Trades do not commonly happen in the NFL. A lot of this has to do with how the salary cap is structure in the league, but it also has to do with the fact that draft picks are seen as extremely valuable.
That said, there are an unusual amount of players that appear to be available on the trade market. Some of them are proven players that have experienced success in the league. Others, represent a faction of players that scouts seem to think have tremendous upside.
This morning's article is going to take a look at those players and why they may be available. Additionally, I am going to give a guess on where said players may end up.
Quarterback: There seems to be a lot of chatter about certain players in regards to this position. If any position does seem a nice amount of trades, it is the quarterback position. Either, teams are ready to move on from the past or they have a "gem" sitting behind a solidified starter.
I understand Mike Brown has stated Carson Palmer isn't going anywhere, but that could be a smokescreen in order to get a better deal. The Bengals draft Andy Dalton in the 2nd round of April's draft, and Palmer isn't happy in Ohio. In fact, he has threatened retirement.
Before it became known that San Francisco was going to retain Alex Smith, there was some talk about Palmer heading to the bay. Well, that talk has calmed down a bit, especially with the draft pick of Colin Kaepernick. I don't think San Francisco is willing to crowd the quarterback position with a player that expects to start from day one, without any competition. Additionally, they are not looking at spending what it would take in terms of draft picks to acquire Palmer.
Most Likely Destination: Washington Redskins
Scouts continue to praise Kolb's athletic ability and arm strength, however, he really hasn't proven himself in the NFL. That said, Philadelphia is asking the bounty of two 1st round picks for his services. Well, that isn't going to happen. I could see a team that is in need of a young quarterback with the Eagles a 1st round pick for Kolb.
He does have what it takes to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but it would make sense to see him contribute at this level before paying a 1st round pick as compensation. The 49ers have absolutely no need for Kolb with CK7 on the roster as the heir-apparent.
Most Likely Destination: Seattle Seahawks
Talk about a player that impresses when on the football field. Johnson, although not experiences, has shown the ability to be an above average starting quarterback in the NFL. He has all the entangebles you look for in a quarterback; accuracy, strength, mobility and pocket presence.
Tampa Bay has the up-and-coming, Josh Freeman, on the roster. So, Johnson is
expandable expendable. Look for the market to open up for Harbaugh's former quarterback when the lockout ends.
I really doubt Young has much trade value right now. It seems to make more sense that he will be released. However, some team may take a shot at the troubled quarterback for a low round pick. He has an enormous amount of talent. If Young can get his head straight, a long shot, I see him as a productive quarterback in the NFL.
Most Likely Destination: Oakland Raiders
It has been noted that the Broncos are not looking to move Orton, rather, they are setting up a training camp competition between him, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn (ugh). Orton has to be one of the most under appreciated players in the NFL. He has performed at a relatively high level for the last three or four seasons and is consistent in the way he plays.
If Denver choose either of the other two over Kyle Orton, they have completely lost it. That said, they did invest a 1st round pick on Tebow and gave up Peyton Hillis for Quinn. I don't expect Orton to move, but it still remains a strong possibility.
Most Likely Destination: Minnesota Vikings
Running Backs: It does look like there are a nice amount of options on both the free agent and trade market in regards to running backs. There are some teams out there that need to fill holes at this position. If they are unable to do it the conventional way, I could easily see some of the following running backs change zip codes in 2011.
Bush is extremely overrated as a running back. He will never be an every down player in the NFL, that is pretty much a certainty. But, Bush does bring nice value if you are looking for a complementary RB. There are teams out there that will give up above market value for a talent like Bush. New England could use him as a complement to Shane Vereen, whom they drafted in April. Other options for his services include Washington, Seattle, and Miami.
Most Likely Destination: Miami Dolphins
With the selection of DeMarco Murray in the 3rd round of April's draft, the Cowboys sent a message that Barber was on the market. He is a strong straight forward rusher that is talented in goal to go situations. Is Barber an every down RB in the NFL? Well, that is debatable. But, he will bring nice value to a team looking for some punch in the back field. The entire NFC East is off limits because the Cowboys will not want to face him twice a year.
It is questionable that Jacobs really wants out of New York, but rumblings are that he isn't happy in a complementary role. If that is going to be the case, I could see the Giants attempting to move him. The problem is that Jacobs has a lot of wear and tear on his body, and that could scare some teams off in terms of giving him the every down role.
Most Likely Destinations: Seattle Seahawks
Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders
There is some ambiguity to whether or not Bush will be a restricted or unrestricted free agent. Bush did miss his entire rookie season due to injury, but was under contract with Oakland; that is for the league to decide. What I will tell you is that he has the makings of a starting RB in the NFL. If Bush ends up a restricted free agent, I could easily see the Raiders fielding offers for him. That said, they like the combination of Bush and McFadden in the back field and won't let him go cheap.
