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The Lost Art of the Trade

Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
Posted 08-30-2014 at 05:54 AM by jeanpierre
Updated 09-01-2014 at 07:02 AM by jeanpierre

As a youth of my generation, when not being active outdoors swinging a bat or catching a football, I often spent times trading player cards in those sports with other kids...

Before online market places such as eBay and the subsequent rapid inflation of sports memorabilia creating economic windfalls of turning sports cards into lottery tickets, trading sports cards had other motives...

Sports Card trading motives varied from collecting a favorite team such as the Red Sox or Saints; collecting college alum from Tulane, Bama; or a region like the Southeastern Conference; or maybe statical leaders or record setters by seasons like Dan Marino in 1984; somewhere along the way, I would try to build "The Team" which involved trading players for players...

However, that was a simpler time and the challenges that face an NFL club have more to do with a very complex set of financials that some teams are only now beginning to understand; as such, the game has changed...

Now there is free agency and with the evolution of free agency in professional American sports leagues and the escalation of stakes in a booming economic market there has been a corollary redux in trades of the rights to player contracts. There is tremendous pressure on General Mangers 'to get it right'....

During recent Collective Bargaining Agreement Terms, the National Football League (NFL) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) wisely agreed to Rookie Signing Pools or Budgets thus eliminating contract negotiating distractions from rookies needing to develop and reduced the likelihood of teams being hamstrung with unproven players and put more player pool money available to veterans...

As such, we have seen a premium value increase for those draft picks and their limited costs; further, there's been an increase in the trading of those draft picks even player(s) for those picks...

Conversely there's been a sharp reduction in the traditional player(s) for player(s) swap with many forces working against such moves today...

First, information and news flows so much faster today and while fan bases have grown exponentially, the group collective football IQ hasn't improved as fast...

Example, we might have seen a march of Who Dat Office Secretaries on the Benson Tower in the CBD of New Orleans had the Saints let Jimmy Graham geaux for two first round picks...

Second, fan bases are starting to appreciate the importance of a great player who's impact is not measured in individual statistics, i.e. an offensive linemen in football. So even though trading a leading wide receiver for a right tackle can be sold though statistically they comparable, there's the economics of the salary cap...

While the salary cap is probably one of the more important factors for the growth of the NFL, it has made trading player(s) for player(s) a very complicated process whether intended or not intended. Teams available salary cap space vs existing contracts are an advanced jigsaw puzzle...

Third, contractual rights to players are more dynamic today giving players more rights; as such, most players are bound to a team in so long as the duration of the contract (unless they're tagged with a Franchise Designation) and can simply move on...

An interesting phenomenon is players are more free to speak their minds, even if it is not in their best interest - (sic) Twitter. And depending on the circumstances can simply move on to a new team when their contract expires; so keeping a player after trading for him is ever more complicated; thus complicating the justification for a trade because of a lack of long term value...

Even when intelligent, informed outsiders or maybe other NFL brass can see where two (or more) teams should move players to improve the teams fortunes and the player(s) opportunities for impact, the likelihood is nil because of risk, high stakes...

The NFL has already taken some steps in awarding compensatory draft picks for players lost to free agency. But it's closely guarded, arbitrary, secretive process that has started to draw deserved criticism and is in more need of tweaking than moving the spot of the point after touchdown kick attempt.

Perhaps also, the NFL and NFLPA may have to consider for both its teams and players alike when negotiating the next CBA, language that allows flexibility of salary cap numbers while maintaining integrity of a true salary cap...

But selling a trade to a fan base still falls on a general manager's shoulders and his/her ability to tap into their snake oil ancestor's dna to sell sand in a desert...

And though season to season division standings have become very dynamic, when teams clearly should be involve in moving players, steps should be made and possibilities explored to help maximize teams and their players chances for success...
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  1. Old Comment
    hagan714's Avatar
    as it is right now it is better to let a player walk than go after a trade in most cases. comp pick turns out to better.

    right now i think the nfl is lost on how to work this problem out. but as long as they get fat i do think it will matter to them much for now.
    permalink
    Posted 08-30-2014 at 09:28 AM by hagan714 hagan714 is offline

 
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