Of all the professional sports we follow in this great country of ours, why is it that the National Football League is the most averse to talking “trade” as a means of acquiring talent to supplement a roster? America was built on risk takers, men and women willing to lay it on the line for the opportunity of a BIG payoff. I’m not talking about reckless gamblers throwing their entire fortune into the pot on a single pair, but rather calculated wagers based upon the adage “to get you have to give”.
The NFL Trade Deadline
The NFL Trade Deadline came and went this past week with its usual bluster of fabricated rumors (rarely if ever emanating from the clubs) and not much in the way of player movement took place. Sure, a couple weeks ago we had the Seahawks ship Percy Harvin off to the NY Jets for a myriad of reasons that have yet be fully officially explained by John Schneider. If might have made bigger news had Harvin landed with the NY Giants, as the Jets are spiraling out of control at 1-7, and the Giants are fighting to stay in the hunt at 3-4.
The Buccaneers jumped into the WTF category of sending the former 7th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to St. Louis (Mark Barron), then folded on backup linebacker Jonathan Casillas to New England. Casillas could very well turn into one of those Patriots players that Bill Belichick plucks out of nowhere to make a second half season contribution to a deep playoff run. That’s a coach that understands risk.
Leave it be?
By and large most GM’s (rookies or veterans) don’t want even want to mess with the word “trade” until they’re dealing up and down in the draft. I’ve never quite understood the unwillingness to delve into one of the major conduits of pro football talent acquisition? I once was part of sending a former Offensive Rookie of the Year and back to back 1500 yard rusher away in exchange for a first ballot Hall of Fame defensive corner. It hurt to give up such an explosive weapon in the backfield, but to acquire that elusive lockdown cover corner was worth a little short term wince. But you just don’t get the feeling that TRADES in general are something most clubs want to mess with.
Why is that?
Draft choices – NFL TEAMS want them, but don’t want to give them up. The Draft is just one way of adding productive players to your roster, and yet it’s been overplayed as the ONLY way to get better. The top 3 sources of 2-Deep talent on NFL roster come from the 1st and 2nd rounds, then Undrafted College Free Agents.
Win the Trade – There’s a misnomer that a club must “win the trade” vs acquire the player they desire. Funny how often those judging the value of a trade have never actually been in a position to make one themselves. FEAR is a debilitating state, which leads to the next factor.
Afraid – Most GM’s, coaches, and club execs are just afraid of the ramifications (fans & media) of their player looking better on the field in someone else’s colors. Amazing how small some BIG egos get around the deadline. Speaking of;
Trade Deadline – The NFL’s Trade Deadline comes at the midseason mark, and most decision makers are reluctant to throw in the towel come Week 8. Some already have, but the last thing they want to do is admit to it by unloading the team they just constructed two months earlier in hopes of convincing their fan base they could make a playoff run.
Unlike baseball, where an acquired player can quickly make on impact on his new team, football players tend to take time to assimilate to new surroundings. Time that most professional coaches just aren’t willing to spend.
I’m going to throw in one last possibility. Unlike Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL, there seems to be an ignominious “Scarlett Letter” placed upon players from the NFL that are ever mentioned or rumored in trade scenarios. The media inquisition put on Personnel Departments and the corresponding “How do you feel that they want to trade you?” questions to the player are more DRAMA than most clubs can or are willing to handle, especially during a season. Then suddenly everyone feels there’s obviously something wrong.
Why the pro football media feels this to always be the case, that there’s something amiss between the player and club, is just beyond me. Sometimes you just have to give to get. It’s a risk worth taking.