NFL Free Agency 2011

A Look at the Likelihood All 32 NFL Teams Make a Deal This Offseason

Hayden BirdCorrespondent IMay 10, 2011

A Look at the Likelihood All 32 NFL Teams Make a Deal This Offseason

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    CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals 34-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It's a weird off-season in the NFL. And yes, that's an understatement. 

    There's no salary cap right now. There's been no free agency. And that's the least of the NFL's problems.

    With no collective bargaining agreement, uncertainty is the order of the day.

    That said, just as surely as the sun rises and sets, there will be trades when the labor dispute ends (assuming it ends). And all 32 teams could be involved one way or another.

    Keep in mind that trade speculation in NFL can be the most shoddy speculation in any major American sport. Football trades are more rare than deals in other sports most of the time.

    Yet rumors abound. And there are hints to some possible trades, so lets have a look.

Atlanta Falcons

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes for a touchdown during the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty I
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    After trading many draft picks in the Julio Jones deal (not just for this year but next as well), I don’t rate Atlanta’s probability of trading again soon.

    They certainly won’t be selling anytime soon, with a young quarterback surrounded by a good corps of talent.

    And the transparent notion about their first round splash this year was their unquestionable resolve to make a run next season. After being outgunned last year in the playoffs, they’re determined to rectify the situation.

Arizona Cardinals

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 25:  Head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals talks with quarterback John Skelton #19 during the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Card
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Put them down on the list of teams in the market for a quarterback. Can you even name who their opening day starter would be off the top of your head (definitively anyway)?

    Exactly.

    That this was not a priority in the draft is as confusing as it possibly is revealing. Clearly Ken Whisenhunt didn’t think too highly of the quarterbacks in the draft.

    The alternative explanation is that he’s confident he can swing a deal for someone. The Kevin Kolb/Carson Palmer list begins, though the names of Donovan McNabb and Kyle Orton have also come up.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Can they surround Joe Flacco with more help?
    Can they surround Joe Flacco with more help?Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Not in need of anything major, as long as their cornerbacks can stay healthy this season and rookie Jimmy Smith can live up to his potential.

    They could use more help with their pass rush, but I'm not sure who would be available on the market for this need.

    They have a proven history of swinging deals though (the most recent being the Anquan Boldin trade).

    Overall though, I’d rate their chances of a deal low.

Buffalo Bills

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Receiver Steve Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills catches a pass  against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida.The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    As a team with quarterback questions, you can never count them out entirely.

    Bolstering their defense would be something that should be the priority though. The division they’re in (the AFC East) is tough for defenses, especially against the Patriots.

    Still, I think there’s a good chance that they stand pat and build through future drafts.

Carolina Panthers

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    Does he need help in the form of another wide-out?
    Does he need help in the form of another wide-out?Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    It would be easy to simply put the Panthers in the “yes” category for trade likelihood. After all, they were the worst team in the league last year.

    But with multiple options at quarterback (albeit only one long term option realistically) and solid running backs, I don’t think they’re overly likely to make a deal.

    Having said that, there are rumors growing almost by the hour about Steve Smith wanting out. Why exactly he would suddenly demand this now is beyond me (why not last season?)

    But the rumors are there, possibly with the Chargers being his destination...

Chicago Bears

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    Jay Cutler: perpetually looking for a receiver who can't seem to get open...
    Jay Cutler: perpetually looking for a receiver who can't seem to get open...Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    They can never have too much talent around Jay Cutler.

    That’s not a slight against Cutler as much as it is a recognition that the past few seasons has shown the limitations of a QB in the Cutler-mold when he has second-tier receivers.

    If they did make a trade, it would probably be for a wide-out to help Mr. Cutler, but nothing to note yet.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals 34-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Ding Ding Ding...and one of the winners of this column's “most likely to pull the trigger” teams are the Bengals.

    When the draft began and the Bengals took Georgia receiver A.J. Green, there was speculation that maybe it was a message to disillusioned quarterback Carson Palmer.

    Perhaps the Bengal hierarchy were extending an olive branch. Look at what we got for you. Just come on back and we’ll straighten this out.

