7 Players NFL Teams Will Wish They Traded 3 Years from Now
Have you ever had a really big regret?
Most of us have and a common regret we hear about in sports is called buyer's remorse. In other words, a team regrets giving a huge contract to or trading for a player that inevitably doesn't perform up to expectations.
Well, I'd like to coin a new term called "non-seller's remorse".
This term will be applied to the NFL teams that will look back and curse the trades they should have made, but didn't.
What players might cause this "non-seller's remorse"?
Let's examine seven players that might cause their teams to regret not having dealt them now when they look back three years down the line or during the 2014 season.
One note...the suggestion that some of these players probably should be traded won't be popular with their respective fan bases. I fully expect a bunch of outraged football fans. Let me clarify that I am not calling for any of these players to be traded today. Well, maybe the last one on this list, but we'll get to that.
But, football is a business, and sometimes you have to move commodities that have been popular and have been good to you in order to get better.
Besides, If I wanted to be really popular, I would try out for American Idol or Dancing With the Stars.
DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys
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Ware is one of the elite defensive players of the NFL. In his sixth season, he has an amazing 80 sacks.
There isn't a better time for the Cowboys to deal him. Mind you, dealing him might be tricky considering he signed a six-year, $78 million deal in 2009, but you have to look at the state of the team and where the player is headed in the future.
The Cowboys were an awful 6-10 in 2010. Some would view it as a fluke. Given the high number of cuts that "America's Team" has made in just a few days after the lockout, you could make a better argument that Dallas needs to replace several of its parts.
I don't doubt that Ware will play at an elite level for a few more seasons and then his play will begin to drop off as he progresses further into his 30's. But, if you trade him now, you could probably work a deal for multiple picks and players.
Those picks and players could help an offensive line that was shaky at best last season or a secondary that ranked 26th in the NFL last season.
One more thing, even with Ware, the Cowboys were 31st in points allowed in 2010, surrendering 27.2 per game.
Logan Mankins, OG, New England Patriots
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The next three slides are devoted to players who are disgruntled.
Former Packers General Manager Ron Wolf once said in his book, The Packer Way: Nine Stepping Stones to Building a Winning Organization, "Rid yourself of whiners and yappers who impede improvement through negative behavior."
Wolf was also of the mind that if your players are not happy with where they are at, then it is best for them and your organization to part ways.
Logan Mankins is not happy in New England.
The problems started when Mankins was named a restricted free agent following the 2009 season. Because the NFL was entering an uncapped year, Mankins was classified as restricted instead of unrestricted. The Patriots extended the highest possible tender to Mankins but he refused to sign it, saying, "I want to be traded. I don't need to be here any more."
New England responded by lowering his tender and Mankins did not report to New England until right before week nine last season in order to be on the roster for enough games to get an accrued season of service.
This offseason, the Patriots held onto Mankins again through use of the franchise tag. Mankins even joined the players' lawsuit against the NFL during the lockout and hoped to be granted unrestricted free agency or $10 million as part of the settlement of the case (no application of the franchise tag). Ultimately, Mankins was not granted either concession and he is back in Foxboro, none the richer or happier.
Time to move on. Mankins is a Pro-Bowler who the Patriots could easily flip to add to their war chest of draft picks.
Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers
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After going through Mankins long litany of contract issues with the New England Patriots, I'm not going to go through the same thing with Jackson.
What you need to know is that Jackson had much of the same problems with being a restricted free agent as Mankins did.
Like Mankins, he also held out, was part of the player's lawsuit against the NFL, and wanted either free agency or compensation.
Jackson is different than Mankins in that he was suspended for three games in 2010 for drunk driving.
Over the last two years, Jackson had suitors that wanted to trade for him, but the Chargers have held firm on not letting him out of San Diego, seemingly on principle as much as anything else.
They will regret not getting something significant for him down the road if they lose Malcolm Lloyd to free agency as suspected or if Jackson doesn't put together a few elite seasons.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
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DeSean Jackson is unquestionably one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.
