NFL Trade Deadline: 10 Players Most Likely to Find New Homes

Adam LazarusSenior Analyst ISeptember 28, 2011

NFL Trade Deadline: 10 Players Most Likely to Find New Homes

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    Less than a month from now (October 18), the NFL trade deadline will pass. Although in-season NFL trades rarely have the type of excitement and intrigue that is common in the NBA or Major League Baseball, there have been several that made a major impact on the season—Eric Dickerson to the Colts in 1987, for example.

    As of now, there doesn’t seem to be one type of game-changing move out there. There don’t seem to be too many superstars angry over their contracts, at least not enough to demand a move.

    However, that doesn’t mean every team will stay put in the days leading up to the deadline.

    Several teams—contenders looking to upgrade at a key position, bottom feeders looking to invest in the future or clubs simply hoping to unload a big contract—will inquire about available talent.

    Here are 10 players for whom general managers are likely to burn up the phone lines.

No. 10: Anthony Dixon, RB, San Francisco 49ers

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    2011 Stats: One carry, six yards

    Experience: Three years 

    Potentially Interested Teams: Kansas City, Jacksonville

    It doesn't seem like Dixon is capable of even keeping the backup's job in San Francisco; rookie Kendall Hunter has taken it from him. For now, anyway, he isn't going to have a major impact on any club.

    However, he does have tremendous size and did perform very well last year, albeit in a different offense. He is also a cheap alternative for some club, as he is only on the books for about $1 million total over the next two seasons.

    The Jags and Chiefs each have (potential) franchise backs, but as a change of pace, second-tier runner, Dixon can fill a need.

No. 9: Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    2011 Stats: Zero catches

    Experience: Eight years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Tennessee, Tampa Bay

    The Steelers have to do something to add to the offensive line, and if there's any chance they can trade away Cotchery to either free up cap space or receive a lineman in return, they have to.

    Cotchery's inability to get on the field is less due to his own deficiencies and more due to the fact that the Steelers just have four really talented and/or accomplished wide receivers in Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. They don't need to keep Cotchery on the active roster each week.

    He can still be a reasonably productive player, and around the time of the deadline, the Titans or Bucs might want to add a veteran with leadership and talent to upgrade their inexperienced corps of receivers.

No. 8: Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears

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    2011 Stats: 28 tackles (22 solo), one forced fumble

    Experience: Nine years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Tampa Bay

    Management may have refused his requests for either a trade or a contract extension and said they would do neither until after the season, but that type of stance can change in a hurry, especially if the Bears continue to plummet in the NFC North standings.

    He's making a ton of money ($10 million in the two seasons after 2011) and is already 30, so he's not the greatest long-term investment.

    The Bears front seven is the heart of their team, so losing him would be a tremendous blow, but if there's any way they can acquire the significant help on the offensive line that they so desperately need, Briggs is their best bargaining chip.

No. 7: Bernard Berrian, WR, Minnesota Vikings

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    2011 Stats: One catch, 17 yards

    Experience: Eight years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Tennessee

    The Vikings passing game is a mess right now, so trading away their most experienced player would hurt them (and Adrian Peterson) even further. Considering his serious lack of production, though, it's not really that big a gamble. 

    Besides, if they really wanted him so badly, they would have given him a long-term contract instead of a one-year deal.

    The trade deadline market will have several available receivers, but I could see Berrian becoming a nice Plan B for some teams like the Titans, who have a major need but don't want to mortgage the future.

No. 6: Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

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    2011 Stats: N/A

    Experience: Seven years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Miami, Washington

    This game of chicken between Mike Brown and Palmer can't go on much longer, can it?

    Although he has not played well in the last two games, Andy Dalton is keeping his head above water and looks capable of being an NFL quarterback. If the Bengals do end up with the worst record in the NFL (or close to it), then they almost certainly have to select Andrew Luck if he's available.

    That would lead to a really terrible situation where they have Luck, Dalton and Palmer. They might as well unload Palmer now, especially since teams like Miami and Washington certainly could use him.

No. 5: Asante Samuel, CB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    2011 Stats: 11 tackles (four solo), one INT

    Experience: Nine years

    Potentially Interested Teams: New England, Buffalo

    The Eagles' dream season is crumbling (I refuse to go with the clichéd "turning into a nightmare" reference), and they need help, especially up front on the offensive line.

    In Samuel, they have a chip to deal, and although they really don't want to, having three excellent corners is a luxury they can no longer afford at 1-2.

    Samuel is the oldest of the trio and is scheduled to make almost $19 million in 2012 and 2013. Still, they should be able to get something solid in return for him since teams like the Pats and Bills could really use a boost in the secondary.

No. 4: Ryan Torain, RB, Washington Redskins

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    2011 Stats: Zero carries

    Experience: Three years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Kansas City, Philadelphia

    In the last year or so, few players have fallen further on the depth chart than Torain, who was the Redskins' leading rusher last season and seemed to have the starting job locked up in the spring.

    But Washington traded for Tim Hightower and drafted Roy Helu, who is having a great start to his rookie season, so Torain hasn't touched the football yet.

    Mike Shanahan has a way of rotating backs constantly, so there is hope for him in the second half of the season, but based on what he did a year ago (three 100-yard games in a span of four games), any team looking for a spark could do a lot worse.

No. 3: Chad Ochocinco, WR, New England Patriots

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    2011 Stats: Five catches, 87 yards

    Experience: 11 years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Cleveland, St. Louis

    Just because the Patriots have absolutely no use for Ochocinco at this point doesn't mean every team would feel the same.

    He's stayed out of trouble and did not alienate himself at all while in New England  so there's hope he could do the same elsewhere. While he hasn't produced anything thus far in 2011, he is healthy and has tons of experience to lend to a young crop of receivers like Cleveland's or St. Louis'.

    Don't forget, the Pats somehow managed to trade (not cut) Randy Moss last season, and that was right after he had just blown up through the media.

No. 2: Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins

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    2011 Stats: 17 catches, 261 yards,  one TD

    Experience: Six years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Tampa Bay, Washington

    Marshall is having another tremendous season in Miami, averaging over 15 yards per catch. But clearly—barring a miracle—big changes are on the horizon for the Dolphins.

    Moving Marshall now, when his value is still extremely high, might be the best thing for that eventual rebuilding process, especially since he is due so much money (over $27 million) over the next three seasons.

    Tampa Bay definitely could use him, and that would let him stay in his home state and keep the Dolphins from dealing him in the conference. The Redskins should also be a sleeper considering they need another pass-catcher and Mike Shanahan was the one who drafted Marshall. There was friction in Denver between the two, but that may have changed over time.

No. 1: Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos

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    2011 Stats: None

    Experience: Two years

    Potentially Interested Teams: Washington, Seattle

    Take Brady Quinn out of the equation and I think there is no way the Broncos would deal Tim Tebow.

    For one, he's the only quarterback on the roster under contract beyond 2011, and if you're going to spend a first-round pick on a quarterback, he's got to spend three seasons in the league before you give up on him.

    But you can't take Quinn out of the equation. According to all reports, he beat out Tebow for the second-string job, and if the Broncos decide to abandon the Kyle Orton project or Orton gets hurt, they're going to put their trust in Quinn, no matter how irritating it is to Broncos fans.

    As a quarterback, Tebow still has plenty of appeal to certain clubs, and there's always the possibility of making him some kind of H-back, so there's a deal to be made.

    The only question is who would be interested and what the Broncos are willing to take for him.