NFL Trade Speculation: Larry Fitzgerald and 10 Disgruntled WR Vets Who Want Out
In today's world of football, having a true number one receiver can be a game changer. Running backs aren't the primary weapon of a high powered offense; the quarterback-wide receiver tandem is.
Of course the running back is still a highly valued position for a team, but they can't do it all on their own. Take the Tennessee Titans for example, Chris Johnson was the best running back in the game in 2009 and still was among the top last season.
But why is it that he wasn't as successful last season as he was in 2009? He was the Titan's offense—him solely—and opposing defenses knew that coming into games. Their offensive scheme was easily predictable and thus being even easier to stop.
However, even if a team does in fact have a great receiver, without an equal or greater quarterback, their success may be limited. The wide-out has no problem getting open and making the play, but if a polished quarterback can't deliver the ball on time or in the right place, it can tend to frustrate the receiver.
That and the players surrounding him. If the other receivers, tight ends and even running backs aren't at the same level as the receiver, defenses are going to zero in on him because they know he's the only one that can do anything with the ball. That will only make matters worse for the wide-out.
There are many top of the notch receivers out there today who are just waiting for a trade so that they have the full opportunity to show off their full colors to the NFL world. Here they are:
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Ever since Super Bowl 38, Steve Smith and the Carolina Panthers haven't been the same. Twice more would they return to the playoffs, not making it farther than conference championship ever again.
They won the NFC South in 2008 but lost in a divisional playoff game to the Arizona Cardinals. It seemed after that that a lot of the players on the team started to spiral into a decline. Jake Delhomme threw eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 11 games before a season ending injury that led to a change of scenery (Cleveland signed him).
Steve Smith also continued to not perform as well as he used to be known to do. It could be because of his size, as the game is starting to require people to be bigger, faster and stronger. It also could have been because of Delhomme going down and out.
Regardless of the reason, these past two seasons for Smith haven't been worthy of his true talent. For the first time since 2003 (he was injured for most of 2004) Smith didn't record 1,000 receiving yards. This happened in back-to-back seasons as well.
He'll be turning 32 years old in less than a month, but age isn't the reason for the decline. It's most likely because of the lack of production coming from the man behind center. Steve Smith should be taking his talents elsewhere to have more success and better numbers.
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Well, he only played five games last season, but he wasn't injured. Interesting isn't it?
Vincent Jackson opted out from play last season because he was unhappy with the contract that the San Diego Chargers were handing him. He wanted a long term one, but because he had to be listed as a restricted free agent, more than one year on the papers weren't possible.
So Jackson held out and they finally came to a one year agreement for the remainder of the season.
Now he's a free agent, the question is will he opt to go somewhere else? The Chargers would definitely want him back, who wouldn't? A player with the kind of frame, speed and strength that he has, any team might be bidding on him if the Chargers don't put a deal in front of him.
Based on the issues that he had with the Chargers, he may not even want to return himself.
Chad "Ochocino" Johnson
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Well it's official, Carson Palmer isn't going to be a Cincinnati Bengal ever again. But that's been known for some time now.
That's not the greatest of news that a top-notch receiver wants to hear—especially when the backup quarterbacks aren't anything short of mediocre. It also isn't great news when the other top receiver (Terrell Owens, we'll get to him later) is destined to be a free agent this off season.
It seems as if the entire Cincinnati Bengal's offense is slowly dying off. Oh yeah, Cedric Benson also is going to enter the world of free agency. What is happening in Cincinnati?
This will only mean that Mike Brown will try to plop a big contract extension in front of Ochocino's face to try and keep him in Cincy.
For a team that seems to be going through a major rebuilding stage, Ochocinco could have a bigger impact on other teams and wouldn't want to be dragged down with a struggling offense.
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Detroit has done a good job at drafting talented receivers in the past. They took Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, Mike Williams and Calvin Johnson all in the first round. Johnson is the only player to remain on the Lions roster to this date.
While Johnson may be having a great career, and all in motor city, his team hasn't gotten him anywhere in the past. The Lions haven't had a season where they finished over .500 since Johnson's arrival.
