There's a good chance rosters, team projections and our entire outlook of the 2013 NFL season will change by the end of April.
In fact, count on it.
The 2013 NFL draft is scheduled to commence on April 25, bringing about the kind of changes that can impact a franchise for years to come. However, the draft is not the only kind of changes we will see with respect to the upcoming season.
Although most of the free-agent flurry is over, a number of quality free agents still remain. Former stars Dwight Freeney, John Abraham, Brian Urlacher and Charles Woodson all remain unsigned, and the market appears to be thinning to the point of addressing later needs after the draft is over.
However, teams are still active—so goes the merry-go-round of the NFL season. With that in mind, here's a look at four rumors that could shake up the way the NFL draft plays out in April—both through free agency and potential trades.
Miami Dolphins Eyeing Trade Up from No. 12
According to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, the Dolphins are keen on adding Lane Johnson to the mix on their offensive line.
With at least six (Kansas City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Arizona, Tennessee, San Diego) of the 11 teams in front of Miami on the draft board in position to select an offensive lineman, there's a better than good chance Johnson will be off the board before the 12th pick.
That means Miami is on the short list of teams that might trade up in the draft, potentially shaking up the entire first round. If Miami was able to move up to into the 3-8 range to select Johnson (or the best tackle on the board), it could potentially make the other teams starving for offensive line help either sellers or desperate when their pick is on the clock.
Keep an eye on Miami as we dwindle down the days before the draft. A trade for a higher pick before or during the draft would have long-term implications on the rest of the three-day marathon in New York City.
LB Karlos Dansby
The best inside linebacker on the free-agent market is Karlos Dansby, who reportedly had a visit with the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday (from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport via Kareem Copeland).
Other destinations for the former Dolphin include the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, but the Ravens might be off that list after reaching a deal with former Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain (via ESPN).
In any event, the addition of a middle linebacker will certainly have far-reaching effects on any team in the first round.
With inside backers Manti Te'o, Kevin Minter and Arthur Brown all candidates to fill a starting linebacker spot for a new team in the draft, adding Dansby would put said team back on a path to another prospect. That being said, it's no surprise the Bengals are bringing him in for a visit.
Expect several other teams to come calling before Dansby makes up his mind.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Mike Reiss, the New England Patriots have swept in and made an offer for Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free-agent wideout Emmanuel Sanders. The offer is for $2.5 million; the Steelers will have some time to mull over a potential match.
The real rumor here is if the Steelers will match. Reiss notes that the Steelers have a choice to make in the next five days, especially after only tendering him at $1.3 million.
While Sanders might not be the most-popular name on the Steelers' current roster, he was slated to be one of the team's likely starters with the loss of Mike Wallace in free agency, and he has had a couple of years to develop with QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Both the Patriots and Steelers could draft differently if this deal goes through.
With the addition of Sanders and Danny Amendola, it's unlikely the Patriots would draft a receiver in the first round. On the flip side, the Steelers might be in a position of desperation at No. 17, with both Wallace and Sanders gone and Heath Miller coming off offseason knee surgery.
While the Steelers didn't value Sanders enough to tag him as a second-round pick restricted free agent, it's clear that losing another option in the passing game isn't Pittsburgh's first choice. This is a shrewd move by the Patriots to put the pressure on in Steel City.
CB Darrelle Revis Trade
One of the biggest offseason questions has been about New York Jets' cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Will he stay or will he go?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been the only team to show any real interest in Revis this offseason, in large part because one of the league's best CBs is coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2012 season and is scheduled to be a free agent in 2014.
According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, it's going to take the No. 13 pick in the 2013 draft for the Bucs to make Revis their starting CB in 2013. The back and forth between these two teams has been nothing but a dead end so far, but there's no way Tampa Bay would get a corner like Revis in the first round this year.
Whether a trade came on draft night or before the annual Big Apple event, bet that Tampa Bay continues to negotiate with the Jets. You don't stay in the news about a trade for this long without serious interest, but it's going to be about how much Tampa is willing to surrender before a deal can be officially struck.
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