NFL Trade Deadline: Top 25 Biggest Winners and Losers
The trade deadline came and went Tuesday afternoon, and the impact was felt across the NFL.
There were teams who filled needs; there were players who got traded and immediately improved their positions.
But there were teams who didn't do anything, and there were players who will find that their playing time will vanish due to the latest moves, both those made and those not made.
Winner: Mike Brown, Owner, Bengals
Mike Brown said he wasn’t going to trade quarterback Carson Palmer, no matter what, because Palmer had three more years to go on the contract he signed with Cincinnati, and Brown expected Palmer to live up to it or stay retired.
Ultimately, Brown's Bengals wound up getting one first-round draft pick (2012) and a conditional pick that could turn out to be a No. 1 (2013), giving Cincinnati nine top picks in the next two drafts.
Considering he gave up an inactive player, it’s hard to see doing better than this.
Loser: Mike Sims-Walker, Wide Receiver, Rams
The veteran wide receiver was the player St. Louis opted to let go Tuesday to clear roster space for Brandon Lloyd, the receiver they picked up in a trade with Denver.
It was not good news, but the move wasn’t entirely without an upside.
The Jacksonville Jaguars gave Mike Sims-Walker a call and asked if he’d be interested in coming back, and he got on the next plane to Florida.
Winner: Sam Bradford, Quarterback, Rams
The addition of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd gives the struggling Rams offense another big play threat and gives Bradford a go-to receiver.
The still-winless Rams have seen Bradford, the possessor of nine 200-yard-plus passing games a year ago as rookie, has just two of them in the first five games this year, so the addition of Lloyd could be just what Bradford needs to get back on track.
Lloyd had a breakout 1,448-yard season in 2010 for the Broncos, but with the Denver quarterback situation in flux, he was having trouble getting going this season.
Loser: Jason Campbell, Quarterback, Raiders
The Raiders starter has had a bad couple of days. He broke his collarbone in Week 6 action versus Cleveland, most likely ending his season.
On Tuesday, Oakland worked a deal for veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, and that means that Campbell is probably out for good as the Raiders’ starting quarterback.
It won’t be an issue this year, with Campbell simply unable to play, but it’ll be a major issue once the season’s over.
Winner: Carson Palmer, Quarterback, Raiders
With the mere act of signing his name, Palmer goes from working out with no real plan for his future to training to move into the Oakland starting lineup.
Palmer will take a pay cut for this year, to be sure, dropping about $9 million, but he gets a major guaranteed payday down the line.
And he gets a chance to play somewhere other than Cincinnati, a city whose charm had run out for him.
Loser: Donovan McNabb, Quarterback, Vikings
It was a nasty one-two punch for Donovan McNabb on Tuesday.
First the Vikings made the decision that he wasn’t going to play for them next week, with Christian Ponder taking over as the starter.
And that decision was announced just before the trade deadline, meaning the club had no chance to send McNabb elsewhere, where he might have the opportunity to play.
So McNabb faces the prospect of spending the rest of the season on the bench.
Winner: Andy Dalton, Quarterback, Bengals
Andy Dalton was pushed into the Cincinnati game plan ahead of schedule once it became clear that Carson Palmer wasn’t going to play.
It was a tough spot for a rookie, but the draftee out of TCU has been able to step up and get the Bengals off to a 4-2 start to the season.
He was playing with confidence before the deal went down, and now that there’s no chance of Palmer coming back to contend for playing time, the Bengals are all Dalton’s. A clear win.
Loser: Denver Broncos
The 1-4 Broncos had a chance to clear out some veterans who don’t figure to play for them much the rest of the way, and they didn’t get it done.
Kyle Orton, the one-time starting quarterback, has been benched in favor of Tim Tebow, and Denver couldn’t put together a deal that would get Orton and his contract off the roster.
Add to that veteran safety Brian Dawkins, who doesn’t figure to help a team that is going to get a lot younger before it gets a lot better.
Winner: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Receiver, Raiders
Things had been looking up for Darrius Heyward-Bey even before this deal came down, and with 345 yards in his first five games of the season, his career single-season record of 366 yards will fall, probably this week.
Bringing in Palmer gives Heyward-Bey the first experienced quarterback of the receiver’s three-year career in Oakland.
It will take a while for the two men to get used to each other, but their upside seems unlimited.
Loser: St. Louis Rams
The Rams did help themselves with the addition of Brandon Lloyd in a deal with Denver, it’s true.
But it came at a something of a cost—a sixth-round pick next year that could morph into a fifth-round pick if Lloyd catches 30 or more passes the rest of the season.
There’s no doubt Lloyd, the league’s leading pass receiver a year ago, could do that. But how much will it help the Rams, who are rotting in the cellar in the NFC West.
Winner: Ronnie Brown, Running Back, Lions
During his time with the Eagles, Ronnie Brown was little more than an afterthought in the Philadelphia offense.
He comes to the Lions with a chance to get some meaningful playing time with Jahvid Best having suffered two concussions in the season’s first five games.
It doesn’t hurt that Brown, who had 13 carries with the 2-4 Eagles is going to a team that is 5-1 and has a place for him to make a contribution.
Brown, who played for Lions’ offensive coordinator Scott Linehan in Miami, could start this week with Best’s status in question pending doctors giving him clearance to go.
