The MLB trade deadline took place last week, and it was intense. The NHL trade deadline? Just as wack on an annual basis. Which always has us thinking that the trade deadline is one area in which the NFL gets its ass kicked by all of its counterparts in the North American sports spectrum.
And while the football season hasn’t traditionally been conducive to a trade market, simply because the season is short and the time it takes to become acclimated with a new team doesn’t jive with that schedule, the reality is that trading has become common enough nowadays that certain moves for “rent-a-players” could spruce up the annual deadline while also enhancing the product in crunch time and the playoffs.
The key there would be to move the deadline back from late October to early or mid December. That way, more teams will be ready to throw in the towel, while others will have grown desperate.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown knows where we’re coming from. Here’s Peter King of The MMQB on a conversation he had with the veteran at Bucs camp last week:
I think the best idea I heard all week on my tour was this, from Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown. On Thursday, I asked him about the breakneck pace of the baseball trading deadline that day, and he said he’d not been paying attention because of, you know, his job, and I told him about all the trades, and he said, “Man, that’s exciting. I wish they’d push our trading deadline back.” So does football nation. Football’s trading deadline is after the eighth weekend of the 16-game regular season. Baseball’s happens with a third of the season left. It spurs teams that think they’re out of it to sell off for the future. I like that. In football, even though the deadline moved back two weeks last season, it still prevents all but the 0-7 or 1-7 teams from thinking the season’s over, because there are nine games left in the season—plenty of time to salvage it.
The NFL loves to turn everything into an event, but the league is missing out on an opportunity here. I can see it now: Dec. 9, 2014. Three weeks remaining in the regular season. NFL Network live all day, tracking and reporting every move, every rumor.
This is an “If you build it, they will come” scenario. If the NFL presents teams with the right situation, they’ll pull triggers. And if that happens, everybody wins.