In the midst of a lockout and continued labor strife, the NFL offseason has been in a virtual state of hibernation. But that doesn't mean we can't dream up our on version of the offseason -- it is called "fantasy" football after all, right? So when all of these labor issues are resolved and we can get back to football, here's the 10 moves NFL teams should make that would help their cause and help increase player values when it comes time to draft our fantasy squads.
Donovan McNabb is traded to the Minnesota Vikings. Before he was removed from the starting role in Washington, McNabb was on pace to record the first 4,000-yard passing season of his career in 2010. With Adrian Peterson in the backfield and a ton of talent around him, I think he could easily reach that mark with the Vikings in 2011. McNabb's presence under center would also help the draft-day value of receivers such as Sidney Rice (if he remains with the team), Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe while also saving fantasy leaguers from the start of the Joe Webb era.
Carson Palmer is traded to the Miami Dolphins. Palmer is adamant that he'll retire rather than return to the Bengals, and team owner Mike Brown is just as adamant that he won't trade Palmer. If cooler heads prevail, Palmer would be a great fit for the Dolphins. He'd be a viable No. 2 fantasy quarterback, while also adding value to Brandon Marshall's draft stock. Palmer might not be the same quarterback he was in 2006, but he can still put up some good numbers at times.
DeAngelo Williams signs with the Miami Dolphins. There have been reports that there's mutual interest between Williams and the Dolphins, and I love the fit from a fantasy perspective. He would take over as the unquestioned featured back (Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams would be out of the mix) in an offense that leans on the run. If the team also added Palmer, the Dolphins would have one heck of an offense to help them compete in a tough division that is now ruled by the New England Patriots and New York Jets.
Kyle Orton is traded to the Tennessee Titans. The Broncos have made it clear that Orton will be their starting quarterback in 2011, but I think he'd be a great fit for the Titans. He's a proven winner, would alleviate some of the pressure on Chris Johnson and could also help Kenny Britt become a breakout fantasy superstar -- I can see him emerging as a No. 1 wideout, in fact. What's more, the absence of Orton would allow Tim Tebow to take over as the main man in Denver. Based on his immense fantasy success at the end of last year, Tebow would be a major sleeper.
Terrell Owens signs with the St. Louis Rams. If Brandon Lloyd can lead the league in fantasy points among wideouts in Josh McDaniels' offense, imagine what a star like Owens could do? Despite his extended age, T.O. was still on pace to finish last season with 82 receptions, 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns before suffering a knee injury. Of course, this move is dependant on whether the Rams can add a top wideout in the draft. But as the first choice for Sam Bradford, who's value would also see a boost as a result of the move, Owens would be an asset for all fantasy leaguers.
Mark Ingram is drafted by the New England Patriots. I realize this move would devastate the value of Benjarvus Green-Ellis, but Ingram would be a nice playmaker in the offense for coach Bill Belichick. With Tom Brady at the helm of one of the league's most explosive units, Ingram would almost never see stacked fronts and could use his overall skills to make an impact. A solid runner, receiver and blocker, Ingram could be on the field a ton. If he were also able to secure the goal-line duties, Ingram would be a viable No. 2 fantasy runner with upside heading into 2011 drafts.
Kevin Kolb is traded to the Seattle Seahawks. There are a ton of teams that could use Kolb, who seems destined to be dealt this offseason, but I think coach Pete Carroll will ultimately land the talented quarterback. He's been a wheeler and dealer since returning to the NFL, and the Seahawks desperately need a new signal-caller with Matt Hasselbeck slated to become a free agent. The presence of Kolb, who would be a legitimate No. 2 fantasy quarterback in Seattle, would also help improve the stock of several of the team's offensive skill position players.
Cam Newton is drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Most of our in-house experts believe Newton will be the top pick in the draft, which makes a lot of sense when you consider the current state of the Panthers quarterback situation. Jimmy Clausen was dreadful as a rookie, so Newton looks to be an immediate upgrade. His versatile skill set would help keep defenses honest, which would also help the stock of Jonathan Stewart. If Williams were no longer in the backfield, Stewart could be worth as much as a second-round selection.
Marc Bulger signs with the Arizona Cardinals. I think the Cardinals are going to draft Missouri's Blaine Gabbert with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, but that doesn't mean Bulger can't come in and be a sort of stopgap option. Reports suggested that he was impressive in Ravens practices last year, and we all know he can still sling the football at the age of 34. With Bulger under center, fantasy owners would also feel much safer about taking talented wideout Larry Fitzgerald in the second or third round on draft day.
Randy Moss signs with the Seattle Seahawks. Moss could ultimately end up with the Jets if the team loses one of Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards to free agency, but for now I can see him landing in the Great Northwest. While it won't be his first choice, Moss would come in and become the unquestioned No. 1 wideout for Carroll. He would also help the value of Kolb, if he too lands with the Seahawks. After a disastrous 2010 campaign, the veteran wide receiver would be playing with a chip on his shoulder and motivated to prove he can still play at a high level.