10 Possible Blockbuster NFL Trades That Could Go Down This Offseason
2014 NFL Offseason: 10 Blockbuster Trades That Could Happen
The 2013 NFL regular season is now under-wraps and the 2014 Playoffs are set to begin this weekend. For 12 teams in the league, it’s time to batten down the hatches and get ready to weather the postseason storm on their way to a potential Super Bowl win. For the other 20 teams in the league, though, it’s time to look towards the future.
Even though the teams in the playoffs are primarily concerned with how their team is going to fare in the coming weeks, they too have to have at least one eye on the future of their franchise. Essentially, the offseason is creeping closer and closer and teams are going to be looking to make moves leading up to the 2014 NFL regular season.
There’s no doubt that free agency is at the forefront of most front offices’ minds. With a bevy of big-time players with track-records of success in this league available in free agency, there’s almost no question that GM’s and other personnel are trying to figure out how they can lure these players to their franchise. However, what’s not to be forgotten is the potential for trades to happen this offseason, as well.
One of the interesting wrinkles in this past regular season is that we witnessed a rare blockbuster trade and an even rarer in-season blockbuster trade when the Cleveland Browns shipped Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for draft picks. Though it’s yet to be seen what Cleveland will do with those picks, it remains to be seen what the Browns will do with those picks, Richardson’s ineffectiveness in Indy seems to lend itself to the belief that Cleveland is the winner of that deal.
Regardless of who won the Richardson trade, though, this offseason could have teams looking to get rid of some big-name players in the interest of either rebuilding another part of their team or grabbing more draft picks. With the postseason still yet to be played most of this is just speculation, but here are 10 players that could headline blockbuster trades this offseason.
1. Brandon Weeden
I’m not sure what the market out in the NFL really is for a 30-year-old quarterback that is just finishing his second year in the league and hasn’t had much success over those two years, but you have to believe that the Cleveland Browns are no longer in need of the services of Brandon Weeden.
Weeden really only played as the result of a war of attrition in Cleveland this season where two other quarterbacks had to get injured for him to find his way back under-center. With the Browns picking fourth in the 2014 NFL Draft and with many people having them taking a quarterback, you have to consider Weeden expendable—which might mean Cleveland seeing what they can get for him on the trade market.
2. Chris Johnson
There’s a distinct possibility that the Tennessee Titans could opt to release running back Chris Johnson outright this offseason. Since holding out for a big extension in the 2011 preseason, Johnson has fallen off the pace from what seemed like a path to superstardom. He’s clearly not been worth the $10 million cap-hit that he takes up in 2014.
However, if the Titans choose to not release him, that would be an indication to me that they are in trade talks that involve CJ2K. Even with his lack of consistency, Johnson has shown that he still maintains the ability to break open big plays and can be a productive back. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a team like the New York Giants make a run at him to solidify a position their unsure of.
3. St. Louis Rams’ Number Two Overall Pick in 2014 NFL Draft
If you were to imagine this trade going down, the St. Louis Rams are only giving away a vague silhouette at this point, but that vague silhouette is certainly valuable. With an extremely talented top of this 2014 NFL Draft class, trading up to the second pick in it could be something that plenty of teams—particularly ones with needs at offensive line or at quarterback—could jump at the opportunity to do.
4. Mark Sanchez
I’m at least 80 percent sure that the New York Jets trading Mark Sanchez doesn’t even qualify as a blockbuster deal in terms of on-field value at this point, but because of his place in the spotlight over the past few seasons, Sanchez being dealt would undoubtedly cause a stir in the sports world.
If I had to guess, the market for Sanchez would be a team who is truly desperate at quarterback—which plenty of teams certainly qualify as—and are willing to overpay for a guy that doesn’t have a great deal of success. If there are no takers, I still don’t expect Sanchez to be in New York next season and that he’d be released if there’s no trade.
5. Cortland Finnegan
While I’ll always remember Cortland Finnegan as the guy that thought it was a smart idea to try and get into an on-field altercation with Andre Johnson (Breaking: it wasn’t smart), he was once a solid cornerback in terms of defending the past. In a season with the Rams marred by injuries, though, Finnegan was pretty awful.
Perhaps it was the scheme or perhaps it was age, but there may be some team out there looking to see if Finnegan has anything left in the tank. A potential suitor might be more likely to see if the Rams release him so they don’t have to fork over $9 million to him, but a trade for Finnegan or possible draft picks isn’t something I’d rule out either.
6. Mike Wallace
Not many people really expected Mike Wallace with the Miami Dolphins to work considerably well and those people were correct in thinking that way. Though he came on for a brief stretch near the end of the year, Wallace was more known this year for dropping balls and being incredibly inconsistent.
There’s still a ton of upside and talent with Wallace, though, and we’ve seen the Dolphins trade big-name wide receivers early in their contracts before with Brandon Marshall. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dolphins look to unload Wallace in the interest of getting either early picks in the 2014 draft or of getting depth at other positions of need like on the offensive line or at running back.
7. Santonio Holmes
If Santonio Holmes could stay healthy, there’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t be a productive wide receiver in the NFL. The issue with the past two seasons with the Jets for Holmes, though, has been his inability to stay on the field.
Because he’s still been quality when he’s not been sidelined, though, Holmes still could have some value in the trade market. For a team that’s possibly looking to take a gamble on solid wide receiver depth and either has nothing to lose or can afford the risk, Holmes could be a guy that could be targeted.
8. Miles Austin
I’m not sure if it’s injuries, Jason Garrett, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo or Miles Austin himself that has caused the rapid descent of Austin into the catacombs of the Dallas Cowboys’ playbook, but it’s definitely happened. Austin, even when healthy, wasn’t near the player that people thought he could be not long ago at all.
His recent injury-history aside, though, Austin still could be an effective weapon in a passing attack if given the opportunity, or so I think. The Cowboys and injuries have probably killed a lot of his value this season, but Dallas looking to get something in return for him might be something to keep an eye out for.
9. Larry Fitzgerald
The Arizona Cardinals finished 10-6 and, because they play in the NFC West, were left out of the postseason. Having a competent quarterback in Carson Palmer really allowed the Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald showcase that they aren’t done putting in work in this league.
Even with that, though, the Cardinals might still look to pull off a monster deal that would send Fitzgerald away. The asking price for such a deal will most likely include both other players and draft picks, but to get a talent like Fitzgerald that seems about right. I’m not sure which way Arizona will commit—meaning trying to build with their current core or by adding outside pieces—but dealing Fitz is a viable option.
10. Kirk Cousins
While the bold move is to say that the Washington Redskins could trade Robert Griffin III this offseason, I think that the riot that Redskins fans would throw is enough to deter that deal from happening. However, backup Kirk Cousins is certainly among those players in the league that could be sent elsewhere in the NFL.
Cousins wasn’t great at the end of the year as he filled in for RG3, but he was also dealing with a mess of a Redskins team and he has also shown flashes of quality production in his limited work. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the Redskins unload Cousins to either trade for another pick in the second round of the 2014 draft or to perhaps even move into the first round.