The NFL's 2013 trade deadline (2 p.m. MT on Tuesday, Oct. 29) is now five days away, and the rumors are starting to heat up. Keep in mind that those rumors are just that—rumors.
With that said, some rumors and connections do come to fruition (see: Manning, Peyton in 2012), and let's face it, they are fun to talk about. So let's talk!
The Denver Broncos have been vaguely connected to a pair of pass rushers—the Minnesota Vikings' Jared Allen and the Jacksonville Jaguars' Jason Babin—by Chris Wesseling in a "these teams would make sense for these players" story on NFL.com. Wesseling isn't the only one that has made the connection.
Jared Allen would look pretty snazzy in Orange and Blue methinks.— Colin Daniels (@southstands303) October 22, 2013
I'll leave it to Bronco Mike to discuss if and how these two players would fit into Denver's defensive scheme, for now, we'll consider the two player's backgrounds, contracts, and what it would take to get them.
As for Jason Babin, he has been a late boomer, waiting until his eighth year in the NFL before notching a 12.5-sack season with the Tennessee Titans and drawing recognition across the league in 2010. The next season, Babin exploded onto the scene as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles defense, recording 18 sacks and earning his second Pro Bowl selection.
Since then, Babin's numbers have dropped. He recorded seven sacks in 2012, splitting time with the Eagles and Jaguars, who claimed him off waivers after he was cut in Week 12. Playing for the 0-7 Jaguars, Babin has managed just two sacks through seven games this season.
Denver's defense needs help and Babin, though he is 33, is still being productive. Earlier this month, the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla wrote that Denver should trade for Babin if they are truly in a "win now" mode, which they obviously are.
So how about his value?
The Eagles were unable to find a trading partner for Babin in 2012 before ultimately releasing him, so his trade value is obviously not high. Jacksonville would probably ask for a fifth round pick and Denver would likely offer a seventh. Both teams compromising and settling for a sixth would be a possibility.
The Broncos currently have over $10.3 million available in 2013 cap space and Babin is in the third year of a five-year contract with a base salary of $4.2 million this season, per Spotrac.com. Babin's recent production doesn't match his salary, but his contract is not outrageous.
A younger and far more productive option than Babin is Allen, who is suffering through a 1-5 season with the Vikings. Since his final season in Kansas City when recorded 15.5 sacks and earned a trip to the 2007 Pro Bowl, Allen has emerged as one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, recording 94 sacks over the past seven seasons (nearly 13.5 sacks a year).
Now in a contract year, Allen has shown no signs of slowing down, recording 4.5 sacks, defending three passes and forcing a fumble through six games. Against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football earlier this week, Allen sacked quarterback Eli Manning through an offensive lineman.
Allen, 31, clearly has plenty of gas left in the tank.
So how about his value?
In a mock trade deadline scenario, Sports Illustrated has projected Minnesota to seek a second round 2014 selection and a third round 2015 pick in exchange for Allen's services. Prospective teams counter that in the mock with a third round 2014 selection and a fifth round 2015 selection, which seems like a fair offer for both sides.
As for his contract, that's not as sexy as his sack totals.
Allen is in the final year of his contract and has a base salary of $14.2 million. If Denver were to acquire him, they would have him under contract for just one season and
would have to make several corresponding roster moves to get below the salary cap—Allen's contract would put them over by more than $4 million.
Update: The Broncos could sign Allen and still stay below the salary cap because he has already been paid nearly half of his 2013 salary.
It would be possible to restructure Allen's contract, but the more complicated a trade gets, the less likely it is to happen.
Fans should note that will hear many trade rumors as the deadline approaches, but few will result in actual trades. Babin and Allen are options for the Broncos, but it remains to be seen if Denver will show any interest.