NFL Trade Speculation: 5 Top-Tier Players on the Block for the Right Price

Jonathan Cyprowski@@JCyprowskiCorrespondent IMay 31, 2011

NFL Trade Speculation: 5 Top-Tier Players on the Block for the Right Price

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    In an offseason marked with uncertainty created by the lockout, fans and team executives may be missing out on the most action-packed offseason in years, as several high-profile players find themselves on the trading block.  

    Trades in the NFL are rare in comparison to other major professional sports leagues like the NBA, NHL and MLB. Yet with all of the rarity taken into account there are several top tier NFL players who are being shopped by their teams.

    If the lockout doesn’t eliminate the entirety of training camp, look to see these five names on the back of a different jersey in 2011.

Kyle Orton: QB/Denver Broncos

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    What is it about Kyle Orton that makes him so dispensable?

    In two words: Tim. Tebow.

    While Josh McDaniels drafted Tebow in the first round, new head coach John Fox seems set on giving Tebow every opportunity to make good on McDaniels’ decision. 

    With Tebow being given the benefit of a first-rounder’s share of time to learn and make mistakes in 2011, Orton becomes that much more dispensable.

    In an offseason full of teams needing a veteran quarterback, Orton fits the mold of what most of them are going to be looking for.

    If the Broncos are willing to wait on a return until next offseason they could get as much as a second to third-round pick for Orton’s services.


    Teams That Fit: Raiders, Redskins, 49ers, Bengals

Albert Haynesworth: DT/Washington Redskins

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    Albert Haynesworth’s time in Washington has been anything but pleasant. After signing one of the richest contracts a defensive tackle has ever seen in the NFL, Haynesworth has played very little to earn the enormous paycheck he is receiving.

    Whether it has been injuries, health issues or an ongoing feud with head coach Mike Shanahan over schematic issues, Haynesworth has had one issue after another keep him from the field.

    The Skins are cleaning house, and Haynesworth has worn out his welcome. If they were willing to unload Clinton Portis, Washington is surely ready to unload the locker-room distractions that come with a disgruntled star like Haynesworth. 

    While Haynesworth has been small in terms of return on the Redskins investment, he is still big on talent. A change of scenery could be the best-case scenario for both he and the Redskins organization.

    Washington reportedly wanted a first-round pick last season for the veteran defensive tackle, but the price may drop in order to unload the salary and the confusion. His former team, the Tennessee Titans, continue to be interested in paying a high price to regain their prodigal son.

    The deal would bring Haynesworth back into the 4-3 defensive scheme that made him so successful before his stint in Washington. If the Titans, or any other team for that matter, are willing to pay the high price on a risky investment, it could pay off big.


    Best Fit: Titans

Kevin Kolb: QB/Philadelphia Eagles

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    The quarterback that was supposed to be worth trading away Donovan McNabb is about to be traded himself.

    The reemergence of Michael Vick into an MVP-caliber quarterback last season has brought with it the dilemma of which quarterback to keep, and all signs lead to the Eagles keeping Vick long term.

    Andy Reid has said the team is willing to keep both players on the roster for 2011, but should the right offer come along, Kolb is as good as gone.

    As of right now, Kolb is the first choice of an Arizona Cardinals team that desperately needs an identity at the quarterback position.  

    After losing Kurt Warner to retirement, the Cardinals slipped to the 31st-ranked passing attack in the NFL despite having weapons like Larry Fitzgerald on the roster.

    The Cards aren’t looking for a stopgap QB. They are looking for someone that can lead their team for several years beyond 2011. Of all the available players at the position, Kolb is most ready to step into the situation and flourish with the roster in place.


    Best Fit: Cardinals, Seahawks, Dolphins, 49ers

Steve Smith: WR/Carolina Panthers

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    Steve Smith has been one of the most prolific wide receivers in the NFL for the better part of a decade. In just nine seasons in the league, Smith has amassed just shy of 9,000 yards and 52 touchdowns, while missing the better part of several seasons with injuries.

    While his numbers have been down in recent years, it has far less to do with his ability and age as it does the inexperience and ineptitude the Panthers have been dealing with at the quarterback position.

    Before the lockout began, Smith met with new head coach Ron Rivera to discuss his future and place with the team. While Rivera refused to divulge any information, according to several insiders, all indications coming out of owners meetings were that Smith would likely be playing elsewhere in the near future. 

    There are a number of teams in the market for an elite receiver going into 2011. Unfortunately for Smith, the Panthers are one of them. While it makes more sense for the Panthers to keep Smith, the asking price would garner substantial return for a top-tier wide receiver in cities like New York, Cleveland, Tennessee and Washington to name a few.

    The Jets have some serious free-agency issues coming up with Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Company all looking to make big money. New York could be in need and they are always willing to deal.


    Best Fit: Jets

Carson Palmer: QB/Cincinnati Bengals

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    The former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick has decided he won’t play another game for Cincy. He’s tired of the turmoil and issues that come with playing for an organization like the Bengals.

    Poor drafting, even worse free-agency acquisitions and the fact that Marvin Lewis still has a job as anything but a janitor at Paul Brown Stadium is enough to put fans well over the edge.

    Try being the quarterback.

    Palmer’s latest headache? The T.Ocho Show. Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson (wait, that’s his name again right?), the self-proclaimed Batman and Robin, are the dynamic duo of disaster when it comes to team chemistry and the longevity of quarterbacks.

    Palmer requested a trade himself saying that he and the Bengals have not had success together and that a separation would be in the best interest of both he and the team.

    There could be quite a few suitors out there if the price is right on both sides, but I wouldn’t expect the Bengals to budge without a substantial offer that included a first-round pick in 2012.

    At this point the Cardinals all but seem certain to go after Kolb, but you can’t rule out Palmer as an option. Seattle is looking depending on what happens with Hasselback’s contract negotiations after the lockout, and it seems to be a great fit with former coach Pete Carroll leading the way. 

    The 49ers are going to give Alex Smith another chance, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coach Harbaugh look long and hard at the option if it’s there for him.


    Best Fit: Cardinals, Seahawks, 49ers, Dolphins 

The Wrap-Up

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    The offseason of all offseasons is here and so far, the doors are still locked on all things football. The issue isn’t if, but when will the doors open for business once again? If the owners and players can find a way to get the CBA hashed out before training camp begins, don’t be surprised to see these names rise to the top of trade talk.

    While some teams may be reluctant to pull the trigger on a big deal late into training camp time, especially on a quarterback, several teams like the Cardinals are in the market and will have no qualms about it. The NFL might not be a league of many trades, but in 2011, anything can happen for the right price.

    If teams are willing to pay, there are top-tier players to be had. 

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