Aug 29, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure (25) during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports NFL
Several teams are already looking for roster help after one week. Some like the Indianapolis Colts seek running backs, others wants receivers, offensive linemen or defense. With free agency largely dried up, will any of them find a bargain on the NFL trade market?
Colts lose Vick Ballard for season
Running the ball more was among the top priorities for Pep Hamilton when he took over as offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. A key piece to that plan was second-year man Vick Ballard, who had over 900 total yards last season. Unfortunately a tragic accident during practice resulted in him tearing his ACL, leaving the running game in the hands of veteran Ahmad Bradshaw and the underachieving Donald Brown. This does not bode well for Andrew Luck, who was sacked four times against Oakland when forced to throw more often.
Potential target: Mikel Leshoure
Indianapolis won’t find many options in free agency. The market is filled at this point with players either too old or too injured to offer much help. On the other hand there are some names worth exploring for a trade. A big one is Mikel Leshoure. The 2011 second round pick has fallen out of favor with the Detroit Lions despite scoring nine touchdowns and amassing almost 800 yards last season. He doesn’t fit in their offensive plans anymore, and that could signal the team is willing to deal.
Cam Newton struggling to find receiver options outside Steve Smith
If scoring seven points weren’t enough of a warning sign, Cam Newton throwing for a paltry 125 yards certainly was. Granted, it was against the Seattle Seahawks secondary but it’s clear the Carolina Panthers passing attack has very few options outside of star Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen. Brandon LaFell was held without a catch and Ted Ginn Jr. caught just one pass. This problem has been a source of discussion for a long time and threatens to become the Panthers’ Achilles heel in 2013 unless they do something about it.
Potential target: Kenny Britt
Free agency became thinner recently when rumors swirled that Brandon Lloyd might retire, leaving concussion cases like Austin Collie and Laurent Robinson at the top of the list. If Carolina is serious about competing though they must think more aggressively. Trading isn’t something they usually do, but there are names to explore. Kenny Britt is certainly one of them. The 24-year old is highly talented but for one reason or another, be them injuries or off-the-field problems, he has reached his full potential with the Tennessee Titans. Given they now have Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter, it seems Britt is expendable. Perhaps new surroundings are just what he needs.
Terrelle Pryor may have to run a lot behind Oakland Raiders offensive line
The Oakland Raiders can count themselves lucky that Al Davis made Terrelle Pryor the last significant pick of his tenure as owner before he died. If he hadn’t it’s scary to think where the offense would be without their starting left tackle Jared Veldheer and limited talent along the offensive line. Pryor’s ability to scramble and get out of the pocket has masked their deficiencies and should continue to do so, but it doesn’t erase the original problem. Oakland must find a way to improve their blocking.
Potential target: Anthony Collins
Proven starters are impossible to find so late in free agency and trades for one are way too expensive. However, a deep enough search of roster might dig up some gems at the right price. Oakland should take a long look at Cincinnati Bengals reserve tackle Anthony Collins. Subbing in place of Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth, he successfully held Chicago Bears All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers without a sack. A six-year veteran, he is experienced and athletic. The Raiders might welcome his addition to their battered, makeshift NFL front.