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NFL Trade Rumors: A Closer Look at 25 Buzzed-About Trades

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 15, 2011

NFL Trade Rumors: A Closer Look at 25 Buzzed-About Trades

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Kevin Kolb, Steve Smith and Carson Palmer have asked to be traded. Albert Haynesworth and Reggie Bush have been replaced via the draft.

    Where will these big-name players find a home once the NFL lockout is over?

    We break down the top 25 most talked-about trades and let you know which is most likely to happen.

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    When the Arizona Cardinals passed on Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, we thought for sure they would use their second-round choice to draft their quarterback of the future.

    And then they didn't.

    The Cardinals did not spend one draft pick in 2011 on a quarterback, the position most clearly defined as the No. 1 need on their draft board.

    This alone marks Arizona as our most likely destination for the Eagles to trade backup quarterback Kevin Kolb.

    Kolb has asked to be traded to a team where he has a chance to start. In Arizona, he would be the Week 1 starter without question.

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Kevin Kolb to Seattle Seahawks

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Another NFC West team was expected to draft a quarterback early in the 2011 NFL draft to replace a veteran quarterback and build competition at the position; but the Seahawks never pulled the trigger on drafting a quarterback to replace free agent Matt Hasselbeck.

    During the 2010 draft, the Seahawks did swap second-round picks and send a 2011 third-rounder to San Diego for Charlie Whitehurst, a player who spent 15 games as the backup to Hasselbeck during the 2010 season.

    The ideal situation for Seattle would be re-signing Hasselbeck, but if they cannot, they become a possibility for the Eagles and Kevin Kolb.

    Kolb would have to compete with Whitehurst for the starting job here, something that may hinder his desire to move to Seattle.

Denver Broncos Quarterback Kyle Orton to Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Broncos have a unique situation with three quarterbacks who could conceivably be the opening day starter.

    Tim Tebow, the 2010 first-round pick, is the most likely starter for the 2011 season, but there is a chance John Fox will fall in love with former first-rounder Brady Quinn—or he could simply give the ball to the most experienced player, Kyle Orton.

    Chances are the Broncos will look to move Orton for players and/or draft picks as they try to rebuild a thin roster.

    Arizona gets a mention again here. If Kevin Kolb is traded elsewhere, or somehow not traded at all, Arizona must look at Orton.

    There's also the chance the Cardinals will like Orton more if only because of the lower price tag attached to him.

Denver Broncos Quarterback Kyle Orton to Washington Redskins

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Washington Redskins enter an offseason where they must trade or release veteran Donovan McNabb after one year as the starter, leaving them with free Rex Grossman and John Beck as their available quarterbacks.

    While most expected Washington to draft a quarterback, they have chosen instead to go the trade route to find their next quarterback.

    Kevin Kolb would make sense in Washington, but we cannot see them trading for an Eagles quarterback two years in a row.

    It is also possible Mike Shanahan will look back to his former team, the Denver Broncos, to find his next quarterback.

    Orton never played for Shanahan in Denver; he was brought in by Josh McDaniels, but he does fit the high accuracy passing game favored by Shanahan.

Green Bay Packers Running Back Ryan Grant to Miami Dolphins

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Green Bay Packers like what they have in James Starks as their featured running back, so why did they draft Hawaii's Alex Green?

    To replace Ryan Grant.

    Grant missed the 2010 season due to injury, and the Packers found they could win without him, and with cheaper options at the position.

    Expect Grant to be released or traded before the season begins. One likely destination for Grant's services are the Miami Dolphins.

    Miami's top two runners from 2010 are free agents (Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown). While they did use a second-round pick on bruiser Daniel Thomas, they would like to add one more running back to platoon with him.

    Grant could likely be had for a fourth-round pick.

Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Carson Palmer to Seattle Seahawks

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Pop Quiz: Who was Pete Carroll's first quarterback at USC?

    The picture above probably gives it away, but Carroll started his tenure at USC with Carson Palmer, who went on to win a Heisman Trophy under Carroll and propel himself from highly recruited prep star to No. 1 overall pick.

    While Carroll has not shown favoritism toward former USC players (just ask Taylor Mays), it does make sense for him to bring in a former pupil at the most important position on the field.

    Palmer has asked to be traded from Cincinnati with the threat of retirement if he's not.

    Seattle needs a quarterback, and Palmer makes perfect sense.

Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Carson Palmer to Minnesota Vikings

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    Teams looking for a one- or two-year band-aid at the quarterback position will also be inquiring about the availability of Carson Palmer.

    One such team can be found in Minnesota.

    The Vikings are excited about first-round pick Christian Ponder, but they also know this is a solid football team that could make a wild card push in 2011 with solid quarterback play.

