It seems that many sports fans easily become completely convinced that certain things won't happen simply because they don't want them to. Following Philadelphia sports, I came across quite a bit of it over Chip Kelly's tenure with the Eagles.
"They absolutely won't trade DeSean Jackson for a mere 3rd round Pick!"
"No way they'd select Marcus Smith in the first round!"
"There's more to it than this, Bradford won't be the starting QB in 2015!"
"We won't sign DeMarco Murray now."
Comments like these come from fans of every team in every sport, but it seems to be especially prevalent in the NFL. Nobody can accurately predict what a team is going to do. General Managers often make surprising moves that sometimes just don't make sense. It happens.
Trying to predict shocking moves in the NFL is incredibly hard, perhaps close to impossible. But at the same time, it's very fun! So here are the top 15 unthinkable trades....that could happen.
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15 Tyrod Taylor to Denver
Tyrod Taylor's 2015 season was about as good as anyone could have reasonably expected. Even still, it doesn't appear that the management in Buffalo is ready to fully commit to him. This is somewhat understandable, considering that there's quite a long list of players who had an amazing year and then dropped off. In addition, Taylor is an injury prone quarterback. Those type of players will always generate a high degree of skepticism.
Denver is a team that would love to add someone like Taylor, who's talented, with plenty of potential, and, most importantly, a small cap hit. Taylor is on the books for a mere $3.1 million against the cap in 2016. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Broncos try to get a deal done.
14 Cameron Wake to Green Bay
Cameron Wake is a lot older than people think, as the star pass rusher will be 34 for the upcoming season. Not many defenders are able to play much longer at that age, but you could easily make the case that he was the team's best defender when he was on the field in 2015.
The Dolphins might be able to get a decent return for the aging pass rusher if they decided to listen to offers. Green Bay could use some help on defense and has already shown a bit of interest in star defenders who are past their prime. That worked out well for them with Julius Peppers last year, so it might be worth it to try again.
13 Andrew Whitworth to Seattle
Andrew Whitworth has been one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL over the past several years. Most fans may not be entirely aware of it, as he doesn't get mentioned nearly as much as he should. As good as he is though; he looks to be on his way out. He'll be 35 later this year and the Bengals already drafted two tackles in the 1st and 2nd round in the 2015 draft.
Seattle is a team that should be looking for a player to add to their offensive live. It's somewhat surprising that a team as good as Seattle can have massive issues along their line. Whitworth would be a great player to give them a boost, but a restructured contract would be required in that trade.
12 Jay Cutler to San Francisco
Last offseason, there was speculation that Jay Cutler would be dealt for next to nothing. After an impressive 2015 season under Adam Gase, the Bears quarterback is thought of as a low end starter.
The Bears should have some concerns that Cutler will regress under new offensive leadership. If that happens, they'll be stuck with a bad contract and a missed opportunity. If they can get a reasonable offer, trading him now might be a good way to kick off a rebuild.
San Francisco is a team that doesn't really look to be committed to either of their quarterbacks. At this point, they have the freedom to do a lot of things. If they think Chip Kelly can bring out the best in Cutler, it might be worth rolling the dice.
11 Larry Fitzgerald to New England
Larry Fitzgerald will always be one of the most beloved players in the NFL. No matter what happens though, he'll always be known as a Cardinal.
Fitz has been having a declining role in Arizona's offense for several years now (though his numbers did spike up in 2015). It's possible the Cardinals could look to move on from him. They'll have stars that need contract soon and the team already has quite a bit of talent at receiver.
If the Cardinals decide to listen to offers, New England might be a team who calls. Tom Brady throwing to Larry Fitzgerald for a year would be a lot of fun to watch.
10 Matthew Stafford to Cleveland
Mathew Stafford is in a very strange spot for quarterbacks. He's good enough to start, but he doesn't feel like a player that could take his team to a Super Bowl. After the amount of success he had in the second half of last season, he'll absolutely be given another shot in 2016.
But if we see him regress to what he was like at the beginning of 2015, the Lions might look to move on from him completely and rebuild the team from scratch.
It's hard to see it happening, because capable, young quarterbacks don't grow on trees. But that means that Detroit could potentially get a killing for him. If they don't feel like he can take them to a Super Bowl, they might decide to listen to offers this summer. At that point, anything could happen.
Cleveland has been absolutely desperate for a quarterback over the past two decades. The chance to get a starter would almost certainly be seized by the struggling franchise.
9 Muhammad Wilkerson to Chicago
Muhammad Wilkerson is the player on list that is far and away the most likely to be traded. That fact is insanely strange considering he's the Jets best defensive player. But the defensive lineman is going to be very expensive and the team already has incredibly talented players at the same position in Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams.
Trading your best player is always a questionable move for a team who will be competing for a playoff spot, but the Jets look to be an exception.
Chicago is very likely to make an offer. The team lacks talented players on defense and could really benefit from Wilkerson; a player who would be an instant difference maker for the team.
8 Alshon Jeffery to Philadelphia
It's very hard to imagine that the Bears would ever let go of Alshon Jeffery. The wideout has put up monster numbers every year beyond his rookie season. He proved many of his draft critics wrong and has been absolutely killing it.
As unlikely as it may be, stranger things have happened in the NFL. The Bears have a potential replacement already on the roster in the form of their 7th overall pick from last year's draft - Kevin White. In addition, the team applied the franchise tag to Jeffery this past offseason. If they don't feel they'll be able to sign him long term, it's possible the team could look to get as much value out of him as they can.
