Week 4: Engel's Mailbag

Chris, Summit, N.J.: Even though I'm a full-fledged believer in the Madden jinx, I just could not pass on Shaun Alexander with my third overall pick this season. Now that he's hurt, I've been offered a deal. I would trade Carson Palmer and DeAngelo Williams for Tom Brady and Tiki Barber. My other quarterback is Marc Bulger, and my other running backs are Jamal Lewis, Willie Parker and Kevan Barlow. I'm thinking Palmer is an elite QB, the downfall of the Patriots begins this year, and Brady struggles without any true go-to receivers.

Engel: First, I would consider your scoring system. If you only get four points for a passing TD, it's not a huge downgrade from Palmer to Brady. Plus, Brady is such a good passer, that in many weeks, he will still post good numbers with what receivers he has. Some QBs don't need outstanding receivers to play well, and Brady is one of them. Deion Branch has missed time in the past with injuries, and David Givens was never dependable. So he has dealt with challenges at receiver before. In a league where passing TDs count for six points, though, I'd consider keeping Palmer more, but you still get a solid QB in return and a top-level RB. When Alexander returns, you can pair him with Barber and deal Brady and possibly Parker for an upgrade at QB if Brady does falter a bit. At the very least, I expect Brady to be respectable and he'll still have trade value down the line. I'd make the deal, because you end up with a great starting RB duo when Alexander returns, and Barber and Parker are a very formidable pair until then. You don't take a major hit at QB and can always use your RB depth to make a trade later on.