The NFL trade deadline is rapidly approaching. Could we see any major names dealt? The Around The NFL crew is here to give you six trades we'd like to see happen.
Jay Cutler to the Texans
Texans general manager Rick Smith has survived nine seasons with two playoff victories. This year is spiraling out of control, yet Houston is only one game out of first in the AFC South. So it's time for a panicked, but ultimately sensible trade! The Bears would have loved to get rid of Jay Cutler's contract in the offseason, but they found no takers.
Cutler is proving once again he's a solid mid-level starter, which has plenty of value to a team like the Texans that should be willing to take the short-term plunge. Of Cutler's $16 million salary, $10 million is guaranteed next year, but is that really so bad for a team that has no present at the position (Brian Hoyer) or future? Having Cutler for the next season and a half should not prevent the Texans from doing everything possible to draft and develop a young quarterback, but Cutler would give them a far better option to throw to DeAndre Hopkins in the meantime. What's wrong with upgrading from league-worst to average? It's hard to imagine the Bears would require much more than a mid-to-late round pick.
Bears trade Matt Forte to Giants
The Bears neglected to grant Forte's wishes for an extension last offseason, which means he's playing out his contract year. Turning 30 years old in December, he's an unlikely candidate for a top-dollar contract next offseason with the organization's new regime in rebuilding mode. It makes sense for the Bears to trade him to the Giants for a third-round pick.
A step slower this season, Rashad Jennings has combined with Andre Williams to average an ineffective 3.35 yards per rush as the Giants' 1-2 punch. Jennings was even benched for the inimitable Orleans Darkwa for long stretches of last week's game. The Cowboys' four-game losing streak has left the NFC East wide open, but the Giants need a playmaking back like Forte to help extend their division lead before Tony Romo returns in Week 11. If this is Tom Coughlin's swan song, the Giants should make every effort to send him out on top.
-- Chris Wesseling
Calvin Johnson to Panthers
Megatron deserves a chance to live his golden football years on a young, defense-first football team that has a dynamic mobile quarterback with a cannon for an arm (which, Matt Stafford mostly does, but the team is 1-6). Let's all sign the Free Megatron petition and ensure that we all get one more year of fantasy riches and diving catches.
-- Conor Orr
Joe Haden and Alex Mack to Jaguars
In exchange for Jacksonville's first-round pick. Cleveland can't afford to let talent walk out the door, but it's time to make a stand for the top overall selection. Mack is likely to leave the Browns after this season anyway and showed enough interest in Jacksonville to sign an offer sheet with the Jaguars two seasons ago. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, this possibility is not too far from the truth. Rapoport reported on Sunday that the Browns have already engaged in trade discussions for Mack and Joe Thomas. Haden is a genuine talent at cornerback, but the Browns don't have much else to offer. With two first-rounders, the Browns can throw in additional picks to get into the No. 1 spot and take Cal's Jared Goff. The Jags get better on both sides of the ball while the Browns nab their franchise arm: Everybody wins.
- -- Marc Sessler*
Vernon Davis to Broncos
Hard truth time: The Broncos are 6-0, but they have virtually no chance of advancing to the Super Bowl in their current state. The problems on offense -- specifically related to the decline of Peyton Manning -- has Denver speeding toward a 17-6 loss in the divisional playoffs. We don't believe benching Manning is the answer, so how about adding another weapon to the mix? Enter Vernon Davis, a one-time star in San Francisco who's still moving well and could use a change of scenery -- Davis hinted on Sunday that a trade out of the Bay is "a possibility". Manning loves throwing to his tight ends, and Julius Thomas has been missed. A healthy and motivated Davis could fill the void and perhaps shake Denver's O out of its coma before it's too late.
- -- Dan Hanzus*
Doug Martin to Panthers
Finally healthy, Martin flashes playmaking in both the run and pass attack weekly and has been a broken-ankle maven this season behind a mediocre offensive line. The Dougernaut's brand of power and elusiveness fits right into the Panthers' offense. Yes, Jonathan Stewart has busted out in recent weeks, but hasn't played 16 games since 2011, so we could assume he'll get dinged-up at some point. With respect to Bowling Ball Tolbert, Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne, Cam Newton needs a workhorse back to make the offense go. The Panthers' yogurt-peddling quarterback has played at an MVP-level, but snagging Martin for the rest of the season -- on the cheap -- will ensure the Panthers have a solid backup plan if Stewart goes down, provide the 1-2 punch they've missed this year and keep J-Stew fresh for the playoffs.
After the Bucs declined Martin's fifth-year option this offseason, the back will hit the open market in 2016 -- his fantastic play now making that decision look dunderheaded. After Sunday's epic collapse, it's clear the Bucs are going nowhere in 2015. General manager Jason Licht needs to play both sides of the Martin card: flip two months of the tailback to a playoff contender for a mid-round pick, then try and re-sign him after the season.
- -- Kevin Patra*