There aren’t usually a lot of major deals made at the NFL Trade deadline. That hasn’t stopped teams from inquiring about some of the best players in the league.
Two of the Carolina Panthers' biggest playmakers have been involved in speculation, leading up to the 2012 deadline. Teams have asked about the availability of both Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams.
Panthers management has denied that they are looking to move either player, but there are still rumors that either one could be dealt. Carolina has been as bad as anyone in football this year. At 1-6, they’re tied for the worst record in the NFL, and will almost certainly miss the playoffs. Other teams may hope that the Panthers will trade either Smith or Williams for future draft picks.
With a young quarterback in Cam Newton, Carolina will likely want to hold onto their top wide receiver. Smith finished just shy of 1,400 receiving yards in 2011, and is 11th this season in receiving yards.
The Panthers may be more willing to move Williams. The running back hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season on the ground since 2009, but could have a resurgence with another team.
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For the past few seasons Williams has split carries with Jonathan Stewart, averaging over 5.0 yards per carry in four different seasons. Carolina can trade Williams, and still have a viable running back on the roster.
A few teams that are in contention could use Williams. The Green Bay Packers might be on top of that list.
Green Bay has the potential to be the most explosive offense in the league, but has struggled to score at times because of a weak running game. They’re 26th in the league, averaging 90.1 rushing yards per game. If Aaron Rodgers had Williams to hand the ball off to, the Packers could once again be the NFL’s top offense.
If either Smith or Williams is to be traded, it’s going to have to happen soon. The trade deadline was moved from 4 p.m. ET on Oct. 30 to 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 1, due to Hurricane Sandy.