Now I know the NFL hardly makes trades, except during or right around the NFL draft, and the last major trade could probably be considered Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey back in 2004. That said, I was still able to come up with five trades that make sense for both teams involved.
I wish the NFL trade deadline was as busy and filled with the same speculation as the trade deadline with the NBA and MLB is, but it just isn't. The trade deadline for the NFL is on Oct. 18, and I believe the following trades should be considered...
Yes, I know the New York Jets just signed Antonio Cromartie in the offseason to a four-year, $32 million contract to stay with the team to play opposite Darrelle Revis.
Yes, he has produced in some spots, and yes, he is tied for the league lead in interceptions, but I still believe the Jets misspent their money on him. Good thing for them, they can correct their mistake by trading him to the New Orleans Saints for WR Marques Colston.
The Jets clearly got it wrong in the offseason, instead of focusing on ways to improve their offense, they became enamored with the dynamic pairing, of what were thought to be at the time, the two best cornerbacks in the league in Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha. Since the start of the season, Revis has established himself as the best corner in the league while Asomugha’s play this season has left a lot to be desired.
If the Jets were able to get their dream of the Revis/Asomugha teaming, let’s just say they would have made an error in judgement. All that money tied up in one position was not going to work. Especially when Revis, 26 years old, would have been outplaying Asomugha, 30 years old, while being paid less. Imagine the holdout that would have been bound to come. Luckily, Philly came in and saved the Jets from themselves.
What the Jets should have been looking to upgrade was the offense with a young go-to wide receiver to team with Santonio Holmes. While wasting their time in their pursuit of Asomugha, they missed out on what should have been their targets in the first place, WR Steve Breaston and WR Sydney Rice.
Even if the Jets would have just let Cromartie walk, the defense still would have been formidable. Their 2010 first round pick CB Kyle Wilson, with his improved play, looks as if he was ready to take over Cro’s spot permanently.
Instead of having money to spend, the Jets were in scramble mode and were desperate. Needing to make a big name splash and to do something to improve their offense, they were really left with no other option than to sign Plaxico Burress.
Trading Cromartie for Colston makes sense for both teams. Colston is expendable for the Saints. They are a team flush with wide receivers with guys like Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, and Lance Moore, not to mention emerging pass catching tight end Jimmy Graham.
Drew Brees also is an equal opportunity passer, he spreads the ball around to any one of them, he does not key in on one receiver.
All this added to the fact that the Saints always seemed just fine when dealing with the absence of Colston before makes him expendable. Oh yeah, he becomes a free agent in 2012 also and will probably be looking for a big contract.
Now, with all due respect to Saints CBs Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter, Antonio Cromartie just possesses more of a skill set than both of them. Right now, the Saints pass defense ranks right in the middle of the league at 16th, that would improve with Cro on their team.
While Colston is a luxury on the Saints, he would be a necessity on the Jets. Mark Sanchez needs a tall wide receiver that commands a double team. Plaxico lacks the speed and does not scare anyone anymore. Colston on one side and Holmes on the other would set up an intriguing pairing. Kyle Wilson should step into the starting corner position right away and only improve under the leadership of Revis.
The Rams are all in on QB Sam Bradford and are desperate to surround him with the necessary weapons to grow with. Their big off season move to accomplish this? Signing WR Mike Sims-Walker away from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, although I do like Sims-Walker, he’s decent, in saying that, he is hardly a number one WR.
Through five games this season, Sims-Walker has a grand total of 11 receptions for 139 yards with no TDs.
Opposite Sims-Walker is Brandon Gibson, who? The rest of the receiving corps? Dominique Curry, Danario Alexander, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis and Nick Miller. All of them combined have 22 receptions to date.
The Rams great hope is waiting for Danny Amendola, one of their only bright spots from last season, who had a pretty good season with 85 receptions for 689 yards and a TD. Let me tell you right now, he is not the answer. He will, however fit perfectly next to...Brandon Marshall.
Bradford needs an elite receiver like Brandon Marshall. Marshall, still only 26 years old, will give Bradford the needed weapon that will produce immediately. Marshall will give the Rams time to develop another receiver. Then, in four years, if Marshall is on the decline, the heir apparent will be ready to take over.
While Steven Jackson is still good for them, rushing for 1,241 yards last season along with six TDs, he is getting up there in age. His stats do not look good this season, but that is because he’s been slowed by a quad injury, which he is over, apparently.
Behind Jackson in the depth chart are two very serviceable backs. Jerious Norwood and Cadillac Williams, who can combine to pick up the slack for a traded Jackson.
As for the Dolphins, who want to be running team, they would be better off with Jackson rather than Marshall. A backfield duo of Jackson and Reggie Bush would be very nice to have. With Bush and Jackson splitting carries, it also would extend both their careers.
Then, when Miami drafts a QB in next year’s draft, which they probably are, the rookie QB would not have to do too much and can be brought along slowly. A rookie QB’s best friend is a strong running game.
Why would Miami even think of getting rid of Marshall? His annual salary goes from $6.3 million in 2011 to $9.3 million in 2012 and then to $9.1 million in 2013 and 2014. Steven Jackson’s salary is $7.2 million in 2011 and $7 million in 2012 and 2013, these years are voidable, however.
This makes sense for both teams. For the Cincinnati Bengals, they would get the perfect complement to go along with the 6’4” promising rookie WR A.J. Green. If the Bengals are able to put together a trio of QB Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and DeSean Jackson, it would be quite a formidable young offensive unit that will only get better.
