Would Manning thrive with Brady's weapons?

One of the downsides to the salary-cap era other than having to learn the formula is that it pretty much wiped out meaningful trades.

Free agency took away one of the greatest shortcuts to becoming a Super Bowl champion: fleecing the Vikings.

The disappearance of trades helped feed the fantasy football craze because it gave us another outlet for completely screwing people over.

In 1996, I convinced a college friend (let's call him Mike Overman) that Lions wide receiver Brett Perriman was destined for greatness and that Redskins running back Terry Allen was a small price to pay for his services.

The fact that Allen ended up with 16 more touchdowns than Perriman that season underscored the impact of a major trade and almost ended a friendship.

In real NFL life, teams rarely make trades outside of the draft because it's not financially sound. General managers would rather wait for a player to be released so they can negotiate their own terms. And if you choose to release a player, it's possible to delay taking a salary-cap hit.

That's why one of the hottest trade rumors leading up to today involved quarterbacks David Carr and Jake Plummer. Meanwhile, the Texans' front office met to discuss which skill players not to take in the first round.

In other news, the Packers reportedly showed interest in trading for receiver Randy Moss, who cost the Raiders the No. 7 overall pick and linebacker Napoleon Harris in 2005. The Raiders wanted a first-round draft pick for Moss, who found the end zone three times last season before taking a late-season sabbatical.

There's a good chance the Raiders will release Moss to create more space under the cap anyway, so the Packers will end up waiting.

I did like the Aaron Rodgers-for-Moss rumor that began to circulate this week because it totally makes sense to give up on a former first-round draft pick so that Brett Favre can have one season with Moss.

And don't forget that running back Willis McGahee was on the block. The Bills would like to get something for McGahee before he becomes a free agent after next season, and a second-round draft choice would probably do the trick.

But since none of these deals will come to fruition, let's talk about some trades we'd love to see happen. For the purposes of this exercise, I'll have to ask you to suspend reality and common sense.

Here's our first annual list of Trades We'd Love To See If Anyone Still Made Trades:

Trade: Colts QB Peyton Manning for Patriots QB Tom Brady

Comment: Brady has more rings, but Manning has the hot hand. Manning turns 31 next month, but Brady will soon be 30. And in case you haven't heard, Brady's dealing with some off-the-field drama after finding out his ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his child. The fact that Brady was already in a rebound relationship with a super model is something most of us can relate to. On the field, it would be interesting to see what Manning could do with lesser receivers who sometimes double as cornerbacks.

Trade: Bears RB Thomas Jones for Cowboys RB Julius Jones

Comment: Actually, this one could work. Thomas wants out of Chicago, where he'll have to share time with Cedric Benson. His younger brother, Julius, isn't as outspoken, but he'd certainly like a larger role in the Cowboys' offense. Last season, Marion Barber took over almost every time the Cowboys got near the goal line, and that's not going to change in the Jason Garrett era.

Trade: Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson for Panthers DE Julius Peppers and WR Steve Smith

Comment: Would you trade the most dangerous player in the game for two premier players? Tomlinson for Smith is a no-brainer for Carolina, but losing Peppers would leave the Panthers pretty thin at defensive end.

Trade: How many first-round draft picks would you give up for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick?

Comment: Keep in mind that Tampa Bay once traded two first-round draft choices, a pair of second-round picks and $8 million to the Raiders for Jon Gruden. I'm thinking Belichick could command three first-rounders, a second and a sweatshirt with sleeves.

Trade: Ravens LT Jonathan Ogden for Chargers LB Shawne Merriman

Comment: Yes, I know Ogden's 10 years older than Merriman, but if you could have only one of them for the next three years, do you take the game's best left tackle (sorry Walter Jones) or its best pass rusher without his magic potion?

And in the spirit of interactivity, please feel free to e-mail me some of your proposals. I will reward my first 10 e-mailers with a response that includes punctuation.

Matt Mosley covers the NFL for ESPN.com. He may be reached at matt.mosley@sbcglobal.net.