As we careen headlong toward the NFL Scouting Combine, expect the trade rumors to heat up as coaches, general managers and media members prepare to gather for the league's annual melting-pot gathering next week in Indianapolis.
The trade market appears to be getting an early start, with several big-name players already theoretically on the block. We could be in for some fireworks in the weeks leading up to the NFL's new league year.
Let's take a gander at some potential players who teams could agree to trade in the coming weeks:
- Le'Veon Bell: The New York Jets running back has a massive contract, but as NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted on Monday's edition of NFL Total Access, Gang Green has never fully slammed the door on trading the running back who was signed by the previous GM Mike Maccagnan. Bell doesn't seem to fit the Jets' scheme, and the poor blocking meshes with his patient running style like oil and water. Yet, as Rapoport added, the massive $13 million contract is a hindrance that could keep Bell in New York. It's possible the Jets could find a trade partner if they are willing to eat a large chunk of that guarantee, but even that seems iffy. Bell turns 28 years old today.
- Darius Slay: The Detroit Lions cornerback was on the trade block before the deadline last season. He's the rumor mill again and could be the favorite to be traded this time around. Slay is due a base salary of $10 million in the final year of his contract. He wants a new deal and sat out last offseason to make his point about getting a raise. If the Lions don't want to pay the underrated corner his going rate, another team surely will. Any trade talks regarding Slay would likely include a massive new contract for the corner from the acquiring team. The Lions also expect to get considerable compensation. Per Rapoport, Detroit is having trade talks with teams about Slay, and multiple clubs are interested, but nothing is imminent at this point.
- Cam Newton: The Panthers seem more and more likely to lean toward trading Newton as the weeks progress. Rapoport noted that the Carolina rebuild appears bigger than originally believed when Matt Rhule was hired. The biggest factor in a potential Newton trade is the QB's health. Rapoport reported that the team believes the QB will be able to do some football activity by March. If he proves healthy, Newton's trade market could become competitive. The Chargers, Colts and Buccaneers could all be candidates to go after the former NFL MVP.
- Andy Dalton: With the Bengals expected to select a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Dalton's future is no longer in Cincinnati. Rapoport previously reported that the Bengals plan to work with the quarterback to find a suitable trade partner at the right time. RapSheet added Monday that the fit that some sources in the league are identifying right now would be the New England Patriots, only if Tom Brady decides to move on (a huge IF right now).