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NFL Trade Scenarios: One Trade Every Team Wishes They Could Make

Tom DohertyCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2011

NFL Trade Scenarios: One Trade Every Team Wishes They Could Make

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    If you could be the GM of your favorite NFL team for a day, who would you trade for your team?

    It's a fantasy scenario every NFL fan plays out in their head at some point in time, "If only our team had a franchise quarterback, or lock-down cornerback or a cornerstone left tackle."

    These are dreams fans like you and I occasionally ponder.

    Allow me to materialize some of these fantasies, with a fun list of what-if's. There are no repeat players on the list, and I know these aren't realistic, but that's why they call them wishes. 

    Let's skip the details and jump right into one trade every NFL team wishes it could make.

Arizona Cardinals: Jake Long, LT

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    The Arizona Cardinals' abysmal 2010 performance was largely thanks to the league-worst play of the offensive line—enter Jake Long.

    Long is widely regarded as the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He's 6'7" and 315 pounds of pure muscle and athleticism. Since he was drafted No.1 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, Long has been to four consecutive Pro Bowls and multiple All-Pro teams.

    What better way to rebuild the worst offensive line in the league than by adding the best lineman in professional football?

Atlanta Falcons: Julius Peppers, DE

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    Defensive end John Abraham had a bounce-back season for the Atlanta Falcons last year, but the team was still lacking a consistent pass-rush.

    Freak athlete Julius Peppers brings pass-rushing and a whole lot more.

    Peppers recorded 54 tackles and eight sacks in his first season with Chicago last season. He's the most athletic defensive end in recent NFL history and the most complete end in all of football right now.

    He would flourish on the other side of Abraham and add a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate to a rising NFL defense.

Baltimore Ravens: Nnamdi Asomugha, CB

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    The Baltimore Ravens have been yearning for a star cornerback since the Chris McAlister days. With Nnamdi Asomugha, Baltimore would have the ultimate weapon in man-to-man coverage.

    Asomugha may arguably be the best cornerback in football, but there's not even a question that he's the least-targeted player at the position. He saw only 27 targets in 2010, allowing merely 10 receptions and zero touchdowns. 

    His ability to shut down one side of the football field gives his team a huge advantage in blitz schemes. Adding Asomugha to the Ravens' defense would make them nearly impossible to attack. 

Buffalo Bills: Peyton Manning, QB

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    The hapless Buffalo Bills have been searching for an heir to Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jim Kelly since the day he retired.

    Replacing him with a future Hall-of-Fame QB in Peyton Manning would probably make Bills fans forget about Kelly altogether.

    I don't need to recite Manning's laundry list of massive NFL accomplishments to tell you the Bills would be landing one of the all-time greats at their biggest position of need. He's been to 11 Pro Bowls and won a record four MVP awards.

    Simply put, Manning would solve the Bills' quarterback problems instantaneously.

Carolina Panthers: Ndamukong Suh, DT

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    The Carolina Panthers desperately to add an elite defender to their struggling defense, especially on the defensive line. All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh fits that bill quite nicely.

    Suh had one of the best rookie seasons ever in 2010, recording 10 sacks and 49 solo tackles as a defensive tackle. Some are already calling him the best defensive tackle in the NFL.

    Needless to say, adding Suh would give the Carolina Panthers the impact defender they didn't get in the 2011 NFL Draft. 

Chicago Bears: Joe Thomas, LT

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    Blue-collar left tackle Joe Thomas is the savior the Chicago Bears' offensive line would love to make a trade for.

    Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is probably the second-best offensive lineman in pro football behind Miami's Jake Long. Thomas is a 6'6", 312-pound giant who's been a staple on the AFC Pro Bowl roster (four consecutive Pro Bowls).

    He would solve the Bears' porous offensive line problems in a hurry.

Cincinnati Bengals: Mario Williams, DE

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    Among the many problems with the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals, rushing the passer may have been the biggest one.

    Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams is a monster pass-rusher and difference-making defensive end. 

    Williams has recorded 48 sacks in his four-year career, including 8.5 sacks in an injury-shortened 2010 campaign. He's a 6'6", 295-pound super-athletic defender who can get to the quarterback at an elite level.

    He would instantly become the Bengals' best defensive player and give them a bookend player to build around for years to come on defense. 

