Exploring the Current NFL Trading Block

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 26, 2014

Exploring the Current NFL Trading Block

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    They aren't as common as in the NBA or MLB, but trades do happen in the National Football League.

    In fact, just last week the Oakland Raiders dealt a sixth-round pick to the Houston Texans for quarterback Matt Schaub, in a deal that led Oakland head coach Dennis Allen to tell reporters (via Tim Kawakami of The San Francisco Chronicle), "We have a quarterback now that’s on par with the quarterbacks in this division."

    Of course, the flip side of Schaub's arrival is Terrelle Pryor, who started nine games for the Raiders last year, being left out in the cold. Sure enough, the fourth-year pro has reportedly requested a trade, per Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com.

    Then there are other players who don't have to be asked. Sometimes it's a personnel decision, and other times a financial one, but in just the past week or so a pair of $10 million wideouts have been put on the block.

    Or not, depending on who you ask.

    Here's a look at the latest on each of those players and more, from Pryor and those high-priced pass-catchers to a 2,000-yard tailback and a Pro Bowler up front.

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Terrelle Pryor is the least-accomplished NFL player on this list. He's also the most likely to actually be dealt.

    Sure enough, shortly after reports surfaced that Pryor had asked out of Oakland, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported (via Steve Corkran of The San Jose Mercury News) the Raiders have received "trade feelers" from other clubs.

    There should be no shortage of teams picking up the phone.

    Yes, Pryor completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes last year, threw four more interceptions than touchdown passes, and posted a passer rating of under 70, winning three of his nine starts.

    However, Pryor also ran for nearly 600 yards (including a 93-yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers), and even with four years in the NFL, Pryor remains all of 24 years old.

    Sure, there are very real questions as to whether Terrelle Pryor will ever be a viable starting quarterback in the NFL. It's what he wants, according to what general manager Reggie McKenzie told Marc Sessler of NFL.com.

    "Terrelle wants to start so bad," McKenzie told Sessler, "I'll visit with him. We'll talk to him...We'll see next week or so how he feels about his future."

    Doubts or no doubts, the fact remains Pryor has a cap hit in 2014 of less than a million dollars, more than a little athletic ability and no place on the Raiders' roster.

    The Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars have more questions than answers under center and could offer Pryor at least a chance to start. Teams from Seattle to St. Louis could use a better backup.

    It's likely going to come down to which team ponies up the best offer, but the smart money says Pryor has a new home by the time the NFL draft rolls around.

     

    Chance of Being Traded: 70 percent

DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Not too long ago, it looked like a trade involving Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was a near certainty.

    Despite over 1,300 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches last year, pundits pointed to a falling out with new head coach Chip Kelly and a cap number of over $12 million in 2014 as reasons why the Eagles were dangling the 27-year-old in trade talks.

    Rumors of interest from teams rained down from across the NFL. According to Lance Cartelli of NFL.com, his colleague Ian Rapoport mentioned the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers as potential suitors.

    Then Jackson threw a bucket of cold water on the proceedings, telling a source via Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer he spoke with Kelly and would be staying with the team.

    Kelly, meanwhile, told Mike Reiss of ESPN he had a "good conversation" with Jackson, although the coach also added, "but we're always going to do what's best for the organization."

    Well now that that's cleared up.

    The sticking point likely isn't compensation. Philly's asking price was reportedly a third-round pick, a not-unreasonable price for a player who has topped 1,000 receiving yards in three of his six NFL seasons.

    No, at issue is the contract that carries cap hits totaling over $35 million over the next three years.

    Jackson has expressed no real desire to re-work that deal. Until he does, he's as likely to be released or stay put as he is to be traded.

     

    Chance of Being Traded: 50 percent

Evan Mathis, OG, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are reportedly shopping not one, but two Pro Bowlers from their NFC East-winning team from a year ago.

    Well, sort of.

    In this case, it's actually more guard Evan Mathis shopping himself.

    After making it to Honolulu last year, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via colleague Lance Cartelli) that Mathis approached the Eagles about a new contract at February's NFL Scouting Combine.

    According to Rapoport, the Eagles took a look at Mathis' cap hits of at least $6 million each of the next three years and age and suggested that Mathis explore finding a new home.

    On one hand, it might seem a no-brainer for teams to be scrambling to add Mathis, who was Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) top-rated guard in 2013.

    However, in addition to Mathis' age and desire for a new deal, his relatively small size for a guard (298 pounds) makes him a fit mostly for NFL teams who employ zone-blocking techniques.

    If one of those teams is amenable to the cost of a mid-round pick and some guaranteed coin for an aging player, the Eagles appear willing to play "Let's Make a Deal".

    With that said though, this is a seller's market deal. Mathis' cap number isn't small, but it isn't onerous either, so if the Eagles don't get an offer they like, there's little to prevent them from just standing pat.

     

    Chance of Being Traded: 25 Percent

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Make no mistake, one way or the other, despite rushing for over 2,000 yards not that long ago, running back Chris Johnson has all but certainly played his last game with the Tennessee Titans.

    After logging a career-low 3.9 yards per carry a year ago, and set to be due a base salary of $8 million in 2014, even Johnson seems to realize the writing is on the wall, although he told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean he intends to show up for the Titans conditioning program on April 7:

    Yeah, I plan on being there. If I haven't been traded or released by that time, I will show up in Nashville and be ready to go from day one with the team. There's been a lot of speculation about the future, and where I'll be. But I am under contract with the Tennessee Titans. That's my team. And whatever team I am with when the offseason program starts, that is where I am showing up.

    Head coach Ken Whisenhunt, however, didn't sound overly optimistic that would be the case:

    This whole thing is a process. There's not a timetable on doing it. We're trying to do what's best for the team. We're certainly sensitive to try and resolve this whole deal sooner than later. It's just a process that you go through. I hope the fan base understands we're trying to do what's best for our team. All that matters is what we do on Sundays and winning those games.

    There is some interest in a player whose 7,965 rushing yards over the past six seasons trails only Adrian Peterson. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, "a trade market is emerging" for the 28-year-old.

    Of course, any interested team could just forgo giving up a pick and trying to restructure Johnson's contract (which pays him $23 million in base salary over the next three years) and wait for Johnson to be released.

    It's possible a team will jump the gun, but I wouldn't bet the rent on it.

     

    Chance of Being Traded: 10 Percent

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins

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    Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

    The Miami Dolphins are redefining the concept of buyer's remorse.

    Less than a year after handing wide receiver Mike Wallace a five-year, $60 million contract in free agency, the Dolphins are (for the second time this offseason) shopping Wallace at the league meetings, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

    The Dolphins have denied the rumors, but La Canfora goes on to say some interested parties have at least kicked the idea around.

    In fact, La Canfora states that one scenario making the rounds in Orlando has the Dolphins and Eagles swapping receivers in a Jackson-for-Wallace deal.

    Of course, that trade is only slightly less insane than any trade scenario involving Mike Wallace.

    Wallace has a cap hit of $17.25 million in 2014, including a fully guaranteed base salary of $15 million.

    After that? Cap hits of $12.1 million (2015), $13.7 million (2016) and $13.7 million (2017).

    That, for a wide receiver who hasn't topped 1,000 yards since 2011, and for whom last year's 12.7 yards per catch was a career-low.

    Trading for Mike Wallace makes even less sense than that abomination of a contract did last year.

     

    Chance of Being Traded: 0 Percent