Larry Fitzgerald and Darren McFadden reportedly could move before trade deadline
The NFL trade season tends to be a lot of sound and fury, followed by very little actual movement. That may be the case again this season, but once again several big names may be on the block ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Arguably the biggest of all: Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday that “Larry Fitzgerald will be in play this off-season, in likely event a deal not completed before Tuesday’s trade deadline.” The 3-4 Cardinals would be waving an early white flag by dealing their franchise player prior to the Oct. 29 deadline, but Fitzgerald’s numbers continue to suffer at the hands of a shoddy line and QB play in the desert.
Fitzgerald also has five more seasons left on the eight-year, $128.5 million deal he signed in 2011. Even though he finished shy of 800 yards receiving last season and is sitting on a sub-1,000-yard pace in 2013, Fitzgerald could draw a substantial return package for the Cardinals. That possibility may be especially intriguing ahead of the 2014 draft, which features a bevy of potential star quarterbacks — a position of great need for the Cardinals for multiple seasons now.
CBS’ Jason La Canfora added five running backs to the rumor mill Sunday: Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, Mikel Leshoure, Mark Ingram and Ryan Williams.
With the Jaguars possibly headed toward an 0-16 season and Jones Drew’s contract up after the year, the longtime Jacksonville back’s name has come up repeatedly as a trade candidate. But La Canfora reiterated that Jones-Drew’s “high salary and paltry production” have rendered any talks moot thus far — Jones-Drew is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, so he might be a rental for any team looking to trade for him.
McFadden is the biggest name among the remaining list pitched by La Canfora. Injuries have hindered him both this season and throughout his career, but he may benefit from being asked to do less on a more successful team. If the Raiders cannot move him in the coming days, they would face a decision on McFadden’s impending free agency at the close of the season
Ingram, Leshoure and Williams all have fallen out of favor with their teams (New Orleans, Detroit and Arizona, respectively). Williams, who has played just five games in three seasons, has yet to be active for the Cardinals in 2013. Leshoure only recently rejoined the Lions’ lineup, though he has garnered a mere two carries and has seen most of his limited work on special teams.
Of that trio, Ingram has the most NFL production on his résumé. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards combined over his first two seasons in New Orleans, before stumbling badly to open the ongoing campaign. Ingram carried 17 times for 31 yards in New Orleans’ first two games and has been inactive since with a toe injury.
All of Ingram, Leshoure and Williams may have some upside to offer a team willing to roll the dice, but the price tag may not be worth it for their current teams.
Jones-Drew and McFadden, on the other hand, are more proven — albeit depreciating — commodities. A trade of either of those backs would constitute a significant transaction for an oft-dormant NFL trade market. Fitzgerald swapping teams would move the needle even further into “blockbuster” range.
History has taught us that the NFL trade deadline is more likely to come and go in silence than it is to bring about a momentous move. The trend could snap in 2013, if Fitzgerald, Jones-Drew or another recognizable star finds a new home.