NFL Trade Rumors: Carson Palmer and the Best Players Still Available
Repeat after me.
The NFL regular season is less than two weeks away.
Boy, does it feel good to say that.
Perhaps the only people not thrilled with that statement are those affiliated with Major League Baseball because interest in their sport has waned dramatically coinciding with the resolution of the football lockout.
Oh, there is at least one more small segment of the population that might be a little less than thrilled that the season is upon us. That would be NFL general managers who have realized in the last two weeks that their teams have a bunch of holes with little time to fill them.
Oh, and by the way, they have to cut about 40 percent of the roster in the next week.
So how does a team improve?
The majority of player acquisitions will come in the form of waiver-wire pickups, but that's probably just an exercise in churning the bottom five to 10 players on a team's roster.
Trades, on the other hand, could be quite beneficial and eye-opening in the next week or so.
Let's take a look at the status of some players who could be on the move shortly.
1. Joselio Hanson, CB, Philadelphia
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Hanson is a decent candidate to get traded because the Eagles have Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel (who is unlikely to be dealt despite speculation) and the 5'9", 185-pounder has the potential to be more than just a dimeback.
So, where could he wind up?
One rumor has Hanson as a possible fit in St. Louis. He wouldn't necessarily be a starter, but it's hard not to picture him as the Rams nickelback. But there are clearly teams interested in this young player with some upside.
Arizona just lost cornerback Greg Toler to a torn ACL; wouldn't it be one heck of a coincidence if the Eagles did another deal with Arizona involving a cornerback?
The hold-up is that Hanson is owed close to $8 million over the next three seasons.
Is that money that the Eagles would be willing to pay to their fourth-best cornerback? Doubtful, which is why Hanson could ultimately be released.
Verdict: This is not a quarterback, so the Birds won't be able to rip a team off for high compensation. Hanson should fetch a fifth-round pick, which draft-pick hungry Philly should be willing to pay if they don't get too greedy.
2. Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos
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With Kyle Orton firmly entrenched as the starter and Brady Quinn a more comfortable option as the backup, the only way that the Broncos keep themselves out of the controversy of having Tebow serve as a clipboard carrying, rarely active, third-string quarterback is to deal him.
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they actually will deal him.
For starters, he is getting paid first-round money, which means a team has to absorb that contract. Second, the Broncos would have to find a team interested in taking on Tebow that also is creative enough to find a role for him.
One plausible scenario has Tebow donning a Redskins' uniform, which makes a little sense given coach Mike Shanahan's fascination with bigger, more mobile quarterbacks, something he doesn't currently have on the roster.
The Broncos decided to play Tebow in lieu of Quinn in mop-up duty in Denver's last preseason game, a win over Seattle.
But that could be simply an effort to showcase Tebow to the rest of the league.
Verdict: What makes this interesting is that Denver has a talented fourth-string prospect in rookie Adam Weber that they will lose if they keep Tebow. Still, I don't think it's enough for the Broncos to admit their mistake on Tebow. He stays in Denver for now.
3. Philip Merling, DE, Miam Dolphins
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Merling is a very, very reasonable trade commodity for a few reasons.
He is young, talented when motivated, and relatively cheap in the last year of his rookie deal.
The Dolphins have a plethora of defensive linemen and could afford to deal Merling without hurting their rotation system.
The stumbling block is a little different for this one. The Dolphins likely won't want a draft pick in exchange for Merling, especially if they can't flip that pick for a player. Miami is desperate for help on the offensive line and, until that position group is addressed, it's hard to picture the team just stockpiling picks.
Player-for-player trades are rare in the NFL and extremely difficult to pull off.
Verdict: I don't know if it's Merling, but I think it's 50/50 that Miami does trade a defensive lineman instead of cutting talent. One possible match would be Denver if that bridge hasn't been burned by the Orton deal gone bad.
The Broncos are in a desperate position with their defensive line and they have some offensive linemen who are appealing in Zane Beadles and Chris Kuper. The Dolphins might have to throw in a draft pick to make the deal happen, but it might be worth it to keep quarterback Chad Henne upright.
4. Dennis Dixon, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
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This will sound weird, but the worst thing to happen to Dennis Dixon on the football field was Byron Leftwich breaking his arm in Pittsburgh's 34-16 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night.
With Leftwich out, there is no chance that Dixon gets moved to a team where he might be able to compete for a starter's role. Now, it's hard to believe the Steelers wouldn't go to veteran Charlie Batch, even if starter Ben Roethlisberger were to suffer an injury.
Verdict: Dixon is in Pittsburgh for another year.
5. Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers
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Grant may not be bitter over a pay cut, but that could change if he doesn't make the team's roster. While it's hard to imagine Green Bay cutting a guy who is one year removed from back-to-back 1,200 yard rushing seasons, it's more believable that they will try to get something in return for him.
His one remaining season of $2.5 million is not cost prohibitive if he truly does have something in the tank and he isn't necessarily going to have a spot in Green Bay with James Starks, Alex Green and John Kuhn locks to make the roster.
Verdict: If you look at the free agent running back market, you'll see its pretty barren. That means that there might be a market for a 28-year-old with some skills and really only three seasons of wear and tear on his body.
6. Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants
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Umenyiora has 31.5 sacks in his last three seasons and he is a player who desperately wants to get paid. His contract squabbles with the New York Giants are well-documented and his decision to have arthroscopic knee surgery right before the season might be the last straw that gets him shipped off of Broadway.
Of course, long-term concerns about his knees blunt his trade value and it's questionable what he would bring in a trade.
Verdict: I think Umenyiora stays a Giant for this season, unless a team like Atlanta that desperately needs a pass rusher blows New York out of the water with an offer.
7. Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
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The disgruntled Bengals quarterback has yet to officially retire. This is a little shocking because you kind of wonder what Palmer is waiting for.
Cincinnati, more specifically, General Manager Mike Brown has been adamant in his intentions not to trade Palmer. But, if Palmer can stick it to Brown by showing up just a few days before the season starts and have $11.5 million guaranteed, it's hard to imagine him not deciding to make this bold move.
Verdict: This is the classic battle of wills, and its hard to see either side giving way, which means no trade. The real question is how ugly the two will decide to make it for the franchise. If Palmer decides to show up on the eve of the season, Bengals fans might find out.