Trades are increasing across the NFL due to a rising salary cap and desperate front offices but there are a lot of nuances in the art of trading star players!
When a trade is reported in the NFL, fans are left scrambling to see who “won” or “lost” the deal. Many people, and rightly so, think the Raiders “won” the Antonio Brown trade because they only had to give up a 3rd and 5th round draft pick for arguably the best receiver in the NFL. If you look at it from the Steelers perspective of keeping a good locker room culture and allowing JuJu to take over Brown’s role then maybe they have won, the trade. The truth is we won’t know until the season starts and Brown is either his true dominant self or he stinks with Derek Carr and the Raiders dump him after 2 years. Meanwhile, the Steelers landed a wide receiver and a tight end prospect, neither of which may pan out but only time will tell.
Player for player trades or player for draft pick trades are can sometimes be a win-win but often, one team gets the short end of the stick. If we look back a few years to Seattle trading star center Max Unger and a 1st round pick for, then a star, tight end Jimmy Graham it was perceived that Seattle made the better move. But years down the line, Unger had solidified New Orleans offensive line and Graham had done very little in the Seahawks run-first offense. Plus, the Saints drafted Stephone Anthony who had a solid rookie year and not much else but New Orleans still won this trade in my opinion.
Draft pick trades are far easier to work out and especially from a value standpoint. Most, if not all, teams follow the table below when calculating the value of their draft picks.
So, according to the draft value chart, if someone wanted to move up to the No. 1 pick they’d have to give up a top-16 first rounder and 2 mid-second round picks. However, sometimes, depending on the player or the teams involved, the picks can have higher or lower value. If you take for instance the Bears trading up 1 spot to draft Mitchell Trubisky, they gave the 49ers picks 3, 67 and 111, according to the chart that has a value of 2,527 so slightly lower than the 2nd pick value but since it was only one spot the 49ers were more than happy to move down and still draft the guy they wanted, Solomon Thomas. However, other times, there are multiple teams bidding for the pick and that drives the price high, however this is usually just for a quarterback. Other times, such as this year the price to move up in the draft wasn’t as high, this was because there were more mid-range prospects and teams were desperate to acquire more mid-round picks to secure more solid players.
Some trades are incredibly to difficult to follow. Looking at the Jimmy Garoppolo trade between the 49ers and the Patriots, it is incredibly long and arduous as the Patriots have traded that pick for so much. The 49ers gave the Patriots the 43rd overall pick for Garoppollo 2 years ago and people were shocked the Patriots gave up a potential franchise quarterback for so little. However, over the past 2 drafts, the Patriots have traded that pick and its parts for much more. They originally traded down and acquired a couple more picks and managed to get LB Christian Sam and CB Duke Dawson who both have had no impact thus far. In the 2019 draft, they used the leftover parts of the trade-downs to package up and down the board and acquire 4 more players CB JoeJuan Williams, RB Damien Harris, OT Yodny Cajuste and QB Jarrett Stidham. With Garoppolo injured last season the jury is still out whether he is a true star and this season will be telling, but the trade is far from a win for either side as this draft haul could pay off big time for New England who need an influx of youth.
So next time your team makes a trade, sick back patiently and wait to see if you should go and march outside your team’s front office with pitchforks and torches.