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Teams may trade future draft picks “at [their] own risk”

NFL Draft Football AP

Until the lockout is resolved, players can’t be traded.  Draft picks can be traded.

Future draft picks, beyond 2011, also can be traded.  But an ominous caveat comes from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

Per Mort, the league has advised teams that any trades of draft picks beyond 2011 will occur “at [their] own risk.”

In other words, there may not be a draft in 2012.

That would be one potential outcome of the current Brady antitrust litigation.  Though the case does not yet directly attack the draft itself since the labor agreement expressly contemplates that a draft will be held in 2011, we explained when the lawsuit was filed that the case could be amended in the future to include a member of the 2012 draft class, with a specific allegation that the draft violates antitrust laws.

And, frankly, it quite possibly does.  Assuming the decertification of the union sticks, an effort by 32 separate companies to divvy up incoming workers easily runs afoul of the antitrust laws.

That said, if the players ultimately take away the draft from the NFL, the players will be taking away the draft from the fans.  And that would be a P.R. nightmare for the men who play the game.

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40 Responses to “Teams may trade future draft picks “at [their] own risk””
  1. stairwayto7 says: Mar 21, 2011 12:43 AM

    So I take it that mean no football in 2011? If so the Pckers can’t order their rings or go to White House? SWEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!
    Or does it mean owners can sign any college player they want?

  2. hobartbaker says: Mar 21, 2011 12:45 AM

    LOL, if there “might not be a draft in 2012″ trade all the picks. Whaddya got to lose?

  3. possiblecabbage says: Mar 21, 2011 12:46 AM

    The fact that the anti-trust lawsuit may make the draft illegal is why I sincerely hope that Foxworth was wrong and/or lying about “never becoming a union again.”

    The draft is absolutely the highlight of the NFL offseason and one of the main reasons that the NFL is a 12-months-of-the-year sport. It’s the meeting of two things that people care a lot about: college football and professional football; and it gives every single NFL fan from #1 to #32 hope that the next season may be even better than the last one.

    I will oppose the players in absolutely everything for the remainder of time if they take the draft away from me.

  4. hobartbaker says: Mar 21, 2011 12:48 AM

    New England traded their entire 2012 draft to Oakland for their first five picks in 2011, and threw in over $1 million dollars (Confederate funds) to boot.

  5. frostbelt says: Mar 21, 2011 12:49 AM

    No draft in 2012?

    The NFL has lost so much respect it’s not even funny

    Thankfully for cities like Detroit, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh…

    We have HOCKEY.

    Bye bye NFL :/

  6. vietnambob2473 says: Mar 21, 2011 12:51 AM

    Pretty sure the players don’t care about a PR nightmare at this point.

  7. ktfulmer says: Mar 21, 2011 12:51 AM

    Goodell already screwed up the draft when he moved the 1st round to a Thursday anyway. My out of town company for my draft party can’t ever make it now. Goodell is a gianormous butthole.

  8. nothimagain says: Mar 21, 2011 12:52 AM

    The absence of a draft would hopefully mean no rookie salary scale/cap. The market would take care of that itself. For instance, Jamarcus Russell actually would have made less than he did by being paid based upon his slot.

  9. Deb says: Mar 21, 2011 12:53 AM

    Once again, it’s all in how you look at it. I love the draft as much as anyone else. First day of the draft was my brother’s favorite day of the year. (Opening day of the regular season is mine.) But I don’t see this as something the players are screwing up for us.

    The players didn’t opt out of the current CBA. The players didn’t lowball future revenue projections. The players didn’t dilly-dally for weeks, refusing to come to the negotiating table, ignoring player proposals, and dragging their feet in preparation for calling a bluff that wasn’t a bluff. The players didn’t ask for a deadline extension just so they could make a proposal that went backward. The players didn’t make a production about wanting to resume negotiations before the hearing date while ignoring the players’ invitation to resume negotiations.

    I’m not inventing this stuff. This is what happened, whether the owners’ lackeys like it or not. If they’d get their butts back to the negotiating table like Vrabel asked, they could cut a deal before any of this antitrust stuff goes to court. If they don’t, it’s because the owners want to go to court.

