The NFL season is less than a month away, and the Cleveland Browns are trying to surround quarterback Colt McCoy with as many weapons as they can from their roster. But in order for them to give McCoy adequate help, the Browns may need to explore some trade possibilities.
Here are four players the Browns can target through the trade market that would help McCoy.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith does not become a free agent until 2013, but trade rumors involving Smith are sure to continue if the Panthers remain at the bottom of the NFL standings.
Smith is 32 and many of his receiving totals are declining, but that has had as much to do with the team's unstable quarterback situation as it has to do with Smith's age.
If the Browns were to somehow acquire Smith this season, they would not only have an elite receiver, but they would get him for 2012 as well. The Browns are $30 million under the salary cap and have plenty of draft picks to offer the rebuilding Panthers if they would be willing to deal Smith.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez was developing into a major receiving threat before knee injuries sidelined him for virtually all of the past two seasons. The Cleveland native caught 95 passes and seven touchdowns during his first two years in the NFL but has played in only two games since 2008.
Gonzalez will become a free agent in 2012, and his future with Indianapolis is riding on this season. If Gonzalez can remain healthy and productive, the Browns will have virtually no chance to trade for him. But the Browns would be wise to take take a look at him if he becomes expendable to the Colts.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. has hardly been worth his top 10 selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, but he has shown flashes of play-making ability that could make him a valuable weapon in Cleveland.
Ginn's skills as a receiver are limited, but his elite speed would make him a major downfield threat that the Browns currently do not have on their roster.
Although throwing the deep ball is not one of McCoy's strengths, Ginn could still add another dimension to the Browns offense and give opposing defenses something to think about downfield.
Trade rumors surrounding Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox have arisen since newly-acquired receiver Roy Williams took his spot on the depth chart. Although all parties involved have denied any possibility of dealing Knox, don't expect the rumors to just disappear.
The possibility of any trade involving Knox to the Browns is extremely unlikely, but it is one the Browns should inquire about now that rumors are swirling.
The 24-year-old Knox was huge for the Bears in 2010, recording 960 yards on 51 receptions. On the Browns, he would not only be a weapon for McCoy but also a special teams sidekick to Josh Cribbs.
But don't expect this trade to happen.