There are many kinds of value: intrinsic, extrinsic, monetary, market to name a few. In the NFL, however, a player’s true value is what someone else will trade you for said player. Here are the 40 players that we think have the highest trade value in the NFL. The following things had to be taken into consideration: production, age, contract, and position. For example, would you rather have Jason Taylor for a year or Jared Allen for seven? Thanks to the Sports Guy for the idea for this article.
Notable Omissions: Jason Taylor, Larry Johnson, Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens
Maybe Next Year: Darren McFadden, Jake Long, Brady Quinn, Cedric Benson’s Lawyer
40. Reggie Bush
While there are many better players out there, due to marketing and PR issues the Saints just couldn’t trade this guy unless it was an absolute gimme offer – like Mario Williams or some other defensive gamechanger. Cue Alanis Morrisette.
39. David Garrard
A year ago he wasn’t even sniffing this list while sitting behind Byron Leftwich. Thanks to Jack Del Rio’s decision, Garrard is firmly placed in the second tier of quarterbacks in the NFL, and should be part of the Jaguar’s plans for the foreseeable future, and at a reasonable price.
38. Ed Reed
While Ray Lewis gets the majority of the accolades, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata deserve the praise. Reed makes some mistakes when he gambles, but few people instill the fear in offensive coordinators as much as Ed Reed. Playing Safety, Reed is also a pretty good value.
37a. DJ Williams
37b. Demeco Ryans
Two of the quartet of young tackling machines (Beason, Willis), DJ was 2nd in the league last year in tackles, and excels at stopping runners behind the line, accounting for 13 “stuffs” during the 2007 season, while Demeco Ryans has been a revelation for the Texans, earning DROY honors and a pro-bowl nod.
36. Jon Beason
Beason gets the nod over Williams and Ryans due to his age, but they are very similar talent-wise. Beason has taken over for Dan Morgan as the Panthers resident tackling machine.
35. Logan Mankins
The first O-Linemen on the list, Mankins is an absolute beast for the Patriots, with a great contract to boot. Mankins has a mean streak and just seems to enjoy hitting people. Doesn’t get the press, but might be better than Hutch.
34. Joseph Addai
He is the best RB in the league for the Colts offense. His friendly cap numbers help keep Peyton’s people together, while his unique skill-set is the glue that holds the offense together. Any team would enjoy having a great 3-down back on their team.
33. Antonio Gates
Gates hasn’t put up the incredible numbers that were once expected of him, but he is still a great TE. This spot could have been Jason Witten very easily, due to his better blocking and more consistent route-running. Tony Gonzalez may still be better than both, but he is just too old.
32. Osi Umenyiora
Ask Tom Brady and the Patriots O-Line how good this guy is. He has Strahan’s talent without his age and poor work ethic. Justin Tuck and Osi will be presenting problems to opposing offenses for years.
31. Wes Welker
While he was only worth a 2nd and a 7th round draft pick to the Dolphins, I’d assume that the Patriots would ask for much more today. His 100+ catches can’t quantify the disruptive effect that his underneath routes on opposing defenses.
30. LaDainian Tomlinson
You might ask why LT is so low on this list, my answer is that if he rehabbed with as much effort as he spent staying classy, he would have manned up and played the AFC Championship game like Philip Rivers. He also is about 2 years from getting the Shaun Alexander memorial fork in the back.
29. Steven Jackson
Put Steven here in the AFC Championship game last year and things would have been much closer. He is a 3-down force that when healthy is in the top three in the game. Still young with a friendly contract, the Las Vegas native is straight money.
28. Larry Fitzgerald
A sublime talent with an enormous contract, Fitzgerald would be tough to trade on both accounts. Give him a consistent QB and watch him blossom like a desert rose.
27. Shawne Merriman
He has a lot in common with Jason Taylor: he just knows how to get to the quarterback, and with his little post-play gyration, he should be on the blooper reel of “So You Think You Can Dance?”
26. Jason Peters
The undrafted former TE made his first Pro-Bowl in 2007 and should continue to perform at that high level in the future. Jason uses all 340 of his pounds well. Should be in wait for a huge contract upgrade though.
25. Asante Samuel
Think Ben Wallace. He went from underpaid and underrated to the exact opposite in two years. Asante is a great cornerback, but on other teams he will not have the same pass rush that he got while on the Patriots. Eagles fans beware.
