In a league where Aaron Rodgers is writing textbooks on how to play quarterback and Drew Brees and Tom Brady are mounting an assault on the record books, one would think their names would be dominating the headlines. However, it was another name in the NFL news last week… Kyle Orton. Denver jettisoned their former starter after he led the team to a dismal start. The Broncos’ faithful began clamoring for Tebow to start. Denver’s coaching staff obliged them and Tebow rewarded their efforts with 5 wins in 6 games. Denver is now at in the playoff hunt with Tebow at the helm and Orton suddenly became superfluous, so Denver released Orton last Tuesday.
This would be great news for Chicago or Houston; two playoff contenders who lost their starting quarterbacks to injury. A veteran quarterback just became available and could help them in their playoff quest. Except Orton really wasn’t available, per se. He was placed on waivers, where he would go to the lowest bidder. That bidder became the Chiefs. Since the Chiefs have a worse record than the Texans or Bears, the Chiefs had a higher priority waiver claim. The Bears and Texas have to resort to unproven backups now and Kyle Orton plays for a team that is out of the playoff race.
What does that have to do with the trade deadline you ask? Well there are two parts to that equation. Since the trade deadline had passed, Denver was left with two choices: keep Kyle Orton and continue to pay him a hefty salary to hold a clipboard, or release him and get nothing for him. The Bears were rumored to have placed a claim on Orton, but had low priority due to their record. The Bears were at the mercy of the waiver system and had no chance to pursue Orton via trade.
The NFL trade deadline is during week 6, which is only about a third of the way through the season. Most other sports leagues have a trade deadline later into their season. After this past week, the NFL has discussed possibly moving the trade deadline. A later trade deadline would have benefited both the Broncos and the Bears or Texans. But is moving the trade deadline really a good thing? There are some benefits to this move, but there may be some issues with this move. Let’s look at the pros and cons of moving back the trade deadline.
The most obvious benefit to the move is that teams will have a longer time to assess the quality of their team. It can be a difficult task to judge one’s team after only 6 weeks, especially if you have had your bye week. Teams will have a better feel for how close they are or how far away they are from contention.
Another benefit to moving the trade deadline would be in an injury situation. As with the example I mentioned earlier, teams would have the ability to trade for players at key positions instead of signing street free agents.
The biggest detriment to moving the deadline would be the possible increase of disparity. Parity is part of what makes the NFL so popular. Any given season, one's favorite team could have a chance to win it all. It's possible that if the trade deadline is moved, bad teams will start trading players away and giving up on the season. On the same note, good teams can trade for players and become even stronger and tougher to beat. In essence, the gap between the haves and have-nots would become greater, and parity could become a thing of the past.
Another issue associated with the previous issue is lack of competitive games toward the end of the season. If teams being to trade away players in a fire sale, the competition level of games will go down. Fans of bad teams would likely stop buying tickets, resulting in blackout and reduced revenue for teams and maybe the league. While ticket sales are an issue for some teams now, fire sales as a result of later trade deadline may magnify this problem.
I think moving the trade deadline is good idea. I believe the positives outweigh the negatives and teams would have more flexibility involving trades. The salary cap and floor will restrict the movement of bigger name players, preventing good teams from loading up and poorer teams from dumping salary. I think it works for both sides. Bad teams or rebuilding teams could get extra draft picks to work with in the future. Good teams may be able to get pieces that might put them over the top for a championship. And of course there is the added benefit of being able to make even more lopsided trades in Madden.
So what do you think? Is the moving the trade deadline back a good or bad idea?