The annual trading window, which opened in March, closes on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET. As one league source explained it, the next 48 hours will have some intrigue.
If history holds, it also will include a trade or two that we’re not thinking about. With seven former first-round picks already traded this year (A.J. Jenkins, Jon Baldwin, Trent Richardson, Jon Beason, Eugene Monroe, Levi Brown, and Bryant McKinnie), there could be trades that we aren’t thinking about — and trades that we are.
Here’s a no-particular-order effort to identify players who could be making a move by Tuesday, if the proverbial planets line up.
Josh Gordon: A second-round supplemental pick in 2012 that the current regime wouldn’t have selected has been the focal point of trade talk, especially after the Browns shipped Richardson to Indy. The Browns aren’t shopping him, but the Browns are listening. The risk comes from Gordon’s status under the substance-abuse policy, where one more violation could result in a one-year suspension. Teammate Willis McGahee recently suggested Gordon would benefit from having a veteran receiver on the roster; maybe, if the Browns won’t be trading him to a team with a veteran receiver, the Browns should sign or trade for one.
Greg Little: If a team that needs a wideout is interested in someone who has more stable standing under the substance-abuse policy, Little could be the answer.
Hakeem Nicks: There’s no indication that the Giants are shopping him, but many think they should. His production is down despite being in a contract year, coach Tom Coughlin recently suggested that Nicks hasn’t been reliable this year, and the Giants aren’t expected to pay a ton of money to keep him around in 2014. The question becomes balancing the expected compensatory pick(s) the Giants could get in 2015 against the potential package of traded pick(s) for 2014.
Fred Davis: The Redskins are willing to move him, but there’s no indication anyone is willing to trade for him. Davis could simply be cut after the trade deadline, which would subject him to the waivers process.
Justin Blackmon: Like Gordon, Blackmon could be one substance-abuse policy violation away from a one-year suspension. But Blackmon has plenty of talent. For the Jaguars, who are winless and could stay that way all year, the issue is whether he’s part of the problem or part of the solution — and what they can get for making him the potential solution to someone else’s problem.
Kenny Britt: The former first-round pick who at one point seemed poised to become the next Randy Moss (and at one point to become the next Pacman Jones) has matured into neither. Clearly not in Tennessee’s plans, the Titans have to balance what they could get in 2014 against the impact of Britt’s departure on potential compensatory picks in 2015. Don’t be surprised, however, if Britt remains on the shelf until after June 1, when he won’t count toward the compensatory-pick formula for the Titans or the team that signs him.
Jairus Byrd: Despite being in a contract year (thanks to the franchise tag), Byrd’s injuries — and possibly a desire to avoid the kind of injury that will keep him from cashing in next year — have kept him from making an impact. The chatter has been out there for a few weeks, but anyone who trades for Byrd can’t sign him to a long-term deal until after the regular season ends, at the earliest.
Mitchell Schwartz: With all the talk (which died quickly) that the Browns would consider trading franchise left tackle Joe Thomas, the team’s 2012 second-round right tackle has been overlooked. The Broncos have been banged up on the offensive line, and former Browns G.M. Tom Heckert, who drafted Schwartz, now works for Denver.
Isaiah Pead: Another 2012 second-round pick, Pead is buried on the depth chart for a team that will soon be buried in the NFC West standings. It makes sense to move him, but what can they get for a guy who hasn’t shown much in his NFL career?
Mikel Leshoure: One of two second-round picks in 2011 (the other was Titus Young), Leshoure has appeared in only two games this year, and he has fallen behind Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Leshoure could be closer to falling out of the league than landing on another team.
Mark Ingram: A toe injury has knocked him out for several weeks, but even when he’s healthy Ingram hasn’t been used much. After seeing what former members of the three-man Saints weave have done elsewhere (Reggie Bush, Chris Ivory), Ingram may want out.
Maurice Jones-Drew: G.M. Dave Caldwell has said Jones-Drew won’t be traded, but we’ve heard that the team will move him if the price is right. But good luck finding the right price for an aging tailback who seems to be a long way from the form that made him the NFL’s leading rusher in 2011. (Other Jags who could be available include tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Paul Posluszny.)
Christian Ponder: If Ponder stinks it up on Sunday night against the Packers, Minnesota could decide to finally pull the plug. But if he stinks it up, who would give up anything of value for him?
Darren McFadden: We mentioned McFadden last week as a possible candidate for the Cowboys, whose owner reportedly had the former Razorback at the top of the draft board in 2008. The challenge would come from putting a value on McFadden beyond the 2013 season, when his rookie contract finally expires.
Emmanuel Sanders: The Patriots were willing to give up a third-round pick in March for Sanders, but the Steelers matched a one-year offer to keep him around. While he may not stay beyond 2013, a two-game winning streak has quieted talk of a fire sale in the Steel City.
Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, he says he doesn’t want out. Yeah, the team says it doesn’t want to trade him. But if the Falcons pick up their fifth loss today in what amounts to an elimination game against the Cardinals, we think the phones will start ringing at Flowery Branch. And Gonzalez will want to move to a contender for the final stretch of his NFL career, whether he says so publicly or not.
Jared Allen: During Sunday’s pregame show, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that the Vikings would be willing to trade Allen, at the right price. It’s unclear whether a deal can be worked out, but it is clear that the Vikings need to consider getting what they can for Allen.