With the trade deadline fast approaching there are still a few disgruntled players out there who would like to finish the season in a different uniform, as well as a few teams that would be more than willing to part with draft picks and other assets to land a player talented enough to raise them up to the next level.
Marshawn Lynch is one of those players that any number of teams would love to add to their backfield, and with the Bills on the way to another abysmal season, it may finally be time to trade Lynch in order to reload the team with draft picks. Here are his top five most likely destinations.
Although the Colts are not normally major players in the trade market and have maintained the same core of talented players for much of the last decade, there is a chance that the rough start to the season could lure Bill Polian into the Lynch trade market. Peyton Manning does what Peyton Manning does, which for the most part involves being an elite quarterback week in and week out. While Manning alone has been able to carry the Colts into the postseason almost every year, if the Colts want to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders they will need to improve their running game.
The Colts are currently the league's sixth worst rushing team, and their inability to shorten games by running in the second half puts a hefty burden on Manning's shoulders to score in bunches just about every week. Chalk this one up as unlikely, but the Colts could certainly use Lynch's talents.
The Broncos may be a stretch in terms of willingness. They are .500 through their first two games of the season, but they would most likely serve to benefit most from dealing for Lynch. Through their first four games they have accumulated a grand total of only 220 yards on the ground. This is good enough for last in the NFL even though the Cowboys, the league's second worst rushing team, have rushed the ball 32 fewer times this season.
The Broncos are averaging 2.2 yards per carry and could use a lift in the running game more than any other team. A 2-2 record with no running game could quite possibly be a playoff team with the addition of a back like Lynch. Yes, the Broncos are still in a rebuilding and retooling phase under second-year coach Josh McDaniels, but after narrowly missing the playoffs last year and Kyle Orton's solid start this year, maybe the Broncos should consider Lynch as a possible ace in the hole against long time divisional top dog San Diego.
The Chicago Bears is a team that has been underachieving in the minds of fans for the last few years. The addition of Jay Cutler and the remodeling of his coaching staff have given head coach Lovie Smith more time to operate, but he is definitely up against a ticking clock in Chicago.
Although the Bears are off to a hot start at 3-1, but they are at the bottom of the league in rushing yards and the only team in the league who has failed to score a rushing touchdown this season. Former standout running back Matt Forte has looked slow this year and is averaging less than three yards per carry. After a lackluster season last year it is possible that Forte has simply lost his edge.
While the Bear's new offense under offensive coordinator Mike Martz is pass-heavy, every team needs a run option. The Giants proved this weekend that the Bears can be beaten by disregarding the rush and heavily blitzing Cutler, a move which knocked Cutler out of the game. It may be time for the Bears to subvert this problem now by adding Lynch before any more opponents take advantage.
The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the most surprising stories of the young NFL season. Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy were tearing up opposing defenses with their speed and versatility to the point that Vick was in early consideration for the season's MVP award.
Fast forward and following last Sunday's game against the Redskins, the Eagles' outlook is suddenly much more grim. Both Vick and McCoy went down against the Redskins, and there is a chance that they both could miss considerable time. While Vick's backup, Kevin Kolb, has proven to be effective in the past, he is still learning how to utilize all aspects of the offense and needs a running game.
Having Lynch in the backfield could be a saving grace for Kolb until the team gets healthy. Then, down the road, just imagine how potent a running back committee of Lynch and McCoy could be with Vick at quarterback. Those three in one backfield could probably win the Eagles games without ever throwing the football. Whether or not the Eagles will feel the level of need to pull the trigger on a deal like this is unknown, but if Vick is healthier than expected, he still needs a running back, and the Bills could certainly use Kevin Kolb.
The Dallas Cowboys are not at the top of this list because they are in the position of highest need. They top the list because of one man, Jerry Jones. The Cowboys owner is famous for his competitive drive and willingness to pay and deal his way to victories. The Cowboys are playing in a wide open NFC East and looking to recover from a slow start that has them trailing the division leaders already.
An assessment of the Cowboys shows that they have a very talented lineup but have struggled meshing as a whole, especially on the offensive side of the ball. While the entire offense has struggled, their run game has been almost nonexistent this season. They are the league's second to last team in rushing yards and have ran the ball less frequently than every other NFL team.
Pairing Marshawn Lynch with Tony Romo would immediately upgrade the offense and make them the favorite to come out of a messy NFC East division. In the playoffs, having a star back would certainly help Romo overcome some of his past late season woes.
If there is anybody in the league who is going to make a deal like this happen, it's Jerry Jones. Jones wants to win now and will be willing to part with the necessary draft picks. Jones also has a history of taking on players who have had attitude problems in the past. This makes Lynch a perfect fit with the Cowboys. Now let's just see if they are willing to get this deal done.