In 2010, his 47 catches for 1,056 yards, a 22.5 yards per catch average, shows you that he is arguably the predominant big-play receiver in the game.
He is a possible holdout from Philadelphia Eagles camp despite the short time the team has to get ready for the season post-lockout.
Jackson wants a big new contract and based on his play he's probably worth it.
But, Jackson is 5'10" and 175 pounds on a good day. He has suffered multiple concussions in his short three-year career, including the severe one you can see here.
Jackson would arguably fetch a nice bounty in a trade, although there is no indication that the Eagles would consider this route.
Philly will probably give in to Jackson's contract demands sooner or later because he is integral to their big-play passing offense.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
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Marques Colston is a very good NFL receiver. He might not be elite, but he did catch 84 passes for 1023 yards and seven touchdowns. The Saints appear to be on the verge of re-signing free agent Lance Moore who caught 66 passes for 763 yards and eight touchdowns last year.
The Saints also have talented wide receivers Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson and emerging tight end Jimmy Graham on the roster.
New Orleans has a good problem even if it doesn't realize it; the Saints have too many pass catching weapons.
See quarterback Drew Brees can only throw so many passes. Put differently, Colston is unintentionally stunting the growth of the other New Orleans receivers. The Saints should try to deal Colston for a starting defensive player that they so desperately need.
Instead, they will probably wonder years from now, why they only won one Super Bowl instead of multiple championships. Keeping Colston, a valuable trade commodity, might be one small reason why.
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
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Ask yourself this question about Michael Vick? Will his stock ever be higher than it is right now?
The likely answer is no.
In 2010, he threw for 3,018 yards, 21 touchdowns against six interceptions in 12 games for a quarterback rating of 100.2. In six seasons with Atlanta, his quarterback rating was never higher than 81. 6. It's called catching lightning in a bottle folks and it doesn't last.
The only possible way his stock increases would be if the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl. While not impossible, and Philly supporters will tell you they were merely a play away against Green Bay in the NFC playoffs, the much more likely reality is that Vick breaks down over time due to the physical punishment he takes as a runner as well as a passer. Keep in mind that Vick is just 6'0" and 215 pounds.
The suspect Eagles offensive line also figures to shorten his shelf life.
Vick is 31. You can say he is a young 31 because of his time in prison, but I don't buy the argument that time in lockup actually lengthens your career.
In 2014, he will be 34 and he'll have lost a step, or two, or three.
If the Eagles traded Vick now, they might get a team to put together a pretty nice package that starts with multiple draft choices and a number one because teams are desperate for an effective quarterback which there is no doubt that Vick was last year.
Instead the Eagles are looking to trade back-up Kevin Kolb, and probably will have by the time you read this article. I'm not arguing against Philly trading Kolb, I think they know that he is never going to be more than an average starting quarterback in this league. On the flip side, Vick would bring much, much more in a trade package.
Instead, the Eagles will probably be forced into giving a lengthy extension to Vick and praying that he actually plays out the length of the new deal at a high level.
Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinatti Bengals
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I saved the biggest no-brainer for last.
Palmer has made clear his intention to retire rather than play another snap for the Bengals. The former USC Trojan still threw for 3,970 yards last season with 26 touchdowns in 2010. Yes, he did throw 20 interceptions, but Palmer clearly has more football in that right arm of his.
So, why wouldn't the Bengals trade him?
If Kevin Kolb, a back-up quarterback with seven starts to his credit can fetch a package such as a second round pick and a starting cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and that's just an educated guess on my part, then I can only imagine what Palmer, who is only 31, and has a career passer rating of 86.9 could bring in return.
Of course, this is all academic, because Bengals general manager Mike Brown refuses to trade Palmer.
Brown made his stubbornness, I mean principles clear in a Washington Post article. “I’m not expecting him to be back," Brown said. "Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word. We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t going to reward him for doing it.”
Palmer mind you has played nine seasons for one of the cheapest organizations in football. He has also tucked a fair bit of money away so he can retire comfortably. While he might miss the game, the guess here is that the Bengals will regret not trading him more than Palmer will regret not returning to Cincinnati.