There are only three players that have the potential to be marquee trades come Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. More players may be traded, but with the scheme differences in the NFL, expecting anyone except a running back to be effective after a mid-season trade is asking too much. These trades simply don’t happen in the NFL, fans of any of these franchises will be lucky to see one of these three players moved.
1. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson has been an extremely productive back in his career, especially when taking into account that he has played on some of the worst teams in recent memory. He has been the lone bright spot for the Rams ever since their fall from grace. Rams GM Les Snead knows that Jackson can still provide this team with one last service, being traded for much needed draft picks. Jackson can be a three down back but is not needed in St. Louis with the emergence of Daryl Richardson. An aging RB won’t fetch a king’s ransom, but he has an acceptable contract (Final year, pro-rated portion of $7 million. The team that trades for him would likely be on the hook for about $3.5 million.) and is a seemingly great locker room presence with veteran leadership. If Jackson gets moved I expect Rams management to be able to get a mid-late round pick or picks for him. Possibly in the realm of a 5 and a 7 at best. Draft picks are a premium commodity in the NFL, so St. Louis would have to pull the trigger on this.
Most likely destinations – Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals
2. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Blount has better future prospects than Steven Jackson because of Jackson’s age and probable quick upcoming decline. Blount is still young though and has quite a bit of talent to speak of, as long as you have a third down back. He will come very cheaply, with his salary at a pro-rated portion of $540,000, roughly $270,000, and he is a restricted free-agent after this year so the team will have control over him if this trade works out. But, he has major character concerns that, as T.O. has shown, scares off a LOT of franchises, regardless of talent level. Blount’s character concerns can be traced back to his time at Oregon with his much publicized punch after losing to Boise State. However, we haven’t heard much from him since being demoted to backup and occasional goal line back. A team looking for an early down banger could do much worse with a late round pick. Blount certainly won’t fetch more than a sixth or seventh round pick because he is a one trick pony and his character concerns. Tampa Bay would be smart to try for a conditional pick that could go as high as a fifth round pick if Blount reaches 700 yards or so for the rest of the season.
Most likely destinations – Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers
DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers
If there is a poster boy for not signing running backs to big contracts in the modern NFL, Williams is it. He still has the pro-rated portion of his $5.25 million salary for this year, roughly $2.6 million, and a whopping $17.25 for the next three years before he becomes a free agent in 2016. This contract is the definition of an un-tradeable contract in the NFL, on par with contracts like Rashard Lewis before he was amnestied in the NBA. However, Strange things happen when GM’s get desperate in the NFL. DeAngelo Williams used to be a premier talent at RB and some GM may go back, watch the tape, and fall for it. This trade, no matter what team you’re talking about, is clearly the least likely of the three. There is simply no way Carolina could fetch more than a seventh round pick. But the real prize for the Panthers wouldn’t be the pick, it would be ridding themselves of Williams and his contract. If Panthers interim-GM Brandon Beane can pull this trade off, he might be able to parlay that into a full-time gig in Carolina.
Most likely destinations – Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts (wild card)
-Colby Rogers (@FrontOfficeGuy)