It is crunch time in the world of NFL rumors now that the draft is a mere days away, and regardless of the accuracy of the rumblings in hindsight, this is quite the time for fans who keep track of the latest happenings.
Trades, draft-stock fluctuations and overall strategy are the buzz of the football world at the moment. Despite the delay this year, things have a familiar feel as contenders look to add missing pieces and franchises on the mend hope to hit a home run with a building block.
Here's a look at the details making the rounds. Don't blink.
Cleveland Wants a Third First-Round Pick?
The Cleveland Browns already enter the 2014 draft in an advantageous position with two picks in the opening round.
It just might not be enough to satisfy general manager Ray Farmer. Peter King of the MMQB has the details:
Time to get a quarterback, right? Not so fast. GM Ray Farmer has asked at least one team low in the round about trading back into the first round from Cleveland’s second-round slot. That leads me to think Cleveland wants to get ahead of Houston, another obvious quarterback hotspot, and get a passer with a third first-round pick.
This sounds crazy, but it just might work. It also meshes well with the thought process of ESPN's Tony Grossi a few days prior:
Alright, so Farmer is aggressive. What does he do?
If the third first-round pick is a quarterback, it's not crazy to think the Browns would use No. 4 overall to get a wideout like Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans. Best player available—including quarterback—wouldn't be off the table either.
The second pick would be whatever need isn't hit. Say they grab Khalil Mack at No. 4. Then a wideout could be the answer later in the round before getting a quarterback, or vice versa.
Regardless, it looks like the Browns understand that teams at the top of the second round are on the hunt for quarterbacks. Trading back up into the first round would jump those teams. At what cost remains to be seen.
Surprise Quarterback Team? Kansas City.
Many teams are known as possible destinations for quarterbacks, but one franchise that has not come up often in the discussion is Kansas City.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, contract talks with Alex Smith are playing a role in how the front office approaches the upcoming draft:
This is what the smart franchises do.
In contract negotiations with a quarterback who wants to make a ton of money? Get leverage in the talks by leaking that the team is considering bringing on a youngster with a team friendly deal early in that year's draft.
Boom. There's no official word that's what is happening, but Smith is set to turn 30 years old going into the last year of his deal and surely wants a minimum of one more big payday to finish out his career.
Even if that's now what is going down, the Chiefs need to find a younger signal-caller to at the very least groom. With no other major needs on the roster, investing in the most important position of all makes sense.
Considering the Chiefs don't have a second-round pick, the quarterback in question could be anyone from Derek Carr down to Zach Mettenberger and back. Regardless, Smith's ears surely perked up at this one, as he has had some experience with his team bringing on a rookie before who ultimately went on to steal his job.
Detroit Wants to Move Up?
The Detroit Lions already have Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, but it appears the front office is far from done in terms of offensive firepower.
That is, if ESPN's John Clayton is to be believed when he says the Lions want to move up to grab a big wideout:
"If the price isn't too expensive, the Detroit Lions would like to move up a few spots to draft wide receiver Mike Evans."
It's not all that outlandish, especially because the front office has been very adamant that just about any position is in play, per Tim Twentyman of the Lions' website:
Evans stands at 6'5" and 231 pounds, so a physical threat across from Johnson is surely the last thing defenses around the league want to see. This is especially the case considering quarterback Matthew Stafford has attempted a minimum of 634 passes in each of the past three seasons.
Based on how open to any position the Lions sound, they might simply stand pat and take the best player available. But if they truly covet Evans, don't be shocked to see them move up higher into the proceedings.