The NFL Trade Deadline Passes with Only Two Minor Deals

LVCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 1: Wide receiver Brandon Gibson #19 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball during minicamp practice at the NovaCare Complex on May 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

The 2009 NFL trade deadline came and went on Oct. 20 at 4:00 pm EST with the same amount of fanfare accorded to the league’s annual Supplemental Draft (i.e. “Snooze Fest”) each July.

While names like San Diego Chargers LB Shawne Merriman, Cleveland Browns QB Brady Quinn, Kansas City Chiefs DT Glenn Dorsey, Philadelphia Eagles WRs Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, Buffalo Bill WR Terrell Owens, Cleveland Browns WR/KR Josh Cribbs, Houston Texans CB Dunta Robinson, and others were bantered around by the media, there were only two minor trades with none involving the aforementioned set of high-profile players.

Remember, unlike Major League Baseball GMs, football personnel men don’t like to part with “their” players. Most football GM types always fear injuries and lack of depth over a grueling 17-week regular season, so they usually keep players around—typically on their team’s inactive list—until the offseason even if they have no intention of really playing them. (See Eagles WR Reggie Brown and Bucs QB Byron Leftwich.)

In looking for their third option in replacing injured MLB Stewart Bradley, the Philadelphia Eagles traded for former St. Louis Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon. In return the Eagles shipped promising 2009 sixth-round pick WR Brandon Gibson and a 2010 fifth-round selection to the Rams.

Witherspoon should step in right away to help combat a foot injury suffered by LB Omar Gaither and poor play in coverage by newly-signed veteran LB Jeremiah Trotter. Witherspoon, 29, has played eight seasons in the NFL at both the weakside and middle linebacker positions with the Rams and Panthers. This season, he had 33 tackles for the Rams. 

The Eagles thought that young receiver Gibson was expendable as he was buried on the team’s depth chart behind DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, and Reggie Brown. Gibson had emerged in training camp and the preseason as a good target, but the team never found a role for him—he was inactive for all five regular season games—even though he was never placed on their practice squad due to fears that another team would grab him.

“I think [Gibson] is going to have a great career in the NFL,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said after the trade. Gibson now joins fellow former Eagles WR Danny Amendola in a depleted Rams receiving corps—starters Donnie Avery (hip) and Laurent Robinson (ACL, season) are both out.

The other trade on deadline day involved the Kansas City Chiefs continuing to clean house of the Carl Peterson/Herman Edwards regime. The Chiefs sent underachieving DT Tank Tyler, who was a former third-round pick and an ill-fit for their new scheme, to the Carolina Panthers for a fifth-round pick in 2010.

Tyler had gotten some attention when the Chiefs were featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks during the 2007 preseason, but never lived up to his hype as a quality “space eater”.  Tyler had started just two games for the Chiefs this season and now the Panthers will be looking for him to help replace NT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon).

The only personnel moves left now for teams are: 1) Claiming players off waivers, 2) Raiding other teams' practice squads (players taken must be on their new team’s 53-man roster for a minimum of three weeks), or 3) Signing street free agents (higher profile players still available, including WR Joey Galloway, WR Marvin Harrison, LB Derrick Brooks, and WR Matt Jones).