Maurice Morris Probably Not Sticking Point for Antonio Cromartie Trade

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterMarch 2, 2010

DETROIT - JANUARY 3:  Maurice Morris #28 of the Detroit Lions carries the ball during the game against the Chicago Bears on January 3, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The NFL rumor mill waits for no man.

Between 5 p.m. EST on Sunday and Monday evening, a trade between the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions involving Antonio Cromartie went from "likely" to "unlikely."

Of course, in the NFL news microscope, fan's emotions swung from "is going to happen" to "never in a million years".

Onlookers will turn this into a battle of the sources. Is Kevin Acee's source more credible or is Killer's?

It doesn't matter.

In talks like these, a team like Detroit becomes the front runner by offering anything to a team who is desperate to unload a player like Cromartie. A trade then becomes unlikely when a team like the Chargers sends a counter-offer which is more than the other team wants to pay.

In other words, this trade could have been undone by Detroit offering the fifth-round pick from Denver and San Diego wanting Detroit's fifth-rounder or a fourth instead.

The sticking point was almost certainly not Maurice Morris.

First of all, Maurice Morris is a backup running back. The Detroit Lions could have lured one of the many backup running backs on the free agent market in order to facilitate a starting level cornerback in Motown.

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Secondly, Kevin Acee made it clear to me yesterday that the media has overblown the "Running back for Cromartie" rumors that stemmed from initial talks with the Cowboys. The truth, Acee said, was that the Chargers were interested in the Cowboys' running backs, not running backs in general.

Dallas has, arguably, the best stable of running backs in the league. The Chargers, knowing that, knew one of those running backs may be available and dangled their best trade-worthy asset outside of a draft pick.

That doesn't mean that the Chargers reached out to 30 other teams and asked for backup level running backs like Maurice Morris.

It is doubtful both that the Chargers would want Morris that badly or that the Lions would be that reluctant to give him up.

It is also doubtful that talks are over at all.

It has been a day since the general public learned any talks had started. If the two sides were anything labeled "close," the talks are likely either continuing or simply on hold.

From 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week, the front office personnel of both the Lions and the Chargers are working on college scouting. At 7 p.m., the player interviews start, going until 11 p.m.

If talks were active on Thursday, before player workouts started, those talks would have been put on hold until the Combine was over.

The moral of the story is clear: Patience, grasshopper.

Mayhew and A.J. Smith don't live in the 24/7 ESPN world that many NFL fans do. I doubt either man has Rotoworld bookmarked or even has an ESPN Insider subscription. NFL executives do not hang on every word of Adam Schefter or Mike Florio.

The two men will likely go back to this deal a hundred times prior to the draft because both need what the other has. Meanwhile, the rest of us could hear umpteen times that the trade is either eminent or dead in the water.

It doesn't mean the deal will happen.

Just, don't write it off.

Michael Schottey is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and Detroit Lions Team Correspondent for DraftTek.com. He is LIVE from Indianapolis this week with NFL Combine updates. Follow him at Twitter .

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