Nobody expected big things in the NFC West this year. The San Francisco 49ers solidified their status as the lead horse in the division with a big win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Most pundits expected Jim Harbaugh's rebuilding efforts to take a back seat to the St. Louis Rams this year, and those two teams seem like they could be most active ahead of the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday, October 18.
Seattle might be the only team in the division capable of challenging the 49ers for the title. That still looks like a long shot, as San Francisco's play truly stands above their division rivals. Pete Carroll's team did ship out Aaron Curry last week, erasing the memories of an early first-round pick in 2009 that failed to live up to expectations. Will the Aaron Curry trade be the last move from the NFC West before the deadline?
San Franciso 49ers
Needs: wide receiver, cornerback
Over the weekend, they were said to be one of several teams talking to the Denver Broncos about Brandon Lloyd. Denver is said to be asking for a draft pick somewhere between the third- and fifth-round in exchange for Lloyd who will be a free agent after the season. Eddie Royal could be an option for the 49ers too, a cheap one. Royal is a pure slot guy who would complement their offense. Braylon Edwards is schedule to return in week eight, so they may opt to wait on him rather than swing a deal. Wayne would actually make some sense because he gives the young team some veteran know-how for a playoff run.
Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis was said to be available, but San Francisco has not been named as a potential suitor. In truth, they can get by with their secondary thanks to a powerful front seven.
Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst hardly constitute a quarterback controversy. Neither option is seen as long-term. Seattle would need to replace them with a more viable candidate if they hoped to compete this year.
Potential targets: Kyle Orton
One option might be Kyle Orton whose time in Denver is over. However, Seattle is committed to rebuilding with the long-term in mind, which means they will be unlikely to add a plug and play quarterback. Carson Palmer is a logical connection given his ties to USC, but he seems to be content with retirement and the Bengals have little drive to move him.
Needs: wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker
Arizona spent most of its trading capital during the offseason to acquire Kevin Kolb. Unfortunately, they did little to address the protection in front of him and the skill players around him.
Potential targets: Brandon Lloyd, Reggie Wayne
The Cardinals denied interest in Lloyd as soon as it was reported. Beyond that, they have little hope for fixing their problems via trade right now. It's hard to find offensive linemen on the trade market.
St. Louis Rams
Needs: wide receiver, cornerback
Teams with an 0-5 record usually are the ones doing the trading, so why are we even talking about the potential for a trade in St. Louis? Job security. The Rams front office and coaching staff is in danger of getting canned after this season for a failure to live up to expectations. Since the departure of Isaac Bruce, this team has failed to add a viable receiving option for their offense. Last year's Rookie of the Year, Sam Bradford, has been watching his receiving options drop passes left and right. At cornerback, they lost Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher to season-ending injuries. Jerome Murphy, their third cornerback, was lost for the season in training camp. Al Harris, 36, is now one of their starters.
Potential targets: Brandon Lloyd, Rashean Mathis
Brandon Lloyd and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have a deep, personal connection. McDaniels turned around Lloyd's faltering career last season, and the Rams could desperately use a player who knows the offensive system. The Rams are said to be talking with the Broncos about Lloyd, and one of three serious suitors.