Trades can be arranged now, but they’re not official until March 17

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions
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With the Lions agreeing to try to trade quarterback Matthew Stafford and with Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson possibly asking for a trade of his own, it makes sense for an annual (or so) refresher on how trades work in January and February.

Teams can strike unofficial deals now; there’s nothing that prevents them from doing so. However, the deal won’t become official until the start of the new league year, on March 17, at 4:00 p.m. ET. That’s when both teams alert the league office to the trade.

And if one of the two teams decides not to proceed, the trade doesn’t happen — even if it’s widely reported that it will. While a renege would create real problems going forward for the team that doesn’t proceed, it can happen.

Three years ago, word broke during Super Bowl week that the Chiefs would trade quarterback Alex Smith to Washington. At any time between now and March 17, news of a trade involving Stafford or Watson can emerge. Again, however, any of the involved teams can back out before both terms turn the key on the official trade, after the launch of the new league year.

So, basically, any deal can be done now. But it won’t be done until March 17, only if it’s officially done by both teams.

20 responses to “Trades can be arranged now, but they’re not official until March 17

  1. NOTHING MATTERS ANYMORE! The stidham decade of dominance is amongst us! Never doubt troll6! Pop,boom,zing!

  2. Party Lizard says:

    January 23, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    so much for the tampering rule 🙂

    So much for you knowing what tampering means.

  3. Well, let me be the first to make it official as my brother-in-law whose cousin is dating the sister of a reporter for a team not involved in the deal has heard that Watson will be traded to the Jets who will then send Houston Donald, their #1 pick(2 overall) this year and a #1 next year if Jacksonville doesn’t take Lawrence and if the Jets don’t get a better deal for their 2nd overall in this draft.

  4. There’s no way the Lions “agree” to trade Stafford unless they already have a deal in place now. Dan Orlovsky said he was going to the Colts and last week Rivers retired so those dots all connect.

  5. Stafford to INDY/SF….Watson to MIA for multiple #1’s & Tua / Watson to NYJ same deal but with Darnold….Newton/Carr/Mariota to DET while DET grooms a first round QB…Carr/Dalton to NE while NE grooms a QB….Wentz possibly to INDY/SF…..can LA move Goff? To Detroit?…Going to be crazy QB movement in 2021 including the NCAA QB’s.

  6. Seahawks need to trade Russell Wilson and recoup some draft picks!!! And sign Nathan Peterman to a 5 yr 75 million dollar contract with 70 million being guaranteed…then trade All-Pro Bobby Wagner to any team for 5th rounder….and sign Manti Teo to a 4 yr 65 million contact with 65 million being guaranteed at signing!!!!! Also trade Jamal Adams to the Back to the Jets for a 7th rounder…. fire Pete Carroll.. hire Adam Gase!!!!

  7. Tampering is when a team talks to the player and not the team. If both teams talk it’s not tampering

  8. Could you imagine if Stafford was traded to the Saints…
    That is about the only sinerio where I see the Saints remaining a top team…
    The NFcS would continue as one of the better division…
    Next year battles between Brady, Ryan and Stafford would be entertaining!

  9. bringbackwayne says:

    January 24, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Lions should start with 2, 1st rounders as a minimum to start talking.
    And if they do that they will hear no talking but they will hear laughing on the other end.

  10. Most of the predictions in the comments don’t consider the salary cap. Especially the ones involving the Saints. They are about $90 mil over the cap.

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