Most Likely Destinations: Washington Redskins
Receivers: This list includes a couple future hall-of-fame wide receivers, a couple possible all-pro performers, and a lot of attitude. If you want a talented receiver you can look here, but buyer beware; he is going to bring a lot of baggage with him.
Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers
Jackson was given the franchise tag by San Diego for a second consecutive years, and it is clear he isn't happy with that. Additionally, the Chargers have Malcom Floyd set to become an unrestricted free agent. They are most likely going to have to choose between one of them. Considering the headache that Jackson caused with his holdout last season, and that they will get a nice bounty in return I fully expect San Diego to trade Jackson when free agency begins. On the same note, Floyd will be a cheaper alternative with a lot of upside for San Diego.
Most Likely Destinations: St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers
Roy Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Somehow I doubt that any NFL team is willing to give up much for Williams, who has been a complete bust for Dallas. Additionally, the Cowboys are going to have to shave a lot of money off their roster in order to meet the salary cap requirements. Why take on his contract and give up a pick when you can get him for free? The answer is simple, you eliminate competition for his services. Some team is going to look to give Dallas a mid-round pick for Williams.
Most Likely Destinations: Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens
The new kick off rule is going to dramatically affect Cribbs value on the trade market because he isn't going to get a lot of opportunities at returns. Cleveland attempted to use Cribbs more as a receiver in 2010 and the results were mixed. I assume Cleveland is going to try to get some value for him while they still can.
Most Likely Destinations: Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers
Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals
It is possible the Bengals just hit the restart button and get rid of both Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco; possible, but not likely. If Cincinnati is going to keep Palmer they are going to want to appease him, trading Ocho won't do that. Additionally, if they are to start Andy Dalton (bad idea), the Bengals are going to want a veteran receiver to help out. That said, I really think that he is unhappy in Cincinnati and the possible trade of Palmer may further exasperate that.
Most Likely Destinations: New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
It is clear that Smith wants out of Carolina and isn't prepared to be a part of that teams rebuilding process. Can you blame him? Jerry Richardson has been extremely non-committal with his veterans and isn't a good owner to play for; at least, that is whats being reported. There were numerous reports that the Oakland Raiders would be the most likely destination for Smith, but that would be going to another losing situation. However, Smith didn't really shoot down that possibility when asked about it. As good of a player Smith has been I would like to see him finish off his career with a winning team.
Most Likely Destinations: Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots
Atlanta gave up a lot of draft picks in order to trade up for Julio Jones, so they are going to have to get some of this picks back. Additionally, they didn't spend that bounty to have Jones be the #3 wide receiver. I know that it hasn't been reported a lot, but it is safe to assume Jenkins is on the market. He could net Atlanta a couple nice draft picks and is a possible #1 wide receiver in the right situation. In fact, if player trades could have been made during the draft I guarantee the Falcons would have looked in at it then.
Most Likely Destinations: St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers
Offensive Line: A couple all-pro performers who could be on the move for a variety of reasons. If a team is looking for a sure bet a long the line, you need look no further.
Tyson Clabo, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons franchised Clabo earlier this off-season, but with two more players set to be free agents (Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock), they may look to get something in return for Clabo instead of paying him top tier money. Listen, Clabo is one of the best offensive linemen in the game and will receiver a lot of play if made available.
Most Likely Destinations: Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles
Logan Mankins, New England Patriots
New England has no problem letting veterans walk if they demand too much money. It does, however, seem that they are fully invested in Mankins. New England franchised him for the second consecutive season, and want him back. That said, they also like collecting high draft picks, and Mankins would net that.
Most Likely Destinations: Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams
I understand that only a few of these players will end up being moved once the new league year starts. I compiled this list to give you an idea of what values are available on the trade market. I think that this market may be more active than in previous years for a number of reasons.
First, the 2012 draft is looking to be one of the deepest in recent memory, you have quality players at nearly every position. So, some of these teams may not just want to cut their losses, but pick up a valuable pick.
Secondly, the lack of a real off-season disabled teams ability to trade players before or during the draft. I am almost certain some of these players would already have new addresses if the collective bargaining agreement was agreed to.
Finally, simple logistics. Some of these players have lost their starting jobs (Brandon Jacobs), or were surprised not to acquire a starting job last season (Kevin Kolb). These players really have no use on their current teams and need to be sent somewhere they can contribute more.
In regards to our 49ers, there are some nice options out there. Of course, it would mean giving up a draft pick or two; which I am never fond of. However, we do need to upgrade at the receiver position and Vincent Jackson seems like a logical fit. If San Diego is willing to receive less than a 1st round pick (likely), then our 49ers could have a new #1 wide receiver starting opposite Michael Crabtree. Michael Jenkins remains another solid possibility if Atlanta puts him on the market.
Note: Rather than conducting a long drawn out poll, just tell me which of these players you would like to see in a 49er uniform in 2011.