Tomorrow is NFL trade deadline day. There have been some rumors that the league office is considering pushing back the deadline due to Hurricane Sandy, but, for now, the cutoff is 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. Even if the deadline gets bumped back, it’s still almost certainly happen before the Week 9 games kick off on Thursday night.
(Update: NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal confirms that the deadline has been moved back to 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.)
Deadline day in the NFL is usually much less exciting than deadline day in other leagues, like the NBA, NHL and MLB. Even though Roger Goodell and his cohorts moved the deadline back two weeks this year, to try to generate more trade action, it’s still early enough in the season that many teams see themselves as playoff contenders and few are looking to sell off player assets at a discount. This fact, plus the nature of NFL contract and the chance for teams to get compensatory draft picks for players who leave via free agency rather than via trade, make deadline deals a very rare thing in the NFL.
That said, there are a few star players who are rumored to be on the move this year. Most will probably end up sticking with the team they currently suit up for, but a few might actually get dealt. Below, we’ll take a look at the big names on the block and make a prediction about where each one lands.
The Panthers gave Williams a huge contract two off-seasons ago and they surely regret the move now–so much so that they just fired general manager Marty Hurney, the man responsible for the contract. Williams simply has never regained the dynamic form that he displayed in 2008-09, when he posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
The Panthers are said to be ready to move ahead with Jonathan Stewart as their primary back and Mike Tolbert as his backup, which makes Williams expendable. Though the Panthers would love to trade Williams for anything at all (even a 7th-round draft pick), he simply has too much money left on his contract to make him a desirable asset for any other team.
Prediction: No trade. Williams is cut by Carolina after the season.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams have basically made it known that Jackson won’t be back in St. Louis in 2012. In fact, they recently allowed Jackson to void the final two years of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2013. The aging runner isn’t the player he once was, but he still runs with a strength and tenacity that could make him a valuable asset to a contending team looking to shore up its running game.
The Green Bay Packers are a team that gets mentioned often, as their rushing attack has fallen completely flat with Alex Green and James Starks carrying the ball (and Cedric Benson injured). Packers general manager Ted Thompson has never been one to trade future draft picks for veteran players, though. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has made no secret of his admiration for Jackson, but the Pats finally have some exciting backs on their roster (Stephan Ridley and Shane Vereen), so they are unlikely to jump into the mix.
Of all the players on this list, Jackson is the most likely to get traded. Still, don’t go out and bet on a deal actually happening.
Prediction: Traded to the Green Bay Packers for a 6th-round draft pick.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs’ season is a complete trainwreck and Bowe’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors for several weeks now. The lanky receiver is playing under the franchise tag in 2012, which means that he is very unlikely to be back in red and yellow in 2013.
If traded, Bowe wouldn’t be able to sign a long-term extension with his new team, as the deadline for franchise players to sign new deals has passed. This makes it unlikely he’ll be traded, as the acquiring team would have to part with a draft pick and could possibly lose Bowe in free agency after only having him on the roster for half a season. The Dolphins have been mentioned as Bowe’s most likely destination, if he does get traded.
Prediction: No trade. Bowe becomes a free agent after the season.
The Eagles came out of their bye yesterday and posted a double-digit loss to the Atlanta Falcons at home, dropping the team’s record to 3-4 and leading to widespread speculation that the team would move on from its $100-million quarterback, Michael Vick. Head coach Andy Reid knows that he will be fired if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs this season and he finally appears to be desperate enough to cast Vick aside and roll with his rookie quarterback, Nick Foles.
If the Eagles truly are ready to hand the reigns to Foles, they would surely love to dump Vick on another team. Unless a star quarterback breaks his throwing arm this afternoon, however, don’t expect a trade to happen. Vick will play out the year in Philly and then get dumped. Whether he can find a starting job in 2013 will be one of this off-season’s most interesting storylines.
Prediction: No trade. Vick is cut by Philadelphia after the season.