Discussion

Tip Sheet notes: Trade winds pick up

Increase in trades has been among the byproducts of uncapped year

Originally Published: April 30, 2010
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com
When the NFL went to an uncapped season for 2010, plenty of owners and general managers insisted that the lack of a collective bargaining extension would not result in wholesale contract dumping, an unsubtle move to eliminate some overpaid and unproductive veterans from the rosters with rare bookkeeping impunity.

From a numbers standpoint, at least, that has been the case so far in post-draft maneuvers.

Through Thursday night, league teams had released standout veterans such as guard Alan Faneca (New York Jets) and defensive tackles John Henderson of Jacksonville and Tampa Bay's Chris Hovan, among others. Still, there have been only 20 players cut in the five days since the draft concluded. That's only about half of the players, 37 in all, who were released in the first week after the end of the '09 draft.

There are still some jettisons pending, and the 2010 totals might still approximate those from last season, and it would be naive to consider that some moves weren't facilitated by the lack of punitive restraints a capped year would mean. But the blood hasn't run as red (or green) yet as some players and agents expected it would by this point.

Where the uncapped season has made a profound difference, however, is in the trade market.

Again, through Thursday night, there were 29 trades since March 1, and those deals included 36 veterans, featuring prominent names such as Donovan McNabb, Anquan Boldin, Antonio Cromartie, Brady Quinn, Santonio Holmes, Jason Campbell, Ted Ginn, Leon Washington, LenDale White and Bryant McFadden.

There are a lot of reasons for each of the trades, but the lack of a cap didn't hurt.

"Maybe they would have happened anyway, but the [cap] situation certainly played some role in all of them," said agent Joel Segal.

In any year, 29 trades involving veteran players is a lot, especially in a league hardly noted for its trade action.

The 29 trades to date are more than the total amount (25) that occurred in the NFL between March 1 and May 1 of the past two years combined. The 36 players are more, too, than were dealt in that two-month period the past two years (32) combined. The calendar doesn't slip until Sunday, so there is time for more trades.

And with the lack of a cap helping facilitate the market, there could be a few more.

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