+ NFL Trading Deadline: The league's twice delayed trading deadline approaches at 4 PM (ET) on Thursday. There are a variety of rumors floating around for guys like running backs DeAngelo Williams and Steven Jackson as well as wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Even wide receiver Steve Smith has been mentioned, per a Jay Glazer report saying that an NFC team approached the Panthers this week. Not that it matters at all due to the financial detriment it would cause him, Smith has said he'd rather retire as a Panther than get traded.
Yet don't expect Jackson to be one, says St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher:
"The Steven Jackson rumors are rumors," Fisher said. "He's our running back. We're not calling around nor are we getting calls, for that matter. So, I'll put that to rest."
When a furious mustache tells you how it is, it's best to shelve it. So. Rested.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has stated publicly that Carolina doesn't intend to make any trades before the deadline. But then again the Panthers are 1-6, with a recently fired General Manager, brooding starting quarterback and little hope in their optimism reservoir. Either way most arguments tend to sway against "names" being traded, typically related to salary issues.
A Pro Football Talk report cites a source saying that "the Panthers are 'absolutely' prepared to absorb" the "immediate" $9.6 million acceleration that would be applied to Carolina's salary cap in 2013 if DeAngelo Williams is traded. Williams is due $5.25 million in fully guaranteed base salary this season, with $4.75 million in 2013, $5.75 million in 2014 and $6.75 million in 2015; none of the final seasons is guaranteed.
Other names that could be floated on Thursday is Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LaGarrett Blount, who ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton reported could be acquired with a seventh-round pick. Cincinnati doesn't have one this year, due to the Taylor May trade last year; compensatory picks can't be traded so that option is out, unless Tampa Bay fields a seventh-round pick in 2014. Jason La Canfora with CBSSports.com agreed that Blount could be shipped out prior to the deadline.
Financially Blount is obtainable. After this season, he becomes a restricted free agent that Cincinnati would have rights to. An explosive second-half of the season and Blount could be retained fairly cheap. If he does much of the same as he has this year, he could be let go without a tender. Call it the no risk high reward argument.
Other the other hand, Roy Cummings with the Tampa Bay Tribute argues that Blount won't be traded:
The reason is they would then be left quite vulnerable at a very valuable position. The Bucs are a run-first team right now and even though Doug Martin is starting to play better and is looking more comfortable in the offense, there is always a chance for injury. Not only that, but the Bucs have to be — and are — concerned about the possibility of Martin hitting that rookie wall at some point. He's not accustomed to playing 16 games at this level and is certainly not accustomed to the kind of pounding he's taking now. Blount still fills a very valuable role on this team and if Martin were to get injured he would fill an even more valuable role. Until Blount's value is reduced, he'll remain a Buccaneer.
As of this posting, the only completed trade at this point is Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas to Detroit for a mid-round pick. At the end of the day, after all of the floating rumors in a sport that rarely features fundamental changing trades, this might be the biggest one we'll get this season.