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10 NFL players who could be traded before the draft

Rachel Wold
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters

Things are about to get wild with NFL free agency approaching. Outside of impending free agents visiting new teams, some franchises will likely place some talented players on the trade block. Some of these highly-desired players won’t last long, either.

Due to demand and franchises with lots of cash to spend, some trades could easily go down well before the NFL Draft takes place at the end of April.

From the cash-strapped Philadelphia Eagles to teams needing quarterback upgrades to discord, personnel moves will be inevitable.

Here are 10 players who may soon find themselves subject to a trade.

Earl Thomas, safety, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are dangerously close to being in that rebuilding mode, and moving Thomas while he is still under 30 might be in the works. This could be preferable to keeping a player around who is threatening a hold out and wants a contract extension. The timing seems perfect for the Seahawks to trade their six-time Pro Bowler, who has also had health issues the past two seasons.

To further muck things up, Thomas recently told Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett to “come get me” after visiting the team’s locker room last season. Wherever Thomas lands, he will take a very hard-earned 25 interceptions, three touchdowns, 66 defended passes and 662 combined tackles along with him.

Jarvis Landry, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

Putting any pending contract discussions on hold, the Dolphins made a quick move and used the franchise tag on Landry. This ties Landry up and disables him from exploring free agency. That said, there are reports that the Dolphins could trade Landry “for the right price.”

Clearly, the Dolphins are working all the angles here. If no teams bite, the Dolphins will eventually pay Landry around $16 million, if he signs his franchise tender, or will work out a long-term deal.

Despite not being a huge yards-per-catch receiver, Landry has averaged 100 receptions per year since being selected by Miami in the second round of the 2014 Draft. He also scored a career-high nine touchdowns from the Jay Cutler/Matt Moore combo in 2017.

Aqib Talib, cornerback, Denver Broncos

Talib just turned 32, and his production hit a decline in 2017. During his fourth year with the Broncos, Talib recorded only one interception, defended seven passes and tallied 31 combined tackles. These numbers are significantly lower than his previous three seasons. But, maybe it was just an off-kilter year for him. He still was selected for this year’s Pro Bowl, which has been the norm since he signed with Denver.

As it stands, Talib is signed with the Broncos through 2019 and is slated to count $12 million against the Broncos’ salary cap this year. It was rumored prior to the Super Bowl that the Broncos would attempt to trade Talib. Doing so would free up some much-needed cap space as they pursue quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Nick Foles, quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles

Foles is due to earn a mere $7 million this upcoming season. So, it would make sense for the Eagles to hold on to their Super Bowl MVP as insurance behind quarterback Carson Wentz. This is especially important because there is no guarantee Wentz will be ready to open the season (more on that here.)

But, the Eagles would also be wise to put on a poker face and entertain trade offers. Some desperate team may be willing to offer up the farm for a quarterback who just won a Super Bowl MVP trophy. Said teams might just turn a blind eye to any of Foles’ prior blunders from seasons past.

As we all know, Foles put up a marvelous postseason run that earned him a quarterback rating of 115.7. For this, Philly’s phone will be ringing off the hook soon.

Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas, wide receivers, Denver Broncos

The Broncos reportedly would consider placing Sanders on the trade block. Though, other reports suggest the team plans to keep both Sanders and Thomas. It makes sense retaining two top receivers for whoever the Broncos land as their new quarterback.

Money might be an issue, though. The Broncos rank 16th in salary cap space. If they really want to get aggressive and try to sign Cousins, as it’s been heavily speculated, something may have to give. Thomas and Sanders combine for nearly $23 million in cap space.

If the Broncos do not trade the aforementioned Talib, one of these receivers may wind up being the odd man out.

Tyrod Taylor, quarterback, Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor

The Bills and Taylor mesh like oil and water. But, instead of releasing Taylor so he can pursue other options, the Bill are reportedly toying with the idea of trading Taylor. This way they get something in exchange for a mobile quarterback who is a definite upgrade over several other starting league signal callers.

In three seasons starting for the Bills, Taylor completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 51 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,575 yards and 14 touchdowns. There is some definite value here for a team in need of T-Mobile’s skill set.

Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson wide receivers, Green Bay Packers

We could see the Packers moving on from either Cobb or Nelson to free up some cap space. This seems logical considering the team made it a priority to commit to 25-year-old Davante Adams long term.

As a result of Adams’ emergence, both Cobb’s and Nelson’s production has been on a down tick. But, both are talented receivers who can still contribute. Cobb is younger (27) and has one more year left on his contract that has a cash payout of $9.5 million this year. He caught 71.7 percent of his targets for 653 yards and four touchdowns in 2017.

Nelson is 32 and his cash payout for his final contract year in 2018 is $10.25 million. Before 2017, Nelson had three consecutive seasons when he tallied no less than 1,257 yards and eight touchdowns.

Both receivers could garner some trade interest.

Vinny Curry, defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles

Curry is a name being floated about as a possible trade target this spring. It would be a cost-saving move to clear up the $11 million Curry counts against the team’s salary cap this year. Currently, the Eagles are in the worst financial shape of any other team in the league at nearly $9.7 million in the hole.

It might be the right time to see what the Eagles can get for their 29-year-old Super Bowl champion pass rusher, who put up three sacks and 42 combined tackles in 2017. Curry is the fourth-highest paid player on the Eagles’ roster.

Martavis Bryant, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

Martavis Bryant

Bryant and the Steelers had a rocky season. And, it was no secret that Bryant was not a fan of rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster stealing the limelight last year. Taking a backseat also to Antonio Browns, Bryant would be better off playing for a team that appreciates and needs his big play-making abilities. He was also the discussion of trade talks last October.

Bryant is a former fourth-round pick from 2014 who was suspended all of 2016 for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

If he’s healthy and not causing issues, Bryant would contribute nicely to a team that would feature him more prominently. He has maintained an average of 15.2 yards per catch.

Marcus Peters, cornerback, Kansas City Chiefs

Speaking of discord, Peters is player the Chiefs may choose to place on the trading block this offseason. Outside of being an incredible corner, Peters had some clashes last season when he reportedly fought with a coach. He then sat out for a one-game suspension stemming from throwing a penalty flag into the stands, and said argument.

Peters is young — only 25 — and has tallied 19 interceptions, three touchdowns, 55 defended passes and 151 combined tackles in his three years in Kansas City. The two-time Pro Bowler, whose cash payout for 2018 is just $1.74 million, would fetch quite the sweet ransom from a team in need of his services.

It should be interesting to see if the Chiefs feel inclined to offer up such a lucrative asset.