NFL Trade Deadline: Ranking the Top 8 Most Untradeable Players in the NFL Today
These untradeable players are headed by the league's most polarizing figure Tim Tebow. They also include a pair of 1,000-yard rushers who only superficially appear to represent good deals. Age and projected contract values, actually make both of these star runners a risk.
There is also an aging defensive end who is a member of the 100 sack club, but is not enjoying life at a new position. Here are the top eight untradeable players in the league.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
It's good that this author is not the general manager for an NFL team, because that team would pull the trigger on a trade for Steven Jackson in a heartbeat. However, as talented as the St. Louis Rams star is, Jackson simply doesn't represent the best trade value at this point in his career.
The 29-year-old is at a tough age for running backs, one which usually heralds the start of a runner's decline. While this rather loose rule doesn't always apply, Jackson has endured nine difficult pro seasons.
As the Rams' lone offensive weapon of note for much of that time, Jackson has taken quite a pounding, thanks partly to his bruising style.
The question for any team making the trade is whether Jackson can still be relied upon to carry the full starting load he would surely want on a new team.
There's also the not so small issue of what level of compensation the Rams might require for the player who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in seven-straight seasons.
They have the option to void the final year of his contract, and it would be difficult for the Rams to command top value. So it's safer to expect Jackson to test the free agent market next year.
Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears
Lance Briggs is an outstanding linebacker, but a lousy choice for trade. Briggs has been the subject of trade rumors in the past and while he may have been a safe bet one or two years ago, the veteran would certainly be a risk now.
Briggs is in his 10th season and set to turn 32 during this campaign. He still remains a savvy thumper, but has lost a step of quickness and is understandably not quite as athletically sharp as in previous years.
There's also the issue that Briggs has played a very specific role in a Tampa-2 system for most of his career.
That may make him a little scheme-limited and would reduce the number of potential trade suitors. Along with his age, that factor makes Briggs an untradeable player.
Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants
Osi Umenyiora is another standout defender who has been the subject of more than his fair share of trade speculation. However, the veteran New York Giants' rush end no longer represents the value he once did.
That's not to say Umenyiora couldn't be useful for plenty of teams around the league. He is still as fine a pass-rusher as there is.
However, at this stage of his career, he seems best suited to the situational role he has often loathed during his time plying his trade in the Big Apple.
It seems unlikely that the 30-year-old could still provide the answer for a team seeking every down help at defensive end.
Donald Driver, WR, Green Bay Packers
Donald Driver has seen his playing time cut back significantly during the last three seasons. There have been rumors that Driver doesn't appreciate having fewer passes come his way.
Yet that doesn't mean teams should be queuing up to trade for his services. As smart and talented as he is, Driver is now 37 and unlikely to operate as a primary receiver for anyone.
Dealing away a draft choice for a player who could only contribute sparingly for one, maybe two seasons, is too expensive a proposition to consider.
Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts
Dwight Freeney hasn't exactly thrived in the Indianapolis Colts' new-look 3-4 defense. The 11-year-veteran has registered just four tackles and only a single sack.
Freeney is no outside linebacker and although he has 103.5 career sacks to his credit, the soon to be 33-year-old doesn't offer outstanding trade value. He has had injury issues on and off since 2007 and his foot speed isn't what it used to be.
Any deal for Freeney would be unfairly skewed in the Colts favor, although a trade was seriously explored during the offseason.
However, giving up a high draft pick and paying a hefty salary to Freeney at this stage of his career, would merely be a risky, short-term deal for any trade partner.
Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
With C.J. Spiller emerging as a truly dynamic playmaker, 30-year-old standout Fred Jackson might soon become expendable. The seemingly always rebuilding Buffalo Bills could be tempted to dangle him in a trade.
The problem is that the 31-year-old is only averaging 3.7 yards a carry this season. At his age, Jackson is nearing a probable period of decline.
He has also never managed to complete a full season. However, age and injury issues wouldn't stop the Bills from demanding top value for a player who has topped 900 yards rushing in three of the last four seasons.
Yet those concerns should prevent any potential trade suitor from paying a steep asking price.
D.J. Williams, LB, Denver Broncos
D.J. Williams is a talented linebacker, but a myriad of legal troubles, means even if the Denver Broncos decide to give up on him, a trade for the troubled defender is one to avoid.
The Broncos would certainly find it difficult to get even reasonable value for a 30-year-old veteran, especially one with his problems with the law. Williams is serving a nine-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs and charges related to driving under the influence.
He has been a productive player during the last three seasons, but too many teams would likely be reluctant to deal away anything for that amount of negative baggage.
Tim Tebow, QB, New York Jets
How could the New York Jets expect to get even decent value by trading Tim Tebow? He has failed to unseat struggling starter Mark Sanchez and at this point, and is a quarterback in name only.
Tebow is usually limited to less than 10 offensive snaps a game for Gang Green. He currently spends most of his time acting as a decoy and providing some trickery on special teams.
What should a team be expected to trade for that list of services? Calls for a trade are building, but who would pay the price? A return to Florida perhaps?
It's not easy to see, considering the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins are both developing young quarterbacks, as are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's difficult to believe either one of this trio would roll out a "welcome home" mat.
It's not just the high salary that would be an issue for any team willing to take the Tebow gamble. The real problem is the swirl of media attention and intense speculation that surrounds Tebow and can be a divisive force in a locker room.
It worked for the Denver Broncos for half a season, but now the rest of the league has seen what it looks like when the Tebow-inspired media circus goes wrong. That gives other NFL franchises all the reason they need to give any trade for Tebow a wide berth.