The NFL trade deadline is looming and if this year is anything like most years absolutely nothing will happen. As many an expert has often pointed out, the NFL ain’t MLB. You don’t just get a guy and plug him in at third base and hit him fifth in the order, you have to teach the guy your scheme and that can take weeks of prep.
But the reality that almost no trades ever happen at the deadline will never stop us from speculating on potential deals. Even big-shots like Adam Schefter have been getting in on the act. Shefter posted his five deadline deals the should happen and one of them involves a certain Viking quarterback:
Vikings QB Christian Ponder to the Rams for a third-round pick: Minnesota has been looking to move on from Ponder, and the Rams need to find a better alternative after Sam Bradford’s injury than Kellen Clemens. Ponder can help this season and then back up Bradford next season.
Did I read that right? Schefter thinks the Vikings could get a third from the Rams for Ponder? I would make that deal in a heartbeat. Unfortunately it is a total pipe dream that the Rams or any other team would ever give the Vikings that high a pick for Ponder.
Christian Ponder, despite what his small cabal of ardent supports believes, has proven squat as an NFL starter. There isn’t a single talent evaluator anywhere in this league who looks at Ponder and thinks he is worth a third. Don’t give me that “he made the playoffs last year” argument either. Adrian Peterson carried this team to the playoffs, Ponder was just along for the ride.
The only team that saw any value in Ponder going into this season was the Vikings, and they gave up on him in favor of Josh Freeman. If you were to trade Ponder you would be lucky to get a sixth. It makes more sense to keep him around for next year as a backup to whoever you end up drafting as your new franchise QB. His salary will be about in line with what you would have to pay a backup QB, and you already know that he is competent enough to fill that role.
The rebuttal to that is “But won’t Ponder be unhappy after the way he was treated by the organization?” Yeah, of course he will, but guess what? Doesn’t matter. The Vikings have control of Ponder through next season and there’s nothing he can do about it. If he tries to demand a trade, Rick Spielman will just laugh and tell him to go sit down.
Newsflash: half the players in the league are unhappy with their situation. Only the very best players can force an organization to move them on if they don’t like where they are. Mediocrities like Ponder just have to grin and bear it until they become free agents under the rules laid down in the CBA. Speaking of reality.