At least five trades could happen between now and when the NFL draft commences on April 25. Here they are, ranked from the most to least probable, according to various sources in the league:
1. Braylon Edwards from the Cleveland Browns to the New York Giants (or somewhere else):
The Giants know they need another big, athletic wide receiver to replace Plaxico Burress. They saw their offense go south without him late last season, and they don't want a repeat this year. Edwards is more than capable of filling that role, probably far better than anyone the Giants could select with the 29th overall pick of the draft.
The Giants are wary of his high-maintenance personality and the fact he showed a penchant for dropping passes last season. They also would likely have to give plenty of thought to meeting his demands to double his current salary of $4.55 million.
And then there's the price of the trade. By most accounts, the Giants so far are balking at the Browns' insistence on a first-round choice and another choice, believed to be a third-rounder. The Philadelphia Eagles, who also need a wide receiver, could have an interest in Edwards as well.
2. Jason Peters from the Buffalo Bills to Philadelphia (or somewhere else):
Negotiations between the Bills and Peters for a restructured contract are going nowhere. As long as Peters insists on being the top-paid tackle in the NFL, with a deal calling for him to receive about $11 million per season (roughly $7 million more than he currently gets), his situation is not going to be resolved. And he seems determined to stage another protracted holdout, like the one that caused so much disruption last year.
The only solution is to send Peters elsewhere, and the Eagles view him as the answer to a gaping hole. The Bills want at least a first-round pick and another third-round choice. If that isn't acceptable to the Eagles, they'll have to decide whether they can be satisfied by using the 21st overall pick on the best available tackle, who is likely to be Andre Smith of Alabama.
3. Julius Peppers from the Carolina Panthers to the New England Patriots (or somewhere else):
Nothing seems to have changed since word initially surfaced that Peppers no longer wants to be a Panther. The standout defensive end has yet to sign his one-year, franchise-tender contract worth nearly $17 million with the Panthers, presumably because it affords him greater control of his destiny because his agent is allowed to independently broker a deal that could then be brought back to the Panthers.
According to multiple NFL sources, the Patriots remain very much interested in acquiring Peppers to play outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. However, the Pats would prefer that he sign the tender, thus allowing the Panthers to deal directly with them.
4. Chad Ochocinco from the Cincinnati Bengals to the Eagles, Giants (or somewhere else):
Ochocinco still wants out of Cincinnati as much as ever, but isn't voicing it in public the way he did last year. He likely would have fetched a fairly high trade price a year ago from a team such as the Washington Redskins, who wound up addressing wide receiver in the draft.
Now, the market seems far cooler. The Eagles and Giants are looking for a receiver, but after their ugly experiences with Terrell Owens and Burress, respectively, neither seems inclined to take on the excess drama baggage that comes with the receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson.
5. Anquan Boldin from the Arizona Cardinals to the Eagles, Giants (or somewhere else):
The Cards are not giving up on trying to make Boldin happy with his contract, even if the task proves nearly impossible. They simply have a hard time coming to grips with the idea of parting ways with one of the NFL's most talented receivers. They know Boldin is integral to their hopes of making a second successive Super Bowl run.
The team retained Kurt Warner on the assumption that he'll continue to have the league's best receiving duo in Larry Fitzgerald and Boldin. The Eagles, Giants and other teams have pretty much given up on the idea that the Cardinals are willing to deal Boldin.