Cleveland Browns: Larry Fitzgerald, WR

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    The Cleveland Browns haven't had a playmaking receiving threat since the Ozzie Newsome days. But pairing young quarterback Colt McCoy with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald would give the Browns arguably the best playmaker in football.

    After a slow start, Fitzgerald hauled in 90 receptions for 1,137 yards and six touchdowns en route to a Pro Bowl in 2010. He's one of the elite receivers in the NFL and capable of making any catch in his radius.

    Cleveland could use Fitzgerald's ability to gain an advantage in their division of grueling NFL defenses. 

Dallas Cowboys: Ed Reed, FS

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    The Dallas Cowboys have offensive line issues, but they also struggled mightily in pass-defense last season.

    All-Pro free safety Ed Reed would give the Cowboys a guaranteed quota of interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.

    In only 10 games last season, Reed intercepted a league-high 10 passes and proved why he's still the best pass-coverage safety in the NFL. Dallas already has a pretty good pass-rush led by OLB DeMarcus Ware.

    With Reed roaming in the defensive backfield though, the Cowboys' defense would open up significantly. 

Denver Broncos: Antonio Gates, TE

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    The Denver Broncos are another team with many problems, but one position they lack any kind of talent at is tight end.

    Stealing Antonio Gates away from the San Diego Chargers would give the Broncos' a huge advantage on both sides of the football.

    Gates grabbed 50 passes for 762 yards and 10 touchdowns in merely 10 NFL games last year. He's unquestionably the best tight end in football. Plus, the Broncos wouldn't have to play him twice a season.

    He'd be one hell of a shoulder to lean on for quarterback-of-the-future Tim Tebow

Detroit Lions: Darrelle Revis, CB

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    Let's not beat around the bush: The Detroit Lions have the worst cornerbacks in the NFL.

    In a world of anything-goes trades, the first and only call the Lions would make would be for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.

    He's the best cornerback in football and a top-10 overall player in the league. He can do it all on defense from man coverage, zone coverage, grabbing interceptions and making tackles—a rarity from corners nowadays.

    Detroit wouldn't hesitate to build their rising defense around Revis' once-in-a-lifetime talents for the next 10 years.

Green Bay Packers: Chris Johnson, RB

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    The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers have a wealth of talent at many positions, but they've struggled to have consistent production from their running backs.

    Tennessee lighting rod running back Chris Johnson would make the Packers' offense virtually unstoppable.

    Johnson dashed for 1,364 yards and 13 touchdowns this past year, following the sixth-ever 2,000-yard season in NFL history. He's one of the fastest players in the league and can blow by most NFL defenses.

    Adding Johnson to one of the league's most stacked offenses in Green Bay is just unthinkably good.

Houston Texans: Troy Polamalu, SS

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    The Houston Texans are switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme, thanks largely to their awful play in 2010.

    Who better to lead this change than the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Troy Polamalu?

    Polamalu was excellent once again in 2010, raking in 63 tackles and seven interceptions. He's the most versatile defensive player in the game, and his effect on NFL offensive schemes is bigger than any other player in the league.

    He would instantly upgrade the Texans' defense and make them much more imposing. 

Indianapolis Colts: Haloti Ngata, DT

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    Since Peyton Manning was drafted, the Indianapolis Colts have never had a good run-defense.

    Mammoth defensive tackle Haloti Ngata would do a great deal to change that.

    Ngata is a 6'4", 350-pound behemoth in the middle of the defensive line and the best run-stopping tackle in the league. He conquers double-teams with ease, which would open up space for the Colts' Pro Bowl defensive ends, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.

    A defensive line of Ngata, Freeney and Mathis would be an absolute nightmare for NFL offensive lines everywhere. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: Dwight Freeney, DE

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    Jacksonville does many things well, but they've struggled to find a solid pass-rush in the Jack Del Rio era.

    There may not be a better pass-rusher in football than defensive end Dwight Freeney.

    No player has recorded more sacks than Freeney (90) since he was drafted in 2002. When healthy, he is the best sack master in all of football. And when you play Peyton Manning twice a year like Jacksonville does, collecting sacks becomes all the more important.

    Freeney would take a lot of pressure off Aaron Kampman and bring some defensive production the Jaguars have lacked for a few years. 