    In reality, this was never the case. On their way to one of the highest-rated drafts of the year, Cincinnati picked TCU quarterback Andy Dalton in the second round.

    So the Bengals did send a message to Palmer: get your bags packed.

    There’s obviously a lot of debate about when/where the former first overall pick could go.

    Teams might not be lining up to acquire the former USC star, due to his past injury and poor performance last year. And the Bengals brain-trust might not all be sold on trading him.

    He still has value, especially to a team like the Cardinals or even Seattle. I expect it’ll get done, but not for a first rounder without some criteria (i.e. Palmer wins X number of games or throws X number of touchdowns).

    And then there's Chad Ochocinco, who could be on the move (no word on where, though a crazy rumor is Ocho going to play for his old friend Bill Belichick in New England.)

Cleveland Browns

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    CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns looks for a receiver against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Another team with many needs who, nonetheless, seems set at quarterback.

    Colt McCoy is apparently their guy, and any additions they made/make are to surround the second year slinger with talent.

    No overwhelming need to make a trade though. Obviously their major trade was with Atlanta in the Julio Jones deal.

    Any trade at this point would generally be for a team that’s a piece or two away.

    For the sake of Cleveland fans (who deserve something good) I hope I’m wrong about saying this, but I think their more than a couple pieces away.

Dallas Cowboys

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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 17:  Roy Williams #11 of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the field during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field on October 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    You can never count out the Cowboys in this regard.

    Still, a trade is never a first measure for the Cowboys when free agency is still yet to occur.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they at least pursue some defensive help.

    A trade seems less likely, but then again who say the Roy Williams trade coming a few years ago?

Detroit Lions

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    DETROIT - OCTOBER 10: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams tries to get a pass of before being tackled by Cliff Avril #92 and Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions on October 10, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 44-6. (Photo
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Detroit apparently tried for a time to move up and draft LSU star cornerback Patrick Peterson, but having failed to snag the shutdown DB, the Lions look less likely to make a trade.

    One issue has been the linebacking corps, but they could probably address this in free agency (thus they wouldn't have to give up a piece in order to make the deal).

Denver Broncos

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - APRIL 29:  Von Miller of the Denver Broncos is presented to the media for the first time with vice president of football operations John Elway at Dove Valley on April 29, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Miller, a projected outside linebacker
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Denver is another team with a plethora of needs. Are they sold on Tim Tebow at quarterback? Will they trade Kyle Orton as a result?

    More importantly, how will their defense step up this season?

    After having a non-existent pass-rush last season when Elvis Dumervil went down, John Elway and the Bronco front office drafted linebacker Von Miller second overall.

    And they even considered trading back into the first round to get Nick Fairley when he dropped out of the top ten. In the end, they decided the strength was in numbers, not individuals.

    The Orton trade might be on tap, but other than that nothing definitive yet.

Green Bay Packers

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Donald Driver #80 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after catching a 24 yard pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    With players like James Jones, Donald Driver and Cullen Jenkins possibly becoming free agents, Green Bay has some needs to fill (which they partially did in the draft), even if they are the Super Bowl champions.

    Actually, it's especially true that they have needs due to the Lombardi trophy having taken up residence on the frozen tundra once again.

    This is probably due to the fact that, as any coach or player would attest to, the only thing more difficult than winning a championship is defending it.

Houston Texans

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 02:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball as he elludes the pass rush from Mario Williams #90 of the Houston Texans at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Houston made moves during the draft to acquire an extra pick, but look fairly set now that the draft is over.

    One notable item for Houston this off-season is the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.

    This has already caused a stir with the word that Mario Williams will make the switch from defensive end (where he's been very successful) to a an outside linebacker.

    The jury is still out on how effective Williams can be in coverage or playing in space, but no one doubts his pass-rush abilities. 

