10 NFL Players Who Could Still Be Traded This Summer
NFL trade speculation doesn't garner the same attention as the NFL draft, but the thought of Maurice Jones-Drew or Branden Albert being dealt is enticing. And it's entirely possible.
Most trades happen before the draft because immediate picks are valuable. But those deals don't always go down because general managers are convinced that they can receive better value elsewhere.
So what happens to those players now? Do you think the front office won't entertain 2014 picks or someone else's problem child? While the peak of trade season has passed, here are some players who could still be moved before the season starts.
Last year, Maurice Jones-Drew demanded a contract extension worthy of his recent output. He had a point considering he rushed for at least 1,300 yards for three straight seasons.
Yet, the Jacksonville Jaguars refused to budge, leading to a holdout that lasted until September. An injury cut short his season, and there was nothing to suggest the two sides have mended the fence.
MJD's contract expires after this season, and the lack of love probably means he'll cash in elsewhere. So the Jaguars are faced with a decision: get rid of a player who doesn't want to be there, or roll the dice hoping he loves living in Jacksonville.
The decision against keeping him is easy. The Jags can control the compensation they get in return, and they've already avoided setting a bad precedent by not caving to his demands.
This is a team that is rebuilding. The Jaguars could use a couple more building blocks rather than a running back at the tail end of his prime.
In a way, Nick Foles can't catch a break.
He went from a third-round pick to the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. As the lead signal-caller, he put together a few nice games, especially against the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (632 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in those two starts).
Foles then broke his hand against the Washington Redskins, ending his season and perhaps his grip on the top job. A report from Rob Edwards of The South Jersey Times indicates that the gig is Michael Vick's to lose and that Foles doesn't look comfortable in the offense.
Basically, Foles won't be the starting quarterback for the Eagles this year, and there's probably a reason that Chip Kelly grabbed Matt Barkley at the top of the fourth round.
There have been suggestions that Kelly appreciates Foles' skills and wants to give him a shot. That could be true, or Kelly could be attempting to ramp up interest in his second-year signal-caller.
Branden Albert rightfully dominated the pre-draft trade talk. Despite only playing 13 games, he still accumulated enough points to be ranked as the 25th-best tackle by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Why do you think the Kansas City Chiefs franchise-tagged him? Why do you think they wouldn't part with him until they received just compensation?
Because he's good, and a good left tackle is an important commodity in the NFL.
There's little chance the Chiefs are going to sign Albert to the deal that he wants. Not when they took Eric Fisher with the first pick. But if they don't act, they could eventually lose Albert for less than he's worth.
All has been quiet with the Denver Broncos lately, at least compared to the early offseason. There haven't been any major heists lately (i.e. Louis Vasquez, Wes Welker).
But just like the other guys on this list, that doesn't mean that Joe Mays is a lock to be in Denver when the Baltimore Ravens come to town.
Mays was the target of trade speculation, as tweeted by NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah a couple months ago. There are still plenty of teams that could use some help on the inside, namely the Minnesota Vikings.
If you've been out of the country for the past three months, you might not recognize the Green Bay Packers when the starting offense takes the field.
That's because they will actually be trotting out a strong running game. And not just one back, but two—Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.
That means there's little room for James Starks, who has achieved milk-carton status since his semi-impressive 2010 postseason. The Packers tried moving him before; here's betting they'll do something with their third- or fourth-stringer by the end of training camp.
After a year spent discussing the New York Jets quarterback situation ad nauseum, we'll all be rewarded with another year of the same damn thing.
There are plenty of reasons for the Jets to make the trade from a strictly football perspective, but the most important reason is simple—moving on.
The Sanchez era has run its course. The drafting of Geno Smith, whether right or wrong, signaled that the franchise could no longer bear to place their faith in the man behind the "butt fumble."
Granted, any team that trades for Sanchez will require him to agree to a pay cut. Whether he agrees will depend on how badly he wants a fresh start to rejuvenate his fledgling career.
But say the Jacksonville Jaguars could give Sanchez a chance at redemption for the cost of a low-round pick. Who says no to that proposition?
Or maybe this is all wishful (delusional?) thinking by a member of the media who dreads discussing this issue all season.
With each passing practice, the odds of Jabaal Sheard being shipped out of town lessen.
He was once a defensive end without a position in the Cleveland Browns' new 3-4 scheme. Now, it appears that he's adjusting well to his new duties and is ready to contribute as part of an outside linebacker committee.
That doesn't make a deal impossible. There are plenty of teams hungry for a 4-3 defensive end who accumulated 15.5 sacks over the past two seasons.
That's where the "could" comes in. However, new defensive coordinator Ray Horton isn't likely to part ways with a potential difference-maker.
This is not about Tim Tebow.
The impetus to move him has probably diminished due to the Tebow acquisition and the release of Mike Kafka. Would the New England Patriots really be comfortable with just Tebow as the backup?
Probably not, but if this team loses Tom Brady, the chances of a return trip to the Super Bowl vanish anyway. So while it's probably a long shot at this point, never say never when discussing Belichick.
I have some bad news for Jonathan Dwyer: The Pittsburgh Steelers did not take Le'Veon Bell in the second round to sit on the bench. No, Bell will be leading the Steelers in rushing yards while racking up plenty through the air as well.
Of course, Dwyer could accept that he will no longer be the starter, and everything about the above statement might not matter.
But competitive men have difficulty dealing with such propositions. And you have to be competitive to make a living as a professional athlete.
The Steelers have a few holes that could use an infusion of fresh blood (inside linebacker, outside linebacker) and few assets to acquire new talent.
Let's be clear: This is pure speculation.
Victor Cruz and the New York Giants went 12 rounds in contract negotiations only to end up with him signing his franchise tender. But he still has his eye on long-term financial security.
That begs the question of whether the Giants are willing to continue rolling the dice with Cruz. They could presumably franchise him next season, but the compensation will be outrageous for a one-year deal.
Might the franchise be better off moving Cruz before everything falls apart? I'm not sure, but it's an avenue worth exploring.