Kansas City Chiefs: Maurkice Pouncey, C

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    Although the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line played well this past season, they are one of the oldest units in the league.

    Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey would give the Chiefs a cornerstone lineman for the future of the franchise.

    Pouncey was a Pro Bowl player in Pittsburgh and emerged as one of the leaders of the entire team as a rookie. He's one of the best young centers in recent NFL memory, already garnering comparisons to the best at the position.

    He could anchor the Chiefs' line, and Jamaal Charles could add a few more rushing titles if Pouncey was playing for Kansas City. 

Miami Dolphins: Aaron Rodgers, QB

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    It's no secret: The Miami Dolphins have been looking for a quarterback since Dan Marino retired.

    It's a no-brainer that they would love to trade for Super Bowl XLVI MVP QB Aaron Rodgers.

    Rodgers has cemented his status as one of the game's top quarterbacks. He tossed for 3,922 yards and 28 touchdowns last year, leading the Packers to their first Super Bowl in more than a decade.

    At 27 years old, Rodgers is the consummate franchise quarterback entering the prime of his career. The Dolphins would have their Dan Marino replacement to build around for many years to come. 

Minnesota Vikings: Tom Brady, QB

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    The Minnesota Vikings' recent teams have always been a great quarterback away from making a Super Bowl run (see: the 2009 season.)

    There may not be a better quarterback playing right now than the New England Patriots' own Tom Brady.

    The reigning league MVP was historically good in 2010, passing for 3,900 yards, 36 touchdowns and a ridiculous four interceptions. Brady is at the top of his game and is one of the game's all-time winners.

    For a franchise that's never won a Super Bowl, Brady would be the perfect player to change the culture and bring the Vikings a championship ring. 

New England Patriots: James Harrison, OLB

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    For all the great coaching that goes on in New England, the Patriots can't hide the fact that they struggle at sacking the quarterback.

    Adding James Harrison to the New England defense would do wonders to change that.

    Harrison is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the biggest menaces in the league. He was menacing again last season, collecting more than 100 tackles and 10.5 sacks. 

    Harrison would give the Patriots the bruiser they've been lacking on defense since they traded away Richard Seymour. 

New Orleans Saints: Jamaal Charles, RB

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    The New Orleans Saints are one of the more complete teams in the NFL, but they haven't found a stable running back to carry the load for their offense.

    Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles would provide insane production and explosive ability for the Saints.

    Charles was an All-Pro last season, rushing for 1,467 yards and receiving another 468. He's a shifty runner, but he can also catch passes out of the backfield.

    He's a perfect fit for Sean Payton's offense and would flourish with the Saints. 

New York Giants: Ryan Clady, LT

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    The New York Giants have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but they are getting up there in age.

    At 24 years old, Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady would be the young left tackle they need to transition into the future.

    Clady is one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He could protect Eli Manning for many years to come as the franchise tries to get back to the Super Bowl. 

New York Jets: DeSean Jackson, WR

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    The New York Jets' receiver situation is very fluid going into next season, but a trade for DeSean Jackson would give New York one of the best playmakers in pro football.

    Jackson is the first player to be named a Pro Bowler at two positions (receiver, punt returner). With Brad Smith and Braylon Edwards potentially leaving via free agency, Jackson would fill both voids for the Jets as one of the best in the NFL.

    He would also give Mark Sanchez a dominant deep threat to pair up with for the foreseeable future. 

Oakland Raiders: Sam Bradford, QB

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    If the Oakland Raiders had a franchise quarterback, they could be one of the better teams in the NFL.

    Sam Bradford fits that bill perfectly and could resurrect the once-proud Raider franchise.

    Bradford is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. With the league's worst receiving unit, he passed for 3,512 yards and 18 touchdowns, breaking multiple rookie quarterback records along the way.

    The Raiders have a strong running game and offensive line to support Bradford for the future. 

Philadelphia Eagles: Jahri Evans, OG

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    The Philadelphia Eagles don't have an awful offensive line, but it could use a boost in the interior.

    Jahri Evans, the best offensive guard playing today, would be a more-than-welcome addition.

    Evans is 6'4", 318 pounds and the complete package as an offensive lineman. He would be able to take on imposing defensive linemen in the notorious NFC East division.