    There is also a constant reminder in Green Bay as to how well a quarterback can play when he sits behind a veteran for a few seasons.

    Palmer would be an excellent mentor, on and off the field, for Ponder and would also help the Vikings put wins on the board—something they will need to get a new stadium.

Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Carson Palmer to Miami Dolphins

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Consider us in the minority of those who believe that Chad Henne should be given the starting job in 2011 for the Miami Dolphins.

    While we may feel this way, it does seem likely the Dolphins will move to add a veteran to compete with Henne for the Dolphins starting gig.

    Carson Palmer would be a good fit, as he's ready to play in Brian Daboll's offense and has the arm to really attack the New England Patriots and New York Jets.

    Palmer will turn 32 years old during the season, so he does have three to five years left if he can stay healthy. This might allow Miami to use Henne as purely a backup or even trade him down the road.

Washington Redskins Quarterback Donovan McNabb to Arizona Cardinals

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    As mentioned before, the Cardinals badly need a quarterback.

    Donovan McNabb has been linked to the Cardinals and Vikings all offseason. The moves make sense for all parties involved.

    McNabb fits well into the offensive schemes of both the Cardinals and Vikings, will likely be available for a low price tag and could bridge the gap between now and when the young quarterbacks in each city are ready to take over.

    The Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins in return for a second-round (37th overall) pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and a conditional third- or fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. This time around, he could be had for much less.

Washington Redskins Quarterback Donovan McNabb to Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    As mentioned in the Carson Palmer trade scenario, Minnesota needs a quarterback who can come in for one or two seasons while Christian Ponder learns the ropes of the NFL.

    Donovan McNabb is the most likely player to fill that role.

    McNabb turns 35 this season, and he knows that his days are numbered in the NFL. In Minnesota, he could realistically see a chance for a Super Bowl before retiring.

    With a strong running game featuring Adrian Peterson, a veteran offensive line that can play very well at times and if they can shore up the secondary, the Vikings could make a playoff push.

Washington Redskins Quarterback Donovan McNabb to Miami Dolphins

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Miami may be a long shot destination for Donovan McNabb, but we must mention it as a possibility.

    I am not personally sold on McNabb beating out Chad Henne for the starting job, making his arrival purely as a backup.

    This alone could be reason for McNabb to try and block a trade to South Beach.

    However, if there is an open competition, McNabb may like what he sees in the Miami roster.

Tennessee Titans Quarterback Vince Young to Washington Redskins

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    The move we expect the Washington Redskins to make in filling their need at quarterback is for the Tennessee Titans' Vince Young.

    Young is due a $4.25 million signing bonus on the 10th day of business under the new league year. He will never see that money in Tennessee.

    There are two options: cut him and receive nothing, or try and trade him for a conditional draft pick.

    We believe Washington would be willing to send a conditional pick to Tennessee in order to secure the rights of Young.

Tennessee Titans Quarterback Vince Young to Miami Dolphins

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    Imagine for a moment Vince Young lining up in the shotgun, flanked by Daniel Thomas and Charles Clay, and you have no idea which player the snap is going to.

    That's a reality in Miami if the Dolphins trade for Vince Young.

    With the Dolphins penchant for running the Wildcat offense, they have to be excited by the potential outlined above.

    Both Thomas and Clay have experience as Wildcat quarterbacks during their college days, and Young has shown time and time again how dangerous he can be as a runner.

    It may not work as a full-time offense, but coupled with Young's ability as a passer outside the pocket, this could be dangerous.

New Orleans Saints Running Back Reggie Bush to St. Louis Rams

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    When the New Orleans Saints traded back into the first round of the 2011 draft to select running back Mark Ingram, it became likely Reggie Bush's time in the Big Easy was limited.

    When Bush sent out a Tweet that said "It's been fun, New Orleans" it became crystal clear he was done as a Saint.

    Bush will be available to the highest bidder, and there should be plenty.

    One team that makes the most sense is the St. Louis Rams.

    Here Bush could be used as a third-down back, spelling Steven Jackson, and as a return man. He may even get a look in the slot at wide receiver.

    St. Louis could use someone with Bush's play-making ability, and Bush could use a re-start on his career.

New Orleans Saints Running Back Reggie Bush to Miami Dolphins

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    The Dolphins found one of their last marquee running backs in New Orleans; why not try again?

    Miami traded four draft picks for Ricky Williams, who in turn, led the league in rushing the following season. Similar results could not be expected from Reggie Bush, but teamed with Daniel Thomas, he could have a huge impact.

    As we have mentioned before, the Dolphins love for the Wildcat offense makes a move like a trade for Vince Young or Reggie Bush all the more exciting.

