In the interest of sparking more activity, this year's NFL trade deadline was first moved back two weeks to the first Tuesday after Week 8 while teams sort out who's in, and who's out, in the marathon to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Then Hurricane Sandy caused the dealing deadline to be moved again -- to Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, the time when pending trades must be submitted to the NFL.
General managers downplay the significance of the date and generally need to be overwhelmed by a desperate contemporary to consummate a transaction, but already one deal was struck.
The Lions acquired skill-position help for the second year in a row at the deadline -- the trade with the Eagles for Ronnie Brown was voided due to a failed physical when outgoing Detroit RB Jerome Harrison was found by Eagles team doctors to have a brain tumor -- bringing in slot receiver Mike Thomas from Jacksonville.
The questions for the rest of the league: If they are out of contention already, will they be in for the NFL's version of 'Let's Make a Deal?'
The Chiefs (1-6) have one of the most discussed players as the deadline approaches in wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, but he is expected to still be playing for Kansas City against San Diego in Thursday night's game, after the buzzer sounds on team-to-team transactions. Kansas City and general manager Scott Pioli aren't known as active players on the trade market.
However, Pioli has been his own toughest critic lately after watching his team nosedive in the wake of recent coaching and player decisions he made. Is this self analysis a prelude to change? If so, he may begin by surprising many and making a move before the trade deadline.
Teams viewed as the elite Super Bowl contenders, for the most part, are expected to stand pat.
Deals are more likely for a team on the fringe of contention, believing that a veteran playmaking boost might push them up in class.
History shows such deals haven't worked that way.
The Raiders acquired Carson Palmer last October in one of the largest, and perhaps lopsided, deals in NFL deadline history.
Oakland went from 4-2 to 8-8 and missed the playoffs, then spent the 2012 draft as silent observers until the fourth round.
The Cowboys are fat at cornerback with former first-round pick Mike Jenkins sitting on the bench. He has always been considered trade bait to help improve other areas of the roster -- namely, receiver, safety, offensive line. But with the Cowboys facing the Giants, Falcons, Eagles, Redskins, Steelers and Saints over the final half of the season, they need as many cornerbacks as possible.
New York Giants
With the Giants in good shape health wise, they are not expected to make any trades this year. General manager Jerry Reese typically values the team's draft picks and with the team fully staffed at every unit, there appears to be no glaring needs warranting a mid-season trade.
With starting left tackle Jason Peters and starting center Jason Kelce both out, the Eagles need help on the offensive line. Quarterback Michael Vick has been taking a beating and running back LeSean McCoy hasn't had a lot of running room. But it's unlikely the Eagles will trade for a lineman before the trade deadline. They've concluded that it would take too long to integrate somebody into offensive line coach Howard Mudd's system. They signed center Matt Tennant earlier this week after he was released by the Patriots. That's likely to be the extent of any personnel moves they make.
Despite the loss of two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, top tight end Fred Davis and reliable defensive end Adam Carriker for the season and the longstanding absences of presumed No. 1 receiver Pierre Garcon and strong safety Brandon Meriweather, don't expect the Redskins to make a deal before next week's trade deadline. Washington doesn't have as much to give after sending its first-round picks in each of the next two drafts to St. Louis in March as part of the price to be able to select star rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Only a proven safety or pass-rushing outside linebacker might prove tempting to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, whose defense is 29th overall, 32nd against the pass.
The Bears are not believed to be interested in making any trades before the deadline, mostly because they have been exceptionally healthy throughout the season. They could use help on the offensive line, but they're comfortable enough with what's on the roster to have released former first-round pick Chris Williams last week. However, given their long history of injuries and inconsistent play at safety, that would seem to be the position that they might have some interest in. However, they have been pleased with both strong safety Major Wright and free safety Chris Conte so far.
The Lions have plenty of needs -- secondary, running back, receiver -- but they don't really have bait to offer. Martin Mayhew hasn't made a trade-deadline deal since moving Roy Williams in 2008. It seems doubtful any significant deal will be made this year.
Green Bay Packers
Ted Thompson has made only one in-season trade as Green Bay's general manager since 2005, acquiring safety Anthony Smith from Jacksonville in 2010. Thompson likely will stand pat by Tuesday's trade deadline with his predominantly homegrown roster, though the injury bug that has nipped the Packers at a few positions (running back, wide receiver, safety, linebacker) could have him thinking about making a rare deal. Speculation on the team jettisoning Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings, who is in the final year of his contract and has missed most of the season because of an abdominal tear, likely can be laid to rest since Jennings will be undergoing surgery for his injury next week.
Padding the receiving corps would be an option only if decision-makers weren't drilled into the mindset of draft picks being valued like pallets of gold by GM Rick Spielman. He'll make the cursory calls for a reasonable trade, but enough teams are kicking the tires on Dwayne Bowe that the Chiefs receiver won't be had for less than a couple of picks -- not a deal Minnesota would make for the impending free agent. The better bet, and safer play by management, is patiently expanding Jerome Simpson's role as the complement to Percy Harvin.
