The 10 Most Plausible NFL Draft-Day Trades
Trades are becoming a bit more evident in recent years around the NFL.
There are myriad of reasons for this, but mainly it's about teams attempting to target a specific rookie or veteran during the draft.
Two of the San Francisco 49ers' best players, Colin Kaepernick and NaVorro Bowman, were acquired via draft-day trades. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with a pick that was originally held by the 49ers.
Those are just three examples of many draft-day trades that have worked out.
With the free-agent market quickly becoming void of decent talent, teams will also start to turn their attention to the trade market. There are a ton of options out there, even after the trades that we have seen over the last month.
Here is a gander at 10 plausible trades that could take place either prior to the draft later this month or during the annual event in New York City.
Note: I initially had Carson Palmer, Matt Flynn and Colt McCoy included in this article. All three were traded earlier in the week.
Tim Tebow to the Seattle Seahawks
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Hear me out. I did not add Tim Tebow to this list for shock value or page clicks.
It goes without saying that he is on the trade market after the New York Jets made it known that he doesn't fit with what they're building moving forward.
With all these quarterbacks off the market via trade—Colt McCoy, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer, to name a few—the Seattle Seahawks are going to have to get creative in terms of finding a backup quarterback for Russell Wilson.
Tebow could easily do what the 49ers are going to ask of McCoy. That is to mirror the read option as a scout-team quarterback in practice. In addition, Seattle may benefit from using him in short-yardage situations as a fullback.
In terms of value, it doesn't seem like the Jets are going to get much for him. Seattle could probably swing a deal that includes a late-round pick in either 2013 or 2014.
The former first-round pick is set to count just $2.6 million against the cap this upcoming season.
Seattle has scheduled a private workout with Matt Scott, who is projected to be a mid-round pick later this month. Scott fits well in a read-option system and could play a role similar to what I view Tebow as playing.
With that said, Seattle might not want to exhaust a third- or fourth-rounder on a backup quarterback.
Tebow would be a "cheaper" option.
Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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With the news that the San Francisco 49ers have signed Nnamdi Asomugha to a one-year contract, it is becoming readily apparent that the market for Darrelle Revis is limited to one team (via ESPN).
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been in negotiations with the Jets for Revis. While there seems to be a split between the two teams, the Bucs might have already agreed to trade a first-round pick either in 2013 or 2014 (via NFL.com).
I have a sneaking suspicion that this will get done at, or around, the draft. Tampa Bay is incredibly thin at cornerback. Its attempt to restructure the contract of enigmatic starter Eric Wright is not a done deal yet (via Tampa Bay Times). Until it is, the likelihood the Bucs fold in negotiations and go after Revis increases.
They'd likely have to surrender their first-round pick in 2013 for the Jets cornerback. If not, new Jets general manager John Idzik could be willing to take a first-rounder in 2014 and an additional pick this month.
Either way, expect this deal to get worked out before Mr. Irrelevant hears his name called in a little over three weeks.
Rodger Saffold to the San Diego Chargers
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This is all contingent on a couple of things. First, that the rift between Rodger Saffold and St. Louis is real. Second, that one of the top three offensive tackles in the upcoming draft doesn't fall to the San Diego Chargers at No. 11.
Jim Thomas of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported late last month that Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has not been able to contact Saffold since St. Louis signed Jake Long to a mega deal earlier in March.
It could be that he isn't happy about a potential move to right tackle.
While this could just be much ado about nothing, the Rams may have to seriously consider moving the 2010 second-round pick and replacing him with one of the many veterans currently on the free-agent market.
As it relates to the Chargers, they are in an unenviable position. They need to get at least one upgrade at offensive tackle but may be left out in the cold come draft day. While it is rare to see three tackles go in the top 10, the makeup of the 2013 draft suggests that this could happen. It isn't top-heavy on elite skill-position talent and possesses three future blind-side left tackles.
