When the NFL transaction freeze is finally lifted there will be a frenzy of activity within the league. Months and months of speculation and rumor churning will turn into legitimate and tangible trades and free agent signings.
It's important to keep in mind however that high profile trades rarely make their way into reality. It's fun to connect certain names to certain teams based off of their perceived needs, but history suggests those teams generally opt to avoid the big deals.
The following players have all been circulating through the rumor mills for the better part of the offseason. They may or may not end up getting dealt, only time will tell. Here's the case against these deals getting done.
Fox Sports correspondent Adam Kaplan believes it'd be an upset if Philadelphia Eagles backup Kevin Kolb didn't end up playing in the desert for the Arizona Cardinals this season. His opinion is widely shared around the league as the Cardinals have been connected to Kolb since he became available.
The Arizona Republic's Kent Sommers expects the Cardinals to aggressively pursue Kolb immediately after the transaction freeze is lifted. Sommers sees Kolb as the teams "first choice", but offers caution regarding the Eagles asking price.
The Cardinals, according to Sommers, "don't want to give up a ransom" for Kolb and will look at other options if a deal can't be made.
The Eagles are likely to overprice Kolb, hoping the market will force a team to overpay for him. Philadelphia is reportedly asking for "impact players" in return for their backup quarterback in hopes of getting immediate value in return.
Arizona is just a few pieces short of contending itself and the team would be wise to avoid Kolb's high price tag. Kyle Orton could be had for much less and already has a rapport with Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald. The two go back a decade and are working out together in Minnesota this week.
Kolb has been connected to Arizona for quite some time now, but better, less pricey and more experienced options remain on the table for the Cardinals.
Steve Smith was one of just two Carolina Panthers to gain 500+ receiving yards in 2010, even in a down year he led his team.
In 2009 he paced the Panthers receiving corps with a commanding lead. The sum of the other wideouts production couldn't match Smith's 982 yards and 7 touchdowns. Bottom line is that Smith has and will continue to be the Panthers only source of offensive production outside of their running game.
Carolina just drafted their quarterback of the future in Cam Newton and it wouldn't make much sense to make shipping Smith out of town the corresponding move. The team will need to build around Newton rather than limit his weapons.
Would it be stupid for the Cincinnati Bengals to call Carson Palmer's bluff and let him rot on their roster? Yes it would, but we've seen this franchise pull stupider stunts before.
Can we honestly inquire about the organizational intellect of a team who annually leads the league in arrests? If you're keeping count this offseason, there have been three Bengals arrested to this point which ties the team for second in the league, only one arrest behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Palmer has all but guaranteed he won't play for the Bengals again and then threatened retirement if the team refused to trade him. Geoff Hobson of the Bengals official site believes the team isn't just bluffing when they say they aren't interested in listening to offers for Palmer.
Hobson expects the Bengals to field calls from multiples teams in the first 48 hours after the lockout. He advises that there hasn't been "any budging on either side" which means "Palmer isn't reporting and the Bengals won't trade him."
The Boston Herald's Ian Rapport still believes that it's a possibility for Chad Ochocinco to end up in New England this offseason. Rapport cites Bill Belichick's continued "affection" for the aging wideout and while the interest may be mutual this deal remains unlikely.
The Patriots won't give up much, if anything, for Ochocinco who will turn 34 before the end of the season. He could easily find his way to New England by way of free agency if and when the Bengals grant his release.
Cincinnati is expected to retain Ochocinco and to use the receiver as leverage while negotiating with rookie A.J. Green. Once rookie contracts are out of the way it's likely that the team will move on from their decade-long headache and his $6 million salary.
A contract dispute is looming in Tennessee and each side has a solid case. Chris Johnson has been one of the most explosive and productive stars in the league over the course of his first three seasons. He's set to earn only $800,000 in 2011 as he plays out his rookie contract which extends through 2012.
The Titans will likely look to stall Johnson's big pay day as long as possible, but Johnson's recent comments have many thinking that won't be possible. He's apparently preparing to stage an extended holdout to have his new contract demands met.
Many have connected the dots and come to the conclusion that the Titans will look to move Johnson in order to avoid paying him. Paul Kuharsky an ESPN.com insider disputes this idea however. He cites the Ricky Williams deal as an example why Johnson won't get dealt.
It's simply too hard to move star, franchise type players and Johnson certainly qualifies. He may hold out, but the Titans remain highly unlikely to move him especially since he's signed through 2012.
Vince Young's name has been dropped on numerous occasions in connection to a few quarterback-needy teams.
Young's career in Tennessee ended last year when the former first round pick successfully hissyfitted his way out of the Titans' starting lineup. While his future in Tennessee has been decided, his next stop is very much up in the air.
Young isn't expected to be open to taking a backup role which will severely limit interest in him on the trade market. The Titans may be better off releasing him and washing their hands of the 28-year-old bust.
Albert Haynesworth has had an epic fall from grace over the last couple of years. Once regarded as the best defensive lineman in the league, Haynesworth now finds himself in a similar situation as Young.
The Redskins no longer have any use for him and his attitude on their roster, but Washington also doesn't have a ton of options. Haynesworth would carry little to no value in a trade at this stage and may be more likely to be released.
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com believes head coach Mike Shanahan will deactivate Haynesworth for the complete season before releasing him, but either way the team won't find a trade suitor willing to offer up much. A Haynesworth trade remains highly unlikely.
Donovan McNabb isn't ready to vacate the starting lineup and that fact may make it more difficult for him to obtain a new starting gig. He's fallen out of favor in Washington and isn't likely to accept a backup, mentoring role elsewhere.
McNabb simply ran into an awful situation with the Redskins. He's still more than capable of quarterbacking a team and doing it productively, but he'll be 35 years old before the 2011 season is over and his time in Washington has all but erased his trade value.
If McNabb is to start this year, it'll be after his release from the Redskins.