Commentary

Trade odds for notable veterans

Most rosters appear set, but many notable names remain in the rumor mill

Originally Published: June 15, 2010
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Ellis/Haynesworth/LynchUS PresswireJets DE Shaun Ellis, left, Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth and Bills RB Marshawn Lynch are among the big-name veterans who have been the subject of trade rumors.
With no salary-cap ramifications for 2010, and teams more willing to deal players who are considered extraneous (malcontents, overpaid underachievers, guys in decline and veterans who simply no longer fit with a club's need or plans), the NFL trade market has been relatively active.

Since March 1, there have been 31 trades involving 39 veterans, and both numbers constitute the most offseason action in at least the past 10 years.

Although the draft, free agency and waiver wire still represent the preferred mode for remaking rosters, the trade route has been a path increasingly selected. The NFL probably will never be a "trade league" -- at least not one comparable to the other professional sports in this country -- but the uptick in bartering this offseason has not gone unnoticed.

The deal that sent quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins, a rare trade between division rivals, demonstrates that just about anything is plausible.

Still, with training camps set to open next month, and most teams having settled on rosters, the trade market figures to wane over the summer. And it's already been determined that big-name veterans such as Dallas Cowboys tailback Marion Barber, Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger -- all rumored as trade bait at various junctures this spring -- are going nowhere. That said, there are a handful of veterans, several of them at their own request, still rumored to be available.

A look at the likelihood of deals, on a scale of 1 (least likely) to 10, involving those players before the start of the season and based on discussions with several team officials:

CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders: One of the three top cover players in the league, Asomugha has a three-year, $45.4 million contract and already collected $15.8 million in bonuses (roster and option) in March. His high price tag and some quirks in his deal for 2011 -- the Raiders must pay him the greater of $16.8 million or the quarterback franchise number to exercise an option -- make him virtually untradable. Trade likelihood: 1.

DE Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: Only 24, he had 5½ sacks in 2009 (his second season) and has a base salary of just $470,000 for 2010. Probably isn't going anywhere. Likelihood: 3.

OTs Jammal Brown and Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans Saints: A two-time Pro Bowl blocker, Brown has yet to sign a restricted tender of $3.619 million and has skipped spring workouts. Bushrod isn't his equal, but he started 14 games in 2009, when Brown was injured (hip), and the Saints won the Super Bowl with him. Keeping both players, along with Zach Strief, a decent swing tackle, could be a luxury. And it's next to impossible to acquire proven blindside tackles, so suitors could be desperate. Likelihood: 5.

WR Patrick Crayton, Dallas: Solid player, but has never caught more than 50 passes or had more than 697 receiving yards in a season. Base salaries of $2 million in 2010 and $2.5 million in 2011 make him tough to deal. Interested teams might wait to see whether the Cowboys release him. Likelihood: 6.5.

DE Shaun Ellis, New York Jets: The 10-year veteran, 32, isn't an optimal fit in the 3-4 and has just 24½ sacks the past four seasons. He had 6½ sacks in 2009 and his base salary for this year is not outrageous ($3.35 million), but Jets won't just give him away. Likelihood: 3.

OT Jared Gaither, Baltimore Ravens: He stayed away from most spring workouts, signed his tender of $2.369 million, then missed some more time. He has 28 starts at left tackle, including 26 in the past two seasons, but is expected to move to the right side if Ravens keep him. Only 24, he might look good to team seeking a young left tackle. Likelihood: 7.

DT Albert Haynesworth, Washington: He has balked at a switch to the 3-4, stayed away from voluntary workouts and asked for a trade on Tuesday.That won't sit well with new coach Mike Shanahan. He's due guaranteed salaries of $3.6 million for 2010 and $5.4 million for 2011, but the Redskins paid him an option bonus of $21 million this spring, so the really big money is out of the way. Motivation is a question and, outside of '08, he has only two seasons with more than five sacks. Likelihood: 6.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills: Through Monday, the former first-round draft choice had skipped offseason workouts, and he seems to have fallen to No. 3 on the depth chart, behind Fred Jackson and rookie first-rounder C.J. Spiller. A two-time 1,000-yard rusher, Lynch wants to be a starter somewhere and probably has value. Seattle is rumored to be interested. Likelihood: 8.

QB Sage Rosenfels, Minnesota Vikings: In nine seasons, Rosenfels, 32, has only 12 starts, but he has proved to be more than capable as a backup. Assuming that sixth-rounder Joe Webb, who was drafted as a wide receiver but played three seasons at quarterback in college, is capable of playing as a backup signal-caller (and, of course, that Brett Favre returns), Rosenfels has value in a league desperate for solid backups. He has two years left at palatable salaries of $2.6 million and $3 million. Likelihood: 9.

QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia: He hasn't been a full-time starter since 2006 and clearly has lost some of his trademark quickness. He was limited to 13 pass attempts for 86 yards last season. He looks to be pigeonholed as a Wildcat quarterback, but wants to be a starter again. The Eagles paid him a $1.5 million bonus in the spring, and he has just one year left on his contract. Likelihood: 2.

Len Pasquarelli, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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