If the board plays out like many expect, San Diego will have to look at another position in the first round and hope either Terron Armstead, Kyle Long or D.J. Fluker falls to the second round.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Saffold ranked 16th among all offensive tackles in protection last season. He would be an immediate upgrade over newly acquired King Dunlap at left tackle in 2013.
It would likely take a third-round pick for San Diego to nab the high-upside youngster.
Branden Albert to the Arizona Cardinals
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Are the Kansas City Chiefs seriously considering trading franchise left tackle Branden Albert? If you listen to various reports around football, they may in fact be leaning in that direction.
In a conversation with the NFL Network on Tuesday, Albert stated the following (h/t ESPN):
I want that long-term commitment....But as you know in football, you don't have too much control of the situation. I want to play for the Chiefs, but I want that commitment long term.
When posed with the all-important question of whether he'd be willing to move to right tackle, Albert emphatically denied that as a possibility:
That's not something I want to do...I want to play left tackle. I've been playing left tackle the last five years of my career.
This means that if the Chiefs are serious about going with either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher No. 1 later this month, they will likely have to find a trade partner for Albert.
That won't be too hard.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Albert ranked 11th among all tackles in pass protection. It goes without saying that he would be an immediate upgrade along the Arizona Cardinals disastrous offensive line.
The possible addition of Albert would enable Kansas City to cut ties with Levi Brown, while inserting impressive youngster Bobby Massie in as a bookend next to Albert.
The Cardinals would probably have to give up their second-round pick and future compensation to get a deal done.
Is Albert worth it?
St. Louis Rams Trade Up for Chance Warmack
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The St. Louis Rams have a franchise blind-side protector after signing former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long away from the Miami Dolphins last month. They now need to find an interior presence along the offensive line.
Fortunately for the Rams, they have two first-round picks to use as collateral. Even more fortunate for the Rams, they might not have to use both to trade up for the consensus No. 1 guard in the draft.
While I have a top-five grade on Chance Warmack, it is highly unlikely that he will go that high. I graded David DeCastro out of the sixth-best prospect in the 2012 NFL draft, but he ended up falling all the way to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 24. A lot of this has to do with the fact that teams just don't value guards that high in the draft.
St. Louis could easily see how the board plays out and take a gamble that Warmack falls to it at 16. Considering that the Tennessee Titans signed Andy Levitre away from the Buffalo Bills at the start of the new league year, the likelihood of this happening might have increased a great deal.
As it is, St. Louis could afford to trade up a few slots to guarantee that it gets the consensus No. 1 guard in the draft.
This deal would also enable the Rams to release Harvey Dahl, saving them $4 million against the cap in 2013.
San Francisco 49ers Trade Up for Kenny Vaccaro
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At the end of the 2012 season many concluded that the San Francisco 49ers would just sit back and wait for the draft to fill the needs they had.
This obviously hasn't been the case.
By acquiring Anquan Boldin, Glenn Dorsey, Nnamdi Asomugha, Phil Dawson and Colt McCoy, San Francisco has filled five of its biggest holes in the open market. It now must address just a couple areas of concern in the draft later this month. The "problem" here is that San Francisco possesses 13 picks, including five in the first three rounds.
With a roster that will be contending for a Super Bowl in 2013, it goes without saying that the 49ers don't have room for more than a half-dozen rookies this upcoming season.
Why not use a couple picks and bring in the top player at a position of real need?
Many have concluded that San Francisco would have to trade up past the Miami Dolphins at No. 12 to nab Vaccaro.
According to Draft Tek's trade value chart, it would cost the 31st and 34th picks, as well as a fourth-rounder, for San Francisco to move up right in front of Miami at 11.
Is Vaccaro worth it? Considering San Francisco's lack of needs right now, I'd say so.
Victor Cruz to the New England Patriots
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This isn't as crazy as it might sound. Teams just cannot afford to pay two wide receivers $10 million per season in the NFL today.
That's one of the primary reasons that the San Francisco 49ers didn't make a stronger play for Percy Harvin with Michael Crabtree already on the roster and set to earn an extension.