Last season, the Lions stirred things up late in the season, winning four in a row to close out the regular season—one of which was against future Super Bowl champion Packers.
The quarterback situation is also sticky for the Lions.
Matthew Stafford has yet to complete a season after being apart of the organization for two years now and being the first overall pick in 2009.
Shaun Hill, whose main job has been as a backup quarterback, had to fill in for Stafford last year and he too went down with injuries from time to time.
Why should Johnson waste his time for a team that's notorious for being a losing team?
We all know that Sidney Rice is going to be a free agent. But will he want to stay in Minnesota?
He's had relative success, at least in 2009. Aside from that he hasn't put up big numbers. The potential he has to be a great receiver might show up if he suits up in a different uniform—mainly, with a different quarterback too.
Brett Favre is expected to retire so the quarterbacks that the 'Vikes have in their arsenal aren't ones that a receiver could be happy with.
So unless they make grabbing a quarterback their top priority for the NFL Draft or sign a guy like Carson Palmer, wide-outs in Minnesota won't be content.
Even if Minnesota gives away Rice, they still have Percy Harvin to pick up the slack as the main receiver.
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After getting his way out of New England, his return to "home-sweet-home" didn't last that long either.
In 2010 Moss spent four games playing for the Pats, four for the Vikings and then eight more for the Tennessee Titans.
He produced better numbers in both Minnesota and New England even though he played more games in Tennessee. Six catches for 80 yards and no touchdowns is what his time down south can be summed up to.
So the question here is: should Randy hang up the cleats rather than look for another team?
Nevertheless I'm sure Moss can't be too happy in Tennessee, but will he be able to find a niche anywhere else?
The bottom line is he won't be in Tennessee next season.
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A receiver who has big play potential but is always shadowed by a better player, is the story of Stallworth's life.
This is especially true for his current situation in Baltimore since he plays along side Anquan Boldin, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Derrick Mason. Not to mention Todd Heap at the tight end position.
Last season he was limited because he broke his foot in pre-season, but also because on paper he was the No. 4 receiver. Because of this, Stallworth only caught two balls for 82 yards (one being a 67 yard reception).
For a team like Chicago, Tampa Bay and Oakland that beg of a wide-out with number one receiver capability, Stallworth could provide them with just that.
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This one may be a surprise, but Evans has been the victim of less than par quarterbacks his entire career. He was lucky enough to have Drew Bledsoe at the command of the offense his rookie year, but saw quarterbacks come and go for the rest of his time in Buffalo.
J.P. Losman, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards and Kelly Holcomb are just a couple of names he's played with.
He had minor shoulder surgery in 2008, one that former head coach Dick Jauron said he was having trouble recovering from, and his numbers did slip quite a bit from there on out.
Is it the surgery that's caused this or is it the quarterback debacle that has dropped his numbers?
Staying in Buffalo won't get him to the playoffs any time soon, especially since he's entering his seventh year in the league, so a change of scenery would be something he could look into.
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As stated before, Owens is in the same situation as Ochocinco, in that staying in Cincinnati with no quarterback and no offense will seem boring (that isn't to say that Cincy will boost their offense in the draft, free agency etc).
He also falls into the same category as Randy Moss: is it all over? I mean he has a promising TV career going for him.
Entering this season he'll be 37 years old, but by the end of it he'll be 38. Although he plays like he's a lot younger than his real age, is he pushing himself too far?
I feel he has another two years in him, but it's ultimately up to him. If Ochocinco leaves Cincinnati, don't be surprised to see him follow.
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Last season had to be the most disappointing season for the former University of Pittsburgh receiver.
The Cardinals finished towards the bottom of the pack in most offensive categories and they used three different quarterbacks throughout the season.
Out of the 10 touchdowns thrown by Cardinals quarterbacks, Fitzgerald caught six of them—more than half.
Ever since his old teammate Anquan Boldin left for the East Coast, Fitzgerald has caught the attention of all defensive backs.
If Kurt Warner was still the quarterback then I'm sure Fitzgerald would have no problem staying with Arizona. However, if he stays, he's just going to keep losing and losing and may never see the playoffs again.
Larry Fitzgerald is the epitome of a disgruntled wide-receiver whose in need of a new team.