NFL Considers Pushing Back Trade Deadline: What it Means for Teams and the Playoff Race

The NFL’s trade deadline has been set for the Tuesday after Week 8’s games for over a decade, but that could change if league owners approve a proposal to push the date back.

According to Tony Grossi, Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry, with the support of other teams, has submitted a proposal to move the trade deadline back two weeks — after Week 10.

Berry explained Tuesday during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis the four reasons why he supports giving teams more time to consider their standing in the playoff race.

No. 1: “We think, as a league, it makes sense to give teams the most flexibility as long as possible to have the best product down the stretch run into the playoffs.”

No. 2: “We wanted to make sure that we could maintain the competitive integrity of the season, so you don’t get into player dumping [until] late in the year.”

These two go hand-in-hand. If teams are pulling the plug early and looking toward next season, it affects the product on the field and races for playoff spots and conference seeding. It’s like when that one person in your fantasy league who gets off to a rough start and sends out the email promoting that his or her entire roster is available via trade despite a majority of the regular season remaining. No one wants that.

No. 3: “We wanted to retroactively correct the fact that the trade deadline never moved when the season expanded to 17 games.”

No. 4: “If at some point in the future the regular season expands to 18 games we wanted to be proactive in terms of positioning for the trade deadline.”

Before 2012, the NFL trade deadline was after Week 6, which is why there was so little movement. With this proposal, teams would have those two extra weeks to decide if they are buyers or sellers.

During Berry’s time researching this topic, he found that the NFL has the earliest of the trade deadlines among the four major American sports, coming when the season is 45% complete. The NHL trade deadline comes after 78% of the season is gone, while the NBA and MLB are around 65% each.

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“Our proposal would move it to about 55% of the games played,” Berry said. “And, oh by the way, over the last 10 years the earliest that a team has been eliminated from postseason consideration has been Week 11, and that happened in 2014 and 2016. If you look over the last three [seasons]27 or more teams are actually within two games of a wild-card spot.

“We felt that was the sweet spot where we can add additional flexibility, be proactive in terms of how we’re thinking about it, but could also be at a time where teams are still competitive as they thought about the current season.”

The proposal will be voted on at the NFL owners’ meetings in March and require three-fourths approval to pass.

2024-02-27 20:03:16
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