NFL trade deadline recap: Lots of rumors, little action

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

The NFL trade deadline is the biggest letdown in all of sports. Here's what happened to all those rumors that went nowhere.

Another NFL trade deadline has come and gone. Hopefully, you've been able to catch your breath from the breakneck speed of rumors, news and analysis. It was easily the busiest NFL trade deadline in recent years.

Obviously it was not. In case you have difficulty penetrating the hastily conceived sarcasm of my words, it was yet another uneventful trade deadline in pro football outside of one last-minute move.

There were two transactions made this week.

The Jacksonville Jaguars shipped Mike Thomas to the receiver-starved Detroit Lions in exchange for a draft pick that will probably be put to better use by someone other than Gene Smith.

At the deadline, the New England Patriots acquired cornerback Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a move that really could have some ramifications in the AFC playoff picture.

To long-time fans of the NFL, trade deadline dullsville is nothing new. For recent pro football transplants coming over from the parity-free worlds of MLB and the NBA, it has to be a little bit of a disappointment. Don't worry, the NFL has its hot stove time in the spring, from February through the end of April.

There were a few rumors centered around specific teams and players in the last week or so. It's worth a look back at the players on the whisper wire, if for nothing else as a lesson in why the NFL trade deadline is such a dud.

Dwayne Bowe - Of all the names tossed about as potential trade bait, the disgruntled Kansas City Chiefs receiver was the one who really had the potential to change a team. Sometimes alligator armed, Bowe is still pretty close to the ideal of a No. 1 receiver, and teams from Seattle to Minnesota to the Miami Dolphins could have used him.

The problem is that Bowe would likely have cost a third-round pick, maybe even a second-round pick. Teams acquiring him would have been further limited by the fact that he's playing this season under a one-year franchise tender. League rules prohibit teams from negotiating with franchised players during the season, so a team might have only been able to rent Bowe for eight games at a pretty high cost.

Steven Jackson - The deadline brought a strange narrative around St. Louis' veteran running back. Pretty credible national reporters said that the Rams were getting calls from teams interested in Jackson. Peter King put the odds of a deal at 55 percent. On Tuesday, head coach Jeff Fisher stuffed the Steven Jackson trade talk back into a sack, tied a rock around it and threw it into the Mississippi River.

You wonder what kind of offers the Rams got for Jackson, a 29-year old running back managing a career-worst 3.7 yards per carry behind a middle tier blocking unit. A best case scenario for the Rams would have been a fourth-round pick, a hefty toll in an era where running backs are the most interchangeable of players.

Robert Mathis - The Indianapolis Colts are kinda, sorta in a playoff chase themselves. Trading away the team's sack leader would be a tough sell. Parity strikes again.

LaGarrette Blount - Tampa Bay supposedly was willing to take a seventh-round pick in exchange for Blount. He's averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Again, running backs just aren't as valuable as they used to be.

DeAngelo Williams - Another running back without any takers. Williams' five-year, $43 million contract is a monument to exiled GM Marty Hurney, and not something teams were eager to acquire. Carolina was supposedly willing to eat a big chuck of the cap hit on that, but it makes you wonder what they expected in return.

Beyond those more well-known names, there were probably a ton of role players, special teamers and washed up first-round picks that teams at least made a few calls about, just to see. And nobody got dealt, except Aqib Talib ... to the Patriots.

Your team didn't get any better at this week. The Patriots did. One more very good reason to hate the NFL trade deadline.

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