Indianapolis Colts

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    Like Peyton Manning, the Colts aren't overly flashy, but no one can doubt how successful they've been in the last decade.
    Like Peyton Manning, the Colts aren't overly flashy, but no one can doubt how successful they've been in the last decade.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Probably one of the most stealthy in terms of rumors. Even the 24-hour rumor mills on the internet are pretty bereft of Colts trade rumors.

    Yet why would they be making a deal? Any needs that they have can be answered through the draft (where Indianapolis has proven very successful in the past) or free agency.

    Again, the idea of a team making a trade (and thus giving up some talent of their own) is the least appealing option for acquisition. Maybe a measure of last resort though, you can never be sure.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 26: Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for a touchdaown during the game against the Washington Redskins at EverBank Field on December 26, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Again, nothing doing for the Jags at this point.

    Obviously, they have issues at the quarterback position.

    With Blaine Gabbert being the new first round quarterback on the block, the natural inclination is to wonder what becomes of current starter David Garrard.

    Yet I have a feeling Garrard lingers for a while, since Gabbert is a talented prospect who lacks NFL polish as of now.

    He will take time to acclimate to a standard NFL offense (where they don't just run empty backfield).

Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 20:  General Manager Scott Pioli of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    With Scott Pioli as their general manager, it's possible that a number of things could happen (including a trade).

    But I haven't heard anything or seen any reason to believe that there's an impending trade.

    Most likely the Chiefs are a team who will move deftly through free agency and then call it quits on the offseason.

Miami Dolphins

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12:  Ronnie Brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins rushes against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    With Ronnie Brown a probable free agent, the Dolphins have a tacit need at running back.

    However, drafting Kansas State ball carrier Daniel Thomas (coupled with Ricky Williams' continued presence) means the Dolphins certainly don't need to make a trade.

    If Miami still needs a running back, then there's a proven history of adding undrafted rookies or low cost free agents who work out.

    The Dolphins also have expressed interest in the Carson Palmer trade sweepstakes, but who knows (since, as I pointed out on the Bengals page, Cincinnati owner Mike Brown might not want to part with Palmer anyway.)

Minnesota Vikings

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Christian Ponder of Florida State looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    They now have Christian Ponder to add to the post-Farve quarterback situation, but does that really clear anything up?

    I'd say no, in the short term anyway, since a rookie QB isn't generally an immediate impact player.

    That leaves them still in the hunt technically. The most intriguing rumor is Donovan McNabb.

New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Logan Mankins #70 of the New England Patriots looks on before the game against the New York Giants on September 3, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Always a draft-day trader, New England may decide to cut a deal to help their beleaguered pass-rush (which they failed to bolster in the draft).

    Bill Belichick may also move to trade lineman Logan Mankins if his situation can't be rectified (the Patriots tagged Mankins as a franchise player against his will).

New Orleans Saints

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Reggie Bush #25 of the New Orleans Saints in action during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Bolstering their defensive line through the Shaun Rogers signing and drafting Cameron Jordan, New Orleans already has gone much of the distance in their offseason needs.

    Obviously, drafting running back Mark Ingram, coupled with the new four year deal given to Pierre Thomas, means that Reggie Bush is beginning to look superfluous in a Saints uniform.

    Not so fast though.

    Before we get carried away in the rumor-mill about the team that will trade for the former USC star, there are apparently rumblings from Saints whiz kid Sean Payton about keeping him around. 

New York Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Kevin Boss #89 of the New York Giants scores a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game on December 19, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Im
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Giants have potential need at the tight end position with Kevin Boss a free agent.

    There is a chance that Boss could come back though, so we'll see.

    Linebacker, offensive line and running back (if Ahmad Bradshaw leaves) are the other needs.

    All of these can be addressed in free agency though, so I don't see them making a trade.

New York Jets

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets celebrates after he scored a third quarter touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvani
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Gang Green did well in the draft and have a recent history of adding key veterans in free agency.

    That said, they also pulled off a good trade for wide receiver Santonio Holmes last year (a bargain in my opinion). So there is a chance they could make a deal, but for who?

    They seem to have plugged most of their problem areas, with maybe the exception of safety.

Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines during the closing minutes of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra S
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Oakland is perpetually on the verge of trading for someone who they questionably need (Richard Seymour for example). So I'm not counting them out.

    But they have more than a few needs (though they did show signs of progress last year).

    The loss of Nnamdi Asomugha to free agency through a bizarre clause in his contract will hurt and could potentially spark a trade, but nothing serious to report on this front.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 02:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Dallas Cowboys on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Eagles have one big trade chip whose value is still largely unknown.

    I mean, of course, quarterback Kevin Kolb. The former second round pick has shown flashes of competence in his brief NFL career, but what is his true trade value?

    The Eagles are certainly willing to listen, yet their inability to trade him (due to the lockout) prior to the draft hurt his value.

    Now the list of potential suitors has shrunk. Yet some teams still remain.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    No way!....way.
    No way!....way.Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    The Steelers are the NFL’s pillar of stability. You can count the number of coaches they’ve had on one hand (impossible for any other team over 20 years old).

    And their draft strategy is as dull as it is effective: address your needs, don’t worry about the rest (oh yeah, and always take at least one linebacker). It’s produced some pretty good results.

    In terms of trades, I don’t think they’re really that likely to pull off a deal (but have you heard the Tiki Barber rumors?)

Carolina Panthers

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    Is he pointing towards San Diego?
    Is he pointing towards San Diego?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The big rumor has been the Chargers and Panthers receiver Steve Smith.

    Obviously, that would be a coup for San Diego, who already has a formidable passing attack.

    Beyond that, not much to report.

San Francisco 49ers

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 02:    Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs against the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on January 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The quarterback controversy continues. Call him the one man quagmire, or maybe just bad, but Alex Smith will probably get one more shot with new coach Jim Harbaugh.

    The 49ers aren’t that far away minus the signal caller situation (again, who knows?) Yet they don’t seem to be poised to make a move, either.

    After taking Colin Kaepernick in the later rounds of the draft, they seem to at least have enough quarterbacks with a pulse to fill out the roster (whether or not any of them are good remains a question).

Seattle Seahawks

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    Done in Seattle?
    Done in Seattle?Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Apparently Matt Hasselbeck isn’t going back to Seattle. So says Trent Dilfer anyway.

    And after a very curious draft, where they reached on a number of picks, the door is wide open to make a trade.

    But where though? Obviously Kevin Kolb is in the discussion (I assume other quarterbacks have been talked about too).

    Seattle is one of the most interesting teams in this category right now, because no one knows what they’ll do next (not sure if Seahawk fans enjoy this).

St Louis Rams

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    Could use another receiver.
    Could use another receiver.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Very quietly had a great draft.

    Obviously Steve Spaguolo loves having a pass-rush, and Robert Quinn should help in that aspect. Lance Kendricks will have an instant impact at tight end too.

    Yet while they did add some receivers for second year quarterback Sam Bradford, the Rams still lack a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

    Maybe Chad Ochocinco, but that’s a serious long shot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Proof that trades aren't always necessary to upgrade...
    Proof that trades aren't always necessary to upgrade...J. Meric/Getty Images

    Still in rebuilding mode (albeit on the upswing),

    Tampa has options, but probably little desire to trade. They’ve shown an ability to find diamonds in the rough (LeGarrette Blount) and may not feel like they have to jump on a trade.

    The Bucs will probably wait for free agency and see what they’ve got then.

Tennessee Titans

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 14:  Quarterback Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans throws against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    So Jake Locker is technically, if not officially, a Titan.

    Interestingly enough, Vince Young (you may remember him from such hits as “the 2006 Rose Bowl National Championship game”) is also still on the roster.

    Awkward.

    There’s been surprisingly little about Vince since his split with Titan hierarchy, but I’d expect this to gain steam soon.

Washington Redskins

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins stands on the sidelines during preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Donovan McNabb. I’ve already mentioned him a few other times on here, so what’s left to say?

    There’s a list of teams who’ve shown interest (Cardinals, Eagles and probably one of two more).

    Then there’s Albert Haynesworth, who also is on the trading block, but he’s got his own problems right now so we’ll see.

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