It’s not often that big name players in the NFL get traded, but it’s always intriguing when you hear a top level player in his prime can be had because a team can’t manage their salary cap, doesn’t want the drama he brings or has a better replacement. If there’s one aspect of the league that’s lacking, you know besides fining players for sagging socks and not fining ones that hit officials, it’s the trade rumor drama that encompasses the NBA. And with the NBA trade deadline looming, it’s fitting that the NFL that has a couple game changers on the market and a quarterback that can be a massive upgrade over the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Weeden, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and Matt Cassel.
Only the Jets could somehow be an astronomical $25 million over the $120 million cap for the ’13 season and because of that, the best cornerback of this generation is available. The Jets know they have to blow up the Rex Ryan experience (even though Woody Johnson idiotically decided to retain him and make his new GM work with that buffoon for a year) and slowly dig themselves out of cap hell. Good luck with that when your quarterback that runs into his lineman’s ass is due to count for $12,853,125 against that cap. I don’t care what time it is, Jets fans… Start drinking immediately.
This much is clear… The Jets will trade Darrelle Revis, it’s just a matter of to what team and for how much. The Broncos will likely make a bid considering they need to ease the burden of Champ Bailey trying to play the ’13 season after being burnt to a crisp by Torrey Smith in the AFC Divisional Playof, but the Jets would obviously like to send the Island to the NFC and avoid any potential embarrassment of having him make Mark Sanchez openly quit in a game next season.
The team most associated with Revis is the 49ers. The Niners are flushed with 14 draft picks in this year’s draft, and could have one or two more come their way once they get a deal done for a guy we’ll mention later. Trent Baalke isn’t the kind of GM to make a big name splashy move, but Revis is worth it as long as the price and his contract demands aren’t out of whack (which they both likely will be). Revis wants to be the highest paid defensive player in football, and the Niners would have to be careful to not upset guys in their locker room who have battled and won a lot of games for them the past two seasons.
The Niners are as creative as any team in football and sit in solid cap shape because they’ve locked in a good portion of their young core to long term deals already, but would they make the bold move to help shore up a secondary that wasn’t the same once Justin Smith got hurt? It’s tantalizing, but a lot hinges on whether they can trade Alex Smith before Revis is moved.
Trading Smith would clear $8.5 million in cap space, so the room is there should the Niners decide Revis is the final piece. The problem, however, would be how to structure a new deal in future years. Is Revis willing to give a little to play for a contender and get away from the J-E-T-S Mess Mess Mess? Revis’ $6 million salary for ’13 is easy for a team to deal with, but it will be his ’14 cap number and beyond that could give teams anxiety about making this deal. And let’s be real, there’s no way Revis wants to play for $6 million in ’13. I know I wouldn’t if I ended up back in New York stuck listening to my coach tell me to grab a God damn snack at the end of a meeting.
Because as great as he is, no team wants to handle his 2014 cap number which stands at $25 million for ’14. The team acquiring Revis will have to convert a portion of his base salary into a signing bonus before the end of the ’13 league year. Remember, Revis wants to be paid more than Mario Williams, so a new deal will have to include over $50 million in guarantees. If you trade for Revis, you better be flush with picks, and have a creative cap guy to craft that new deal that will keep the corner on your team without crippling your cap and more importantly, keep him happy enough to not holdout.
Vikings receiver and known malcontent Percy Harvin is also on the trade block. He’s often injured, he gets into altercations with coaches, but he changes games. Plain and simple. Harvin too wants a new deal and ’13 will be the last of his rookie contract where he’ll earn $2.9 million and carry a cap hit of $4,028,800. So what is the perennial headcase worth? That’s an interesting question…
If there’s a team that can handle what Harvin brings off the field, it’s the Patriots. They seem like an ideal fit, especially considering that both Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd could be gone. And it’s possible (depending on what picks they’re giving up) that New England trades for him and makes him play out his contract in a “prove how good you are” year and addresses the deal a year from now. How confident is Harvin in his ability to stay healthy and would he be willing to play out his rookie deal? That’s doubtful and teams know it. He’s only 25-years-old, however, so there will be a line for Harvin the second March 12th hits.
The Cowboys would love to give Tony Romo another weapon to overthrow when it matters, but the ‘Boys are nearly $20 million over the cap. Oh, you say Dan Snyder and the Redskins want him? Good luck with that considering the lack of picks they have this year. Like Revis, the Vikes would prefer to deal Harvin to the AFC, and the Pats are easily the likeliest destination. However, a team like the Chiefs could emerge as a potential landing spot depending on the asking price and if the Chiefs make a trade for a QB.
According to CBS Sports, Harvin wants a new deal that includes $25 million in guarantees and close to $13 million annually. And as much as the Vikes want a 1st round pick for him, that’s simply not happening. A 3rd rounder will probably get it done eventually and a 2nd & a 4th would seal the deal yesterday. Harvin’s an immense talent, but he’s got some NBA superstar diva like qualities about him that would give me pause if I was a GM. He could pay off in a major way, or he can be the demise of a team thinking he’s the final piece.
And then there’s Alex Smith. Smith shot to the top of the quarterback market the second Mike Vick restructured his deal to remain in Philly. It was similar to ’05 when Smith shot up draft boards when Hollywood Leinart decided he’d rather do beer bongs in hot tubs for another year at USC than go #1 overall.
The Niners are sitting pretty with Smith thanks to abysmal QB class in this year’s draft, and the numerous teams that employ far worse signal callers than #11. The Bills, Cardinals, Browns and Chiefs could all do worse than Smith, and his contract isn’t a killer. He has two years remaining at $7.5 million annually with cap hits of $9,750,000 and $9,00,000. If you’re a team in need of a starter for the next two years while you search for a QB of the future, why not trade for Smith? Some have suggested to wait out the Niners until they have to release him, but would you rather get into a potential bidding war when you can control what you’ll pay him for two years? None of these QB starved teams should risk that, especially if you end up having to overpay him.
He’s turned his career around since Jim Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco, and was leading the league in completion percentage at better than 70% when he suffered his concussion. He might now wow you, but you can improve quickly with him and you can win with him.
Andy Reid and the Chiefs are interested because Reid would rather eat Lean Cuisine’s than go to battle with Cassel. The Bills apparently asked head coaching candidates if they’d be comfortable working with Smith. I’m pretty sure they also asked… “Are you sure you want this job?! and “Can you believe the money this organization gave Ryan Fitzpatrick?!”
Norv Turner’s in Cleveland and worked with Smith in Smith’s solid ’06 season. And we know Smith would run to Arizona if given the chance.
It’s likely the Niners will send Smith to the highest bidder not named Arizona, and would only do so if the Cardinals’ offer trumped any other team. The guess here is he’ll end up going to the Chiefs because Reid can’t possibly draft Geno Smith #1 overall, can he? I guess anything’s possible, and that’s what’s makes the NFL one of the best reality shows on television.