones and Randall Cobb, I would feel a lot more confident trading away the two-time Pro Bowler.
The Jets might be a little hesitant with this trade since Jennings has missed six of his last nine regular-season games due to injury, but he’s a proven veteran that would greatly help their pass attack.
The Packers, meanwhile, would get at least a second-round or multiple third-round picks for the always pick-loving Ted Thompson.
On the flip side of that, if Thompson is confident Jennings can return to his pre-injury form, James Jones would be the receiver to deal.
Green Bay is loaded with talent at that position and can afford to trade one away.
Jones’ stock has never been higher. Through six games, he has already tied his career high of touchdown receptions with seven and is on pace to set a new career high in both receptions and yards.
Jones has only missed six games in his six-year career and has proved he’s capable of being a team’s No. 1 receiving option.
The Rams have plenty of draft picks after trading down multiple times in the 2012 NFL draft and could more than satisfy Thompson’s demands.
First, starting inside linebacker Desmond Bishop endured a season-ending injury in the preseason, which was a huge blow.
Now, his backup, D.J. Smith, is done for the year as well.
Although I’m confident Robert Francois can come in and fill the void well, I’m very nervous about the depth behind him. The only remaining inside linebackers are Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore, both of whom were outside linebackers until this offseason, and rookie Terrell Manning.
To provide some depth, I say bring back former Packer Nick Barnett. The Bills aren’t going to do anything special this year and would be better off stacking draft picks for the future.
Green Bay would likely only have to give up a sixth- or seventh-rounder. Barnett was always very good for the Packers and would be familiar with Dom Capers’ system, having spent two years in his defense before departing for Buffalo.
Barnett has always truly been a Packer and would love a return to Green Bay.
Just like the inside linebacker position, Green Bay’s running back depth is a little thin right now. Just as newcomer Cedric Benson seemed to be getting comfortable in the offense, he went down with a foot injury and can’t return until December 16 when the Packers visit Chicago.
Brandon Saine was just put on IR and is done for the year. That leaves only Alex Green, James Starks, Johnny Winter and John Kuhn to run the football.
I’m confident in Alex Green after his performance against the Texans, but again, the depth worries me. Starks just got back from a turf toe injury and has always had trouble staying healthy, Winter was just picked up off of waivers and Kuhn is a fullback.
The Carolina Panthers, on the other hand, have a plethora of running backs. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are locked up for at least four years each, leaving Mike Tolbert the odd man out.
Although he was a solid runner in San Diego, the heavy competition in Carolina has allowed Tolbert to carry the ball only 11 times this season.
He’s a powerful runner that would be a great goal-line option, and he’s also a great pass-catcher—he snagged 54 passes last year.
Both of those attributes would go great with Green Bay’s offense.
Losing one draft pick would be well worth Tolbert’s services.