I love the way the NFL is turning into the NBA, with all this trade talk. For a long time the NFL hasn't taken advantage of the opportunity to trade players and create buzz because of salary-cap situations. People in charge have opened up their minds to creative deals, and it's great. Let's take a look at a few possibilities.
Portis for Bailey?
If this happens, it's one that could be a win-win for both the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos. Joe Gibbs wanted a veteran quarterback, and he got one in Mark Brunell. With Gibbs and offensive line coach Joe Bugel together again, we know the Redskins are going to run the ball. Clinton Portis is one of the premier backs in the league; some people would say he is the best.
Gibbs knows what he's getting into in the NFC East. With Tom Coughlin leading the New York Giants, Bill Parcells in charge of the Dallas Cowboys and Andy Reid's Philadelphia Eagles going for a fourth straight trip to the conference championship, the competition is fierce.
Denver has been looking for defense for a long time. They've shuffled defensive backs in and out. A lot of people believe Champ Bailey is the best player at his position in the NFL.
The Broncos have churned out great running back after great running back in their system, but I'm not convinced Quentin Griffin is an every-down back. Denver thinks it will be able to plug in a back, and given their success with Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Portis (different 1,000-yard rushers in four consecutive seasons), it's easy to see why.
The Broncos also would be getting a second-round pick, and in a draft with a lot of good running backs, they might look for a quick solution there.
Miami's touchy Feeley situation
Dan Marino and I had talked about this even late in the season. With A.J. Feeley, the buzzword is "unknown." He looked good when he relieved Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer late in the 2002 season, but he didn't take a snap last year.
The Miami Dolphins want a quarterback who can manage the game and make some big throws at the end of games. Feeley has a great arm and a great offensive mind, but we haven't seen a lot of game management from him. This could be a great pickup. It also could backfire in Miami's face. After all, Jay Fiedler has won more than two-thirds of his starts with the Dolphins.
If you're the Philadelphia Eagles, you've got to make this trade. A second-round pick for a third-string quarterback doesn't come along every day, and Donovan McNabb isn't going anywhere. Given the situation at defensive back, where the Eagles may lose Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor to free agency, the Eagles really could use another early draft pick.
Keyshawn for Galloway?
This trade would be good for both teams if they could pull it off. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a deep threat. Joey Galloway would be a great complement to Keenan McCardell, who is coming off a Pro Bowl season. Galloway still has a lot of football left in him, and Jon Gruden will use Galloway better than the Dallas Cowboys did.
And Keyshawn Johnson is a great complement to Terry Glenn. They need a big receiver in Dallas who can go across the middle, get those third-down conversions and pick up the really hard yardage, and nobody excels at those particular things better than Keyshawn.
I talked to some people who went to Drew Henson's workout, and they said he was absolutely phenomenal. Henson, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are making it a good quarterback draft; that is, if Henson makes it back into the draft.
Somebody will get a mature, quality player, either through the draft or via a trade with the Houston Texans. The only question is how long it will take Henson to get back his football mentality. I don't think it will take long.
To work out or not to work out at the combine?
A lot of players chose not to work out at the NFL scouting combine, but I'm not sure this is as bad as a lot of people are saying. That actually may be in their best interests, especially if they had a long season. They can always work out on their home turf where there is less hysteria than at the combine.
Players have done very well through the years at individual workouts. Often they post better times in an environment where they are more comfortable.
That said, some of the players who did work out showed a lot. Tackle Robert Gallery of Iowa ran the 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds and showed why he'll be the first lineman taken. Roethlisberger looked terrific. Wideout Rashaun Woods of Oklahoma State ran a 4.4 40 and boosted his stock in this receiver-laden draft.
They showed that some players can and do thrive under the pressure of the combine.
- Drew Henson