While the offensive line has held up in pass protection, they continue to struggle getting a push in short-yardage situations. The Falcons have carried a slew of defensive ends and with the return of Corey Peters they could check to see if there is any interest in Lawrence Sidbury, Cliff Matthews or Jonathan Massaquoi for some offensive line help.
At 1-6, the Panthers could easily be seen as sellers at the trade deadline, but without a general manager, a deal may be tough to pull off. Wide receiver Steve Smith and running back DeAngelo Williams are a couple guys that could help some teams, and Carolina could certainly use some draft picks as they head into another rebuild. With general manger Marty Hurney gone, head coach Ron Rivera would have to really convince owner Jerry Richardson about a potential deal.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints could try to move running back Chris Ivory, a third-year pro who hasn't gotten a chance to help the NFL's 32nd-ranked running game as he's stuck behind Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and undrafted free agent Travaris Cadet. Ivory, who was a healthy inactive for five games and did not play in the only game he's been active for, said Wednesday he may seek a trade. But interim coach Joe Vitt said Thursday that Ivory isn't going anywhere and will get his chance.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rookie running back Doug Martin is clearly the workhorse going forward for the Buccaneers and LeGarrette Blount isn't viewed as an every-down back. But dealing him would thin Tampa's questionable depth at the position. Depending on the return, general manager Mark Dominik might be willing to take that chance. He'd like to add difference-makers on his injury-plagued defensive line, but those players are only available for desperate GMs agreeable to overpaying.
With running back Beanie Wells designated for a return from injured reserve, the most pressing need for the Cardinals is offensive line help. There's a winning-lotto-ticket's chance of that happening at the deadline. The franchise philosophy is to "grow your own" and that means using their draft choices to find and fatten their core group of players, as they believe they have in CB Patrick Peterson, LB Daryl Washington and WR Larry Fitzgerald. Defensive standouts Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett are also career Cardinals.
St. Louis Rams
There has been speculation the Rams are looking to move players for picks at the deadline, but the reality is the team doesn't have a lot to deal, and they won't trade their youth. Running back Steven Jackson's name is often mentioned in speculation, but he coach Jeff Fisher adamantly shot down that thought Tuesday. Jackson has more value on the team than for what the Rams could receive in return. Safety Quintin Mikell could help another team, but the Rams lack depth at the position.
San Francisco 49ers
At this stage, the 49ers are more likely to unload players than trade for someone. The top candidate would be running back Brandon Jacobs, who started the season with a knee injury and has yet to be active for a game this year even though he appears healthy. Jacobs, a healthy scratch Monday, expressed some disgruntlement after not playing against his former team, the Giants, on Oct. 14. However this is a position known for injuries and the Niners may want to maintain some insurance for late-season and post season games.
The Seahawks could look to move one of the team's 11 defensive backs, with third-year pro Walter Thurmond ready to return to the field after sitting out the first six weeks on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list while recovering from a broken fibula. Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant could be a candidate Seattle looks to move in a trade, but he has performed well as Seattle's fifth defensive back this season. Seattle could be looking to get a receiver back in return, as that position group has underperformed for the Seahawks this season.
The Bills' 30th-ranked passing attack needs help and a bold move would involve searching for receiving help. With things unraveling in Carolina, veteran Steve Smith's name has surfaced in trade rumors. He could be pried away with a second-or third-round pick and give Buffalo a serious 1-2 threat with Stevie Johnson. The Bills are also expected to field calls for middle linebacker Kirk Morrison, who has been inactive. Dallas is an option.
It's more realistic for Miami to wait for free agency this offseason to take their shot at standouts like Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe, Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace or Green Bay's Greg Jennings, who recently suffered an abdominal injury. But if some team wants to make Ireland an offer he can't refuse for a playmaking receiver he'll likely listen. Ireland has always had an every player is on the market and open for discussion approach when it comes to trades. The Dolphins have a number of impending free agents -- franchise left tackle Jake Long, four-year starting cornerback Sean Smith, backup quarterback Matt Moore, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks, veteran tight end Anthony Fasano -- that a contending team might be interested in for the right price. The Dolphins have a young team and the goal is to build through the draft, so trading impending free agents for draft picks makes some sense.
New England Patriots
Though many New England fans would love to see the Patriots go after a veteran defensive back on the trade market who might be able to stabilize the team's poor pass defense, there's little chance of coach Bill Belichick making such a pre-deadline splash. While the secondary is the team's major need, the idea of another team unloading a valuable cover man is doubtful. Belichick is never one to overpay or overreact, so the only likely changes that might come in the back end for New England would be of the minor variety.
New York Jets
The Jets absorbed perhaps the biggest personnel losses in the NFL this year when Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes suffered season-ending injuries in consecutive games in September. But the Jets have filled those holes from within -- Kyle Wilson and Jeremy Kerley have emerged as legitimate starters in place of Revis and Holmes -- and as a result probably won't be active at the trading deadline Tuesday. Still, with Trader Mike Tannenbaum calling the shots, nothing can be ruled out, though the player on the Jets who would probably bring back the most return -- backup quarterback Tim Tebow -- is likely off-limits because of owner Woody Johnson's fondness for Tebow.
