Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) rushes with the ball during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
Blockbuster moves for players in a trade are rare around the NFL deadline. That doesn’t stop people from pondering the possibilities, because there is just no way of knowing when it might come. So which names around the league could don new uniforms?
Jason Babin to the Denver Broncos
The Jacksonville Jaguars are rebuilding and have to start thinking about acquiring as many draft picks as they can before May of 2014. That includes low round choices too. At this point in the season several teams are looking for help in their pass rush due to injuries. That makes veteran defensive end Jason Babin a highly attractive target for teams boasting a 4-3 alignment. At age 33 he is a rental at best, which means he would serve best on a contending team. Babin has two sacks on the year, so he hasn’t completely lost his ability. That is why the Denver Broncos make more sense than any other team. They have Peyton Manning and a historical offense already but despite the return of Von Miller their pass defense is still the worst in the NFL. Adding another rusher like Babin could ease a lot of their problems.
Jairus Byrd to the Cincinnati Bengals
Greed is a regular thing in pro sports because athletes feel they put their bodies on the line and when they do well, deserve proper compensation. Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is at that point. Word is he wants to get paid like the best safety in football after two Pro Bowls in four years but the Bills simply aren’t willing to meet his price. Since he was kept on board with the franchise tag his trade value is fixed at a point where almost no team will want to meet it unless given a very good reason. Philadelphia made initial sense because Chip Kelly recruited Byrd out of high school but a strong look hints the Cincinnati Bengals make more sense. They run a 4-3 defense which Byrd has thrived in, have enough salary cap space to absorb his contract and also a growing need in their secondary after the loss of cornerback Leon Hall to a torn Achilles.
Maurice Jones-Drew to the Arizona Cardinals
Rashard Mendenhall has not been what Bruce Arians hoped he would be for the Arizona Cardinals when the team signed the running back in free agency. Put simply they need as much help as they can get to balance the offense around Carson Palmer. Maurice Jones-Drew is not having his best season with Jacksonville but he’s also facing constant eight-man front because no defense would dare respect the Jaguar quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne. While not the player he was two years ago Jones-Drew might have some gas left in the tank by moving to a team that has a legitimate quarterbacks with real threats at wide receiver. The perfect indoor atmosphere of the dome in Phoenix probably wouldn’t hurt either.
Josh Gordon to the San Francisco 49ers
By far the most popular trade topic over the past few weeks, Josh Gordon is really the perfect type of candidate: young, cheap and boasting high upside. With Cleveland rebuilding their roster dealing him is the next logical choice outside of left tackle Joe Thomas. A number of teams have expressed interest in a deal but it’s felt that the only way Gordon is leaving Cleveland is the same way Trent Richardson did: for a first round pick. At present there is only one team that might conceivably think about it. The San Francisco 49ers are back to their winning ways and are in line to reach the playoffs again. However, they still have lingering problems at receiver with Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham out with injuries. Gordon could become the missing piece that gets their offense back into high gear, and surrendering a first round pick might be worth it.
Mark Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs
Drafting running back Mark Ingram was considered a minor coup for New Orleans a few years ago. He was a Heisman trophy winner and their offense was already among the best in the league Time has proven though that some players just don’t fit in certain offenses. Ingram thrived in the power running scheme at Alabama whereas the Saints are historically zone-blocking team under Sean Payton. Perhaps a team in need of running back depth could use a still talented body that has seen little action in 2013. Given how much the Kansas City Chiefs have relied on Jamaal Charles to this point, getting him somebody like Ingram to offer rest and less wear on his body could keep him fresh for an NFL postseason run.