I don’t watch the NBA or MLB very often anymore, but one thing that I do like to do is keep track of the big deals that happen around the trade deadline in those leagues. The trade deadline is perhaps the most exciting single day in either sport -- which native Supersonics fans could forget the day that Gary Payton was dealt for Ray Allen? Or the moment that the Seattle Mariners actually traded for none other than Heathcliff Slocumb?
Goodbye forever, Derek Lowe! We won’t regret this!
That moment does not exist in the NFL. Teams rarely make trades that aren’t draft pick for draft pick, and even when they do, they don’t usually happen in the middle of a season. There’s simply too much of a reliance of scheme fit and chemistry in football than to expect anyone to just come right in and contribute eight weeks into the season. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible of course, as teams will inevitably pick up free agents throughout the year as injuries happen, and some of them may even do well, but the value isn’t there for a team to give up a future pick for any player who would be available via trade.
There are a very scarce number of significant midseason trades in NFL history, and there is of course a reason for that. I’m sure Roger Goodell would love nothing more than to boost the league’s media coverage when the trade deadline happens on November 1, but more likely than not you won’t even know that it came and went. Which players or teams making trades would at least make a little sense?
The Cleveland Browns and Joe Thomas would make sense, but neither side seems to actually want to part. And even if the Browns did pick up a first round pick (which would obviously be a late first rounder anyway if a team is trading for him probably), they would blow it on a bad QB anyway. They could also entertain deals for Andrew Hawkins, Gary Barnidge, Duke Johnson, and like Tramon Williams, I guess, but it’s unlikely.
The other thing about the NFL trade deadline is that the season is so short relative to the NBA and MLB that there aren’t many teams that have counted themselves out of the playoffs just yet. The New York Jets probably should, but they’re now coming off of a win and face Cleveland this Sunday. Maybe if they lose that game, they should just sell everything. Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, David Harris, and Darrelle Revis would certainly be interesting names on the market.
The San Francisco 49ers have nothing to play for except a better draft pick next season and are said to be shopping Joe Staley. But they’d also want to entertain offers for Torrey Smith, Garrett Celek, Antoine Bethea, and Michael Wilhoite. There are rumors about Alshon Jeffery and the 1-6 Chicago Bears, but they also have Jeremy Langford, Eddie Royal, Jerrell Freeman, Tracey Porter, and Willie Young.
Every other team has a reasonable argument for staying in the race. But what if we did live in a world where football teams traded away from excess in order to supplement their deficiencies? Like the Seattle Seahawks for example, trading away a player who wasn’t contributing much yet so that they could bolster their offensive line, or give depth to the linebacking corps, or simply to have more ammo in next year’s draft?
It’s never going to happen (and by never, I mean never within the next four days, so could that really be classified as “never”?) but if they were going to deal any players, these are the ones that I’d be looking at.
Paul Richardson, WR
The 2014 second round pick has all the talent in the world but hasn’t been able to get on the field. He missed all but one game last season and has been slow to contribute in 2016. Richardson has six catches on 11 targets and is firmly entrenched as the number four receiver, perhaps only losing ground to rookie Tanner McEvoy. What could the Seahawks even fetch for Richardson at this point? Maybe there’s a linebacker out there somewhere being buried on the depth chart for someone else. We just know that he’s not been able to help Seattle much this season and has just one year left on his deal.
Luke Willson, TE
At the moment, the Seahawks really can’t trade Willson because he’s injured. But in a world where he wasn’t hurt, Willson might be the perfect trade candidate; the team already has one of the best in the game with Jimmy Graham, plus a rookie they love in Nick Vannett, and a decent backup option with Brandon Williams. To top it off, Willson is a free agent after the season that I don’t suspect Seattle will re-sign.
Christine Michael, RB
The boldest bold move, what if the Seahawks traded Michael at the height of his value and crossed their fingers that Thomas Rawls comes back in two weeks and remains healthy? Michael is a free agent after the season and I doubt he’s coming back to Seattle. They’ve done it once before. (I feel I absolutely have to reiterate this unfortunately: This post is not meant to be taken so seriously. The team is not trading Michael before the deadline in a million years. Those numbers don’t add up but you understand what I’m saying.)
Kam Chancellor, S
Like Willson, he’d have to be healthy in order to be tradable. The team isn’t dealing Kam and I don’t think they’re parting ways in 2017 either. But with Kelcie McCray filling in admirably, bringing up the valid arguments behind such a deal merits the mention. Fortunately (?) for the Seahawks, Kam’s lack of health means he can’t reasonably holdout before next season.
Michael Bennett, DE
The only thing that will actually happen with Bennett’s contract this year is that the team will give him the extension he wants in December ... is what I’m guessing. However, if they did deal him right now, they could probably fetch a second round pick or something.