  10. anonymouslyanonymouscommentor says: Mar 21, 2011 12:57 AM

    I don’t think the players would do that. While it certainly isn’t how normal business is conducted, the NFL isn’t a normal business. The draft, like the salary cap, ensures parity. The NFL would not be interesting without the draft.

  11. billsfan27 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:32 AM

    This whole mess has already become a PR nightmare.

    It was always easy to root for the players before, but now it seems their true colors are really coming out, and once that negative perception is out there – it’s out there.

    Not to say the owners aren’t at fault as well, but I think with the players, it was different. We as fans were more familiar with them because they were the ones gutting it out on the field week to week, for our favorite teams. So of course we’re probably going to see it their way.

    Now I’m not so sure. With the more selfishness that keeps showing itself from the players’ side, I think we’re beginning to see them in a different light.

    And it’s definitely not a good one.

  12. granadafan says: Mar 21, 2011 1:34 AM

    Why are the players and owners so intent on ruining the best sport in America? Keep the sport the way it is and learn to effing share!!!!!

  13. chargersrule says: Mar 21, 2011 1:55 AM

    If the draft goes away, so does this fan. The draft is the single most exciting event of the football calendar for ALL 32 teams. If the NFL screws up the draft, I’m out. If the players and their union are smart they won’t touch this or EVERYONE will turn against them. The draft is what keeps competitive balance. It’s the best part of the sport.

  14. rovibe says: Mar 21, 2011 1:58 AM

    I would guess teams can negotiate trades involving future draft picks with an alternative compensation in the event the rules are changed.. (???)

    For example, the dirty Packers trade Aaron Rodgers to my Vikings for a 7th round pick in 2012. The teams can agree ahead of time that if there is no draft next year, instead of the pick, the Vikings will send back all those purple #4 jerseys to Wisconsin to Packer fans can light them on fire and roast bratwurst over them.

    Sounds like a fair trade to me, let’s do it!

  15. txchief says: Mar 21, 2011 2:02 AM

    No draft, no combine, no forum for the players to showcase and (possibly increase) their perceived value. Sounds like the players are doing their best to drive down the value of draft picks, especially in the first and second rounds. Good news! Each team can now sign all the players that choose to fill out an employment application and show their worth in practice and on the field. The prospective playas can also choose to apply where they wish to work, eliminating the “slavery” issue. The days of the owners being held up for big signing bonuses and salary guarantees by virtue of draft position is over! The owners all realize that there is now no draft system to artificially inflate the value of prospective employees. Great work former NFLPA and Brady, et al. LMBAO!!

  16. rovibe says: Mar 21, 2011 2:04 AM

    The players would be nuts to even consider this angle. Destroying the draft would destroy the league, as there would be no way to ensure the ‘equitable distribution of talent’.

    Imagine what Dan Snyder, Jerry Jones and Al Davis would do if they could just hand out blank checks to the top 50 players every year? Fans would tune out in droves, and I’m sure the players know it.

  17. canadianvikingfaniii says: Mar 21, 2011 2:18 AM

    This whole mess is an absolute nightmare. I am afraid to open this site up and read what the new headlines are.. It’s bad enough knowing what could happen to the 2011 season, but beyond… Yikes!

  18. xxchaos32xx says: Mar 21, 2011 2:26 AM

    The world really is going to end in 2012….

  19. siggy00 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:29 AM

    For Brady and Manning to file this suit after the way the NFL protects them to the point of changing rules is sickening.

    I hope both of them breaks their legs.

  20. p4ck3r5 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:53 AM

    i hate reading this crap, but there aint anything to read that relates to football. Get the deal done, I rather be bored with nothing to read knowing there will be football this year

  21. Kave Krew says: Mar 21, 2011 3:23 AM

    Must be the owners fault…..must be the owners fault…..must be the owners fault….

    Help me, I’ve been brainwashed by the pro-player faction…….

