2014 NFL Training Camp: 10 Players Who Could Still Be Traded During Camp
With training camps about to begin, teams are taking a hard look at their rosters and deciding who is staying and who isn't.
Most of the time, players who aren't part of a team's short-term vision get cut, but sometimes they get traded.
We all know that an NFL trade is like a purple unicorn. You don't believe it when you hear about it, and you only buy in when someone produces the pelt.
Still, it happens on occasion, and sometimes teams see a guy they think will get cut and offer a pick or players to make sure they get him.
Here are 10 guys we think could be moved during training camp.
Things are dicey in Houston.
The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain says Johnson “will not be traded.”
The Sideline View’s Lance Zierlein reports that he’s talked to several front-office executives and has been told the Texans could get anywhere from a second-rounder to a fifth-rounder.
As McClain points out in his piece, the Texans are better with Johnson than without him, but if he’s unhappy, and the team can get a good price for him, it would be worth it for a franchise that is rebuilding a bit.
You know plenty of teams would love to have Johnson, even at his age. The question is whether they’ll pay what it would take to get him.
Remember when Ryan Mallett was absolutely going to be traded before or right after the 2014 NFL draft?
Well, he’s still a New England Patriot, at least for the moment.
Several teams need either a starting quarterback or a backup, though. And that’s before training camp, when a quarterback is bound to get hurt.
Mallett has a strong arm and has worked under Tom Brady since he was drafted. He’s unproven, but in the right situation, Mallett could be developed into a solid player.
Mark Sanchez/Matt Barkley
Is it possible to have too many USC quarterbacks on a roster?
It might be for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Mark Sanchez has a decent arm but has yet to show he can read a defense, while Matt Barkley was mediocre in the few games he appeared in last season.
Both have some upside (Barkley more because we’ve seen less of him), but Philly doesn’t need both of them. Neither is more than a backup, and neither is going to start anytime soon unless Nick Foles goes down.
Our money is on Barkley going. He has more upside (because he has less tape), and he split snaps with G.J. Kinne this past spring.
With DeSean Jackson's arrival, Washington has no reason to keep Santana Moss on the roster.
Sure, a veteran presence is nice to have, but other players can fill the leadership role. Moss is more valuable as potential trade bait.
While Washington doesn’t need another veteran, plenty of other teams do. Moss may not have a ton in the tank, but he’d be a cheap addition with a little bit to offer, especially for any team with a young core group of receivers.
He won’t net much, but he could at least get the team a late-round draft pick.
Every head coach likes to think he can fix a player another coach couldn’t.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder could be that guy for a head coach.
As we mentioned back on the Mallett slide, some teams need help at quarterback, and we haven’t even hit camp yet.
Ponder isn’t likely to get another starting spot considering how awful he was when he was under center in Minnesota, but some team would likely trade a late-round pick on him as a project.
This would especially be true for a team that lacks quarterback depth behind a starter who is consistent and not often hurt.
Ponder isn’t likely to make it out of camp on the Vikings roster, and you can bet they will try to move him before they have to cut him.
We’re big Denarius Moore fans, but even his most ardent supporters have to admit he hasn’t shown anything remotely like consistency.
Moore has speed and good hands, but he has never strung together several good games, let alone a good season.
That could have something to do with the perennially terrible quarterback situation in Oakland. No matter how often the Raiders change their starting quarterback (and they do so frequently it seems), it never helps.
Some team would be wise to see if Moore is available, because we believe with the right quarterback and coaches, his ability would come through.
Marcus Lattimore is on the mend, Frank Gore never seems to fade, Kendall Hunter is entrenched as the No. 2 running back and the team just drafted Carlos Hyde.
Yeah, it’s a bit crowded in the San Francisco 49ers' backfield.
The key to this might be how Lattimore progresses, but LaMichael James’ sole benefit for the 49ers is as a returner and, frankly, the NFL has plenty of those. He’s not so good that they can’t replace him.
The 49ers have been steadfast for months that they will not trade him, as Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee reported on it in April, but we all know you never say never. The Niners will not use him as a running back, and he has just two years left on his rookie deal. They might as well get something for him, and plenty of teams could use a change-of-pace back who can return kicks.
The one thing that could keep Rob Housler from getting traded is that his value now might be subterranean. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reported that Housler is the fourth tight end on the Arizona Cardinals roster right now, though Weinfuss wrote that it’s not out of the question that the team keeps four.
Housler is a pass-catcher first and a blocker second.
Head coach Bruce Arians was very clear at the combine that he wants a tight end to block first and catch second. Housler isn’t that guy.
Several NFL teams don’t subscribe to the same theory as Arians, though, and some of them could be interested in a big tight end who can run a sharp route.
He could be much more attractive to another coach, and the Cardinals could turn that into value.
With the Tennessee Titans selecting Taylor Lewan with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the writing was on the wall for Roos—well, that and when they overpaid Michael Oher.
Roos is a decent tackle who is in the last year of his contract. He has missed just one game since he came into the league in 2005. Several teams need help on the offensive line, and Roos would be a great acquisition for any of them.
The wrinkle in this Titans-trading-Roos theory is that Lewan is still unsigned. The longer he is unsigned and the more camp he misses, the more difficult it could be for him to have a significant impact in his rookie year.
There’s still more than a week before the Titans open camp, so there's plenty of time to make a deal with Lewan.
And in that time, Tennessee can make Roos trade bait for teams looking for tackle help.
With the addition of Bryce Brown and the presence of C.J. Spiller, the Buffalo Bills don't have a great need to keep Fred Jackson.
At 33 years old and in the final year of his contract, his value isn’t great overall, but he is an outstanding pass-blocker and can still run the ball very effectively.
Once a team sees some injuries or hits camp and finds out its backfield is unremarkable, it should attempt to pry Jackson from the Bills. They, in turn, could get some value for a player they will lose this offseason.
Again, it could be that we will only see this happen once injuries occur in camp, but Jackson is a running back who can still play and would be a good fit in the backfield for several teams.