After Quiet NFL Trade Deadline, Who Could Still Be Traded This Offseason?
Just because the NFL trade deadline stayed true to form and was quiet, dull and boring that doesn't mean the offseason trade market will be quiet, dull and boring.
All of the following players could restructure their current contracts and stay with their current teams, but what fun is that?
Let's take a look at the prime offseason trade candidates.
Yes, Mike Wallace, the Miami Dolphins' prized free-agent acquisition in 2013, is a candidate to be traded in this offseason.
It seems preposterous on the surface, but it's not.
It's all about the guaranteed money.
Wallace signed a juicy, five-year, $60 million contract that included $27 million guaranteed with the Dolphins. That $27 million could inflate to $30 million (with incentives) and is broken down as follows:
- $11 million signing bonus
- $1 million 2013 base salary
- $15 million 2014 base salary
Furthermore, according to The Palm Beach Post, $3 million of his 2015 base salary of $9.85 million becomes guaranteed if he's on the Dolphins roster on the fifth day of the 2014 league year, and his cap hit is a monstrous $17.25 million next season.
Among wide receivers who've taken at least 50 percent of their respective team's snaps heading into Week 9, Wallace has the fourth-highest drop rate (18.92), according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Under those same snap stipulations, the Ryan Tannehill-to-Wallace connection has resulted in the second-lowest QB rating in 2013 with 30 completions on 63 targets for 398 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.
If the Dolphins and Wallace continue to struggle, Miami could look to dump some of his future guaranteed money on another team.
Per NFL.com, GM Jeff Ireland was reportedly extended through the 2014 season, a development that decreases the chances Wallace will be traded.
Therefore, it's not an absolute lock that he'll be moved. However, it's not totally inconceivable and would be an intelligent financial decision with the team's long-term future in mind.
Santonio Holmes has been a productive wide receiver for the New York Jets when healthy—he just hasn't been healthy that much over the past two seasons.
His 2012 was cut short after four games due to a serious foot injury, he's played in only four games during the 2013 campaign because of a hamstring ailment.
The former Super Bowl MVP will contribute when he returns, but will the Jets be interested in keeping the soon-to-be 30-year-old wideout who's playing on an expensive contract?
Holmes' base salaries were guaranteed the past three seasons. He's set to make a non-guaranteed $8.25 million in base salary next season and will represent a $10.75 million cap hit.
After battling through injuries in each of the last two years, Holmes' value won't be high, but there's a chance the Jets could fetch a mid- to late-round draft pick for him.
He has 10 receptions for a whopping 243 yards and one touchdown in 2013.
In all likelihood, Gang Green would love Holmes' veteran presence for developing quarterback Geno Smith, but the wideout may ultimately be too expensive to be kept after this season.
The St. Louis Rams are in quarterback purgatory with Sam Bradford.
He was the last No. 1 overall pick to be drafted under the old collective-bargaining agreement and is still playing on the six-year, $78 million contract with $50 million guaranteed he signed as a rookie.
In 2014, the quarterback will represent a cap hit of $17.610 million. In 2015, his cap hit will drop to a still exorbitant $16.580 million for a player of Bradford's caliber.
His 2010-2013 base salaries were guaranteed, and only a small fraction of his base salaries in 2014 and 2015 are guaranteed.
Bradford tore his ACL against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 and is out for the remainder of the 2013 season.
The glaring problem is that he's being paid like an elite signal-caller, but he's been anything but an elite signal-caller.
In fact, Bradford has been decidedly mediocre in his NFL career. He'll carry a career completion percentage of 58.6 into 2014. He's thrown 59 touchdowns to 38 interceptions and has averaged a pedestrian 6.3 yards per attempt during his tenure as the starter in St. Louis.
For the right price, one has to believe the Rams would love to move on from Bradford and rid themselves of his prohibitive contract.
Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most physically gifted, polished wide receivers in the NFL.
However, many believe he's being "wasted" in Arizona with the Cardinals due to the team's relative instability at the quarterback position.