The Ravens have several areas of need, including defensive line, offensive guard and inside linebacker. A player such as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Darryl Tapp could be a good fit as a situational pass rusher. However, there's no indication that he's on the trading block or that the Ravens are going to make a move. The Ravens typically don't make deadline trades and have sat out of the trade market for several years. There's no indication they will change their stance this year.
The Bengals made one of the bigger deadline day deals in league history last season when they dealt Carson Palmer to the Raiders for a first- and second-round pick. The only thing they could be in the market for this year is a running back who has speed to the outside, but the only way they would pull the trigger is if it was for a lower-round pick and not the second they received from Oakland.
The Browns will not be active at the trade deadline. The team has many needs, but believes in building through the draft and no single trade is going to transform a 2-6 team into a winner. Too, the team already is without a second-round draft pick, which it gave up to take Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft.
The Steelers have never made an in-season trade since the 1970 NFL merger and they're not likely to make one now. They hardly ever make trades at all outside of draft time. The last one they did came in 2007 when they sent a seventh-round draft choice to Atlanta for return man Allen Rossum the week before the first regular-season game.
This year isn't likely to be the one that breaks Houston's trend of inactivity at the trade deadline. General manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak want to keep their draft choices. The weakest part of their defense is inside linebacker because Brian Cushing underwent knee surgery. But they elevated Tim Dobbins to start in Cushing's place and signed veteran Barrett Ruud. They also rotate Mister Alexander, a second-year veteran. The other place the Texans could use help is kickoff returns, but they believe rookie receiver Keshawn Martin will improve once the blocking gets better. So far, the blocking has been horrible on kickoff returns.
While there has been some speculation among outside observers that the Colts might be willing to deal outside linebacker Dwight Freeney at the league's trade deadline, team officials haven't offered up any comments about such a possibility. Freeney's current contract expires at the end of the season. While Indianapolis may want to fortify its offensive line or secondary, nothing is expected to happen.
Even general manager Gene Smith has admitted the Jaguars need to upgrade their talent and they need a pass rusher, linebacker and cornerback to improve their defense. But it is unlikely they will make any moves in mid-season. They figure to wait until the end of the season to plot their future and the first decision owner Shad Khan will have to decide is whether to keep Smith, who is under fire because he's had more misses than hits in the draft and free agency. If there's a bold move to be made, it'd be the marketing-driven acquisition of former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. The fanbase would support it, but is there a spot in Jacksonville for him to play a greater role than the bit part he has now with the Jets?
The Titans need help on defense, but probably are unwilling to acquire it at the trade deadline, especially at the expense of future draft picks. Tennessee's linebacker corps is thin due to injuries right now to Colin McCarthy, Patrick Bailey, Will Witherspoon and the loss of Zac Diles for the season. But Tennessee's only remedy was to sign street free agent Xavier Adibi to help on special teams.
If D.J. Williams' suspension had remained at six games, he might have been a trading-deadline candidate. But the wayward linebacker had three games tacked on because of a driving-while-ability-impaired conviction and won't return until Week 11, hindering his value. The Broncos might look for a defensive tackle to shore up a shaky unit, but John Elway hasn't made a straight-up trade of future draft picks for players since becoming the team's executive vice president. If he did now, it'd be a major change of philosophy from his repeatedly stated build-through-the-draft approach.
Kansas City Chiefs
It there's any activity involving the Chiefs as the NFL moves toward the trading deadline they figure to be sellers rather than buyers. Going out and wheeling and dealing to add players at midseason is not in the football DNA of general manager Scott Pioli. If he's involved at all, the likelihood is Pioli will be trying to collect future draft choices by dealing away some of his veterans. Should they be of the mind to move bodies off the roster, players like defensive end Glenn Dorsey, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, linebacker Jovan Belcher and a few others may be available. All are without contracts for next season.
Linebacker Rolando McClain is no longer a full-time player, having been replaced in the nickel defense. However, his $4 million salary next season as well as convictions on three misdemeanors that could land him in jail (under appeal) could make him difficult if not impossible to move. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is wearing out his welcome in Kansas City and the Raiders could use a big, physical receiver, but any deal is unlikely for players with attitude concerns and/or big salaries, given the club's salary-cap constraints. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly could be moved if general manager Reggie McKenzie can find a buyer and add to his cache of draft picks. The Raiders are well-stocked on the defensive line and it would be a chance to offload a big salary.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers could seek additional depth at left tackle, with the health issues Jared Gaither has experienced and his backup being Mike Harris, and undrafted rookie. General manager A.J. Smith has proved agreeable to deadline deals, in the past, acquiring wide receivers Chris Chambers in 2007 and Keenan McCardell in 2004.