Loser: Jerome Harrison, Running Back, Eagles
Maybe there will come a time when Jerome Harrison will be able to unpack his backs, but that time has not come yet.
The trade of Harrison from the Detroit Lions to the Philadelphia Eagles means that Harrison will be playing for his third team in the last one-and-a-half seasons.
How is anybody going to learn a system and contribute when all that movement is going on?
Winner: Darren McFadden, Running Back, Raiders
Oakland’s offense should get a boost from the addition of Carson Palmer, and Darren McFadden could benefit more than others.
McFadden leads the NFL in rushing yards with 610 on 111 carries, and with Palmer more of a passing threat than the now-injured Jason Campbell, teams will have to devote more time to defending against Palmer and less to defending against McFadden.
It will help, too, because Palmer throws to his backs, and McFadden’s current rate of three catches per game should go up.
Loser: Washington Redskins
The Redskins could have made a move to add a quarterback before the Tuesday deadline, but they didn’t.
What they don’t know is whether Rex Grossman, benched last week after four interceptions, or John Beck will be able to go the rest of the season as the quarterback.
If Grossman and Beck can’t step up, then the Redskins have lost their chance to get a suitable backup on board.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles gave away a player, running back Ronnie Brown, who was of little use to them in making Tuesday’s deal with the Detroit Lions.
They got back a draft pick, a seventh-rounder, and another running back, Jerome Harrison, who should be able to give Philadelphia as much as they were getting from Brown.
Since Brown had just 13 carries in six games for the Eagles, they clearly seem to be ahead of the game.
Loser: Tim Tebow, Quarterback, Broncos
Now that he’s finally installed as the starter at quarterback in Denver, Tim Tebow has to wonder who he’ll be throwing to.
Brandon Lloyd was the league’s leading pass receiver a year ago, but Tebow lost his best pass catcher Tuesday when Lloyd was dealt to the St. Louis Rams.
Who Tebow will turn to as a favorite receiver now is anybody’s guess.
Winner: AFC West
With the addition of Carson Palmer to the Raiders roster, the West should be a more interesting place the rest of the season.
The division already had one good team in San Diego, and now it’s likely that the one promising team, Oakland, is going to get better.
Both teams have four wins (the Chargers only have one loss to the Raiders’ two) and the West could see the Raiders over .500 for the first time in a decade if Palmer works out as the club hopes.
Loser: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys seemed to have some thought of moving running back Tashard Choice at the deadline.
But with Sunday’s injury of Felix Jones, who suffered a high ankle sprain, Dallas needs to keep Choice around as a backup.
DeMarco Murray is likely to be the lead back for the month or so that Jones is out with Choice serving as his backup.
Winner: Chad Ochocinco, Wide Receiver, Patriots
Two good things happened in Chad Ochocinco’s world Tuesday, both of them involving nothing.
The Patriots didn’t trade him. And New England didn’t trade for another receiver.
So Ochocinco, who for the first time since the end of the 2009 season played a game Sunday without making a catch, is still part of the Patriots’ plan.
And with New England sitting on top of the AFC East, that’s where Ochocinco wanted to be.
Loser: Chris Harris, Safety, Bears
After he was benched by Chicago coach Lovie Smith, safety Chris Harris’ first reaction was to ask for a trade.
The deadline came and went with Harris still a member of the Bears’ roster, and now they have a disgruntled one-time star sitting on their roster.
Worse than that, he’s been subpar this season with a hamstring injury that cost him three games and has him at less than full speed.
Winner: Green Bay Packers
The team that was the No. 1 team at the end of last season and started the season as the No. 1 team this season is still ranked No. 1.
Not only did the Packers not need to make any sort of drastic move or give up any part of their roster, but the only move of import in the Packers’ NFC North was the move of a backup in Philadelphia, running back Ronnie Brown, to the second-place Detroit Lions.
While Brown will help the Lions, he doesn’t figure to be a game-changer.
Loser: Hue Jackson, Coach, Raiders
With the death of longtime team owner Al Davis, there has been a change in Oakland.
It was Jackson’s longtime relationship with Carson Palmer that enabled the Raiders to swing a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The trouble is, if Palmer doesn’t work out—and there is no guarantee it will—the failure will be in Jackson’s lap.
Winner: Jay Glazer, Senior NFL Writer, FoxSports.com
It was a good 24 hours for Jay Glazer, who broke the news that the Raiders and Bengals were talking about a deal on Monday.
And Glazer was there on Tuesday to jump out with the news that the Bengals had agreed to send semi-retired quarterback Carson Palmer to Oakland for a package that could ultimately become two first-round draft picks.
The only down side of the day might have been the fact that Glazer spent enough time in front of the cameras and in front of microphones that he’s lucky he didn’t get hoarse.
Losers: Kyle Boller and Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
The addition of Carson Palmer in Oakland seems to mean that both Boller, who was the backup under Jason Campbell, and Pryor, who was the presumptive heir with the Raiders, both have to take a step back.
Boller could get a start this week against the Chiefs, depending on how well Palmer picks up the fine points of coach Hue Jackson’s system, a system that is similar to the one Palmer played under in Cincinnati.
But if Pryor is in fact the future, then when Palmer is ready to start, Boller could be out of a job.
And Pryor’s waiting time will undoubtedly be extended.