In Major League Baseball, one of the most exciting aspects of the game occurs every summer, with the July 31 trade deadline. Every summer, some contending baseball team pulls the trigger for that soon-to-be free agent that can hopefully propel them to a World Series championship.
The Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines when they acquired Manny Ramirez prior to the MLB trade deadline earlier this summer. All Ramirez has done is lead the Dodgers to the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
In the world of the NFL, there is also a midseason trade deadline that falls on Oct. 14. The NFL’s deadline for making trades, however, is much less exciting than Major League Baseball’s. It is rare that a big-time player switches football teams in the NFL.
This year could be different.
The San Francisco 49ers are one of the teams in the NFL that have been rumored to be ready to shake things up prior to this season’s trade deadline. The 49ers are 2-3 on the season and need to win now or head coach Mike Nolan will be looking for a new job.
If the 49ers do pull the trigger on a midseason trade, whom will they target? Here are some of the possibilities.
Roy Williams, WR, Detroit Lions
It’s obvious that the Lions aren’t going anywhere but downhill this season, so they might be willing to deal Williams for draft picks and in an attempt to dump salary. Williams is having a down year, but Detroit is a bad football team that has struggled offensively.
Williams only has 15 receptions in four games this season, but he is still a legitimate deep-threat receiver. In the only season that he has played in all 16 games (2006), Williams caught 82 passes for 1,310 yards.
Teaming with Isaac Bruce would give the 49ers the best one-two receiving tandem since Jerry Rice was wearing red and gold. An added bonus in the possibility of acquiring Williams is that he would be reunited with former Detroit offensive coordinator and current San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
It is probably a long shot that Houshmandzadeh will be dealt, but his name has been mentioned in trade rumors nonetheless. Houshmandzadeh has supplanted Chad Ocho Cinco as the Bengals’ top receiver. Houshmandzadeh is leading the Bengals through the first five games, with 31 receptions for 351 yards and three touchdowns. If Houshmandzadeh is traded, the 49ers will have plenty of competition for his services.
Chad Johnson, WR Cincinnati Bengals
Johnson has demanded to be traded more times than he has received NFL fines for his touchdown celebrations. Johnson has only caught 14 passes in five games, and every coach and general manager throughout the NFL knows his character issues. It is doubtful that the 49ers would want to risk disrupting their chemistry by adding a volatile player like Johnson.
It also remains to be seen as to whether he is dedicated to reaching the performance level that he had in previous years.
The 49ers could use a talent infusion at the wide-receiver position. Running back Frank Gore is leading San Francisco with 19 receptions through five games. Arnaz Battle is the top-ranked wide receiver with 16 catches, but he doesn’t have any touchdowns.
To have any chance at making a run at the playoffs and a possible Super Bowl berth, the 49ers need a deep-threat receiver that opponents will fear. They don’t have that right now.