Fans and the media often crave for activity as the trade deadline approaches. They identify contenders and pretenders, and make reasonable hypotheses of where players from the latter should go to the former. Yet every season, they are regularly disappointed as to how little actually happens. Much of this has to do with the how the rules of the CBA and the financial constraints that it creates make trades less practical than it seems. However, it may be fair to say in some cases that a few teams are more reticent to throw in the towel on players that are unlikely to be part of their future than they should be.
Therefore, as a bit of a thought exercise I conceived a proposed new rule to the CBA that would allow a small group of players to be traded immediately after the deadline–even against the will of the team they’re currently on.
To be eligible to be one of those players, all of the following criteria must be attained:
- The player must be on a team that has either zero or one wins by the trade deadline. (The idea here is that with a minimum of six losses plus ties, even with an expanded playoff slate it would still be daunting to come back from that hole.)
- The player’s contract must be set to expire at the conclusion of this season.
- The player must be on a vested veteran contract. (That’s defined here as having at least four accrued seasons before the current season started, and also not on a rookie contract.)
- The player additionally may not be on a one year contract resulting from being given a franchise or transition tender. (The idea here is that we are giving teams the benefit of the doubt that they are actually using these tenders in a good faith effort to later extend them.)
Among those players, the following procedure would then take place:
- In the 24 hours after the trade deadline ends (this year, Tuesday, November 3 at 4 PM ET), any team may submit any amount of draft pick compensation it is willing to surrender to a team in exchange for the player it would like to acquire.
- After this 24 hour period ends (this year, Wednesday, November 4 at 4 PM ET), the NFL notifies all teams and players in question who has been given a trade offer. If multiple offers are made for the same player, the offer with the higher draft compensation wins out, and ties will be broken by standard waiver order.
- For the next 48 hours (this year, ending on Friday, November 6 at 4 PM ET), the player decides whether or not to accept the trade offer. If so desired, the player and team may renegotiate their contract to avoid the trade, and they may also be granted an exemption from the trade deadline to trade the player to a different team for different compensation, should both sides agree upon it.
The list of players on the right (or below on small mobile devices) are the players from the teams that could qualify for this new rule in 2020. Those teams, for the time being, are the Jets, Giants, Jaguars, Texans, Falcons, Vikings, and Bengals. The players on the Jets, Jaguars and Texans will be there no matter what, while the other teams will remain should they lose in Week 8.
Looking at this list, there are hardly any stars on there, as you’d expect, and the grand majority would be players that teams would be unlikely to be desired by other teams for even a 7th round pick. Still, there are a few notable names that might be able to help a team with injury/depth problems at certain positions.
Some positions that caught my eye were the following:
- Defensive backs appear to stand out in quantity. This includes Brian Poole, Pierre Desir, and Bradley McDougald on the Jets, Logan Ryan on the Giants, Mackensie Alexander on the Bengals, Vernon Hargreaves on the Texans, and Darqueze Dennard on the Falcons.
- Alex Mack, Dakota Dozier, and Cameron Fleming are a trio of offensive linemen with high snap counts that could provide a patch for teams hurting there.
- Teams looking for edge rush help could look at Kyler Fackrell, Brennan Scarlett, or Jordan Jenkins.
- At wide receiver, the Jets have a pair in Breshad Perriman and Chris Hogan, while Chris Conley shows up on this list from the Jaguars, as well as Kenny Stills from the Texans.
- Finally, would anyone take a flyer on Todd Gurley at running back?
This is an idea that almost certainly will never happen, as teams will be very loath to give up this kind of roster control. But if nothing else, it’s at least a way to identify players whose time on a struggling team may be coming to an end, regardless of whether that’s now or at the end of the regular season.