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As draft nears, plenty of vets could be traded

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The Sports Xchange

By Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

Draft weekend brings out the best bartering traits in NFL decision-makers determined to maximize value, even if it means dealing a proven veteran to cash in on potential of incoming prospects.

There are big names with bigger games — Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers — available at the right price and a few surprises who could be moved this week during the course of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Here’s a look at 10 veteran names who could be bandied in the “Let’s Make a Deal” phase of the 2015 draft:

10. Mike Glennon, QB, Buccaneers: His time is up in Tampa with the arrival of a new franchise quarterback expected Thursday. His market could be considerable — the shallow pool of QB prospects beyond Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota is enough to keep the phone lines open for the Bucs to line up an extra pick. Glennon could fit Ken Whisenhunt’s offense in Nashville or become a fallback plan for the Browns.

9. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos: Self-declaration of health might not count for much but Ball believes he’s ready to compete for carries. It might be elsewhere considering the emergence of C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman’s steady showing with Ball hurt last season.

8. Evan Mathis, OG, Eagles: For the second straight offseason Mathis asked for and was granted permission to seek a trade. The environment in Philadelphia is a billboard for “everyone is replaceable” and a team that loses out on the two strongest guard prospects next week might kick the tires on a Mathis swap.

7. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers: Still elite as a straight-line runner and polished as an inline blocker, there is no offense Davis doesn’t fit. The 49ers are stuck in the middle of rebuilding and reloading, and dealing Davis rather than paying him is one path toward restocking the roster with younger (cheaper) talent.

6. Justin Houston, OLB, Chiefs: GM John Dorsey claims communication lines are open with Houston, who had 22 sacks last season, 48.5 in his first four seasons, but isn’t thrilled about wearing the franchise tag this summer. There are teams who might be willing to part with a pair of first-round picks to land Houston. Based on the Chiefs’ salary-cap standing, a long-term agreement keeping Houston in Kansas City is unlikely to happen until next year.

5. Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins: Options. It’s all about options. The face of the franchise two years ago is faced with steep uncertainty playing for a head coach who is tepid with endorsements for RG3 and a new GM slow to pick up Griffin’s 2016 option while also armed with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft.

4. Dion Jordan, OLB, Dolphins: Three sacks in two seasons since he was drafted third overall in 2013. He played for Chip Kelly at Oregon and, if you didn’t notice, the Philadelphia Eagles’ coach has an affinity for his old recruits.

3. Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Stay or go, Cutler knows he’s getting paid — $25.5 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. That’s money the Bears would enjoy erasing from their debit sheet, but dumping him is essentially paying him to play elsewhere based on the makeup of the contract. The Titans are the team most often rumored to like Cutler. But he’s not the preferred passer for Whisenhunt (see below).

2. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: No player in San Diego embodies longevity and stability more than Rivers, but the Chargers are in a pickle. He is lukewarm to the idea of a long-term extension because of the instability of the franchise — which could relocate to Los Angeles as soon as 2016. By dealing Rivers, the Chargers are taking a massive risk while eliminating the worry that he would walk by balking at a move to L.A. The Titans would embrace Rivers’ leadership and working knowledge of Whisenhunt’s offense.

1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: He’s 30 and owed a pile of money — nearly $45 million over the next three seasons — but it only takes one team to view Peterson as the missing piece. The Cardinals, Cowboys, Buccaneers and Chargers could all jump up in class by subbing Peterson for their current starting back.


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