The day job at Wayfarer is going to keep me away from the blog through the weekend, with the exception of one post on new NFL announcers for ’09 that’s already ready to go. So I went through and updated the post-draft cutbacks comparison with the recent releases of Boss Bailey, Cleo Lemon, and a few other guys.
And in this post, there are two potential trades that we’ve mentioned that I wanted to delve into in more depth. (Of course, we did a much fuller recap of offseason trade rumors and rumors of other sorts in this post.)
We’ve already talked about Brandon Marshalls’ relationship with the Broncos, but we wanted to flip the coin and think about some of the rumored destinations for the talented receiver. The Ravens, Bears, Buccaneers, Giants, and Cowboys are among the teams rumored to be checking into Marshall’s availability. All of these teams (with the possible exception of Tampa) are in need of a starting-caliber receiver, and the free-agent market is pretty devoid of talent other than Plaxico Burress, whose availability is far from certain. Other options such as Marvin Harrison or Amani Toomer could provide depth and experience but not a real threat.
Marshall is worth a second-round pick, but swapping more than that would be a problem for most teams, because Marshall also would require a new contract if any trade is to work. As Peter King pointed out on his Twitter account, the Bears have no first-rounder next year, and the Cowboys just gave up a first-rounder and more for Roy Williams. So those teams would really be reaching to deal for Marshall. The Giants drafted Hakeem Nicks, so they would seem to be longshots as well. And Tampa, with Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton on board, would actually be better served by using some of their staggering salary-cap space to ink a complementary veteran like Harrison than by mortgaging the farm for Marshall.
So that leaves Baltimore as the most logical destination. Derrick Mason is probably more of a No. 2 at this point in his career, and none of the Ravens’ young receivers has shown the consistency to be a star. Marshall would definitely upgrade that offense and help the Ravens move up a level. Plus, the Ravens figure to be good enough to pick in the bottom half of the first round next year. So Baltimore’s the one place where giving up a first-rounder for Marshall and then signing him to a big contract makes a lot of sense. They’re the leader in the trade-rumor clubhouse.
The other trade rumor percolating over the last few months is the Raiders trying to move Derrick Burgess, most likely to the Patriots. With the addition of Greg Ellis, the Raiders now have pass rushers a-plenty (Beacon reference for my Spartanburg peeps). That leaves Burgess as perhaps the odd man out. Burgess is an undersized pass rusher who could thrive in a 3-4 system, and the fact that the Patriots have been after Julius Peppers and other rushers makes them a logical suitor. But as Mike Lombardi wrote so well, the Raiders aren’t logical. Maybe they’ll hang onto Burgess even though there aren’t enough snaps to go around. Maybe they’ll refuse to trade Burgess to the Raiders because the Randy Moss deal a few offseasons ago turned out to be so lopsided. But this appears to be one of those trade rumors that seems to be too logical and too highly publicized to actually happen.