  22. swive says: Mar 21, 2011 5:12 AM

    Take away the draft? Hell, as a Lions fan that’s all I have had to look forward to for the past 50 years…

  23. scudbot says: Mar 21, 2011 5:52 AM

    Faulty premise. I think I heard someone say that anything less than everybody being able to freely go where they can get the most money is modern day slavery. Peterson and Mendenhall’s position is exactly what Brady et al are going to be claiming in lawyered up documents. So, yeah. No draft or one on the order of MLB’s. An imbalanced league. Teams that fail financially. Run of the mill players who get less than they do now and stars who get even more. Pro football, but it won’t be the same and it won’t be as compelling. But somehow you seem to think that the players who joined the class action care about the fans. I disagree.

  24. MichaelEdits says: Mar 21, 2011 5:57 AM

    Recruiting worthwhile players to a worthless team would be fun. Ain’t that right, Buffalo?

  25. vahawker says: Mar 21, 2011 6:42 AM

    1) The players don’t care about the fans. I wonder if they even realize that it is the fans who make their ridiculous salaries possible.
    2) The PR nightmare began as soon as the players selected DeIdiot as to “lead” them.

  26. gbfanforever says: Mar 21, 2011 6:54 AM

    vahawker, are you under the impression owners care about the fans more than the players? You have heard of psl’s, $9 beers, and ticket holders being turned away from the super bowl, right?

  27. indycolt45 says: Mar 21, 2011 7:10 AM

    Part of me wants to see the Players get so far into this litigation hole that it effectively puts the NFL out of business alltogether, just so the players could see how good they had it when they’re making 35K in the UFL and/or the real world.

  28. vahawker says: Mar 21, 2011 7:13 AM

    GB…owners can’t even begin to pretend they care about the fans. 50 million dollar salaries need to be paid so it all rolls downhill to the fans

  29. drkknght2000 says: Mar 21, 2011 7:31 AM

    Well the union can’t de-certify and re-certify after they get what they want. That is illegal as well, but they will. Is it just me or do you think the players are regretting hiring this D Smith idiot, instead of Troy Vincent or Trace Armstrong? I am not siding withe the owners, but the players decided to go fight a war with a guy carrying a BB gun. He has no clue what he’s doing when it comes to football. Of course that is my opinion I could be wrong.

  30. eagleswin says: Mar 21, 2011 8:17 AM

    anonymouslyanonymouscommentor says:
    Mar 21, 2011 12:57 AM
    I don’t think the players would do that. While it certainly isn’t how normal business is conducted, the NFL isn’t a normal business. The draft, like the salary cap, ensures parity. The NFL would not be interesting without the draft.

    =============================

    Named plaintiff Von Miller of the incoming draft class. How do you think he got his name on the complaint and what do you think his complaint is?

  31. kingjoe1 says: Mar 21, 2011 8:22 AM

    Can you imagine what the economic ramifications would be to the 10 or 12 cities in which their corresponding NFL teams, just can’t compete financially?

    Cleveland, Jacksonville, Cincy, Buffalo, for example would not be able survive in an open market system for players. If college players would be free to sign anywhere for any amount of money, how long would it take before 30% or more of the NFL teams would become second class teams.

    The NFL would have to adopt the “A” and “B” league system which exist with European football teams. Maybe have 20 A clubs, and 12 B league clubs. These could switch based upon success. Ask a brit for details.

  32. eagleswin says: Mar 21, 2011 8:32 AM

    Deb says:
    Mar 21, 2011 12:53 AM

    The players didn’t opt out of the current CBA. The players didn’t lowball future revenue projections. The players didn’t dilly-dally for weeks, refusing to come to the negotiating table, ignoring player proposals, and dragging their feet in preparation for calling a bluff that wasn’t a bluff. The players didn’t ask for a deadline extension just so they could make a proposal that went backward. The players didn’t make a production about wanting to resume negotiations before the hearing date while ignoring the players’ invitation to resume negotiations.

    I’m not inventing this stuff. This is what happened, whether the owners’ lackeys like it or not. If they’d get their butts back to the negotiating table like Vrabel asked, they could cut a deal before any of this antitrust stuff goes to court. If they don’t, it’s because the owners want to go to court.
    ————–
    I’m not sure if I care to go into everything here but the only thing you are right about is that the owners opted out of the CBA. If they didn’t we’d be having this fight 2 years from now instead of now but we’d still be having the same fight so let’s get it over with.

