NFL trade deadline comes and goes with minimal action
The New England Patriots acquired Sopoaga and a sixth-round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles in return for a fifth-round pick. Essentially, the Patriots will move back a round in the draft to give themselves some much needed depth at defensive tackle - Vince Wilfork (Achilles) is out for the season and Tommy Kelly (knee) does not appear close to returning. Sopoaga is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal that he inked with the Eagles over the offseason.
Many fans are surely disappointed that Sopoaga - who has been a mediocre player at best this season - was the only player to move at the trade deadline. With all the big names said to be potentially headed to new teams, a lot of people were expecting a little more excitement. On Monday, I wrote about ten players who were popping up in trade rumors, but I concluded by saying that I did not feel as if any of the players would be traded, and none of them were. I'll quickly go over the likely reasons why those ten players did not end up being dealt:
Josh Gordon (WR - CLE): Simply too good for the Browns to let go of for anything less than a top-notch package of draft picks. The Browns are planning for the future, but this 22-year-old is the future. Teams likely inquired, but were unwilling to meet a lofty asking price.
Kenny Britt (WR - TEN): Earlier in his career, teams likely would have been willing to deal with Britt's diva attitude and off-field baggage thanks to his phenomenal ability. Britt, however, is playing horrendously this season and is no longer worth the distractions he causes.
Hakeem Nicks (WR - NYG): The Giants are right back in playoff contention after two straight wins, so they were not going to just give Nicks away, which they may have done if they had dropped to 0-8. A shell of his former self, Nicks was probably not drawing anything more than a late-round pick on the trade market.
Jared Allen (DE - MIN): If the Vikings hold on to Allen and let him walk in free agency, they could get a third-round compensatory draft pick, so anything less than a third-round pick was not going to pry Allen from Minnesota. With about $7.5 million remaining on the final year of Allen's contract, teams probably weren't interested in giving up a third-rounder for him.
Tony Gonzalez (TE - ATL): After originally saying that he wanted to stick out his final season in Atlanta, Gonzalez eventually admitted that he would be open to a trade from the flailing Falcons. For some reason, however, the Falcons reportedly were not open to trading him. Perhaps they were trying to drive up his price, but if so, it did not work.
Darren McFadden (RB - OAK): An injury-prone running back who is struggling in the final year of his contract, McFadden was not going to draw a worthwhile draft pick for the Raiders.
Fred Davis (TE - WAS): Teams were likely skeptical of Davis after he was a healthy scratch each of the past two weeks. There are rumors that he may be released outright, so interested teams could hold on to their draft picks and potentially go after him on waivers.
Larry Fitzgerald (WR - ARI): There are plenty of reasons that Fitzgerald didn't get dealt. First of all, the Cardinals are 4-4 - they're not having a fire sale. Second, Fitzgerald's remaining contract is massive, and he is 30 years old with increasing lower body injuries, which makes it unlikely that a team would give up a high draft pick for him. The Cardinals may try to move Fitzgerald over the offseason, but even then they will have a difficult time finding a trade partner.
Jason Babin (DE - JAX): Simply not a very big market for 33-year-old journeymen who have 9.0 sacks over their past 23 games.
Jairus Byrd (FS - BUF): Byrd's health (plantar fasciitis) and contract situation (playing under the franchise tag) were likely red flags for potential trade partners. In addition, the Bills may feel that Byrd's injury will drive his offseason price down, so they may be holding on hoping to sign him in the offseason.
This trade deadline was whole lot of bark and very little bite. Despite numerous rumors linking elite players like Josh Gordon to Super Bowl contenders like the San Francisco 49ers, no team is significantly different than they were a day ago. The NFL very well may consider pushing the trade deadline back further, for the farther back it goes, the more moves will be made.