The cost would be pretty steep. Domata Peko is a great, underrated defensive tackle who is only 26 years old with a very reasonable contract. His contract tops off at $3.5 million in 2014, which means in 2015, he may be looking for a hefty raise.
Peko’s leadership and run-stopping ability have led the Bengals to rank 7th in the league in rush defense. The Philadelphia Eagles rush defense is ranked 30th in the league, something is obviously not working and I believe Peko could be the solution.
A combination of 28-year-old DT Mike Patterson and Domata Peko could grow quickly into the best run-stuffing duo in the league.
Cullen Jenkins is part of this trade for two reasons, to even up the salaries and to plug the huge hole that a traded Peko would leave.
Jenkins is still productive, and may still be for the next few seasons, but there was a reason why there was no market for him. He’s 30 years old and was commanding too much money. The Eagles went creative with his contract, backloading the five year $30.4 million they gave him.
This year he will make $3.8 million, next year, he will make $2.75 million with a $5 million roster bonus. In 2013, he’s due to make $4 million with a $2.5 million roster bonus, in 2014, $4.5 million with a $2 million roster bonus and finally in 2015 a $6 million salary.
Does anyone really think, after reading Jenkins’ salary structure, that the Eagles were going to keep him longer than a season or, at most two? It looks to me that Philly was banking on this season to win it all, and if that happens they may bring him back for next season, but after that, he’s going to get cut.
So, if the Eagles were going to cut him anyway, why not include him in a deal that brings back a younger, future Pro Bowl DT who is cheaper?
The big piece that the Eagles lose in this trade is obviously DeSean Jackson. The thing is, do they even really want to keep him in the first place? They could have given him a new, well-deserved contract that he was demanding in the off-season, but they didn’t.
Instead, they threw a bunch of money at QB Michael Vick, and in a bit of a quiet move, signed WR Steve Smith for insurance purposes if they do, in fact, lose Jackson.
It kind of looks like Philly may not think Jackson is worth the money he’s demanding. Maybe they are thinking that WR Jeremy Macklin brings a similar skill set to the field, and maybe they don’t want to sign both of them.
Maybe DeSean is upset for not getting his money when he wanted and he’s a goner anyways. In this case, this trade would be a no-brainer for Philly.
Why should this trade happen? Because the Buffalo Bills are in win-now mode, and if they aren’t, they should be. Instead of catching lightning in a bottle, why don’t they try to secure it? The Bills are in dire need of a pass rusher, why don’t they just go get one? I know, I make it sound easy.
Buffalo ranks last in the league with a total of five sacks as a team. Osi Umenyiora has 3.5 sacks in his first two games he played this season. He would immediately upgrade their pass-rushless defensive line and would probably secure them with their first playoff appearance since 1999.
All they would be giving up is a somewhat promising, albeit, first round draft pick from two years ago, RB C.J. Spiller. Spiller has had his injury problems with the Bills and has been largely overshadowed by RB Fred Jackson.
Although Fred Jackson is 30 years old and parting with C.J. Spiller would leave the Bills with no clear running back for the future, Jackson is not your average 30-year-old NFL RB. He has only been in the league for five seasons and has been used sparingly. For his career, he has only carried the ball 737 times. In comparison, St. Louis Rams running back, Steven Jackson, who is 28 years old, has already carried the ball 1,901 times to date.
So, in those terms, Fred Jackson may be the Bills running back for the forseeable future. He is the leagues’ third best rusher this season to date, only 18 yards behind the second leading rusher, Adrian Peterson.
On the Giants side, they can handle losing Osi, they are stacked with pass rushers and seem to draft a new one every draft.
Osi was demanding a new deal in the off season and believes he was promised one and deserves one. If traded to the Bills, the Bills can offer him a frontloaded contract to make him happy. While Osi is already 29 years old, pass rushers these days can last into their 30s. The Bills only need him for about three seasons, then, if he’s not producing, they can just cut him.
The Bills can take a problem off the Giants’ hands. Then the Giants can slide Justin Tuck into Osi’s spot, add a young running back and get a third round pick out of this deal, which they probably can use to get a younger Osi.
By the way, Brandon Jacobs is 29 years old already and the Giants rush offense is ranked 28th in the league, only averaging 84 yards per game.
Barring a miracle cure for Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning, the Colts should be in rebuilding mode. Even if Manning can make a comeback, how much longer can he possibly last at the age of 35 with a bum neck?
The Colts should cash out early. They drafted WR Pierre Garcon in the sixth round of the 2008 draft. Why not sell high?
A second round pick is very valuable in an NFL draft, some GMs even prefer second round picks to first round picks because of the guaranteed money a first rounder demands. This second rounder can help the Colts out in the rebuilding process more than Garcon, who will surely be looking for his big contract with him being a free agent next season and may leave for nothing anyway.
Why this trade makes sense for the 49ers? They are a surprising 4-1 and are in contention to win their weak division and may be able to surprise in this season’s playoffs with the right pieces.
With the 49ers number one WR, Josh Morgan, most likely out for the season with a fractured ankle, they are in desperate need for help at the position.
Giving up a second round pick would be worth it for the present and the future if San Francisco can get a WR of Garcon’s caliber.
They can either go after the sure thing at WR or hope for the best in next year’s draft. If I was part of the 49ers front office, I’d go after Garcon.