The NFL Scouting Combine is just three weeks away, Free Agency begins in a month-and-a-half, and the draft is just over two months away. To me, it truly is the best part of the NFL year.
A big topic, much more than usual it seems, will be the trade market during the time leading up to free agency. Who will get moved, who won’t be moved, and what bizarre things might happen between now and training camp in six months. Well, that’s why we’re here at Fansided. It’s time for NFL Trade Watch Version 1.0.
QB – Alex Smith
It’s safe to say that the Alex Smith era is over in the Bay Area. The San Francisco 49er’s put in second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick when Smith went down with an injury, and never looked back. Turned out that that was the right decision as Kaepernick led the 49er’s to a berth in Super Bowl XLVII, and almost led them to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. It’s clearly the era of the “Kaep” in San Fran which means Smith will have a new home in 2013.
The biggest question is just where will he be playing.
There is no doubt that there are going to be multiple suitors for the former first-overall pick, but what teams will make serious runs for him and be willing to trade for a man with an $8.5-million cap hit in 2013.
The top teams talked about have been Kansas City and Arizona. Both teams have talent, but no quarterback to work with the offensive talent. Another team that could make a run at Smith is Buffalo. They seem to be set on drafting a QB in April’s draft, and could use Smith as a one-year transition QB to groom the rookie they bring in.
Right now I’d put the chances of a Smith trade at 70%.
CB – Darrelle Revis
This name seemingly came out of nowhere. Darrelle Revis is arguably the best corner in the NFL today, but there are issues that scare off teams.
The major one is the fact that he is coming off ACL surgery from an injury suffered in the first game of the 2012 season. The second issue is his contract, and future contract demands.
A soon to be free agent, Revis will likely command upwards of $20-million per season, a contract that would make him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. It’s a demand that not many teams will want to touch despite his past success.
Of course, a team could take a flyer on Revis for the 2013 season, and then try to convince him to take less money to stay aboard. However, that team must be confident in its abilities to convince Revis to stay in order to give to the Jets what it will likely take to land him.
One of the obvious pairings for the Jets in regards to a Revis deal is San Francisco. The 49er’s need corner help after getting torched by Baltimore in the Super Bowl. The Jets would have to be willing to take on Alex Smith’s contract for a year, but it could happen if the rest of the pieces offered are worth the deal.
Chances Revis gets moved: 30%
QB – Matt Flynn
The last guy on the first trade watch is a man who signed a big contract with Seattle last offseason to be “the guy” only to be upended by a rookie in Russell Wilson.
Matt Flynn is a dark horse candidate to be moved so he can be given another chance to try and become a starting quarterback in the NFL. One of the candidates for the services of Flynn is Jacksonville.
The Jaguars cleaned house this offseason with new GM Dave Caldwell and new HC Gus Bradley coming in to try and instill a new culture in Jacksonville. And one of the first things Bradley mentioned after getting the job is that there will be a full competition at the QB position between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.
But why not bring in Flynn to try and push the other two even more, and maybe find a QB in Flynn who can help make Justin Blackmon the star receiver that he is expected to be for the Jaguars.
Chances Flynn gets dealt: 60%