With the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine only a couple of days away, much of the buzz around the NFL at the moment has been centered on the next generation of stars.
Despite that, plenty of attention is still being given to the more established players of the league who could be making moves in the offseason—either through free agency or through potential trades prior to the start of the 2013-14 season.
And there's little doubting that some of the rumored deals would have a profound impact on the season and indeed the playoffs, should they go through. Here are some of the biggest deals that, if processed, would definitely shake up the league in 2013.
With contract negotiations believed to have broken down over the offseason (per ProFootball Talk), Vikings star wide receiver Percy Harvin was thought to be on the trade block by the club—given his attractiveness and what he could bring in exchange to Minnesota.
However, according to the latest comments from Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, the franchise will not look to trade Harvin in 2013—not for anything.
While it seems that the wide receiver will stay with the Vikings for now, it doesn't quite seem that the star will remain in Minnesota forever. In fact, Greg Rosenthal from NFL.com reports that "it's hard to imagine Harvin signing his next contract with Minnesota."
Good news Minnesota!! --- Vikings GM Rick Spielman says he has no intention of trading WR Percy Harvin.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 15, 2013
But even still, to keep him for another year and not lose the star is a huge catch for the Vikings, who have to be considered a playoff threat again in 2013 because of it.
Perhaps the biggest part is the fact that the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots can't potentially have Harvin in their starting lineups now—either of which would have become immediate Super Bowl favorites if that were to happen.
Minnesota keeping him at least for another year is huge for a franchise that made the playoffs without him last year. They must surely be considered a stronger team now that he's in their lineup—providing he can stay healthy this year—and must be thought of as a playoff threat once more.
Even if there were perhaps other reasons for wanting Harvin to stay on.
Of course, Adrian Peterson doesn't want to trade Percy Harvin.Dude doesn't want to see 11 men in the box.— Jim Rome (@jimrome) February 13, 2013
Now backup San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith endured a horrible season last year—getting benched when he had done nothing wrong. Now it seems, not even the trade market wants the former playoff quarterback, with the value on Smith seemingly pretty low at the moment,
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on NFL Live (h/t Rotoworld) that the trade market on Smith is "limited" at the moment, with the likelihood of a deal to several NFL teams very low.
Specifically, Smith going to the Browns is a "long shot," per Mortensen. The Jets can't afford his contract, the Cardinals are the 49ers' division opponent, and the Chiefs might explore Nick Foles or Geno Smith first.
Anyone who's kept tabs on Smith the past two years won't be surprised. Smith was available in 2012 free agency, and only the 49ers and Dolphins showed much interest in him -- both after missing out on other quarterbacks.
Smith's physical skill set is just borderline starting-caliber, and he was benched this past season. The 49ers won't get more than a mid- to late-round pick on the trade market.
The lack of trade value isn't good for Smith, who will now most likely back up Colin Kaepernick for the remainder of the season, seeing that the Niners certainly don't need another mid-round draft pick, with 12 picks already for the 2013 NFL draft.
Lack of interest in Alex Smith makes plenty of sense. Guy had ZERO success in his career until paired with Harbaugh & elite supporting cast— Joe Caporoso (@TurnOnTheJets) February 13, 2013
It's good news for San Francisco, who have a genuine quarterback under center should Kaepernick get hurt or struggle in 2013, and it may just keep the Niners up there in Super Bowl contention once more should either of those happen in 2013-14.
Bad news for Smith, but not necessarily bad news all around.