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 Post subject: Five trades that should happen
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:38 am 
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http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/ ... des-happen

Updated: March 31, 2014, 9:53 AM ET
By Field Yates | ESPN Insider

Andre Johnson to 49ers? These deals won't happen, but make sense in theory

The NFL trade deadline usually comes and goes without much activity. For a variety of factors, trades are infrequent in the NFL, particularly during the season. After the season, however, talks can intensify, as we recently saw with the Philadelphia Eagles and wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was ultimately released.

Was the Jackson buzz a precursor to a busier trading period this offseason? Tough to say, although it remains unlikely that a slew of major swaps will take place. Odds are there won't be many -- if any -- major trades this offseason.

But the Jackson talk got us thinking about moves around the NFL that would make sense in the hypothetical. We're not saying these have been discussed, and it's fair to label all of them as long shots. But thinking simply in terms of trades that would make sense for both parties, here are five trades that should happen (even though they won't):

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Houston Texans trade wide receiver Andre Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2014 second-round pick and 2014 fifth-round pick


Why it works for San Francisco: In need of a wide receiver -- and with 11 picks in this draft -- the 49ers would be well-served to add Johnson. He has a manageable base salary of just $6.5 million for 2014, an amount for which San Francisco could find space. The 49ers have a deep and talented roster, and while draft picks can result in young, affordable talent, the truth is there aren't that many spots available on the 53-man roster in San Francisco. Johnson brings a vertical presence to the perimeter passing game and makes an already Super Bowl-caliber team that much scarier.

Why it works for Houston: The Texans have a new head coach in Bill O'Brien, and while the roster in some ways profiles as a quick-turnaround candidate, it's critical that they continue to collect assets with an eye towards a future of sustained success. Adding two draft picks in exchange for a nearly 33-year-old wide receiver would provide them with draft capital to fill out their roster holes. Johnson remains an elite wideout and has meant so much to the franchise, but Houston is desperate for an infusion of young talent and draft picks are invaluable to them at this time.

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San Diego Chargers trade running back Ryan Mathews to the Tennessee Titans for left tackle Michael Roos


Why it works for San Diego: After signing Donald Brown to a three-year deal, the backfield will be crowded for San Diego this coming season. Danny Woodhead also plays an integral role, and Ronnie Brown could be re-signed. Mathews was excellent last year, but Brown's presence would cut into his snaps. Roos is 31 and entering the final year of his contract, but he's among the more consistent and reliable players at his position in the league. San Diego pieced it together along the offensive line last year, but Roos would bring a different level of ability to protect Philip Rivers' blind side.

Why it works for Tennessee: Signs continue to point to Chris Johnson not being back in Tennessee next season, meaning the team will need a running back to carry the heavy load. Mathews has dealt with numerous injuries during his career, but he was at his best with Ken Whisenhunt -- now the Titans head coach -- as his offensive coordinator. Losing Roos would really sting, but the running back depth chart is scary beyond Johnson right now in Tennessee (and not in a good way). Mathews, like Roos, has one more year on his contract.

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Dallas Cowboys trade cornerback Morris Claiborne to the Arizona Cardinals for defensive tackle Dan Williams


Why it works for Arizona: Claiborne's NFL struggles are hard to figure after he starred at LSU, but his natural abilities are still enticing. The team added depth in the secondary with Antonio Cromartie this offseason, but Claiborne would bring higher upside playing alongside former LSU teammates Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Peterson also happens to be a free agent next offseason, and while the Cardinals are angling to keep him around long term, a rejuvenated Claiborne would give them insurance in case Peterson ends up elsewhere.

Why it works for Dallas: Claiborne is the Cowboys' third cornerback right now and has disappointed. The team has had better luck adding cornerbacks in free agency than through the draft, and is desperate for big bodies along the defensive line. Williams has just one year left on his deal, but he presents an intriguing size and strength combination next to Henry Melton, a penetrating interior force. It may not be the most natural fit in what Dallas does defensively due to Williams' lack of quickness, but his ability to clog space would provide an upgrade against the run.

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New England Patriots trade offensive lineman Marcus Cannon to the Miami Dolphins for defensive lineman Jared Odrick


Why it works for New England: Cannon filled in for right tackle Sebastian Vollmer during the 2013 season, starting the final eight games. He was dominant in the run game, though not as effective in the pass game. That being said, he's too talented to sit on the bench, and with Vollmer expected to be ready for the start of next season, the Patriots have their starting five from 2013 back intact. Odrick fills a need to beef up the defensive line, bringing both run-stuffing force and interior pass-rush ability with him.

Why it works for Miami: The Dolphins have taken dramatic steps to shore up their protection woes from last season (Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times, most in the NFL), adding tackle Branden Albert, guard Shelley Smith and running back Knowshon Moreno, a sturdy blitz pick-up back. Adding Cannon would bring a chip to the right side of the line. Losing Odrick during the same offseason as veteran defensive tackle Paul Soliai is concerning, but the pass-protection issues are too grave to overlook. An intra-division trade is almost unfathomable in the NFL, but both sides would benefit from this swap.

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Buffalo Bills trade linebacker Manny Lawson to the Atlanta Falcons for offensive tackle Sam Baker


Why it works for Buffalo: The Bills' defense under Jim Schwartz will look to utilize its outside linebackers in space. GM Doug Whaley has anointed Lawson as a "hybrid player" this offseason, but that also means he may not have a natural position in this scheme. With Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes as edge players, Buffalo has some wiggle room to deal Lawson. Baker, meanwhile, would give Buffalo an option to play opposite of Cordy Glenn at either tackle spot. Head coach Doug Marrone is a talented offensive line tutor who could revitalize Baker's play after a down 2013. While Baker signed a lucrative contract just this past offseason, the bulk of the guaranteed money has been paid out, softening the financial blow for Buffalo. A re-tooled deal could also be brought to the table. Obviously, Baker's health is a consideration coming off of a knee issue, but if the Bills were to shore up the offensive tackle spot, the board would be wide open for them at pick No. 9 overall in the first round. As things stand now, they may feel some pressure to draft a tackle.

Why it works for Atlanta: The Falcons have an obvious need for pass-rushers, and while head coach Mike Smith recently declared that the team will not be a 3-4 based defense, much of their personnel approach this offseason suggests that it will be. Lawson would give them a veteran rusher with good length who can set the edge and prevent the Falcons from having to reach at No. 6 overall if Khalil Mack is off the board (presuming that Jadeveon Clowney is long gone by then). The team could then target one of the top offensive tackle prospects available in the draft, with Texas A&M's Jake Matthews as a possible option. He'd be an immediate and long-term starter at left tackle.

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