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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Trades don't happen often, but here are some that should

By Matt Williamson
Scouts Inc.

Trades in the NFL happen about as often as Bill Belichick smiles. But just because they don't happen doesn't always mean they shouldn't. There are always plenty of obstacles and reasons why teams won't make trades, but here are some that could help both teams.

Kansas City RB Larry Johnson to the N.Y. Jets for a second-round draft pick that could escalate into a No. 1 based on performance and the team's success


Larry Johnson

Johnson

Running Back
Kansas City Chiefs

Profile

2008 Season Stats
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
93 417 3 6 12 0
Why it works for Kansas City: Johnson, 28, already has an awful lot of wear and tear on his body, and the Chiefs now have a lot invested in him financially. Here's a news flash: Kansas City is not going to win the Super Bowl this year or next season. So go with Jamaal Charles and Kolby Smith for the remainder of this season, and maybe next year. Meanwhile, use the additional draft picks and cap space to revamp the roster in much the same way Miami did when Bill Parcells arrived. Running back is the easiest position to plug in, and it should be the last piece of their huge rebuilding project, not the first.

Why it works for New York: Thomas Jones is a good back, but I'm not sure he's a true No. 1 any more. Imagine adding Johnson to this mix with Jones and Leon Washington spelling him to keep him hungry and fresh. No team has taken more of a win-now approach to their roster, and this could put the Jets over the top. Giving up a second-round pick that could turn into a first-rounder based on production and the Jets' success could make sense.

Detroit WR Roy Williams to Dallas for a second-round pick


Roy Williams

Williams

Wide Receiver
Detroit Lions

Profile

2008 Season Stats
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
17 232 1 13.6 25 77
Why it works for Detroit: For the most part, Williams' talents are being wasted in Detroit. While he remains inconsistent and deserves some of the blame as well, he is also up for free agency, and franchising the second-best wideout on the roster might not make sense. Especially when you consider the many holes the Lions need to fill in order to return to respectability. If Detroit can get a second-rounder for Williams, it should take it.

Why it works for Dallas: What do the Cowboys need? More star-power players with some selfishness to them! In all honesty, this could further complicate the situation in Dallas, but the former University of Texas product could also really thrive in Big D. This marriage just seems too intriguing not to mention, but there are plenty of teams that could be in the market for a wideout. Heading to San Francisco and being reunited with former Lions coach and current 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz also would be beneficial for both.

Cincinnati WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh to Philadelphia for a second-round pick


T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Houshmandzadeh

Wide Receiver
Cincinnati Bengals

Profile

2008 Season Stats
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
38 400 3 10.5 26 93
Why it works for Cincinnati: Like Williams, Houshmandzadeh is a free agent after this season, and re-signing him will prove very difficult. Who would want to stay in Cincinnati? The franchise tag is an option, but Cincinnati just used two high draft picks on this position and brought Chris Henry back to the team. A second-round pick could pry him away.

Why it works for Philadelphia: Although he isn't a home-run threat, Houshmandzadeh is a very precise route runner with great hands who excels in moving the chains and scoring points in the red zone. That's something the Eagles could really use. Donovan McNabb needs a primary target, and the Eagles acquired extra picks in the 2009 draft during last year's draft. Don't count out Tennessee in this or any of the wide-receiver possibilities, either.

Kansas City TE Tony Gonzalez to Buffalo for a third-round pick


Tony Gonzalez

Gonzalez

Tight End
Kansas City Chiefs

Profile

2008 Season Stats
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
21 193 2 9.2 23 35
Why it works for Kansas City: Getting something in the neighborhood of what the Giants received for Jeremy Shockey (a No. 2 and No. 5) is probably too steep for Gonzalez, who is still among the league's best tight ends, but won't be useful when Kansas City gets back to respectability. A third-round pick, however, makes a lot of sense. Brad Cottam was drafted to eventually take over for Gonzalez, so speed up the learning curve. It is time to develop players like Cottam over the next year or so and let a bunch of young players grow up together. While it hurts to lose a player of his caliber and, just as importantly, a player of his character who is a leader in the locker room, this is best for the Chiefs.

Why it works for Buffalo: Plenty of teams (Giants, Vikings, Cardinals) come to mind when thinking about where Gonzalez would fit in, and that could drive up his price tag. However, Buffalo is a very young football team and still only has one legitimate receiving option in Lee Evans. Having Gonzalez near the goal line and in the middle of the field would be a tremendous asset. It would also move Robert Royal down to the second-string tight end, which is where he belongs.

St. Louis WR Torry Holt to San Francisco for a third-round pick


Torry Holt

Holt

Wide Receiver
St. Louis Rams

Profile

2008 Season Stats
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
20 210 1 10.5 45 43
Why it works for St. Louis: This is another case of draft picks doing the franchise more long-term good than holding onto one of its aging stars who might not be productive when the team finally returns to prominence. Still, the Rams are awfully light on pass catchers right now, so they can't afford to give him away.

Why it works for San Francisco: Surely Martz and WR Isaac Bruce would welcome back their old pal, even though the arrow is beginning to point down on Holt at this stage of his career. It would help an offense that is already much improved, and adding another solid pass catcher could make this a top-10 offense. Once again, Tennessee could make a lot of sense here as well.

Cincinnati WR Chad Johnson to Tampa Bay for a third-round pick that could escalate based on performance


Chad Johnson

Johnson

Wide Receiver
Cincinnati Bengals

Profile

2008 Season Stats
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
19 216 1 11.4 22 15
Why it works for Cincinnati: Johnson should have been moved when Washington offered to take him off the Bengals' hands before the season started. Cincinnati has to be regretting not pulling the trigger on that deal. Now Johnson's price tag should be smaller, but taking him off the team might be addition by subtraction. It is time for some change for the winless Bengals. Actually, big changes are long overdue.

Why it works for Tampa Bay: Bucs coach Jon Gruden has been known to overlook players with questionable personality issues who are long on talent. Matching that with the fact that Joey Galloway has been sorely missed, and the verticality that he provided has yet to be replaced and this might just be a match made in heaven … or a very combustible situation. Still, it would be worth the gamble.

Oakland RB Justin Fargas to Indianapolis for a fourth-round pick


Justin Fargas

Fargas

Running Back
Oakland Raiders

Profile

2008 Season Stats
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
37 175 0 2 12 0
Why it works for Oakland: There is a logjam at running back in Oakland right now. Fargas is making a good chunk of money that the Raiders could use in other ways, yet he still should have value around the league because he runs very hard and is coming off an impressive 2007 season where he rushed for 1,009 yards and had four TDs.

Why it works for Indianapolis: Joseph Addai just suffered a hamstring injury (although coach Tony Dungy said he didn't expect it to be serious) and Mike Hart suffered a severe knee injury. While only losing Hart would not be a huge problem, spelling Addai and Dominic Rhodes with an aggressive zone runner like Fargas would be good insurance, especially if Addai's injury lingers. And if Addai's healthy, it would help keep him fresh for the long haul. Running backs are not worth much on the open market, so the price might be right, and Addai's ability to be a true bell cow runner is questionable.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.