With the recent news that the NFL Lockout, which has plagued us for months, is coming to an end, one can’t help but celebrate like it’s New Year’s Eve. No longer are we questioning if we’re going to be able to have our annual fantasy football draft with the boys, renew our Direct TV NFL Ticket program, or have Sunday afternoons to tailgate at the stadium.
Not only that, but it also allows us to restart the gears and speculation in the NFL trade machine. By far my favorite part of the offseason is predicting where blue chip free agents will land and what big names on the trade block will be dealt. This year contains an exorbitant amount of talented players that all could potentially be wearing a different team's colors come opening weekend.
Let’s take a look at seven risky, yet possibly rewarding names that very well could be traded before the season kicks off in less than two months.
Carson Palmer has gone out of his way to make it loud and clear that he does not want to be a Bengal next season. As to whether Cincinnati’s front office will concede to Palmer’s demands is unknown, however, it still makes Palmer one of the more likely candidates to be shipped out of Ohio.
Palmer has seen his play take a significant dip ever since his first couple of years in the league where he was averaging close to 30 passing scores a season. A combination of injuries and offensive philosophy can be attributed to that.
It’s very likely that Cincinnati will be looking for compensation in the first round pick realm. Afterall, they aren’t completely on board with trading him, so they might as well get what they want in return or maybe even more. The good news is that there is a strong market for a quarterback, whether it’s Arizona, Minnesota, Miami, Washington, Oakland, or Seattle.
By far the hottest commodity and quarterback generating the most buzz in this offseason has been Eagles backup Kevin Kolb. The outlook on Kolb is more speculation than concrete, statistical support due to Kolb's lack of playing time. He was given the chance at the beginning of last season to take over the reins from recently traded Donovan McNabb, however, a concussion suffered in week one opened the door for Michael Vick to revitalize his career.
Kolb is very hit or miss and a team is going to have to take quite a risk if they want to acquire him. Eagles coach Andy Reid will be holding a king’s ransom for Kolb ranging anywhere to a first round pick or multiple second rounders. Not only is Reid big on Kolb as a quarterback, but he views him as a legitimate asset as a backup quarterback behind Michael Vick, who tends to be more injury prone than other quarterbacks due to his style of play.
What is the next step for the 13 year veteran out of Syracuse? With McNabb entering the twilight of his career and his skills severely diminishing, one has to wonder how much value Donovan can bring to a franchise at this point of his career, especially as a starting quarterback.
The strongest skill that McNabb brings to the table is his superior arm strength, which is usually the last thing to go for an aging quarterback.
Does McNabb have it in him to rejuvenate his career and seek the glory he had for so many years as a Philadelphia Eagle? It’s not only going to take commitment on McNabb’s part, but also the right system and situation for the team that he would be going to.
At this point though, I really don't see McNabb contributing as anything more than a backup. You try telling that to number five though. He'll be the last one to concede to that notion. That's how it usually goes with aging stars.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Titans to trade arguably the best rushing talent in the game, does it? If there is a position that is certainly expendable it is definitely running back. Time and time again, we’ve seen unknowns such as Priest Holmes, Arian Foster, and Peyton Hillis break out onto the scene and remind us of how much of a crapshoot the position really is.
That’s not even necessarily taking into account of how short of a shelf life running backs truly have. Especially when a guy like Johnson has averaged well over 300 carries the past two seasons and wants a record setting new contract with astronomical numbers attached to it.
Sure, Johnson would be a great piece to have in order to usher rookie Jake Locker into the pro game, but if you can get a whole bag of goodies, whether it’s draft picks or players in exchange for Johnson, why not pull the trigger?
At the age of 32, is Steve Smith willing to go through the growing pains with number one overall draft pick Cam Newton and new head coach Ron Rivera? That’s for Smith to decide because I’m sure he would like to compete for a contender going into next season. Especially considering his age and the fact that it’s his 11th season.
Smith was simply electric with quarterback Jake Delhomme during the Panthers' deep playoff and Super Bowl runs in the middle of the first decade. Smith plays much bigger than his shorter frame and is able to out-muscle defensive backs with his stocky build.
Any team that would get his services would definitely be able to utilize him to his strengths and have an immediate impact.
Kenny Britt has been anything but the straight-edged NFL star that one would want him to be, but his production throughout the first two years of his career cannot be ignored. With a new era in Tennessee starting between new coach Mike Munchak and first round pick Jake Locker, does the troubled Britt still fit into Tennessee’s plans?
It would be hard for Tennessee to replace Britt, considering he is their leading receiver, so one would have to assume that the asking price for Britt would be quite steep. Will a team be willing to give up significant draft picks in order to acquire Britt?
One thing’s for sure is that they would need to have their priorities set and run a tight ship in order to deal with Britt's controversial persona.
If Albert Haynesworth has any sense of self pride or dignity remaining, he will be a man on a mission to redeem his tainted image that took a nose dive in Washington. Haynesworth was given an outrageous amount of money by the Redskins to be their franchise defensive player, and he went onto burn every single bridge in the nation’s capital, whether it was with the fan base, front management, or head coach Mike Shanahan.
Any team that will be after Haynesworth’s services will take extreme measures to ensure that the defensive tackle is still capable of performing up to the standards, which made him such a terror for offenses around the league while playing in Tennessee.
Right off the bat, a team that could definitely use Haynesworth on their defensive line, and isn’t afraid to take a risk on troubled players either, is the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only do the Eagles have a need at defensive tackle, but Haynesworth’s defensive line coach from Tennessee, Jim Washburn is on the Eagles staff as well.