NFL Trade Deadline: Deals We Wish Would Have Happened
The NFL trade deadline has come and gone. To our surprise, none of the blockbuster deals that have been the subject of recent speculation came to pass.
Unless, of course, you count Isaac Sopoaga heading to the New England Patriots as a "blockbuster."
Such is life in the NFL. Big trades are rare. Big in-season trades are even rarer.
Still, it would have been nice if this year had been the exception, if a number of big deals had gone down that really shook things up across the NFL.
Deals like these.
Jared Allen to the Seattle Seahawks
Tuesday kicked off with ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeting that the Seattle Seahawks were making an "11th-hour push" to acquire Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, whose contract is up at the end of the 2013 season.
That rumor was disputed by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, who reported that the Seahawks were not one of two teams trying to swing a deal for the five-time Pro Bowler.
At that point, the rest of the NFC starting breathing again.
Granted, it would have been a "luxury" move. The Seahawks aren't hurting for pass rush help. They rank third in the NFL in sacks.
However, imagine that pass rush with Allen.
The Seahawks could rotate linemen constantly. Cliff Avril. Chris Clemons. Michael Bennett. Bruce Irvin. Allen.
Quality players all, a never-ending stream of pass-rushers, and potentially the best defensive line the NFL has seen in years.
Josh Gordon to the Indianapolis Colts
There wasn't a more talked-about player as the trade deadline approached than Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.
For weeks, a number of teams have been linked to the second-year pro. Last week, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that three teams had contacted Cleveland about Gordon. Two had reportedly made offers.
It's not known if the Indianapolis Colts were one of those teams, but Gordon could have been a huge addition for the AFC South squad.
The Colts are the only team that has defeated the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. Indy is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Colts are also a Super Bowl contender with a huge hole at wide receiver.
Gordon could have been much more than just a Band-Aid to cover the short-term loss of Reggie Wayne to a season-ending ACL tear.
Gordon could have been Wayne's heir apparent and a fixture in the Colts offense for years.
Larry Fitzgerald to the New England Patriots
Let's be frank. Speculation aside, there was no real chance that Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was going to be dealt by the 4-4 Redbirds.
He's the team's best offensive player and the face of the franchise.
Still, given all the trade talk that swirled around the 30-year-old over the past week, it's only natural to imagine what might have been.
For example, Fitzgerald catching passes from Tom Brady in New England.
It isn't the only reason Brady has struggled in 2013, but injuries and inconsistency at the wide receiver spot are a big part of why the Patriots rank 23rd in the NFL in passing.
It's a safe bet that the youngest player to ever record 800 career catches would help in that regard.
Also, at the risk of making every Cardinals fan who reads this very angry, Fitzgerald would have a much better chance of getting back to the Super Bowl in Beantown.
Fitz deserves another shot at a ring, and the odds he gets that shot in Arizona aren't good.
Jairus Byrd to the Denver Broncos
Almost since the season began, there has been speculation that the Bills were interested in dealing disgruntled contract-year safety Jairus Byrd.
However, the trade deadline came and went, and Byrd is still in Western New York. That could be because, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported, the Bills were seeking a young player (and not a draft pick) in return.
Had the Bills set their sights a bit lower (given that Byrd will all but surely walk after this season), then more teams would have shown interest in the two-time Pro Bowler.
Those suitors might well have included the Denver Broncos.
To be blunt, the back end of the Denver defense is a mess. The Broncos rank 30th in the NFL in pass defense, allowing just under 300 yards a game.
Starting safeties Rahim Moore and Duke Ihenacho both rank outside the top 30 at their position, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
No safety in the NFL was better in coverage last year in PFF's rankings than Byrd. Even as a "rental," the fifth-year veteran would have been a big boost to a Denver pass defense that badly needs one.
Darrelle Revis to the Cincinnati Bengals
This would have been the blockbuster to end all blockbusters. A team giving up on a player only a few months after spending a king's ransom to get him, then dealing that player to another team with a long history of being, um, frugal.
That may sound like lunacy, but it's no crazier than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trading for the best man coverage cornerback in the NFL and then sticking him in zone all day long.
After blasting the New York Jets in Week 8, the Bengals have emerged as a bona fide Super Bowl contender in the AFC. They also have a hole in the secondary caused by the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by top cornerback Leon Hall.
Revis would have more than filled that hole, and the Bengals have the cap space to absorb Revis' $16 million salary. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are a train wreck in need of every pick they can get right now.
Bengals fans would have been ecstatic. Buccaneers fans would have called for heads to roll.
Oh, wait. They already are.
Hakeem Nicks to the New York Jets
At 4-4, the New York Jets—even after last week's pasting in Cincinnati—are still considered overachievers by most pundits this year.
The defense has been stout. Running backs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory have each shown the ability to be productive. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who has been up-and-down, has shown real promise.
Smith might have an easier go of it if his cadre of wideouts wasn't so shaky. For the second straight season, injuries have thrust Jeremy Kerley into a de facto role as the team's top wide receiver.
Kerley is OK, but that's all he is.
Meanwhile, New York's other team has suffered through a disastrous first half of the season. With Hakeem Nicks set to hit free agency after the season, there was speculation that the Giants might move the 25-year-old.
Had Gang Green been able to swing a trade that included an extension for Nicks, it would have helped their odds at landing a playoff spot not only this year, but for the next several seasons.
Tony Gonzalez to the Kansas City Chiefs
Of all the trades that didn't happen on Tuesday, this was the most disappointing.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez came back to the Atlanta Falcons in 2013 for one reason: make a run at the Super Bowl.
The 2-5 Falcons aren't going anywhere this season.
With the Falcons floundering, reports began to swirl that Gonzo might be on the block. As recently as Tuesday, Gonzalez told ESPN.com (via Will Brinson of CBS Sports) that he would "listen" if the Falcons wished to trade him.
Now, there's no way of knowing if the Kansas City Chiefs had any real interest in acquiring Gonzalez.
If there was any at all, it's a shame it didn't happen.
The 8-0 Chiefs have a gaping hole at tight end. Filling it with Gonzalez, who spent his first 12 seasons in Kansas City, would have been a huge improvement.
Sooner or later, the Chiefs are going to have to win a tight game with their aerial attack. When that day comes to pass, having the greatest tight end in NFL history running routes over the middle would have come in pretty handy.