    Imagine Bush lined up behind center in the Wildcat.

Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver Steve Smith to New York Jets

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    Three of the Jets leading receivers from 2010 (Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith) all enter free agency this summer.

    The team must also re-sign starting cornerback Antonio Cromartie, leaving funds short if they hope to sign two receivers and Cromartie.

    One option would be to let two of the receivers go and trade for a veteran receiver, as there will be many on the market.

    One player entering the trade market is Carolina Panther's wide out Steve Smith, who has requested a trade. In fact, he's already cleaned out his team-provided luxury suite.

    Smith wants to play for a contender, and that's exactly what the Jets are expected to be in 2011.

Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver Steve Smith to San Diego Chargers

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    Here's an interesting scenario for you:

    Steve Smith wants to play for a winner and has asked to be traded from Carolina.

    Vincent Jackson has been unhappy with his contract for two years and would welcome new scenery.

    So, trade one for the other.

    Smith to San Diego, Jackson to Carolina.

    End of story.

Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver Steve Smith to New England Patriots

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    If Steve Smith wants to play for a winner the New England Patriots must be at the top of his wish list.

    Smith would be very welcome in New England, where the team has struggled to find a replacement for Randy Moss' production at wide receiver.

    Coupled with Wes Welker and exciting tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Smith would open up the Patriots offense for All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady.

    This deal may be unfair to the rest of the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco to New York Jets

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    The Bengals have to be at the end of their rope with Chad Ochocinco (Johnson). In fact, they drafted A.J. Green with the No. 4 overall selection to replace him.

    This opens the door for Cincinnati to move Ochocinco to the highest bidder.

    The New York Jets make sense in that they are likely to lose their deep threat, Braylon Edwards, to free agency. Adding a veteran like No. 85 would allow their offense to keep rolling and not miss a beat.

Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco to Chicago Bears

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    Another team hoping to add a big play wide receiver this summer could be the Chicago Bears.

    Most fans expected Chicago to try and add a deep threat for Jay Cutler through the draft, but they were not able to find a player on the board to select.

    Chad Ochocinco's mouth may be a problem, but remember, Jay Cutler has worked with Brandon Marshall—another flashy wide receiver known for talking.

    Chicago is close to a Super Bowl appearance. A player like Ocho may put them over the top.

Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco to New England Patriots

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    New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is not afraid to take on a character project.

    Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison and Randy Moss all found second chances in New England. Chad Ochocinco may be next.

    The Patriots are likely to try and add a veteran wide receiver who can stretch the field for Tom Brady, and no player may be better valued than Ochocinco.

Washington Redskins Defensive Tackle Albert Haynesworth to Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Philadelphia Eagles are surprisingly heavy on defensive tackles but still lack a player who can dominate the offensive line and take over games.

    That used to be Albert Haynesworth, and many feel it could be again if he's motivated to play hard.

    In the Eagles attacking 4-3 defense, Haynesworth would be back in his favorite role as a three-technique defensive tackle, a position he was widely known as the best at before signing with Washington.

    The only catch here might be the Redskins hesitation to trade Haynesworth within the division.

Washington Redskins Defensive Tackle Albert Haynesworth to Denver Broncos

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    John Fox knows defense better than almost any coach in the NFL today. And he also knows he must improve the talent at defensive tackle for his Denver Broncos to have a fair shot in the AFC West this season.

    The Broncos front four would featured Louis Leonard and Kevin Vickerson as starting defensive tackles if the season were to start today. Not a good sign, Denver fans.

    Haynesworth may also be a cheap find, as Washington is likely to release him if they cannot trade him.

Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Terence Newman to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Terence Newman may not seem like a player the Cowboys should trade. He's an experienced player, stays out of trouble and has been solid enough over the course of his career.

    He's also a bad fit for Rex Ryan's defense, is overpaid and on the final legs of his career.

    So why would Tampa Bay want him?

    The Buccaneers may find themselves forced to release or trade Aqib Talib, who has seen legal trouble since entering the NFL.

    A quick fix at cornerback would be trading a conditional pick to Dallas for Newman.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cornerback Aqib Talib to Dallas Cowboys

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    If the Dallas Cowboys are unable to sign a marquee free agent at cornerback this offseason, like Nnamdi Asomugha or Antonio Cromartie, expect them to make a deal to add a cornerback via trade.

    Aqib Talib has the tools to be one of the best cover men in the NFL. He's tough, aggressive and has good range. He has also been involved in legal issues throughout his young career and may be too much for the Bucs to handle.

    Jerry Jones has never met a big name player he didn't love. Talib would be no different.

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