Rumors that were mere hearsay and smokescreens last week involving players like Alex Smith, Steven Jackson and other players turned into more concrete possibilities in the background of this year’s NFL Combine. As college prospects did their thing with drills and interviews, team GMs and front-office gurus used the weekend to gauge talks with other teams regarding which players are available for a trade and how much a team would have to fork over to grab that missing piece. Some teams also made it known, vaguely, that players who were thought to have stability in 2013 could find themselves looking for new work in free agency.
While there was a lot of NFL news that came from the Combine, here are three particular scenarios that stuck out the most in my opinion.
Alex Smith To The Chiefs Almost A Done Deal?
Lets start off with the status of current 49ers QB Alex Smith. Just a few weeks ago, it seemed Smith would spend 2013 floundering at the No. 2 spot behind up-and-comer Colin Kaepernick. And why not? He is still a decent backup option should Kaepernick injure himself. And I am sure he was close to relieving Kaepernick of his duties when the team fell hopelessly behind the Ravens in the Super Bowl. The 49ers lost, but CK proved to everyone he had a bit of the “John Elway Comeback Syndrome.” That game was symbolic as to what the team’s plans were for Smith.
Fast forward to the Combine and not only is Smith on the trade block, but NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora tweeted on 2/24 that the 49ers expressed to others that a deal for QB Alex Smith is effectively complete. But it couldn’t be official until 3/12, the start of the new NFL season. This idea was later proved false by the Sacramento Bee. Even so, it does sound like the 49ers are confident enough that a trade will get done.
The Chiefs appear to be the front runners after it was learned that Andy Reid “courted” Alex Smith last offseason. The Cardinals would like to toss in a bid for Smith’s services. But not only do I see that NOT happening, the Cardinals themselves are “very pessimistic” that the 49ers would even remotely consider trading Smith within the division. We’ve seen teams trade within their division in the past. The Eagles did it in the draft with the Cowboys and with the Redskins when they dumped Donovan McNabb. But inter-divisional trades don’t happen very often. If Reid can snag Smith, he had better hope the team can somehow bring Dwayne Bowe back. If not, there won’t be many toys for Smith to play with.
Update: Jay Glazer reports the Chiefs and the 49ers have completed a trade for Smith that will become official on March 12, the first official day of the 2013 season. Several sources are confirming compensation could be two 2nd-round picks (2013-2014).
Steven Jackson Will Be Playing Somewhere Else In 2013?
After much “will he, won’t he” regarding Steven Jackson’s last voidable year of his contract, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch broke the news that Jackson will get out of his deal and dip his toes in the free agency water this offseason. Despite being the ripe-old age of 29, which is older for some running backs, Jackson’s offseason regimen has kept him in top physical form. There is a lot of tread on those tires, but still plenty of upside for a team in desperate need of a running game. He will be one of the most coveted offensive players this year, shooting to the top as the No. 1 free agent running back.
Even though Jackson would love to remain with the team he’s been with all his career, the NFL fan in me would love to see him have the playoff success he deserves. I had initially pondered the Packers as a destination since DuJuan Harris is currently sitting atop the depth chart. Lord knows they could use the help after the Cedric Benson experiment failed earlier in 2012. But according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, Steven Jackson’s “likely landing spot” is with the Falcons. It’s a match made in heaven when you think about it. Michael Turner will be released, even though the Falcons have yet to actually go through with it. Jacquizz Rodgers had shown some abilities as a competent replacement, but the fact that he couldn’t bump Turner out of the starting job last year speaks volumes. If Tony Gonzalez comes back for another season, and with the dynamic duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White already in the fold, the Falcons will be a juggernaut offensively if Jackson is thrown in the mix. This would allow the Falcons to concentrate on defense, which had been the team’s Achilles’ heal.
Revis Island Moving To An Area Near You?
The Jets never fail to make an impression, albeit a bad one, everywhere they show up. After taking what seemed like forever for the team to finally fill the vacant GM job, the Jets made headlines in regards to their best player Darrelle Revis. GM John Idzik failed to make any contact with Revis or his agent at the Combine, while meeting with player representatives for Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller and a few others. They even bypassed Revis to talk to Shonn Greene. Seriously? Jets beat writer Manish Mehta got a text from an unknown AFC executive, saying that the Jets’ avoiding Revis was “B.S. treatment for your best player.”
The Jets have made it clear that they are not going to give into Revis’ demands for another big contract. Not only are they in a cap bind, but Revis is also currently rehabbing from a recent ACL tear. The Jets were shopping Revis around at the Combine. And teams are interested, but the Jets are screwed in regards to compensation because they know they won’t get fair value while Revis isn’t close to being 100 percent coming off an ACL tear. This puts a bit of a wrinkle in their draft plans if they can’t move him before then. The best case scenario for the Jets right now is Revis comes back with a clean bill of health, looks good in training camp (if he even shows up) and the Jets can ship him off right before the beginning of the regular season for a much better compensation package then they would get over the next several weeks.
Either way, the Jets and their three-ring circus have started off the year with a bang.