Under Howie Roseman, the Eagles appear to be taking a more standard approach to building the roster. That is, building through the draft and re-signing key players. However, the team lacks playmakers on offense. An opportunity to land one of the game's best young receivers should be fully taken advantage of.
7 Cordy Glenn to Baltimore
The Buffalo Bills are a team that really can't afford to lose anyone along the offensive line. This year though, Cordy Glenn will be playing under the franchise tag. While there really isn't much reason to believe the two won't be able to work out a new contract, that doesn't change the fact that until a signing happens, anything is on the table.
If negotiations don't work out, Baltimore is a team that would be one of the first to call. They had a terrible 2015 season but the team should feel like they have the players in place needed to succeed. They're only one year removed from nearly earning a trip to the Super Bowl.
However, their offensive line is a massive weak spot. If they could add a star, it would go a very long way in getting the team back to the playoffs.
6 Philip Rivers to Houston
San Diego has been a struggling team in recent years. It's been nearly a decade since they were a legitimate threat to win the Super Bowl. It doesn't feel like they're far off from taking a step forward, but that feeling has persisted throughout this decade so far.
Rivers was 34 this past season - which means he'll have 4-5 years left in the tank at the most. If they can't make a drastic turnaround in the next year or two, it might just be time to bite the bullet and go into rebuild mode.
When that time comes, Houston will know what they have in Brock Osweiler. If he doesn't work out there, it's likely the team will just try to move to get a proven, quality veteran. Although it certainly won't be cheap, the Texans are a talented roster being held back by the quarterback position. Solving that is worth a blank check.
5 Fletcher Cox to Oakland
This offseason, the Eagles have been focused on locking up their core players, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, and Vinny Curry to name a few. All the while, they've been saying that there's still money there for Fletcher Cox.
Howard Eskin of 94WIP radio recently reported that Cox turned down a contract that included $60 million in guaranteed money. In addition to that, Howie Roseman recently commented on the draft class and had high praise for the talent available at defensive tackle. If he doesn't think Cox is worth what he's demanding, the Eagles are not in a position where they'll be forced to keep him.
If the star defensive tackle becomes available, Oakland might show some interest. The team will soon be making deep playoffs runs and adding a player like Cox would send their defense to another level.
Philly isn't forced to decide if they want to re-sign him or trade him right now. They can use the franchise tag to defer the decision till 2017 or even 2018 if they want.
4 Tony Romo to Miami
The management in Dallas doesn't feel like the team is to far off from a Super Bowl. Despite the fact they're picking in the top five this year, it isn't a terribly unreasonable belief given how close they came only a couple seasons ago.
At they same time, there are rumors that the team is looking to the future and will consider drafting a quarterback in the first round. Tony Romo is going to be 36 this upcoming season, so that's probably a good investment. If they decide to pull the trigger, it's possible we won't be too far away from a Romo trade down the line.
You won't hear anything serious this offseason. But depending on how things shake out, don't be surprised if the rumors start heating up next offseason. A team that could be in the market for a new quarterback a year from now is the Miami Dolphins. Most people don't consider them in the list of teams that need a quarterback. At the same time, Ryan Tannehill hasn't proven to be a franchise QB. That means that it will only take one poor season for the management in Miami to start seriously rethinking things. If that happens and Dallas is listening to offers, you can bet they'll be talking.
3 Josh Norman to Dallas
The Carolina Panthers are absolutely loaded with talent. Unfortunately, with the NFL and its salary cap, it's nearly impossible for a team with as many great players as the Panthers to keep everyone. Someone will have to be the odd man out.
There are recent reports saying that corner back Josh Norman is seeking around 16 million a year. If he really wants it, it's very likely he'll get it. But he would have to allow himself to hit the open market to do so.
If Carolina doesn't feel like they can keep him at the price he's demanding, getting something for him via a trade might be a smart move. The Dallas Cowboys are a team who would likely make a play for him. After failing to rebuild their secondary in 2012, they may look to go big and add 2015's best corner to their roster.
2 Von Miller to Buffalo
Von Miller was the storyline throughout the Broncos Super Bowl run this past year. With the famous quarterback struggling, the star linebacker managed to pick up the slack and carry his team. While most agree that edge rusher is the most important position on defense, what Von Miller is doing right now is almost unheard of in today's NFL.
There's now rumors that Miller is seeking $22 million per year. As crazy as that number is, it feels like Denver just needs to do whatever it takes to keep him around.
But unexpected things happen all the time in the NFL. For a team up against the cap, it would be hard to blame the management for having serious concerns over investing quarterback money in an edge rusher. If they decided to open up their phones and listen to some of the trade offers they could get... they might get a few that are too much to turn down.
Rex Ryan in Buffalo loves his pass rushers; especially ones that are versatile. They'll be a team to watch in this hypothetical scenario.
1 Drew Brees to New York Jets
Few have forgotten the New Orleans Saints team that dominated the mid to late-2000s. They had talent all across their roster, top to bottom, offense and defense; they were legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Somehow everything just fizzled out. Certain players failed to live up to expectations and others just regressed. The past few years the Saints have been spiraling downwards and it doesn't seem like a quick fix is in sight.
Drew Brees is still a very good quarterback and that counts for a lot. But he's 37 and likely heading towards a regression. They could keep him around and hope to correct everything, but that seems unlikely. Trading Brees would certainly bring quite the return and could be what they need to kick off a proper rebuild.
A team that would absolutely be making the first call is the New York Jets. They got a good season from Ryan Fitzpatrick last year and it was a hair shy of earning a playoff spot. The team is loaded with talent and bringing in a high end veteran quarterback could be enough to push them over the hump.
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