NFL Trade Deadline: Which Teams Absolutely Must Make Moves
Week 6 of the NFL season marks the last opportunity for needy teams to make a significant move, and the annual trade deadline often sparks surprising moves in mid-October.
Several teams have one piece, perhaps just one player, that currently separates them from either competing for playoff position or taking the next step among the NFL's elite. Don't expect any blockbuster deals, but there could be a few subtle moves that help fortify a weakness for teams looking for help.
While numerous teams must make moves, I've singled out five teams that would simply be irresponsible to not address certain needs by the end of Week 6.
Mario Williams was finding success in his new hybrid role as a 3-4 outside linebacker, leading the Houston Texans to a 3-1 start. In Week 5, however, the Texans lost Williams to a season-ending pectoral tear.
Williams' replacement, Brooks Reed, is a second-round pick who actually played well in relief of Williams. However, it's illogical to think that the Texans don't need another hybrid who can at least find a spot in rotational effort.
With the loss of Williams, the Texans defense is compromised. You simply can't lose your best player on defense and not expect a severe drop-off.
The Texans should make a move to find a 3-4 outside linebacker who can help Reed share the load throughout the rest of 2011 and could likely do so by only giving up a fifth- or sixth-round pick.
I'm sure I sound like a broken record on this issue, but I simply cannot believe that Jacksonville has yet to address their quality of receivers with anything more than a fourth-round draft pick out of Mount Union.
Jaguars fans heard the lip service all offseason that Gene Smith and Jack Del Rio were happy with their group of receivers, but this has clearly been an under-performing group.
It's very clear to me that if Del Rio wants to keep his job this position has to be addressed. What's stranger is that the Jaguars seem to be more than willing to trade away picks on draft day for players like Will Rackley, but refuse to make a move on an established weapon for new quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert needs help, and the Jaguars could likely get someone like Jacoby Jones from the Houston Texans for not much more than a third-round pick.
Something tells me Jay Cutler wouldn't mind it if the Bears traded a second- or third-round draft pick for a new offensive tackle.
While the Bears offensive line has been bad all year, they were especially sieve-like against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. It seemed like Cutler couldn't finish a five-step drop before several Lions forced him out of the pocket.
In all honesty, the plays Cutler made to keep the Bears alive were incredible.
There are several teams in the NFL that have depth at tackle they would be willing to shop, if the price was right. The Bears should be willing and ready to give away a third-round pick for an offensive tackle who could at least provide some level of comfort for Cutler.
Otherwise, he won't last 16 games.
New York Jets
The New York Jets pride themselves on a physical, run-dominated offensive style of football they have termed "ground and pound."
Well, they've tried the ground, and they've gotten pounded.
Mark Sanchez can't carry this football team, and they completely lack explosion in the backfield. Ladainian Tomlinson is simply a third-down scatback at this point in his career, and the Shonn Greene experiment should be officially deemed over.
The Jets are 31st in the league in rushing, and they need someone sitting on another team's bench who has explosive capabilities.
Who to target? C.J. Spiller.
The Bills' first-round pick from a year ago has hardly seen the playing field and is clearly the No. 2 running back behind Fred Jackson.
The Jets should give the Bills a second-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013 for the talented Spiller, who simply needs to be in the right situation where is given 15-20 touches.
Since the loss of Kenny Britt, the Tennessee Titans have clearly lost a dimension they truly need.
As a team in contention, the Titans need a receiver who can complement Nate Washington. Tennessee has to be able to keep teams off the line of scrimmage, otherwise teams will continue to load the box and make live continuously difficult for Chris Johnson.
I like Jacoby Jones in the right situation, and the Titans wouldn't find themselves crowded at receiver with Jones once Britt returns in 2012.
Jones could likely be had for a third-round pick.