24. Kevin Williams
Due to some Draft issues, the Vikings had to wait to pick Williams, but boy was he worth the wait. Kevin has a reasonable contract and any team wishing to bolster its run support would love to trade for him.
23. Vince Wilfork
This is one big guy. He eats blockers and keeps his linebackers nice and clean so they can run around making plays. His value doesn’t show up in the box score, but ask Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau if they’d like him to be traded.
22. Antonio Cromartie
Young and perhaps underpaid, Cromartie burst onto the scene in 2007. His gambling, play-making style has made him a fan favorite. He isn’t proven yet, but don’t bet on the Chargers selling high with Antonio.
21. Reggie Wayne
Wayne has emerged as a top-notch receiver. On any other team he would be the clear-cut first option, but with the Colts, he barely gets noticed. Peyton knows the true value of this Miami burner.
20. Champ Bailey
Cornerbacks are key in the NFL and Champ is a proven commodity. He got beat more than he cares to admit in 2007, but Bailey still has the talent that once landed the Redskins Clinton Portis.
19. Terrence Newman
The fact that you don’t hear too much about Newman says a lot about his talent. He has turned Jacque Reeves into the human target the last few years, as QB’s are just plain afraid to throw in his direction. Should command a HUGE salary next year.
18. Braylon Edwards
This is Braylon. Whoever is throwing him the ball, just know that you need to throw it a longggg way. Edwards might be the most complete WR in the league, and he is still very young.
17. Jared Allen
He brought quite a haul for the Chiefs, and they now might be able to rebuild. The Vikings got the pass-rusher they needed as well. Allen’s enormous contract would be imposing, but many teams would love to suit up Allen in their own colors.
16. Joe Thomas
Anyone want a cornerstone for your O-line for the next 12 years? The Browns do too. Sorry.
15. Tony Romo
He’s not young, and he doesn’t have a good playoff history, but Romo is the man in Big D. Jerry Jones loves stars and very few shine as bright as the Big Chicken of th
e Sea’s golden boy.
14. Steve Hutchinson
His neck is bigger than some players’ helmet. The man behind the curtain for AP, Hutch would be a hot commodity if he were on the block.
13. Patrick Willis
Every team in the NFL would line up to sign Willis, he is that good of player. A good contract and a large passion bucket make him even more attractive.
12. Philip Rivers
I can’t stand this guy but he is a freaking warrior. Torn ACL? He didn’t even have one! Twice as tough as his teammate LT, Rivers has galvanized his once weak in the knees Chargers team.
11. Ben Roethlisberger
Not many QB’s around with rings that aren’t named Manning or Brady. Big Ben captured the town and his teammates on their magical run and the Steelers brass won’t let him get away.
10. Randy Moss
If he was five years younger, he’d be number three on this list. The Patriots knew what they were doing when they got him for another year or two.
9. Dwight Freeney
When healthy, Freeney commands a double-team on almost every passing play. While he doesn’t get to the QB all that much anymore, he paves the way for Mathis and his friends to do the job.
8. Nnamdi Asomougha
I know it’s shocking to see a Raider this high, but wow, this guy can really play. In our opinion, he is the best corner in the league and is still improving. If he had a d-line that could rush the passer, his interception total should rise.
7. DeMarcus Ware
Strong, fast, young, and talented, Ware brings the whole package to the Cowboys. As much as Bobby Carpenter has disappointed, Ware has amazed. The Troy graduate is unblockable at times.
6. Eli Manning
It was either Eli Manning or David Tyree’s helmet. Sorry.
5. Bob Sanders
When Bob played at Iowa, we used to call him “Nightrain”. He runs through people for fun, and if he could stay healthy, he makes the Colts a much tougher defense against the run.
4. Mario Williams
While Reggie Bush barely made this list, Mario Williams is the top defensive player on it. He’s young, disruptive, and improving — those are impressive things for the Texans DE. Amobi Okoye and Mario should be terrorizing the AFC South for the next decade.
3. Adrian Peterson
He really isn’t that much better than Steven Jackson, or even Chester Taylor for that matter, but what he brings are his “ilities”: Marketability, Likability, and Ability. After “Boatgate”, the Vikes need all of those.
1b. Peyton Manning
1a. Tom Brady
Manning is a tad longer in the tooth than Brady, so Manning gets the “1b” treatment. Brady also has a few more rings and records than Manning has. Any team in the league would trade for one of these two, and the Colts and Patriots wouldn’t even pick up the phone.