At this time last season, I offered up a modest proposal to try to nudge more activity around the trade deadline. With this season’s trade deadline approaching, I thought I’d revisit this exercise, and call this hypothetical rule change the Fictional Trade Deadline Tender.
To review, here are its rules. First, it is determined which players are eligible to be offered a Fictional Trade Deadline Tender:
- 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 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 2 at 4 PM ET), any team may tender 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 3 at 4 PM ET), the NFL notifies all teams and players in question who has been given a Fictional Trade Deadline Tender offer. If multiple tenders are offered for the same player, the tender with the higher draft compensation wins out, and compensation ties will be broken by the standard waiver order.
- For the next 48 hours (this year, ending on Friday, November 5 at 4 PM ET), the player decides whether or not to accept the 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 that would be eligible for the Fictional Trade Deadline Tender in 2021. This season, the teams that could see some of their players end up on this list are the Lions, Dolphins, Texans, Jets, and Jaguars. The players on the Lions will be there no matter what, while the players on the other teams will remain should they lose in Week 8.
Take a look at the list, and have some fun thinking about which of these players could be good fits on other teams.