Veteran Trades Becoming More Popular

The Vikings and Jared Allen benefitted by a move that has become increasingly more popular in the NFL these days – trading Pro Bowl veterans for draft picks. Monday saw two more such trades with deals for Jason Taylor and Jeremy Shockey.

With training camps opening, a new wrinkle to the NFL game has come front and center – trading Pro Bowl-caliber players for draft picks. The Vikings stunned some around the NFL when they traded three draft picks for Jared Allen. The practice of shipping players for draft picks has become much more popular over the last couple of seasons and was on display Monday.

The big NFL news early in the day was the announced trade of Jason Taylor from Miami to the Redskins, a move many believe was forced on Washington by the season-ending ACL tear of DE Phillip Daniels. Before the Redskins could even hold their press conference, it was announced that the Giants had traded tight end Jeremy Shockey to the Saints for a pair of 2009 draft picks. A trade of Shockey to the Saints was a hot topic of discussion in the days and weeks heading into last April's draft, but never materialized.

The sudden increase in the number of veteran players with a high profile being traded is likely the result of the last collective bargaining agreement. Under the last CBA, each team's salary cap total went up about $20 million over the first two years the deal. Prior to that, when free agency approached, you would have about a third of the league in great salary cap shape, another third with a moderate amount of money to spend and about a third of the team strapped tight against the salary cap.

With the infusion of new money, everyone seemingly has the money to spend on free agents, making the trade of veterans for draft picks more of a part of planning strategy. Instead of spending big money in competition with other teams, disgruntled veterans like Taylor and Shockey can be shopped around individually to teams willing to part with the draft picks needed to get a trade done.

By waiting until after the draft to make the Shockey trade, the Saints give up nothing from their current squad and are gambling on the future that Shockey is worth the expense. Now if the Vikings could make the Packers an offer they can't refuse, this story will become of more interest locally.


  • The Vikings are said to have exchanged numbers with the agents of their five rookies and expect to get deals done this week, some possibly as early as today.

  • Over the last four years, the Vikings have just eight touchdowns from their tight ends – tied for the least of any team in the league over that span.

  • Once again this year, the San Diego Chargers aren't going to give LaDainian Tomlinson any carries during the preseason. The team announced Monday to continue its plan of no carries for L.T. during the preseason – a practice that began four years ago when Marty Schottenheimer was the coach and has been continued by Norv Turner. The belief is that L.T. is so critical to the offense that it doesn't make sense to burn him up or risk injury by running him in the preseason. Maybe the Vikings will eventually consider a similar tactic with Adrian Peterson.

  • The Bears made peace with LB Brian Urlacher, who was bent out of shape after seeing the money landscape of the NFL change markedly since he signed a nine-year contract in 2003. He had four years and $25.5 million remaining on the deal and had threatened to hold out, but the new contract calls for him to get a one-year extension to cover the 2012 season, a $6 million signing bonus and a $1 million increase in salary for each of the five seasons of the restructured deal.

  • In a note that may have an effect on the Vikings when or if a new stadium gets approved, in New Jersey, a state assemblyman is trying to propose a bill that would ban personal seat licenses for sports facilities in his state. PSLs have become a way to raise money for stadiums by charging a fee to fans to keep their season tickets from one stadium to the next. Giants fans will be charged between $1,000 and $7,500 to have their seats carried over when the team moves into its new digs.

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