These veterans could be on the move
Last week's much-ballyhooed trade that sent left tackle Jason Peters from Buffalo to Philadelphia for three draft choices might have started the ball rolling.
But whether the trade ball now will roll unimpeded down the lane for this weekend's draft, or get stuck somewhere in the gutter, has yet to be seen. Certainly the telephones will ring in NFL draft rooms across the country on Saturday and Sunday, with teams pitching veteran players to other clubs, usually for additional draft choices. But it's always intriguing to assess how many of those phone calls eventually turned into real deals and how many of them simply earned a lot of money for the country's long-distance carriers.
There is definitely more than the usual complement of big-name veteran players being marketed in this draft, and their availability could result in some major deals.
Among the more notable players are wide receivers Braylon Edwards (Cleveland) and Anquan Boldin (Arizona), and perhaps Chad Ocho Cinco (Cincinnati), tight end Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City), quarterback Brady Quinn (Cleveland) and tailback Larry Johnson (Kansas City).
Notable Draft Trades
There have been 205 trades, 29 of them involving veteran players, on draft weekends since 2000. Here are five of the more notable deals:
But trades during draft weekend rarely involve such high-profile players.
Or, for that matter, any players at all.
Since the 2000 draft, there have been 205 trades on draft weekends, but only 29 of them involved veteran players. A total of 32 veterans overall were a part of deals in the past nine drafts.
Trades during the draft usually have only draft choices changing clubs, as franchises try to maneuver for additional picks or a more favorable position. Most of the deals that do include veterans typically involve lesser-known players. For every Randy Moss, there is a Darrell Jackson, Kevin Johnson or Larry Foster. For every Peters, an Artis Hicks or John Welbourn. For every Matt Hasselbeck, a Josh McCown or Luke McCown.
Indeed, for every trade that includes a famous player, there is a veteran better known for his infamy available for the taking, like last year's deal that sent cornerback Pacman Jones to the Cowboys.
So while the 2009 draft might feature trades of some celebrated players, deals could also be available for lesser-known veterans who no longer fit a team's plans for the future. Here are a few players who might be available:
Reggie Brown, WR, Philadelphia: He has never become the "go-to" receiver the Eagles envisioned when they made the one-time Georgia star a second-round pick in 2005. He had a career-best 61 receptions in 2007, but has averaged only 35.7 receptions in his other three seasons. He started in 43 of 58 appearances. Some observers view the 28-year-old as only the Eagles' fifth-best wideout, behind Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson, Hank Baskett and Jason Avant, and he wasn't even active for the 2008 NFC Championship Game. He suffered through groin and hamstring injuries that limited him to just three starts in '08, and his catches dropped from 61 in 2007 to only 16 last season. Brown is signed through the 2014 season.
Larry Foote, LB, Pittsburgh: The seven-year veteran is still a productive defender at only 28 years old. His résumé includes 83 starts; he has played in all 16 games for six straight seasons and started all 16 in each of the past five years. But the emergence of former first-round pick Lawrence Timmons (2007) could make Foote extraneous. Timmons played as the team's nickel linebacker in 2008, registering 65 tackles and five sacks, and seems about ready to step into the starting lineup. Foote's contract could be a problem in its final season, because he is due $2.885 million in base salary in 2009, and has a cap number of $3.5 million.
Domenik Hixon, WR, New York Giants: He was reportedly offered to Cleveland as part of a package designed to land Edwards. He's only 24 years old, and has played three seasons, with 32 appearances and eight starts. He started seven of those games last season, when he replaced Plaxico Burress in the lineup. A fourth-round pick by Denver in 2006, Hixon's biggest value may be his versatility. He is a very good kick returner, and has 44 catches for 601 yards and two touchdowns. All but one of those receptions came in 2008.
Michael Huff, FS, Oakland: He was a first-round choice in 2006, but has hardly been an impact player, and lost his starting job to former undrafted free agent Hiram Eugene in the second half of last season. Huff, 26, still has some upside, but he has not made big plays, as evidenced by one interception and one fumble recovery in 48 appearances. The three-year veteran is intriguing, but his salary ($945,000 in 2009) escalates to $5.75 million in 2010. The University of Texas product has started 39 games, but started only seven contests in 2008.
Chris Kelsay, DE, Buffalo: The former second-rounder (2003) is durable, missing only two games in six seasons. He was a starter, mostly at left end, in 72 of his 94 appearances. He has started all 16 games three times, including in 2008. The big question about Kelsey, 29, is whether he can anchor against the run at only 261 pounds. He has 251 tackles and 17 sacks, but has never registered more than 5½ sacks in a season.Roscoe Parrish, WR, Buffalo: Bills officials and Parrish's agent began advertising a few weeks ago that the four-year veteran is available. Parrish, 26, has been all but buried on the Bills' wide receiver depth chart, but the second-round pick in 2005 has speed and quickness as a receiver, and elusiveness as a kick returner. He has 97 receptions for 1,052 yards and five touchdowns, but 35 of those catches came two years ago. Formerly of the University of Miami, he has averaged 23.7 yards on 18 kickoff returns and an impressive 14.0 yards on 94 punt returns. As a punt returner, he averaged 13.3 yards or more in three of his four seasons, and has one return for a touchdown in each of the past three years. Some unsubstantiated rumors have linked him to the Pittsburgh Steelers. His contract might be palatable enough, with base salaries of $1 million (2009), $1.025 million (2010) and $1.025 million (2011), with $500,000 roster bonuses due each year.
Tony Scheffler, TE, Denver: It's no secret that the former second-round pick (2006) has been available almost since the moment rookie coach Josh McDaniels arrived in Denver. The three-year veteran isn't a great in-line blocker, but has 40 or more receptions in each of the past two seasons. Formerly of Western Michigan, he has 170 catches, 1,480 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 42 NFL games, including 19 starts.
Andrew Walter, QB, Oakland: The recent signing of Jeff Garcia as the primary backup to JaMarcus Russell may have rendered Walter expendable. He has played in only three games, with one start, over the past two seasons. But he is only 26, seems to have overcome the shoulder problems that beset him at Arizona State, and could be a backup elsewhere. The four-year veteran has shown a propensity for turnovers, with 16 interceptions in only 15 appearances. A third-round pick in 2005, Walter has completed 174 of 333 passes for 1,919 yards and three touchdowns, with a passer rating of just 52.6. He has great size, is still young enough to improve, and might eventually be a No. 2 quarterback for someone.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.
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2009 NFL Draft