The NFL trade deadline generally isn't as busy as those in other major sports, but that doesn't stop trade rumors from running rampant leading up to it. With so many teams seemingly in the mix for a playoff spot this season, it's entirely possible that there will be more movement than usual at the deadline.
It ultimately comes down to how much contending teams are willing to pay, but it appears as though there are definitely some enticing players on the block. Many of them are set to become free agents during the offseason, so they would essentially act as guns for hire. For a team that is a player or two away from really making some noise, that could be attractive.
Here are three intriguing names that could be available on deadline day, along with further analysis regarding what type of impact they could make.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has been one of the NFL's top pass-rushers since entering the league as a fairly anonymous fourth-round pick with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004. Allen made an instant impact with nine sacks as a rookie, and he hasn't looked back ever since. Allen enters Week 8 with 121.5 career sacks, including 4.5 this season. He hasn't hauled down the quarterback fewer than 11 times in a season since 2006, and there is no doubt that he could be a difference-maker for any team in the league.
Allen's contract is up at the end of the 2013 season, and CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora is reporting that teams are likely to call the Vikings prior to the deadline due to the fact that Minnesota may lose Allen during the offseason for nothing:
Rushing the passer is hugely important in today's pass-happy NFL, and Allen is among the best in the business in that regard. According to La Canfora, Allen will generate plenty of interest, but the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos are two teams in particular worth watching.
Both the Cowboys and Broncos figure to be playoff teams, and the addition of Allen would be extremely impactful. All-Pro pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware is banged up for Dallas, but he and Allen could form one of the scariest defensive end duos in football. The same can be said for Denver, as Von Miller recently returned from suspension. The Vikings clearly aren't going anywhere this season, so trading Allen to the highest bidder is their best option assuming no progress has been made on the extension front.
This season has been a nightmarish one for the Jacksonville Jaguars and running back Maurice Jones-Drew, but there may still be hope for the latter part of the equation. Jacksonville is arguably the worst team in the league, as it has yet to win a game, so it probably wouldn't hesitate to make some moves at the deadline. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Jaguars would be willing to move MJD for "the right price."
It's unclear what that price is, but it's hard to imagine teams offering a ton in exchange for Jones-Drew. MJD is 28 years old, which means he may already be entering the twilight of his career. Also, he missed all but six games last season with a Lisfranc injury, so there is some concern about his durability.
Jones-Drew hasn't bounced back well this season, as he is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry, and he is barely part of Jacksonville's passing attack anymore despite the fact that he was once one of the best receiving backs in the league.
With all of that said, Jones-Drew rushed for a career-high 1,606 yards in 2011, so he isn't far removed from a dominant season. Perhaps there is some running back-starved team out there that would be willing to take a chance on him for a late-round pick. The Miami Dolphins are a team that could potentially benefit from MJD, as they are in the playoff mix at 3-3 but haven't gotten much out of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. A Jones-Drew trade is far from a certainty, but the Jags should do everything possible to make it happen.
Just two seasons ago, it seemed as though Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis was a rising star at the position, as he racked up 796 yards on 59 catches. Davis got off to a solid start in 2011 as well, but a torn Achilles cut his year short. Davis worked his way back in time for the start of the 2013 campaign, and there was plenty of excitement regarding a potential rapport with quarterback Robert Griffin III, but things haven't gone as planned.
Davis has been supplanted by rookie Jordan Reed, and he was even a healthy scratch against the Chicago Bears in Week 7. Davis has clearly fallen out of favor with head coach Mike Shanahan for whatever reason, so he doesn't have much of a future with the team. According to Pro Football Talk, the Redskins are shopping Davis with the intent of trading him:
Davis' numbers aren't particularly impressive this season, as he has just three catches for 25 yards in four games, but that isn't indicative of his talent level. Perhaps it is taking him some time to get back to full speed while he recovers from the Achilles injury, but it doesn't mean that he is no longer a useful contributor. Davis could a No. 1 tight end for a number of teams, and he could be a pass-catching No. 2 for almost anyone at the very least. Davis wouldn't cost much, so it would be well worth taking a chance on him.
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