Amid the flurry of trades over the three days of the NFL draft -- 27 deals in all, eight in the first round, -- there was an ominous silence in the veteran category of the bartering process.
For the second consecutive year, there were no
trades involving veteran players during the draft itself.
According to several personnel directors and
general managers, there was not even the usual level of discussion
about such trades.
Credit the spate of early trades to the rookie
wage scale that is a key component of the new CBA extension negotiated
last summer. Because expenses for the higher slots are essentially
locked in by the wage scale now, clubs weren't nearly as reluctant to
move up in the first round, since the fiscal consequences aren't as
debilitating. Clubs were able to be more specific about targeting
players to fill needs, minus the financial ramifications that used to
The lack of veteran trades, though, is perhaps a
little more perplexing.
"People were locked in on (draft choices), and
teams weren't even calling about guys they wanted to trade," said one
NFC personnel boss. "Hardly any dangling at all."
In 2010, seven veteran players changed teams
during the draft, in six deals, and the list of players sent to new
clubs included quarterback Jason Campbell (Washington to Oakland),
cornerback Bryant McFadden (Arizona to Pittsburgh), and kick return
specialist Leon Washington (New York Jet to Seattle), among the more
But there hasn't been a veteran trade during the
draft since the final day of the 2010 event.
Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel went
from Philadelphia to Atlanta in a classic salary dump, saving the
Eagles about $8 million in cap space, but that took place a day before
the draft kicked off. There were suggestions during the draft that
Cleveland, after choosing quarterback Brandon Weeden with the 22nd
overall pick, might dump incumbent Colt McCoy.
But as the Browns confirmed with The Sports
Xchange Saturday, there were no substantive negotiations about trading
Last week, Washington wide receiver Jabar Gaffney
publicly acknowledged that he was personally told by Redskins coach
Mike Shanahan that the team was trying to trade him. Anyone hear
Gaffney's name mentioned, even in passing, during three days of draft
coverage? For that matter, were there any veteran names mentioned as
potential trade bait, beyond that of McCoy, during the seven rounds?
The suggestion from a few general managers since
the end of the draft is that veteran deals are difficult to consummate
during the lottery, since clubs are so fixated on the process. But that
wasn't always the case, as evidenced by the half-dozen trades in 2010.
Indeed, the dearth of dealing might reflect the
mounting importance of even low-round draft choices, the desire to
amass cheaper labor at fixed costs, and the growing notion that teams
looking to trade veterans will either do so after the draft or simply
Draft day not veterans day
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