NFL Trade Rumors: Players Who Could Fill Teams' Biggest Holes
There has been little buzz about NFL trade rumors heading into the week before the trade deadline in Week 8. Still, a few marquee players’ names have been tossed about as potential candidates to finish the 2012 NFL season wearing different uniforms than the ones they currently occupy.
The following five skill-position players can still contribute more than headlines to an NFL team—and their names have been brought up in trade rumors.
Here’s where they might best make a splash elsewhere in the league.
5. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
In the early stages of the 2012 season, Chris Johnson’s name surfaced as a candidate to be released by the Tennessee Titans.
Since then, injuries happened at the running back position—as they always do.
The Arizona Cardinals lost Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams to the injured reserve list for varying lengths of time. Wells is eligible to return this season. Williams is not.
Injuries to the Cardinals’ first two running backs prompted NBCSports.com’s Mike Florio to suggest that Arizona inquire about Johnson’s services.
Arizona has seen William Powell and LaRod Stephens-Howling each produce a nice game in the last two weeks, which may lessen its desire to trade for a running back.
Johnson has been more productive lately for Tennessee as well, likely removing any drive it may have had to deal the franchise running back.
He would be a valuable asset to the Cardinals, but his value to the Titans is best served in Tennessee—Johnson should stay put.
4. Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints
Ivory’s name was mentioned in trade rumors as early as August. The Detroit Lions were the first team to be associated with Ivory on the rumor mill, but they went with Kevin Smith in Mikel Leshoure’s absence earlier this season and appear to be out of the market for running backs.
The Saints have depth at tailback, including Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and 2011 first-round draft selection Mark Ingram.
Ivory has some regular-season success to his credit: The third-year back boasts a 5.0 career average yards per carry on 216 attempts.
Ivory’s status as an odd man out led to speculation that he may be a fit with the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona is down to its third- and fourth-string running backs, William Powell and LaRod Stephens-Howling, after losing Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams to injury.
It would be a realistic pursuit for the Cardinals to go after Ivory, but his success in Arizona would be limited by a poor offensive line and a passing game that currently ranks 26th in passing yards per game.
He could be a good fit lining up behind Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are also working through an injury to Donald Brown at the running back position.
Second-string RB rookie Vick Ballard has averaged 3.1 yards per carry in 2012.
3. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson’s name has been among the hottest in trade rumors since before April’s NFL draft. He has since had the final year (2013) of his contract voided by the team, which should signal one of two things.
Jackson may take a pay cut from the Rams—he would have collected $7 million in base salary next season—or he may be traded this season to a team that is in a better position to win the Super Bowl.
The Green Bay Packers would be a terrific fit for the downhill runner should the Rams let its team leader walk this season. St. Louis is more interested in draft picks than players, but the Packers have an intriguing asset that the Rams may accept in return: Greg Jennings.
A potential Jackson-for-Jennings swap would benefit both teams. Green Bay would get a versatile, tough runner who can pass-block and catch balls out of the backfield for its run into the playoffs.
It will also be able to get a personal look at him to see if he’s a good fit for their scheme in the next few years.
The Rams would reap a similar benefit from the 29-year-old Jennings’ arrival. If he came to St. Louis and helped the team succeed, he may be willing to re-sign to catch passes from Sam Bradford in 2013.
Player-for-player trades don’t generally happen in the NFL, but this one makes sense for both sides.
2. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
A tweet from Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole reiterated Bowe’s apparent disenchantment with playing for the Kansas City Chiefs last week.
Of course, that sparked discussion on whether the Chiefs should move Bowe for whatever compensation they can get before he walks on his own.
That’s sound logic.
Miami has been brought up as a possible destination for the franchise receiver. The Chiefs would most likely gain a draft pick (or package of picks) with which they can retool their roster if they allow Bowe to go to Miami.
The Miami Dolphins don’t appear to be a good fit for Bowe, however. Bowe’s name has been in the national headlines more often for his exploits off the field than on it—and the current Dolphins regime has already shown little patience with receivers that fit that description.
Bowe’s name has also been linked to the St. Louis Rams: a team that’s also unlikely to pull the trigger on the Chiefs receiver.
The Rams want to acquire draft picks, not deal them.
Bowe would likely fit best with the New York Jets or Carolina Panthers—teams whose names have not been mentioned much in trade scenarios.
In either location, Bowe would be able to provide a reliable target to a team with a lot invested in its respective quarterback. Cam Newton was the NFL draft’s No. 1 overall pick in 2011, and Mark Sanchez’s contract was extended in the 2012 offseason.
1. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers have enough depth at wide receiver to contemplate life without the 29-year-old as early as last month.
James Jones has produced when called upon, and Randall Cobb is enjoying a breakout season in his sophomore year. The Packers also have to attend to other contracts of star players at other positions—like quarterback Aaron Rodgers after (or before) the 2014 season.
As mentioned before, Jennings to the St. Louis Rams makes sense.
But Jennings to the Miami Dolphins makes even more sense. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had this to say about the Dolphins’ potential interest in the wideout:
“Bereft of talent at the position, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin always has spoken of Jennings in glowing terms and has extra picks in the second, third, sixth and seventh rounds for 2013.”
Of course, Philbin was the offensive coordinator with Green Bay before being hired on as the Dolphins head coach.
Jennings would give rookie Ryan Tannehill a proven target to throw to as he matures as a quarterback. It will also allow for receiver Brian Hartline to draw coverage from defenses’ No. 2 cornerbacks so he doesn’t get blanked often in the future.
Davone Bess would be freed up more in the slot, and the Miami Dolphins offense would get scary sooner than later with Jennings.