    Proof that the owners lowballed revenue projections, please? Mediation is often done through a mediator which means that there is only going to be limitted direct contact between both sides. Mediation which both sides agreed to.

    Please tell us more about these player counter proposals that the owners ignored because all the press has been that the owners kept sending proposals and the players refused to counter. Give us some evidence to go with your blanket statements.

    The players walked away from the negotiating table, not the owners. After a week of the players posturing in the press, Vrabel said let’s talk face to face. The owners said ok . Vrabel then took back his offer to meet with the owners but that’s the owners fault I guess. What have the players done to restart negotiations besides telling the owners that if they have anything to say to say it to their lawyers?

    At this point, I think nothing will be solved until the court case is heard simply because the players think they have the owners on the ropes.

  33. childressrulz says: Mar 21, 2011 9:45 AM

    The owners suck. The current system was just fine.

  34. obamaczarofussa says: Mar 21, 2011 9:48 AM

    It’s a shame..it really is, that the NFL is on the verge of total distruction from the unquenchable greed of the players and the arrogance of the unqualified representation they have hired.

    Imagine any employed person, most of whom, have to break their backs daily for 40 yrs+, just to survive, demanding to see the total financial records of the buisness that employs them.

    Imagine you have a buisness you created through your hard work, effort and money, being dictated to by a 1/2 illiterate “college grad”. that talks like he has marbles in his mouth !

    If it weren’t for the born athleticism, most of these multi millionair “players” would be “inmates”. in fact, some still even to manage to become bolth… regardless!

  35. silverdeer says: Mar 21, 2011 10:16 AM

    This is shaking out to be quite interesting. Lemme see, I am a team owner that now will have to compete with 31 other teams for each and every player rather than a draft…I am possibly losing money keeping the club afloat. Maybe I just decide to fold up shop and take my billions and walk away… After all as an owner of an independent business instead of an equal partner in a conglomerate, I now have that option. I would be curious to see how the players feel and react when they find out that the owners of the teams at the bottom 25% of the revenue pool decide to fold. Figure 65 players per team (over the course of a season with IR)..times 8 teams and you have over 500 players that are trying to fit in either to the UFL or CFL or some other trade that the rest of us already understand.

    Greed played out in the news is so funny to watch.

  36. juancorsair says: Mar 21, 2011 10:37 AM

    Nice to see we have a useless commissioner who did so little to avoid this from happening. The CFL is starting to look better and better. Hell, at least you can afford to take the family out to an Argos game!

  37. rabidbillsfan says: Mar 21, 2011 11:33 AM

    GOOOO SABRES!!!!!!!!! I’ll watch the NHL draft instead!

  38. Deb says: Mar 21, 2011 11:57 AM

    Oh, eagleswin, I’m sure you don’t want to go into it because you never have any factual basis for your arguments. You simply ignore any facts you don’t like. Mike has written several articles about the owners low-balling the revenue projections … which you ignore. I’ve repeatedly answered your questions about the players’ counterproposals … which you’ve ignored. Mike wrote just last night about Vrabel telling the owners how to get in touch so negotiations can begin … but the owners haven’t done that. The players didn’t back off on anything.

    But at least you have your loyal fans, proving that for many, ignorance is bliss :lol:

  39. Kwame F says: Mar 21, 2011 2:17 PM

    I think everyone is jumping the gun. We are a long way away from the draft being over as we know it. This has happened before, and the draft never went away. (Freeman McNeil and Reggie White filed lawsuits on basically the same anti-trust grounds).

    And even if there is some sort of change, at one point the NFL claimed free agency would be bad for the product. Many didn’t want the leagues integrated in baseball. Both of these improved their sports.

  40. covercorner says: Mar 21, 2011 11:14 PM

    I love reading, watching, and thinking about the draft, but it is illegal. The players are not under contract and should be free to sign with any team, rather than have their rights restricted by a team drafting them.

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