The same could be said for the Green Bay Packers, who didn't make a strong play for Greg Jennings after finding out what the Minnesota Vikings were looking to offer him.
While I will not pretend to have an understanding about what is going on in the Giants' front office, it's easy to conclude that they will have to make a decision between Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks at some point soon.
The New York Daily News reported that the Giants have offered Cruz an extension in the neighborhood of $7 million per season. Considering what the likes of Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings have earned on the market this offseason, I doubt Cruz took too kindly to the deal.
As a restricted free agent with a first-round tender, it will be tricky for any team to sign Cruz to an offer sheet. Not many currently have the cap room to take on such a deal, let alone the ability to "trade away" a first-round pick.
New England is in a tricky situation as well. It possesses a total of five picks in the draft, which is a complete antithesis of what we had seen in past seasons. Yielding a first-rounder for Cruz just doesn't seem realistic.
With that in mind, New England could throw its second-round pick in 2013 and an additional high pick in 2014 to acquire Cruz.
It's also important to note that the Patriots really only have one reliable wide receiver on the roster right now. Wes Welker left in free agency and they released Brandon Lloyd. Needless to say, this is a team that should be in the market for a wide receiver to pair up with Danny Amendola.
New York Jets Trade Up for Geno Smith
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Is this a deal I would make if I was running the New York Jets? No way.
It's more about looking at what the Jets currently have at the quarterback position and how they expect to even be decent in 2013.
Neither Mark Sanchez nor Tebow is the long-term solution. Don't get me started on David Garrard, who hasn't thrown a pass in the NFL in over two years.
If new general manager John Idzik wants to put his stamp on the Jets organization early on, he will have to make a splash in the draft. One of those "splashes" might be to get the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the draft in Geno Smith.
The West Virginia product will not be available at No. 9, so New York would have to trade up past the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns to have a shot of selecting him.
To move up to No. 5 for a chance to grab Smith, New York would likely have to yield its third- and fourth-rounders as well as some change (via Draft Tek).
Is that too high of a price to pay for a team with so many holes? Probably. Though, it must be noted that the dynamics of the 2013 NFL draft may indicate that there will be a watered-down market for teams attempting to trade down.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Miami Dolphins Trade Up for an Offensive Tackle
Courtesy of Penn Live
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Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the Miami Dolphins are targeting former Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson at No. 12 overall. As Volin pointed out, general manager Jeff Ireland would have to trade up into the top 10 to have a shot at Johnson.
With both Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher likely gone in the top four or five, there are going to be several teams looking at Johnson. By my estimation, the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers would all take long looks at Johnson if he "fell" to them.
This means that Miami would likely have to work out a deal with Detroit at five or Cleveland at six to nab Johnson.
Miami would likely have to yield one of its two second-round selections to move up and grab Jake Long's replacement.
That's not an incredibly high price to pay considering that Miami possesses five of the first 82 picks in the draft.
DeAngelo Williams to the Denver Broncos
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DeAngelo Williams is set to count $27.6 million against the cap over the next three seasons.
Considering the Carolina Panthers have already paid $16.4 of the $21 million owed to Williams in guaranteed money, Denver would only be on the hook for $4.6 million and could negotiate an extension that could make his deal more team friendly.
While the Broncos seem to have three capable running backs in the form of Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman, Williams might be an upgrade over all three.
Williams is averaging 4.8 yards per rush over the course of the last two seasons and has been under-utilized by the Panthers since an injury-plagued 2010 season.
It is also important to note that John Fox was the head coach in Carolina when it made Williams a first-round pick back in 2006, so there is a connection here.
If Denver were able to acquire Williams, it could release Willis McGahee and save $3 million against the cap while getting a couple of years younger at running back.
This veteran would likely require nothing more than a mid-round pick.
Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist here at Bleacher Report. He was hired prior to the 2011 season and couldn't be happier working with a great group of individuals here. In addition, Vincent is the head sports editor over at eDraft ,co-host of eDraft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET and is a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus
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