NFL Trade Rumors: Latest Rumblings Around the League as Deadline Looms
Historically, the NFL trade deadline is such a disappointment that fans don't even bother getting excited anymore. Year after year, there are enough rumblings about major names to pique some interest, but the midseason mega-trade in the NFL is like a unicorn.
There are plenty of logical reasons for this, of course.
Unlike baseball and basketball, there is no real universal language in football. Schemes can be totally similar and completely different at the same time. Terminologies, reactions within packaged plays and a whole host of other minor things can turn a seemingly major acquisition into a liability real quick.
And with the NFL being the league of limited samples, the time for acclamation is nil. So teams, instead, would rather roll with the below-average player that brought them there than have a talented liability hanging around—one that likely cost an ever-valuable draft pick.
That said, there are tangible reasons for a changing of the guard. Trent Richardson's jettisoning to Indianapolis—a trade that looks increasingly like a perfect example of why most teams don't make such moves—was the first example. With Levi Brown and Bryant McKinnie also changing addresses, that made three players folks had heard of who were traded long before the deadline.
Three! That has to be an unofficial record of sorts. But with Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline looming around the league, activity will have to ramp up fast to make this the fun trade season we were seemingly headed toward.
With that in mind, let's check around and highlight the latest rumblings—good and bad.
Tony Gonzalez Not Going Anywhere?
The Atlanta Falcons' fall from grace is one of the more puzzling things we've seen this season. They were a mere second-half collapse away from playing in the Super Bowl a year ago. Now, they're 2-5 and essentially out of the NFC playoff race before their season's midpoint.
Julio Jones is out for the season. Roddy White has missed only two games, but he's been so limited by a hamstring injury that he may as well have missed them all. Matt Ryan has impressively trudged on, putting up counting stats that are comparable to anything he's ever done. But Atlanta's running game and defense are so wretched that he's running in an uphill pit of quicksand.
In other words, it's not the situation Tony Gonzalez envisioned when he was convinced to sign a new two-year deal in Atlanta rather than retire after last season. Gonzalez claims that 2013 will be his last season in the NFL, making it clear a couple of weeks ago that he's done extending his career for a ring, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter.
“You can’t keep chasing it,” Gonzalez said. “You can’t. I’ve chased it long enough. I’ve tried and I think I’ve chased it about three or four years longer than I thought I would. This is it."
With that knowledge and the Falcons' sinking season has come understandable trade speculation, and Atlanta could recoup some draft-pick value in exchange for having mercy on one of the most respected players of his generation.
The Kansas City Chiefs, where Gonzalez played his first 12 NFL seasons, are undefeated and could use an extra offensive weapon. How about a perfect storybook ending?
How about no. ESPN's Adam Schefter, confirming the bluster that's come out of A-Town in recent weeks, confirmed the Falcons have no intention of dealing Gonzalez:
Falcons stance has not changed: they say they are not trading TE Tony Gonzalez now nor by today's 4 pm trade deadline.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2013
This should come as no surprise. The team and Gonzalez have gone out of their way to say a deal wouldn't be going down.
"We'll know by  o'clock tomorrow," Gonzalez said, via ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "But, like I said, I'm not going to be the one to go asking for a trade. It will have to come from them."
Rather than go back to Kansas City, Gonzalez will finish his career reliving how he spent much of his days as a Chief: on a team headed nowhere fast.
Jared Allen Available for the Right Price?
Speaking of terrible teams with useful veterans going to waste like fresh veggies at a buffet line, say hello to Jared Allen, pass-rushing auteur and resident Minnesota Viking.
Allen has been one of many Vikings stars whose shine has dissipated this season. He has 4.5 sacks this season, putting him on pace for his seventh straight double-digit sack campaign, but more than half of those takedowns came against the Steelers in London, and his decade-long career is starting to show. Among the 4-3 defensive ends who have played 50 percent of their team's snaps this season, Allen ranks tied for 26th in pass-rush productivity, per Pro Football Focus.
The Vikings' ineffective pass rush is one of the major reasons they rank 29th in pass defense thus far. And while it's not as big a problem as Christian Ponder's ongoing battle with being a terrible NFL quarterback, what comes next for Allen has been the source of major discussion.
The 31-year-old is a free agent after this season, and his six-year run in Minnesota looks more likely to end after the season with each mounting loss. Allen has been beyond the first round of the playoffs just once; enduring another rebuild with whomever the Vikings draft this May seems unlikely.
As such, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported this week that Allen could move:
Vikings would be willing to trade Jared Allen for the right price. Makes sense as he's free agent after the year, they've discussed it some— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 27, 2013
This is noteworthy both because Glazer is great at his job and because the two men are friends. I'm not privy to the inner workings of their relationship, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more reputable source than Glazer when it comes to all things Allen.
“Honestly, I’m not even going to address it," Allen said of the trade rumors, per Tim Yotter of Scout.com. "I’m not going to speculate on something that I haven’t had a conversation about and I’m not going to speculate on something that hasn’t happened."
That's not exactly the "thanks, but no thanks" Gonzalez has given. And with teams like the Denver Broncos in desperate need of pass-rushing help, there are quite a few scenarios that make sense. The questions, of course, will be the price and if a team is willing to pay.
Bills Want Young Player for Jairus Byrd?
If you can have a quietly contentious standoff in today's sports culture, that's exactly what's happening right now between the Bills and safety Jairus Byrd. The two-time All-Pro selection was unhappy with the team's decision to place the franchise tag on him this offseason, and even more frustrated with the lack of progress on a long-term deal.
With Byrd taking his sweet time in recovering from plantar fasciitis, tensions mounted. Head coach Doug Marrone held him out of the team's Week 5 contest despite Byrd saying he was ready to go. Although Byrd has been back in the lineup for each of the past three games, he's looked like a shell of himself and trade rumors continue to swirl.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted that while the Bills aren't "actively" shopping him, they sure wouldn't mind the other 29 teams giving them a call:
From @NFL_ATL Live: Bills are open to trading Jairus Byrd, tho they aren’t actively shopping him. Want a young player, not pick, in return— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2013
What could make things thorny is Buffalo's desire for a "young player" in return rather than a pick. I'm to take the admitted risk here of saying the front office is probably looking for a good young player. Blaine Gabbert probably won't get the job done.
That presents a problem, because if there's anything teams are more stingy about than draft picks, it's their young commodities. Byrd isn't a fossil at age 27, but the relationship between him and the Bills has gotten so toxic that it's probably beyond the point of return. He'll also be expecting a new, long-term contract if he is traded—making this the type of unwanted double-whammy situation teams historically avoid.
Byrd's struggles these past few weeks make passing on a deal easier to justify. He has been merely mediocre in coverage and nonexistent against the run. He's either playing injured or not his hardest; there's no real other option.
With both factors likely weighing on teams' minds, Buffalo might price itself out of recouping value here.
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