Commentary

Wishing for these five trades

WR Nicks is just what Carolina needs; Vikings should ship Ponder to St. Louis

Originally Published: October 25, 2013
By Adam Schefter | ESPN.com

For all of the talk about the lack of trades in the NFL, this season has given us plenty.

Five former first-round picks -- running back Trent Richardson, linebacker Jon Beason and offensive tackles Eugene Monroe, Levi Brown and Bryant McKinnie -- all have been traded within the past month.

Even if there are no trades between now and Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, this would qualify as a busy year for NFL deals. But there is some hope for more.

To help promote trade activity, and make the NFL even more interesting than it already is, the league pushed back the trade deadline this year two more weeks, from two Tuesdays ago to Oct. 29. Yet trades still seem as rare as Jaguars touchdowns.

There are plenty of trades that should, but won't, be made before Tuesday. Here are five that make sense:

Browns WR Josh Gordon to the 49ers for a second-round pick and WR Jon Baldwin: No matter what they say, the Browns are willing to deal Gordon for the right price. So far no one has met it, not with Gordon one strike away from a year-long suspension. But San Francisco still could use another wide receiver, Cleveland could use more picks, and the Browns already have shown they are not shy about dealing away playmakers for those.

[+] EnlargeHakeem Nicks
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesHakeem Nicks would take a lot of pressure off Steve Smith in Carolina.

Giants WR Hakeem Nicks to the Panthers for a conditional fourth-round pick that goes to a third if Carolina is able to sign him to a long-term deal: Nicks is scheduled to become a free agent after this season, and the Giants are going nowhere fast. With money invested in wide receiver Victor Cruz, New York might as well recoup what it can now for Nicks. Carolina has been looking for a receiver to pair with Steve Smith for years. Nicks could be the one.

Giants DT Linval Joseph to the Patriots for a third-round pick: As much as the Giants would like to keep Joseph, he also is scheduled to become a free agent after this season. The Giants could trade Joseph to the Patriots, then still try to re-sign him if they want him back badly enough. New England could use Joseph to help replace Vince Wilfork, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles.

Vikings QB Christian Ponder to the Rams for a third-round pick: Minnesota has been looking to move on from Ponder, and the Rams need to find a better alternative after Sam Bradford's injury than Kellen Clemens. Ponder can help this season and then back up Bradford next season.

Lions RB Mikel Leshoure to the Cowboys for a fourth-round pick: Their salary-cap situation being what it is, the Cowboys can't afford many high-priced players. But they can afford Leshoure, and Detroit can afford to ship him out for a late-round pick because it has the production of Reggie Bush. The problem here is that Detroit could balk if the price isn't high enough, because these teams could wind up meeting in the postseason. But the trade could help both teams.

Again, these are not trades that have been or will be discussed. But there's no reason they shouldn't be.

Seattle opponents suffer: One matchup versus the Seahawks this season typically has meant two losses. Each of the first six teams that played the Seahawks this season -- Carolina, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee -- lost the week after playing them. The theory will be put to the test again Sunday, when Arizona, which played Seattle on Oct. 17, hosts Atlanta.

Some within the Seahawks' organization are aware of the trend and believe it could be because teams expend so much energy trying to beat Seattle that it's difficult to bring the same type of energy the following week. Others believe it might be Seattle's physical brand of football that exacts a toll on the opponent. Whatever the reason, teams that play Seattle one week clearly are not the same the next week.

Insurance for Clowney: It turns out South Carolina defensive end and top NFL prospect Jadeveon Clowney was guarding his value even before this season began. Clowney took out the maximum $5 million career-ending insurance policy, per league sources. The policy cost Clowney about $50,000, and it was paid through an NCAA-sponsored program in which the bank pays the insurance company, and Clowney pays back the bank once an NFL team pays him. For Clowney to collect, he would have to suffer a career-ending injury that would not allow him to play football. But Clowney does have some protection in the event he is injured before next spring's draft.

The Schef's specialties

Game of the Week: Dallas at Detroit -- Two high-powered attacks with two of the game's top wide receivers, Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson.

Upset of the Week: Oakland over Pittsburgh -- Just when the Steelers seem to be getting their season back on track, they have to head to the Black Hole.

Player of the Week: Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas -- With the other Denver receivers getting their share in recent weeks, it's time for Thomas to bust out.

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