Making real-life NFL trades is a whole different ballgame compared to the NBA or MLB, and it damn sure doesn't resemble fantasy football.
Whereas basketball and baseball teams can integrate pretty much any player into their system—think about the diverse sampling that wanted LeBron James and Cliff Lee last year—pro football doesn't work that way. The game has become so specialized, with coaches who are so married to the specific profiles assigned to each position on the field, that NFL teams will pass on an available superstar not because he's too expensive, but because they don't believe he fits exactly what they need.
Consider the case of Osi Umenyiora.
As one of the best defensive players in the league, Umenyiora—who is reportedly willing to hold out or demand a trade if the New York Giants don't restructure his contract before next season—should be on every NFL team's wish list. Last season, he racked up 11.5 sacks and forced 10 fumbles (an NFL record), making the Associated Press All-Pro second team at defensive end.
But in today's NFL, all defensive ends are not judged equally. Umenyiora has made his name playing D-end in New York's 4-3 alignment, which is almost an entirely different position than D-end in a 3-4 alignment. In an NFL 4-3, defensive ends typically weigh 260-275 pounds and are primarily asked to rush the quarterback using their speed and athleticism. In the 3-4, defensive ends populate the 300-pound range and serve as primary run stoppers.
So because Umenyiora is a 261-pound speed rusher who thrives in a 4-3, teams like the Steelers, Ravens and Patriots—who could theoretically turn their defenses into juggernauts by adding Osi to the mix—may not be interested in arguably the best defensive end in the league because he doesn't fit their profile for the position.
I'd like to think that great football players are great football players, and that any player good enough to not only make it to the NFL, but become one of the best in the league, would shine on any team in any scheme. But if conventional wisdom says Umenyiora can't convert from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker—e.g. Mario Williams of the Texans or DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys—the list of teams pursuing Umenyiora will inevitably shrink.
Throw in the low likelihood of the Giants helping out any serious NFC contender or NFC East rival by handing them an All-Pro sack machine, and Umenyiora's potential destinations decrease even more. So with that, here are the eight teams most likely to pull off a trade for Umenyiora.