With the lockout clearly a drag for all of us by now and something called "June gloom" all the talk out here at our studios in Los Angeles, I figured this is as good a time as any to play a little game, shall we?
I'm gonna call it, "Trade Or No Trade" (yeah, I know, real original, eh?). We'll select a few of the more high-profile players who have been the subject of trade rumblings, rank the odds of a trade on a highly scientific scale (very likely/likely/not likely) and then give a snippet of what the compensation could look like on the other end. Seems easy enough, right? OK, let's do it then (and as always feel free to commend, critique and/or let me have it on Twitter @jasonlacanfora).
10 deals that need to be made
OK folks, our first fine contestant is none other than Kolb, one-time Eagles starting QB of the future, and now squarely on the market and readily available.
Odds: Very likely (with a small caveat to be detailed below, and yes, I'm already breaking my own rules).
The skinny: It's go West young man. Most of the people I talk to in the league believe it's a two-horse race between Arizona and Seattle. The Eagles want first-round compensation, and if the market bears only a second and a little something else, then sources say there is a very real chance Philly holds on to him as insurance for 2011. Ultimately, I think they get the first-round pick for him, though. If not, he stays.
Up next, friends, is Orton, another QB. And this one is coming off a strong season and is someone who has proven he can help you win some games. Tim Tebow might be the future in Denver, though, and like Kolb, Orton is in the final year of his deal, too.
The skinny: Despite Tebow mania sweeping the country and a segment of the Broncos' fanbase, Orton by far gives the team its best chance of winning games now ... something the Broncos haven't done an awful lot of lately. It would take a lot to pry him away (starting in the second-round level), and team officials doubt that kind of demand will be there. If it materializes, the Broncos will listen but I'd be surprised given this unusual offseason if he's not their opening-day starter.
We're going to stick with the QB theme here and move to McNabb. Less than a year removed from getting an extension from the Redskins, and after just one season with the team, his future is now clearly elsewhere.
The skinny: McNabb very well could end up in Minnesota, but via free agency. No one will want to trade for a contract that guarantees a $10 million payment just before the start of the regular season. Landing any real compensation for the older QB, in a very short offseason and with that big bonus hanging over Mike Shanahan's head, will be difficult if not impossible. Doing McNabb a solid and cutting him loose as soon as the lockout ends would be a classy thing to do, because the circumstances make landing much of anything for him so tough. Either way, the McNabb era in Washington is over.
Let's stay in Washington and shift over to defense with the disgruntled Haynesworth still under contract to the Redskins. He was available before the debacle of last season, which ended with the team suspending him for the final four games. He's still available, but will anyone come a calling?
The skinny: Some in Haynesworth's camp believe Shanahan will keep him around, try to make an example of him and bury him at the bottom of the roster. But to keep the circus in town would further alienate that locker room. Haynesworth won't be there in 2012 regardless and getting anything for him at this point would be a bonus. General manager Bruce Allen has consistently told Haynesworth's agent that he won't be dealt unless the team gets a fair deal for him, and Washington has been holding out for a pick in the first two days of the draft; getting anything more than a fifth-round pick for him will be tricky at best if not impossible. So there's the rub. Haynesworth would love to get to Philadelphia and Detroit. Tampa Bay and Tennessee are also teams he'd be thrilled to get to, but he has no leverage whatsoever at this point based on scant recent production and his myriad of other issues.
Let's get back to QBs folks, because this is a QB-driven league and all, and examine Palmer. He says he will retire, walk away from $11.5 million from the Bengals if he's not traded. So, will he indeed surf off into the sunset?
Odds: Unlikely (to say the least).
The skinny:Bengals owner Mike Brown says he won't deal Palmer. Which means he won't trade Palmer. History shows as much. I'm still not convinced Palmer walks away from the game, with the Bengals discarding guys like T.O. and with more weapons being added to the mix. In my experience, money talks, and Palmer has $50 million reasons left on his contract not to go gently to the beach.