As the NFL's trading deadline -- Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. ET -- approaches, we explore four explosive, albeit unlikely, possible deals.
Proposed trade No. 2:
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the Cincinnati Bengals for a second-round pick and cornerback Darqueze Dennard
Yes, the Detroit Lions -- of all teams -- are killing it on defense, and Suh, in the minds of gridiron gurus, is the best defensive tackle in the league.
But Suh's act seems to be played out in Detroit. By all accounts, he's gone after the season. He has already told people he would love to play for the Jets or Giants in New York -- his outsized personality might thrive there -- and it's been reported that the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, at the very least, are interested, too. So how could Suh possibly wind up in relatively sleepy Cincinnati midway through the season?
How did sometimes incendiary receiver DeSean Jackson find himself released by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 season? How did Percy Harvin end up with the Jets? Sometimes, it's just time for both sides to part and start over.
Said one league general manager who wished to remain anonymous on the topic: "There's a feeling he won't be back. This is one way for the Lions to get something substantial for him."
Let's start with the Lions. Yes, they're super solid up front on defense, but is this team going to win the Super Bowl -- or even the NFC North? Some folks feel they'll go all-in with Suh in what looks to be his final year. Or ... they could pick up some help for the secondary and add a significant draft choice -- and make a serious run next year with a healthier Calvin Johnson.
The elephant in the room is Suh's gargantuan contract. The Lions could use the franchise tag on him for next year, but it would cost them $20 million, so that's very unlikely to happen. Even though his base salary is $12.555 million, he would cost the Bengals "only" ten-seventeenths of that for the remainder of the season -- $7.385 million, a salary-cap hit they can comfortably afford. Getting Dennard (Cincinnati's first-round pick in 2014 and a Michigan State product) from the corner-rich Bengals and a second-rounder would be a windfall. New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has reinvigorated the Lions' defense -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will probably have nightmares for the rest of the season -- and will find ways to compensate.
The Bengals, meanwhile, think they're close to a Super Bowl. But lately, being close hasn't been enough. The famously frugal franchise is feeling the heat after going 0-for-3 in the postseason the past three years (FYI, they allowed 77 points in those three games). Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game in 24 years (remember the Ickey Shuffle?) and Suh could be the game-changer to fix that. Andy Dalton, Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green have the offense clicking, but the way the defense has been playing recently (107 combined points allowed to the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts) leaves the Bengals desperate on that side of the ball.
The trick for Cincinnati? Win a playoff game, change the franchise's culture and then convince Suh to sign a new contract that won't destroy the salary cap. Hey, stranger things have happened in the NFL.