The National Football League's trade deadline has been extended until Thursday due to the havoc that Hurricane Sandy has wreaked along the Eastern Seaboard, and as that deadline approaches, a couple of running backs are among the most talked-about players where potential deals are concerned.
One of those backs, DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers, has drawn interest from at least one team according to Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer, but as is usually the case head coach Ron Rivera did his best to quell speculation about the seventh-year pro being dealt:
We've got to sit here and see if somebody does call, but we're not looking to move anybody or send anybody away or try to get anybody out there. I don't think we have a lot to give in terms of trying to trade for players.
Apparently at least one club disagrees, and given that speculating is more or less what I'm here for, here's a look at a trio of teams for whom acquiring DeAngelo Williams could mean the difference between a postseason appearance and sitting at home watching the playoffs on TV.
Green Bay Packers
In all fairness, after reeling off three consecutive victories, the Green Bay Packers have already gotten themselves back into the playoff chase. However, the 5-3 Packers could stand to bolster a rushing attack that ranks 26th in the NFL, especially with injuries mounting at wide receiver and starting tailback Cedric Benson sidelined indefinitely with an injured foot.
Dan O' Donnell of WTMJ-Radio reports that there are rumors floating around that the Packers could be exploring a deal for Williams. As O' Donnell points out, though, making a trade for Williams would run contrary to general manager Ted Thompson's usual modus operandi, especially given the size of Williams' contract.
Oh, well, at least they have that Rodgers guy at quarterback. I hear he's pretty good.
The Packers aren't the only team in the NFC North that could use a bump in the backfield. The Detroit Lions have used a combination of Kevin Smith, Mikel LeShoure and Joique Bell this season with none of the backs proving especially effective. Sitting at 3-4 with the 22nd-ranked running attack in the NFL, the Lions could certainly use a spark on offense.
This is the sort of deal that makes so much sense that there's almost no chance it will happen. The Lions could desperately use a long-term solution at running back—and Williams could easily thrive in Detroit's offense—but the $43 million remaining on Williams' deal may make the Lions leery of pulling the trigger.
Before you even say it, yes, I know that the Arizona Cardinals need offensive line help in the worst way imaginable.
However, the simple fact is that you're not going to be able to trade for an offensive lineman that's even halfway serviceable. The least the team could do is upgrade a rushing attack that just ran for all of seven yards in Week 8, the lowest total by the team in over half a century.
Of the three teams listed here, this scenario might be the most likely. The team holds a club option on injured starter Beanie Wells for the 2013 season, and backup Ryan Williams has spent the majority of his first two seasons on injured reserve. Even given Williams' fat contract, the Redbirds might still bite as they try to right the ship after four straight losses.
Still, odds are they won't, nor will any of these teams, and DeAngelo Williams will report to practice Friday as a member of the Carolina Panthers.
Where trades are concerned at least it's too bad the NFL can't be a little more like Major League Baseball.
It would be more fun that way.