The NFL’s trade deadline has been extended twice in 2012, but that’s still not likely to lead to a flurry of deals.
The first change came on August 30, when the NFL and the NFLPA agreed on an idea that had been kicking around for some time – move the trade deadline a few weeks later into the season to try to make it more helpful for teams that develop pressing needs around midseason. As an example, Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano was asked on Wednesday if his team would consider trying to trade for an offensive lineman after moving Carl Nicks to injured reserve on Tuesday. In previous seasons, the point would have been moot, as the loss of Nicks would have occurred two weeks after the trade deadline.
The second extension was simply a necessary reaction to the effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. The NFL’s New York headquarters were closed on Monday and Tuesday (the original deadline) and several team offices were affected as well. As a result, the league extended the trading period by 48 hours; it now ends at 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Still, don’t expect a lot of action. The NFL has never been as active in the trade market as most other professional sports league, except for draft time and the weeks leading up to it, and that’s especially true during the season. So much preparation time goes into a team learning its offensive and defensive playbooks that it can be difficult for a newcomer to arrive at midseason and make any sort of impact.
There may be some action on Thursday, however. This weekend, the Buccaneers will take on QB Carson Palmer in Oakland, and Palmer was the prize in a trade-deadline deal between the Raiders and Bengals just a year ago. Four other players switched teams in the week leading up to last year’s deadline: WR Derrick Mason (Jets to Texans), LB Aaron Curry (Seahawks to Raiders), WR Brandon Lloyd (Broncos to Rams) and RB Ronnie Brown (Eagles to Lions, although this deal was rescinded two days later).
In all, nine teams were involved in those five deals, or less than a third of the league. Three of those players made an impact of much note with their new teams: Palmer, Curry and Lloyd. Of the three teams that traded for a player at or near the deadline and kept that player, only Houston did appreciably better from a win-loss standpoint after the deadline, and that had little to do with the addition of Mason (six catches for 55 yards).
Thus, it is easy to say that the Buccaneers are not likely to make a trade at the deadline, simply because it’s easy to say that about any team. Actually, Tampa Bay has been one of the more active in-season traders over the last decade, though on occasion they have been the team sending a player away. In 2005, the Bucs shipped a sixth-round pick to San Francisco to get QB Tim Rattay after a rash of injuries at the position. The same thing in the offensive backfield prompted them to trade a sixth-rounder to Kansas City two years later for RB Michael Bennett. In between, the Buccaneers got a second-round pick from Indy in a 2006 trade-deadline move of DT Anthony McFarland.
More recently, the trade of DE Gaines Adams to Chicago at the deadline in 2009 netted the Bucs a second-round pick in 2010. Tampa Bay turned around a year later and traded for a defensive end, but all it cost them to get Alex Magee from Kansas City was a swap of a fifth-round pick for a sixth-round selection.
All of that activity would suggest that, if any team was going to trade at the deadline, the Buccaneers would at least be a good bet. They have, at the very least, shown a willingness to use that method of tweaking the roster. There will be no Pro Bowl guard walking through the doors at One Buc Place on Thursday to replace Carl Nicks, but the Buccaneers will keep their eyes and ears open, just as they do with every avenue of roster improvement.
“Well I think we’re always exploring opportunities whether it’s offensive line or any other position,” said Schiano. “Those roster spots are just incredibly valuable and we’re always trying to get the best 53 guys that we can to help us win, so we’re always looking. I wouldn’t rule anything out.”