NFL Trade Deadline: Deals That Make Sense for Injury-Ravaged Teams

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystOctober 21, 2013

NFL Trade Deadline: Deals That Make Sense for Injury-Ravaged Teams

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    Week 7 was absolutely brutal from an injury standpoint.

    St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is done for the year with a torn ACL.

    The same goes for Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne.

    Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers tailback Doug Martin will be sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Ditto for Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who suffered a scary neck injury against the Cleveland Browns.

    That was all just on Sunday.

    These injuries have left huge holes in lineups, many on teams that fashion themselves contenders.

    If those teams are serious about staying in the hunt for a trip to playoffs, it may be time to swing a trade prior to the October 29 deadline.

    Granted, trades like the one that sent Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts a few weeks ago are rare in the NFL.

    However, here are a few that make some sense for the teams involved.

Josh Gordon to Indianapolis Colts

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    The Indianapolis Colts got yet another "signature" win with Sunday night's 39-33 victory over the previously undefeated Denver Broncos.

    That win came at a very high price.

    As ESPN reports, tests on Monday confirmed that star wide receiver Reggie Wayne will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL against Denver.

    The Colts have already demonstrated with the Richardson deal that they're in "win now" mode and willing to make a trade.

    It's time to swing another one with the Cleveland Browns.

    Cleveland head coach Rob Chudzinski told Kevin Patra of NFL.com that the Browns aren't interested in moving speedster Josh Gordon, but that hasn't slowed rampant speculation that the second-year pro will be traded.

    The rumored asking price is a second-round pick. Yes, there's risk involved given Gordon's checkered past, but he's also an immensely talented young player who could help the Colts not just this season but for years to come.

Fred Davis to Green Bay Packers

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    According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Washington Redskins are "actively shopping" tight end Fred Davis.

    As loathe as Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson is to deal away draft picks for a veteran player, this time is the exception to the rule.

    For starters, the Packers' pass-catchers have been ravaged by injuries. The latest was to tight end Jermichael Finley, and while it appears Finley will ultimately be OK, ESPN reports Finley remains in the intensive care unit of a Wisconsin hospital after a frightening Week 7 neck injury.

    With Finley out indefinitely, the Packers could sorely use Davis' veteran presence, even if he isn't the field-stretching talent he once was.

    It probably won't take more than a conditional late-round pick to land Davis. Given that modest asking price, this would seem to be a trade that makes a lot of sense for the Packers.

Jason Babin to Dallas Cowboys

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    The Dallas Cowboys managed to make it through Week 7 relatively unscathed, but that doesn't mean the Cowboys haven't been hit hard by injuries.

    The defensive line is particularly banged up. Star end DeMarcus Ware is out indefinitely with a quadriceps injury. Fellow defensive end Anthony Spencer was lost for the year before the season even began.

    George Selvie has done a great job in Spencer's absence, but the Ware injury has left the Cowboys wafer-thin at defensive end. The depth isn't any better at tackle.

    According to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, teams have been asking the Jacksonville Jaguars about the availability of 33-year-old defensive end Jason Babin.

    The Cowboys should be one of those clubs.

    Babin isn't the player he used to be, but he can still be an effective pass-rusher, and Babin has extensive experience playing in the 4-3 "under" front that is part of Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense.

    Babin did have 18 sacks in 2011. For a late pick? Why not?

Hakeem Nicks to New England Patriots

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    If nothing else, this should liven up the comments section.

    The New England Patriots are still in first place in the AFC East, but for the second time in three weeks, Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass in a New England loss.

    The Patriots offense has floundered much of this season, due in no small part to the injuries that have beset the receiving corps.

    Tight end Rob Gronkowski played for the first time this year in Week 7, but wideout Danny Amendola has shown no signs of being able to stay on the field.

    Rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have shown flashes of talent but have also been maddeningly inconsistent.

    What the Patriots need is a steady veteran receiver, and it just so happens one is available.

    As Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News reports, with the New York Giants circling the drain and Hakeem Nicks set to hit free agency, trade rumors are swirling around the 25-year-old wide receiver.

    The Patriots are one of a precious few teams with a need at receiver who can justify spending a mid-round pick in a deal for a player who may only be on the roster for six months.

    The pick it would take may well kill this deal, but Tom Brady is nodding vigorously right now.

Kirk Cousins to the St. Louis Rams

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    This needs to be said.

    It's time for the St. Louis Rams to move on from Sam Bradford.

    In four years as the St. Louis starter, Bradford has never thrown for 4,000 yards, tossed 25 touchdown passes in a season or led the Rams to a winning record.

    Bradford is a $78 million anchor around the neck of the franchise, a glaring example of how the old collective bargaining agreement and rookie contracts effectively punished teams with high draft picks.

    Back in September, team president Kevin Demoff told Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, "We have decided that Sam Bradford is our guy. If they came to us and wanted to do a contract extension right now, we'd do it in a minute,"

    It's time to rethink that plan.

    Now, the Rams could wait, limp through the rest of the 2013 season with Kellen Clemens as their signal-caller, and take their chances with Bradford or a player from the 2014 draft.

    Or, the team could get aggressive and try to swing a deal for Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.

    Cousins has shown considerable potential in relief of Robert Griffin III at times, and his fourth-round rookie contract is practically invisible compared to Bradford's.

    The sticking point? Compensation.

    It might take a first-round pick to pry the Redskins' talented backup away from Washington.

    That's a steep price to pay for a player with Cousins' limited NFL resume.

Adrian Peterson to Dallas Cowboys

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    First off, before anyone freaks out, this will never happen. It's being mentioned only because Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press created a social media maelstrom when he suggested that the Minnesota Vikings should trade running back Adrian Peterson.

    One again, this will never happen. For the Vikings to actually trade the reigning NFL MVP, they would have to receive an offer so obscene that they can't say no. No general manager in the NFL is willing to pay that price.

    Except maybe Jerry Jones.

    Jones wants to win the Super Bowl again so badly that it's not inconceivable he'd be willing to mortgage the Dallas Cowboys' future on acquiring the league's best running back.

    It would be a huge gamble on a 28-year-old player at a position where decline often happens rapidly, but the thought of the Cowboys offense with Peterson in the backfield can put one in the gambling mood.

    Meanwhile, the Vikings would have pulled the Herschel Walker trade in reverse, putting them in position to improve at several spots in next year's draft.