    At 27 years old, the Eagles would have their lineman of the future in Jahri Evans. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: Logan Mankins, OG

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers could use a lock-down corner, but they've needed offensive line help for a few years.

    All-Pro guard Logan Mankins is one of the toughest players in the entire NFL.

    Although he sat out the first half of the 2010 season, Mankins was still voted to the All-Pro team. He's that good of an offensive lineman.

    Mankins has the kind of toughness the Pittsburgh Steelers admire. Putting him next to Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey would make one hell of a one-two punch on the offensive line in the Steel City. 

San Diego Chargers: Adrian Peterson, RB

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    Since LaDanian Tomlinson faded out of San Diego, the Chargers have been searching for a star running back to take the pressure off QB Philip Rivers.

    Adrian Peterson is the best new running back in the league, and he would do a lot more than just take the pressure off.

    Peterson has been nothing short of dominant in his four-year pro career. Last season he battled fumbling problems and injuries, but still shredded his way for 1,298 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.

    Behind the Chargers' top-flight offensive line and the leadership of Rivers, Peterson would continue his rampage of NFL defenses in Charger blue at the running back position.

San Francisco 49ers: Vince Wilfork, DT

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    With Aubrayo Franklin on his way out, the San Francisco 49ers desperately need a 3-4 nose tackle to open up lanes for All-Pro middle linebacker Patrick Willis. They could do so by calling up the New England Patriots and acquiring the best 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL, Vince Wilfork.

    Wilfork was an All-Pro in 2010. He's a beastly 6'2", 325 pounds and constantly requires a double-team in the middle of a defensive line.

    He would be a large solution for the 49ers' defensive struggles under the new Jim Harbaugh regime. 

Seattle Seahawks: Philip Rivers, QB

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    The Seattle Seahawks have made no secret of their plans to acquire a new quarterback for the 2011 season.

    In this fantasy world, Philip Rivers could become the answer for Seattle.

    Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, slinging for 4,710 passing yards and 30 touchdowns this past season.

    He's tough as nails and the architect of numerous fourth-quarter comebacks. Pete Carroll and co. could ride Rivers into the future with one of the most prolific quarterbacks in pro football at the helm.

St. Louis Rams: Andre Johnson, WR

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    St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford did a marvelous job working with poor talent at receiver in 2010.

    Add the league's best receiver, Andre Johnson, to the mix, and you've got a scary combination brewing.

    Johnson is one of the most athletic players in the league. He runs great routes, blocks well and more importantly, is consistently productive.

    Johnson on the Rams would give St. Louis the ultimate No.1 receiver and the difference-maker they need to help out Sam Bradford. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Patrick Willis, MLB

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers run a defense that requires a middle linebacker who's supremely athletic and versatile in both run and pass-defense.

    Patrick Willis is hands down the best middle linebacker in football, thus making him perfect for the Tampa scheme.

    Willis is the most complete linebacker in the league. He's tallied almost 600 tackles in his four-year career en route to four consecutive Pro Bowls. 

    Willis would become the centerpiece of the defense and the best player the Buccaneers have had at the position since Derrick Brooks. 

Tennessee Titans: Jerod Mayo, MLB

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    With second-leading tackler Stephen Tulloch likely on his way out, the Tennessee Titans will be needing a new linebacker.

    If they had their wish, they would snag Patriots' middle linebacker and league-leading tackler from 2010, Jerod Mayo.

    Mayo had a breakout season last year, amassing 175 tackles for New England. He was an All-Pro and Bill Belichick has called him the best linebacker he's seen since Ray Lewis.

    Mayo would become the leader on defense Tennessee needs if they want to return to the playoffs for the next few seasons.

Washington Redskins: Matt Ryan, QB

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    Mike Shanahan loves developing quarterbacks, but he currently has Rex Grossman and John Beck to work with.

    Pairing Matt Ryan with Shanahan is quite a salivating thought.

    Ryan made his first Pro Bowl in 2010, passing for 3,705 yards and 28 touchdowns. He led the Falcons to a 13-3 record and has some of the best intangibles at the quarterback position.

    He would provide a stability the Redskins have rarely had at quarterback, as well as a winning mentality that's been lost in the Dan Snyder era. 

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