10 College Football Trades We Wish Could Happen This Spring
Every year, college football teams find themselves on the doorstep to glory, only to have their hopes dashed because their opponents capitalized on a weakness.
Coaches turn to the fertile grounds of recruiting to address the roster's deficiencies, but true freshmen are never the missing pieces. Still, that's the best option. You can't engineer trades for veterans at this level.
But what if you could?
Some of the following slides take a look at ideal swaps that would give established weapons to programs for greater success in 2016. However, that means usually giving up top-rated future talent.
Other slides identify talented players who will essentially be wasted at their current spots, leading us to dream about what results could be elsewhere.
Note: The trades were made as fairly as possible, though that's admittedly a subjective determination.
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley for 2 Arkansas D-Linemen
Saquon Barkley raced to 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns as a true freshman at Penn State. Just imagine what he could do behind a competent offensive line.
Granted, there's hope with new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. He might not waste Barkley's talent, like it appeared James Franklin would before hiring the former Fordham coach.
But the departures of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams have opened a significant vacancy at Arkansas. Dan Skipper and Frank Ragnow lead an offensive line that saw NFL-caliber talent leave, but head coach Bret Bielema regularly assembles a potent rushing attack.
The Nittany Lions must bolster a defensive line that no longer has Anthony Zettel or Carl Nassib, but Jeremiah Ledbetter and Armon Watts would ease that concern.
Indiana OG Dan Feeney for 3 Stanford Signees
Dan Feeney was a third-team AP All-American on an average Indiana squad last season. How much more attention would he receive at run-blocking powerhouse Stanford?
Starting right guard Johnny Caspers returns, but the Cardinal may as well be using eight offensive linemen and find Christian McCaffrey on every snap anyway. The coaching staff can work out the positions.
Washington S Budda Baker for Clemson Package
Clemson safeties Jayron Kearse and T.J. Green are headed to the NFL, and Washington has arguably the best one you've probably never heard of: Budda Baker.
A first-team All-Pac 12 honoree in 2015, Baker is a two-year starter with 129 career tackles. He'd fit in nicely on a Tigers defense that merely needs to complement a high-powered offense.
Ray-Ray McCloud will be an important piece of the Clemson attack, but only that. There are simply too many touches to share between Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Artavis Scott, Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett for McCloud to stand out as a featured player.
Washington, on the other hand, must replace Jaydon Mickens. The undersized wideout—just like McCloud—snagged at least 58 catches in three straight seasons.
McCloud could do some serious damage with that volume of touches, and 4-star Isaiah Simmons could develop into an all-conference safety.
Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes for Western Kentucky Package
Western Kentucky's Air Raid offense with Brandon Doughty was fun to watch. He's off to the NFL, however. Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be a perfect replacement.
The Red Raiders were a complete disaster on defense, surrendering 43.6 points per game and finishing the year 7-6.
Fixing a problem that massive is not easily done, so a couple of stopgaps would help immensely. Mahomes would also have a greater chance to lead a conference-championship winning team.
In return, Texas Tech brings in two linebackers, junior T.J. McCollum and senior Louisville transfer Keith Brown.
To sweeten the deal, the Hilltoppers could throw in Leon Allen, a sixth-year senior who would replace NFL-bound DeAndre Washington in the Texas Tech backfield.
Miami QB Brad Kaaya for 3 LSU 4-Stars
LSU could be a factor in the national title race. It won't, but it could.
While Leonard Fournette can and will shoulder the load for the Tigers, the offense's upside is limited. Neither Brandon Harris nor Anthony Jennings has emerged as a championship-caliber quarterback.
Miami's Brad Kaaya is a first-round NFL talent, but his team is a couple of years from contention. Kaaya won't necessarily see it through, though, because he's eligible for the draft next year.
New head coach Mark Richt will be revising a roster Al Golden stocked with too many developmental projects, especially at defensive tackle. LSU, on the other hand, is loaded up front.
One year of Kaaya in exchange for 4-star tackles Edwin Alexander and Glen Logan as well as 4-star safety Cameron Lewis is a fair deal for both sides. The 'Canes would shore up their biggest weakness and add a great piece, and the Tigers can chase a title in 2016.
Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols for Houston 5-Star DT Ed Oliver
Under first-year coach Tom Herman, Houston tied a program record with 13 wins and stunned Florida State in the Peach Bowl.
Dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr. is back, but the Cougars lost standout receiver Demarcus Ayers Jr. and top running back Kenneth Farrow. Why not replace them with one guy?
While that's not totally possible, seeing versatile Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols alongside Ward would be a step past intriguing.
In 2015, McNichols scored multiple touchdowns during 10 of 12 games and eclipsed the 100-yard barrier on the ground in seven straight outings. He also caught at least three passes in nine contests.
Since each starter on the Broncos defensive line ran out of eligibility, they'd swipe 5-star Ed Oliver—a major, major recruiting win for Herman—to immediately contribute up front.
Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk for Baylor Package
Baylor could make a run at a national championship if Seth Russell stays healthy next season. A major problem, however, is that the receivers must replace Corey Coleman's nation-best 20 touchdowns as well as Jay Lee's eight scores.
KD Cannon figures to be a wildly productive No. 1 target, but placing Texas A&M's Christian Kirk on the outside for Russell could produce eye-popping numbers.
Despite a revolving door at quarterback, Kirk notched 80 receptions for 1,009 yards and seven touchdowns as a true freshman.
The Aggies could swipe 4-star Devin Duvernay for a still-loaded receiving corps with Josh Reynolds, Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil. Plus, Baylor would include running back Terence Williams to give Trevor Knight a zone-read complement.
Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire for Florida Package
Notre Dame only needs one quarterback. Florida needs a quarterback.
Malik Zaire has an excellent chance to win back the starting job from DeShone Kizer, but the Fighting Irish must replace departed linebackers Jaylon Smith and Joe Schmidt.
The Gators could deal Jarrad Davis, who registered 98 tackles (11.0 for loss; 3.5 sacks), seven quarterback hurries and four pass breakups last season.
He'd certainly be missed in Gainesville, but trading for the rights to Zaire is better than having Luke Del Rio or Austin Appleby key a championship charge.
USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster for Oklahoma Package
Dede Westbrook, Jarvis Baxter and Michiah Quick form a decent receiving corps, but Oklahoma will feel the absence of Sterling Shepard. Really, how could the Sooners not?
If they could trade, JuJu Smith-Schuster would be the answer. He tallied 89 catches for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, but those numbers will likely fall with Cody Kessler gone.
Baker Mayfield would hardly be able to give Smith-Schuster enough targets, especially because he has a special ability to both stretch the field and create yards after the catch.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma signed 5-star outside linebacker Caleb Kelly. The Trojans have a gaping hole at the position after Su'a Cravens declared for the NFL draft.
USC would also receive 4-star wideout Mykel Jones to help build the unit for the future.
3-Way Trade Sending Josh Rosen to Michigan
While Michigan has dreams of a national championship in Year 2 of the Jim Harbaugh era, an elite college gunslinger would make the Wolverines a safer bet.
Josh Rosen is that type of quarterback, but he wouldn't come cheap.
Michigan would have to part ways with versatile offensive lineman Mason Cole to help UCLA replenish the blocking unit. Harbaugh could turn to friends in the SEC to sweeten the deal, convincing Gus Malzahn to ship ill-fitting quarterback Sean White out to California.
All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from CFBStats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.