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Truth be told, most insiders have been cooling it the last couple of years when it comes to serious "hot stove" talk in the National Football League.
While it never will be a totally dead issue, in-season trade talk just doesn't have much of a life any more in the NFL, save for a rare bombshell every now and then.
"No one really trades during the season," one executive told PFW. "It is interesting how it works. If you are trying to trade a guy, everyone always wants too much (in return) during the season. And in the offseason, (other teams) are not going to give up a whole lot because it makes no sense to overpay for a guy (another team) doesn't want. That's the way it seems to work. (GMs) ask for too much in season and for too little in the offseason. That's why you see (former Steelers WR) Santonio Holmes going for a fifth-rounder (to the Jets). He started the previous year, and receivers are hard to find — there's no question he was worth more.
"Just look at Albert (Haynesworth)," the executive continued. "(The Redskins) are not going to get a (No.) two (pick) for him. Everyone is looking at them and saying, 'OK, then let him continue to be a pain in the ass.' What's funny is that in the offseason, he probably could have been had for a third- or a fourth-round pick. Then look at what Dallas did, trading two ones for (WR) Roy Williams. You overpay in season."
That's not to say more than a few teams around the league would stand to benefit from some new blood via the trade route:
- The Ravens remain in need of a secondary help.
- The Packers and Patriots could use some help at running back after Ryan Grant and Kevin Faulk, respectively, were both placed on injured reserve within the first two weeks of the season (not to mention New England's Laurence Maroney being dealt prior to Faulk's injury).
- The Bills could use some OT help with continued struggles in protection.
But the way we hear it, the prospect of a significant NFL trade before the 4 p.m. ET Oct. 19 trade deadline just isn't likely at all.
What follows is a breakdown of the five most noteworthy players possibly destined for a change of scenery via the trade mart within the next couple of weeks.
1. Chargers WR Vincent Jackson
Our sources tell us Chargers GM A.J. Smith has remained adamant in his desire for at least second- and third-round picks in exchange for Jackson, who unlike teammate Marcus McNeill, is not about to willingly cast aside his contract concerns once his current suspension runs its course.
"It's become a real pissing match," one executive said of the situation involving Jackson, who could have been eligible to suit up a couple of weeks earlier had another team traded for him this past week. As it now stands, Jackson would not be able to play until Week Seven, provided he signs his tender.
"There is (league) interest (in Jackson) and he could still be moved, but I don't know that A.J. is going to make life easy for him," one league insider said.
"It's become personal."
2. Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth
Disgruntled playing in an odd front playing for a head coach (Mike Shanahan) and defensive coordinator (Jim Haslett) with dictatorial leadership styles, Haynesworth continues to be underutilized in Washington, despite being one of the more consistently disruptive defensive tackles in football in recent years.
He also continues to be a P.R. nightmare, as evidenced by his radio interview the day before Washington's visit to St. Louis in which he said his $100 million contract did not make him the Redskins' "slave."
Allowing Haynesworth to whittle away on the bench is obviously not helping the Redskins, and the consensus in league circles is that it definitely would be in their best interest to deal him.
"(Washington coaches) keep (messing) with him for no good reason," a scout who has worked with the coaching staff said. "Why are you going to waste a player that has been one of the most dominant at his position? They are not helping themselves any way you look at it, unless you believe that the message they are sending to the rest of the locker room is the right one.
"From what you hear coming out of the locker room, I don't think the locker room supports how (Haynesworth) is being treated. You heard McNabb say it — they cannot win without (Haynesworth). The players are sick of it. He is a Pro Bowl defensive tackle. His game has not fallen off. They are messing with him over nothing. It's all ego. There's too much of it on that coaching staff."
If the Redskins do indeed decide Haynesworth is more trouble than he's worth and find a team willing to take him on, we hear the Titans, Haynesworth's previous team, remain the most likely trade partner.
3. Eagles QB Kevin Kolb
With Michael Vick remaining in the final year of his contract and Kolb receiving an extension in the offseason, it was clear which way the Birds had planned to go.
But with Kolb struggling out of the gate, suffering a concussion and being benched for the highly productive, more athletic and experienced Vick, we hear Philadelphia could consider dealing Kolb for the right price, especially given how well athletic rookie Mike Kafka picked up the offense in the preseason. The Seahawks and Browns remain the most likely suitors for Kolb, but it could require a first-rounder.
"What a situation to be in," one league talent evaluator said. "I don't think anyone envisioned it going the way it did, but it's not a bad situation to be in. (Kolb and Vick) are both very young from a QB perspective. (Vick) turned back the clock. It's very difficult to find good quarterback play in the National Football League.
"I'll be surprised if they move either of them before the end of the season, but if Vick keeps playing the way he is and they get the right offer, anything is possible."
4. Bills RB Marshawn Lynch
Disgruntled and hoping to be dealt in the offseason, Lynch, who has displayed first-round-caliber flashes the past few weeks against the Packers and Patriots, remains stuck in Buffalo in a crowded backfield with Fred Jackson and slow-starting rookie C.J. Spiller.
Needing linebackers after injuries to Kawika Mitchell and Paul Posluszny, the Bills could consider adding to that unit. The bottom line for the Bills, though, reportedly would be nothing less than a first-round pick for Lynch's services.
Meanwhile, we hear Lynch would rather be anywhere else these days than Buffalo.
"He wants out," one insider said. "He could not have entered a more different lifestyle than he did heading out east. To go from the streets of Oakland to Buffalo is a big culture shock, and he never fit in. If he had any choice, he would have gone a long time ago."
5. Ravens RB Willis McGahee
McGahee, a short-yardage/goal-line specialist made expendable by the emergence of Ray Rice last season and the presence of Le'Ron McClain, could be dealt if the Ravens could receive additional help at cornerback in return.
"Most players are available for the right price," a source very familiar with the Ravens said. "(The Ravens) will move (McGahee) if they can find a buyer that can help them on the back end."