On October 20, the window for making trades will close, and it won’t re-open until early March of 2010.
Over the years, many league insiders have complained that the annual deadline comes too early. With parity pervading the league, few teams are in position to fold the tents and sell off good players, since most teams are still alive after only six weeks of action.
Several factors might alter that reality in 2009.
First, the NFL has more really bad teams than usual. At this point, it’s safe to say that bottom-feeders like the Browns, Chiefs, Raiders, Lions, Buccaneers, and Rams have no realistic (or unrealistic) chance of turning things around. So why not have a fire sale?
Second, next year’s draft is believed to be very good and very deep. So if there’s a way for a rebuilding franchise to pick up some extra picks, now’s the time to do it.
Third, with no salary cap in 2010 (absent a new CBA), plenty of veteran players will be unhappy, either because they’ve signed long-term deals that extend past 2010 or because they thought they’d be unrestricted free agents and they aren’t, thanks to the rule that requires six years of service in an uncapped year. So why not move them now and perhaps get more than might be available in a March or April trade?
Fourth, the presence in the weeds of men like Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, and Bill Cowher has increased the heat on coaching staffs and front offices. So some teams will be more inclined to make a move to win now, in the hopes of fending off a possible Black Monday walk to the parking lot with a cardboard box full of personal effects and half-eaten Little Debbie cakes.
One or more of these factors likely contributed to the recent deal that sent receiver Braylon Edwards from Cleveland to the Jets.
So with teams like the Chargers, Packers, Cowboys, Texans, Redskins, and Panthers hoping to strengthen their bids for playoff berths, there could be more activity than usual as the deadline for playing Let’s Make A Deal approaches.