Since we’re inching towards the two-day sportsgasm that is the NFL Draft we figured we’d give you a look into some of the hottests rumors circulating at this late hour.
Deal with Stafford all but done
Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole reported late Wednesday night that the Lions were very close to polishing off a six-year deal with Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford. The contract for the soon to be No. 1 pick would come with close to $40 million in guaranteed money. Despite the fact that fans pleaded with the Lions not to take Stafford at the unveiling of the team’s new logo, he has apparently been the team’s choice for over a week now. Incidentally, the fans were clamoring for the team to take Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, who is widely viewed as the best overall player in this class.
Everyone loves Sanchez
Apparently the big question everyone will be asking before the big show starts on Saturday is: Where will USC quarterback Mark Sanchez land? Conventional wisdom has Sanchez going to the Seattle Seahawks at No. 4, where he could sit behind Matt Hasselbeck for a year before taking the reigns of the franchise. The problem with that scenario is the Kansas City Chiefs who sit at No. 3.
The Chiefs love Curry and LSU’s Tyson Jackson but might be willing to pass on both of them because several teams are said to be furiously trying to trade up to get the Trojan signal caller. Kansas City GM Scott Pioli made a living out of trading down and making value picks when he was in New England. Rather than pay a huge contract out to Curry or Jackson, it would make sense for the Chiefs to trade down and stockpile more picks to fill their multiple holes.
Right now, the Denver Broncos – who are incredibly high on Sanchez – have an unsettled quarterback situation (Kyle Orton and Chris Simms? Ouch.) and two first round picks (Nos. 12 and 18) to offer.
The Cleveland Browns, who sit at No. 5, are said to be considering trading Brady Quinn to make room for Sanchez if they can get him.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, who have the No. 8 pick, would like to snag a receiver here but neither Michael Crabtree nor Jeremy Maclin are likely to last until this selection. Then again, with the way defensive and offensive linemen are rising in this draft, both of them could be there. If one of them is, and Sanchez is still on the board, it will be decision time in Jacksonville. Most teams looking to trade up to get Sanchez are targeting the No. 8 pick as where they can do it. My feeling is, if Crabtree is available, there’s no way the Jags pass on him, unless someone puts together a phenomenal package to move up and get their quarterback.
The Washington Redskins are also trying to get into the mix for the quarterback, but it doesn’t look like they have the ammunition to trade up.
Finally, the New York Jets are very involved in the Sanchez gossip and are looking to make a splash to kick off the Rex Ryan era. The problem is they probably won’t be able to get higher than the Jaguars’ No. 8 pick.
Jets looking to make moves
Speaking of the Jets, they are said to be looking for a standout No. 1 wide receiver. While the New York Giants are said to have the inside track at landing Cleveland’s Braylon Edwards, the Jets could be the favorite team to score Anquan Boldin from the Arizona Cardinals. The Jets currently sit at No. 17 and are projected by most experts to grab the best available wideout if they stay put and can’t make a trade for a veteran. Whatever happens, the Jets certainly have options.
Look for the Patriots to make trades
The New England Patriots have the No. 23, 34, 47 and 58 picks this year. Given their history of making moves it wouldn’t be surprising to trade one or more of those picks to stockpile future selections. Bill Belichick said as muchyesterday. One player the Pats have long been linked to at No. 23 is USC’s Clay Matthews. Expect New England to grab Matthews or teammate Brian Cushing at 23 to bring some youth to its aging linebacking corps. Rumors have surfaced that the Pats might look to move up a few spots if Texas’ Brian Orakpo was available, but they certainly wouldn’t overpay for him.