The NFL trade deadline usually comes with boat loads of speculation, before a whole lot of nothing actually happens.
And in the case of the Packers under general manager Ted Thompson, the trade deadline tends to be deafeningly quiet. This year, however, the Packers have a clear need at running back after losing Cedric Benson with a foot injury and there are now two proven runners available for a reasonable price.
St. Louis has been rumored to be shopping veteran running back Steven Jackson for a draft pick, and Carolina is reportedly open to trading DeAngelo Williams.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said Tuesday that Jackson wasn’t going anywhere. “It’s all rumors. Let’s put that to rest.” But even if St. Louis was, in fact, shopping the 29-year-old runner, he almost certainly wouldn’t say it publicly.
A trade involving Williams may more likely than one for Jackson, whether it’s the Packers or another team. The Charlotte Observer cites a team source and says, “multiple playoff-contending teams called the Panthers last week to inquire about a possible trade for Williams.”
The Denver Broncos are a logical possibility to land Williams, considering they’re coached by former Panthers head coach John Fox. With veteran Willis McGahee having a mediocre start to 2012 and rookie Ronnie Hillman still developing as a player, the Broncos may be in the market for a potential feature back. And even though Williams is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry this season, he could be a nice fit with Denver’s spread attack.
Whether the Packers are interested in trading for Williams or Jackson remains to be seen. The 2012 season is widely thought to be Jackson’s last in St. Louis, so the door could still be open for a trade despite what Fisher said Tuesday.
Age shouldn’t be much of a factor in a potential trade, considering the Packers went all-in with the 29-year-old Benson to start the season.
In order to acquire Jackson, the Packers would have to pay approximately $3 million of the $7 million he’s owed this season. And also, Thompson would have to determine that Jackson is worth parting with a draft pick, despite the fact that he’ll likely be available as an unrestricted free agent next summer.