TORONTO - In Houston they suddenly need a middle linebacker, in Baltimore Willis McGahee has outlasted his welcome, and in Packerville the season-long search for someone to carry the mail for Ryan Grant will end today.
The NFL trade deadline is here and there are at least a half dozen teams with Super Bowl aspirations who could use a band-aid. And, while nobody could win the Super Bowl this weekend, there are another half-dozen teams with one win or fewer heading into Week 7 who know it wonít be them. Couple that with traffic jams near the top in the AFC South and West as well as in the NFC South, West and North, and perhaps itíll spur some action on the normally quiet deadline day.
The Packers jumped into the market early Sunday night when they acquired safety Anthony Smith from the Jaguars but it hardly addresses their primary need.
McGaheeís status has become a hot topic after he suited up for Sundayís game but didnít play. Other than backup quarterback Marc Bulger, McGahee was the only player who was active but didnít step on the field. McGahee still is viewed as having some game left even though heís no longer the primary ball carrier in Baltimore. At the moment the Packers offence is one-dimensional. McGahee might help solve that issue. The Saints also are believed to be interested.
Then thereís Oakland. The Raiders last week sent a message to every team advising them that everyone on the roster was available, including cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Heís one of the best cover guys in the league but with a contract that pays him $16 million US each of the next two years, itís difficult to see anyone taking that on despite Asomughaís talent. A more intriguing trade possibility is running back Michael Bush. He makes only $550,000 and heís a free agent at the end of the season. For the Packers, looking for a one-year wonder, there would be no long-term commitment. But they would have to meet Davisí price and heís likely looking for something more than a fourth-round draft pick that set the market when the Bills dealt Marshawn Lynch to Seattle.
In Houston itís the playoffs or bust for Gary Kubiak and there are serious cracks showing in the defence. Sunday, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, described as the teamís ďheart and soul,Ē sustained a torn Achilles tendon and is done for the season. They also need help at safety to improve a pass defence that ranks last in the league.
Monday, there were rumblings in Cleveland that the Browns were dangling defensive tackle Shaun Rogers; a proven nose tackle in the 3-4, he is also regarded as athletic enough to slide to the outside.
The Colts are looking to bolster their run defence.
Several teams, including the Chiefs and Rams, would like to upgrade at receiver. And, while Deion Branch is settling in nicely in New England, the Patriots donít have a speedy, deep threat. The prime target is holdout Vincent Jackson, but Chargers management would rather let him sit then trade him.
The Rams are looking to replace the injured Mark Clayton. It would make sense for Carolina to deal Steve Smith for future draft picks. But Smith is close with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and league sources say the team wonít trade him. They could always settle for Roscoe Parrish as Buffalo tries to stockpile draft picks.
Finally, the neatest bit of speculation this weekend came out of Philadelphia where conspiracy theorists are suggesting the Eagles were showcasing Kevin Kolb. In a curious way it makes sense. If Philadelphia is going to commit to Michael Vick for the next few seasons, Kolb becomes a luxury.
His value, after splendid wins the past two starts, will never be higher. And no matter what coach Andy Reid says, until either Kolb or Vick goes away, neither will his quarterback controversy.
Carolina will start Matt Moore, not Jimmy Clausen, Sunday against the 49ers ... The Packers have placed tight end Jermichael Finley on injured reserve, ending his season ... Niners coach Mike Singletary revealed that Vernon Davis is undergoing an MRI on his knee ... Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed is expected to be removed from the Ravenís physically-unable-to-perform list this week after undergoing hip surgery. That will aid a pass defence that has allowed 606 yards the past two weeks.