He caught only 71 passes on what Pro Football Focus (subscription required) tracked as 148 targets in 2012 and accumulated only 11.2 yards per reception, the lowest average of his NFL career.
With Carson Palmer under center in 2013, Fitzgerald is on pace for a slightly better final stat line—72 catches, 940 yards.
After this season, the Cardinals must consider the former All-Pro wideout's contract when looking into the future.
Fitzgerald is set to make a base salary of $12.75 million in 2014 and will represent an $18 million cap hit. The following year, his base salary decreases to a still hefty $8 million, but his cap hit jumps to $21.25 million.
After that, the former first-round pick's base salaries are all above $14 million until his contract expires at the end of the 2018 campaign.
Could the semi-rebuilding Cardinals get a king's ransom from a contender for Fitzgerald?
If so, they could trade their franchise foundation, a foundation that, unfortunately, relies on the quarterback to get him the football.
Chris Johnson has been a disappointment for the Tennessee Titans after he signed a four-year, $53.5 million extension in September of 2011, a deal with $30 million guaranteed.
In the three seasons before he agreed to the lucrative extension, the former first-round pick averaged 4.97 yards per carry and scored 38 total touchdowns.
In the 2.5 seasons since then, Johnson has averaged 4.06 yards per carry and has scored 12 total touchdowns.
He's set to make $8 million in base salary and represent a $10 million cap hit in both 2014 and 2015.
Though Johnson hasn't dealt with a variety of injuries like many running backs do, the 28-year-old running back simply hasn't been nearly as efficient as he once was.
NFL teams are getting smarter about the way they manage the running back position. They aren't as enamored with spending high draft picks or paying top-pier money for them as they used to be.
Therefore, the Titans might not be able to get reasonable compensation for Johnson.
But if a contender wants to add a potentially dynamic running back with world-class speed to its roster, Tennessee could certainly be willing to trade Johnson this offseason.
The New England Patriots have sat on quarterback Ryan Mallett for three seasons now, and he hasn't done enough in any preseason outings to garner legitimate interest from another team or instill hope in Bill Belichick that he's ready to be Tom Brady's heir apparent.
Money isn't the issue with Mallett, but the length of his contract could be the impetus for a trade, as the deal he signed as a rookie is up after the 2014 season.
Basically, the Patriots only have one more offseason to move Mallett and get something in return.
Miles Austin has proven to be a valuable pass-catching commodity when healthy—a wideout with a nice blend of chain-moving ability and downfield speed.
However, he's dealt with hamstring injuries over the past three seasons.
In 2011, he was limited to only 10 games.
He caught 66 passes for 943 yards with six touchdowns in a relatively injury-free 2012, but Austin's hamstring problems have flared up once again in 2013.
The Monmouth alum has appeared in only five games and has caught 15 passes for 125 yards.
Austin signed a seven-year, $57.168 million deal in 2010, a contract in which his $17.078 million base salary in 2010 was fully guaranteed.
In 2014, the wideout's cap hit will be $8.248 million. In 2015, it will increase to $9.636 million. In 2016, his base salary will be nearly $12 million, and he'll represent a $12.558 cap hit.
For the Cowboys, in a perfect world, Austin would be healthy and would be a nice complement to Dez Bryant.
But if an interested team comes calling this offseason, Dallas could move Austin, mainly due to the future money he's owed.
After nearly two full seasons of play as the Minnesota Vikings quarterback—31 games, 30 starts—Christian Ponder has been a massive disappointment.
He has completed less than 60 percent of his throws and has tossed 33 touchdowns to 30 interceptions.
To put it simply, he wouldn't have much value on the trade market, but if the Vikings want to move forward with Josh Freeman or what will likely be a first-round rookie quarterback in 2014, they could at least inquire about moving Ponder for a late-round selection.
The former Florida State quarterback is signed through the 2014 season, so Minnesota has only one more offseason to get something in return for its draft mistake.
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