NFL Trade Speculation: 10 Players Who Will Demand a Trade in 2012

Brian WrightCorrespondent IIJune 23, 2011

NFL Trade Speculation: 10 Players Who Will Demand a Trade in 2012

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    With the continuation of the NFL lockout, the window is shrinking between the collective bargaining agreement being settled and the trade deadline in the middle of the regular season. That makes it more unlikely that much wheeling and dealing of players will occur in 2011.

    Although hard to predict this far into the future, there will be notable names that will want a ticket out of their current city once the calendar turns to 2012.

    What are the reasons for players demanding a trade? They are non-free agents who are unhappy with their contracts, part of an underachieving team or they are not getting along with members of their current organization.

    All 10 listed fit into at least one of these criteria.

Chad Ochocinco

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    This isn't exactly going out on a limb. It's a little unusual when the main complainer from the Bengals is the quarterback and not the outspoken wide receiver.

    And it's only a matter of time before Ochocinco shows his displeasure for his downtrodden team.

    With head coach Marvin Lewis stating earlier this month that rookie Andy Dalton will be Cinci's starting quarterback come opening day, it appears as if the Bengals are headed for a rebuilding process—something that the ringless 33-year-old probably doesn't want to be part of.

Andre Johnson

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    Although the Texans have continuously knocked on the door of the postseason, they have failed to break through. If they don't come through this year, star wideout Andre Johnson may want to shut the door on his career in Houston.

    Johnson was at the top of the list in terms of receiving yards per game (93.5) in 2010—scoring eight touchdowns. He went from being the most underrated pass catcher in the game into being a well-known nightmare for every defensive back.

    The soon-to-be 30-year-old probably would rather be doing it in the limelight of the playoffs.

Patrick Willis

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    A recent change in direction for the franchise could soon result in a change of scenery for arguably the best linebacker in the game.

    In just four seasons, Patrick Willis has 595 tackles and 15 sacks. With the Niners hiring offensive-minded Jim Harbaugh as their head coach, searching for a new starter at quarterback and apparently not heading towards the top of the standings in the NFC West, Willis knows that better teams will be clamoring for his services in the next couple of years. 

Steve Smith

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    This one all depends on the immediate growth of one player—top draft pick Cam Newton.

    If the Heisman Trophy-winning signal-caller from Auburn doesn't materialize after one season on the job, their top wide receiver will open his mouth again. Smith has already spoken openly about not wanting to be part of the Carolina rebuilding project.

    As recently as June 9, Smith expressed his desire to play somewhere else. The Panthers brass may be willing to oblige his request as they try to add young pieces.

    For now, we'll say that they hold on to the often-disgruntled wide receiver in an attempt to provide some pass catching assistance to the No. 1 pick, though a rough first season by Newton will just add to Smith's ire.

Osi Umenyiora

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    As the Giants' star pass rusher continues his conflict with team management, his desire to want out of New York gets even larger.

    Just last year, the 29-year-old Umenyiora had 11.5 sacks and a league-best 10 forced fumbles. Now, he is looking to restructure his contract, one that will pay him $3.5 million in 2011 and run out after 2012.

    Earlier this month, Umenyiora claimed that general manger Jerry Reese broke his promise to give him a new contract. This rocky relationship won't be helped if New York has another underwhelming season like they did in 2010.

Jay Cutler

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    It's only been two years since the Chicago Bears acquired Cutler from the Denver Broncos. And in those seasons in the Windy City, the brash quarterback has seen his share of praise and criticism—both of which are justly deserved.

    In 2010, Cutler passed for more than 3,000 yards with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in leading the Bears to the NFC Championship Game. It was in that contest against Green Bay that exuded the greatest groans. Cutler left midway through the game due to a knee injury, but many felt as if he bailed out instead of gritting it out.

    Whether or not the finger-pointing towards him is necessary, the media and fan scrutiny from the failed NFC Championship effort will become too overwhelming over the course of 2011 and will result in a desire for a change in scenery. 

Philip Rivers

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    This one's a shot in the dark, but here it goes.

    Rivers, the league's leading passer in 2010, failed to lead the Chargers to the playoffs after another year of preseason hype. He's quickly becoming the best QB in the game without a ring. And with expectations for 2011 likely to be high again, another near-miss could mean outlandish general manager A.J. Smith breaking up some of the club's key pieces—which could could prompt Rivers wanting out.

    If he does speak out, the trade offers to Smith will be awfully enticing.

Josh Cribbs

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    The versatile Cribbs is currently fighting for a $15 parking ticket. He'll be fighting to leave the Ohio valley in a half-year.

    After being "insulted" by the Browns' contract offer in January 2010, Cribbs and management came to a temporary agreement. That season, he had year that was a drop-off from his production in the three previous campaigns.

    That may be due to being part of a team that has been mired in the cellar of the AFC North for the entirety of his career. Cribbs can be an important specialty player for a contender, if he can perform like he did from 2007 to 2009.

Carson Palmer

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    Like the Eagles' Kevin Kolb, Palmer could either be traded the day the lockout is lifted or on his current team for the next few years. It all depends on the relationship with management.

    Right now, the waters are rough in Cincinnati.

    Palmer, the top pick in the 2003 draft, has threatened retirement if the only pro team he's ever played for doesn't trade him away.

    Meanwhile, Bengals brass hasn't budged and refuses to make a deal. But they're probably going to have to in order to get any value for a former Pro Bowl quarterback that still has years and ability left him.

    The prediction here is that Palmer hangs on with Cincinnati, although it may be in a backup role, and hopes that the front office will give in next offseason.

Chris Johnson

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    His rumblings, already apparent over the past two years, will become even louder prior to next year.

    According to a report in The Tennessean, the three-time Pro Bowler, whose contract expires after the 2012 season, is asking for $30 million in guaranteed money and has made it clear that he wants to be the highest-paid back in the NFL.

    Johnson made a paltry $385,000 in 2009—the year he surpassed 2,000 yards rushing. He got a $1.5 million raise in 2010, but that isn't nearly enough to keep Johnson satisfied.

    The Titans certainly want to keep the best player on the team, but they may not be able to reach Johnson's demands. Add in the fact that Tennessee isn't likely to be at the top of the AFC South this season, and that's all the more reason for him to ask for a trade.