Trade Deadline Comes and Goes

Nick Mensio
Nick Mensio highlights 12 players from the AFC North who may be salary-cap casualties this offseason

Cut Candidates: AFC North

Nick Mensio highlights 12 players from the AFC North who may be salary-cap casualties this offseason

The NFL has the least fun trade deadline in the four major professional sports. It’s rare for any -- let alone big -- trades to go down on deadline day. That didn’t change in 2013. As is the norm, there was a ton of chatter but nothing ever materialized. There were a ton of names rumored to be on the block in recent weeks, including Josh Gordon, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Jared Allen and Tony Gonzalez. I’ll touch on each of these guys a bit below. The only deal to go down was the Eagles sending nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and a 2014 sixth-round pick to the Patriots for a 2014 fifth-round pick. Whoop-dee-doo. New England was starving for defensive tackle help after losing Vince Wilfork (torn Achilles’) for the season.

Browns brass continually insisted over the past couple weeks that the team had no plans to trade Josh Gordon. The 49ers, Lions and Patriots were just a few teams linked to the second-year stud. Cleveland’s asking price was reportedly in the first- or second-round pick range depending on who you talked to. Gordon has a lengthy off-the-field rap sheet and is one strike away from a year-long suspension. It’s not a surprise teams weren’t willing to give up a premium pick. It’s as equally unsurprising that the Browns weren’t willing to just give away arguably the best player on the team for less than he’s worth. Gordon will remain in Cleveland and is a WR2 in fantasy no matter who is playing quarterback.

Giants GM Jerry Reese didn’t rule out trading Hakeem Nicks ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, saying “we always keep all of our options open.” Nicks is having a terrible season in a contract-year. The Giants were likely asking for a high pick in exchange for a guy who looks like he’s lost a step and can’t seem to hang onto the football. Nicks is coming off a nice game but remains a dicey WR3.

The Titans would have taken a bag of punctured footballs and a half-use roll of athletic tape for Kenny Britt. NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported early Tuesday that “nobody” wanted Britt. The contract-year receiver has battled drops, penalties, and off-the-field issues. He’ll play out the final eight games of his contract as Tennessee’s No. 4 or 5 receiver. Britt isn’t even on the WR5 radar.

Vikings RE Jared Allen was the hottest name of deadline day. Multiple teams were reportedly interested in the contract-year 31-year-old. However, nobody knew exactly who those teams were. The Broncos and Seahawks were two clubs mentioned, but both were eventually shot down as potential suitors. Allen will finish out his deal with the Vikings before likely moving on in free agency.

Seeing Tony Gonzalez dealt out of Atlanta to Kansas City would have been awesome. The Chiefs were reportedly “keeping an eye on” Gonzalez, but the Falcons weren’t open to dealing him. Chiefs GM John Dorsey was unlikely to give up much more than a late-round pick anyway. It sure would have been cool to see Gonzalez finish out his career where it started. The Falcons, at 2-5, look dead in the water, while the 8-0 Chiefs have the best record in football. Gonzalez will continue to draw opposing defenses’ attention in Atlanta with Roddy White and Julio Jones sidelined. It’s been a nightmare season for the 37-year-old.

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News Nugget #2

Sidney Rice left Monday night’s game against the Rams with knee and head injuries midway through the second quarter. The team had no update on Rice after the game. Coach Pete Carroll simply said Rice “banged” his knee and his head. Tuesday rolled around and it was revealed that Rice tore his ACL and suffered a concussion. He’s done for the season. Rice has a history of knee and concussion issues. His 2011 season was cut short by two concussions in three weeks. This past summer, Rice missed the entire preseason with knee complications.

Rice has appeared in just 39 of a possible 64 games since signing with the Seahawks. He’s almost certainly played his final snap as a member of the team. Rice will count $9.7 million against the salary cap next season if he’s on the team compared to just $2.4 million if he’s released. He’s going to get the ax. The Seahawks have a ton of young players to give extensions to. Look for Percy Harvin to take Rice’s place in the starting lineup possibly as soon as this week against the Bucs. Golden Tate will be the primary outside weapon, just as he’s been all season long. Doug Baldwin remains the No. 3 receiver.

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News Nugget #3

Zac Stacy gave the Rams and his fantasy owners a scare Monday night when he exited the loss against the Seahawks late in the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury. The rookie back headed for X-rays following the game. On Tuesday, FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo reported Stacy has avoided a high-ankle sprain. However, coach Jeff Fisher said Stacy was still undergoing tests. We can take that two ways. Fisher is either just being evasive or there’s still some concern within the organization that Stacy suffered a significant injury. We’ll hope for a simple sprain as the outcome. An injury report will be issued Wednesday afternoon. If Stacy is forced to miss time, Daryl Richardson would be bumped up to lead back. Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham would contend for No. 2 duties.

Quarterback/Running Back Slants

Jay Cutler plans to push his groin injury as much as he can and hopes to beat his four-week timetable for return. We wouldn’t expect him back ahead of Week 11 or 12. … Peyton Manning (ankles) sat out practice on Tuesday. There’s nothing to see here. … Nick Foles (concussion) practiced Tuesday and declared himself ready to start this week against the Raiders. Michael Vick (hamstring) has been ruled out. … Chad Henne will continue to start at quarterback for the Jaguars. … Coach Bruce Arians said he wants to get Andre Ellington more touches. That may happen, but look for Ellington to hover in the 12-15 touches per game range for the foreseeable future. He needs to be owned in all formats. … Coach Jim Harbaugh wants to get LaMichael James back involved on offense. He likely will have a very minute role coming out of the Week 9 bye. … David Wilson (neck) will be re-evaluated next week. Andre Brown (leg) is expected to return following the Week 9 bye. … Coach Greg Schiano said Doug Martin (shoulder) will “hopefully” be able to play “soon.” We still don’t know a whole lot except that he’s out for Week 9. Mike James will get the start against Seattle this week.

Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants

The Browns placed Travis Benjamin on injured reserve with a torn right ACL. He was a dynamic return man this season. Cleveland signed Armanti Edwards to take Benjamin’s spot. … The Dolphins placed Brandon Gibson on injured reserve with a torn left patellar tendon. They’ll move forward with Rishard Matthews as the No. 3 receiver. … Mohamed Sanu (shoulder) missed practice again Tuesday. He appears questionable at best for Thursday night. … Percy Harvin’s hip reportedly “flared up” last Thursday. His status for Week 9 against the Bucs remains up in the air. … Jermichael Finley (neck, spine) will visit more doctors this week before the Packers decide whether or not to place him on injured reserve.

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