Another trade deadline come and gone, another year with the Patriots being more or less the only team that makes a move.
The Jamie Collins deal was bizarre for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that two teams actually made a significant trade. I don't know about any of you, but I'm of the opinion that the most surprising thing about a league trade deadline should never be that a trade was actually made. Trading players is a huge part of almost every professional sport, but the NFL is strangely lacking in this category. And why this is so is fairly simple:
The NFL trade deadline is far too early in the season.
As of this halfway point in the league year, a large number of teams are still very much in the playoff conversation and jockeying for position as the postseason closes in. Because of that, there is little motivation for most teams to do all that much wheeling and dealing; everyone is still very much focused on this season, looking ahead takes a backseat to winning now, and you don't want to find yourself on the wrong end of a trade that sees you home in January as the team you just traded with hosts a playoff game - particularly in a business where jobs are made and broken by such moves. Virtually every year, the trade deadline comes and goes, and absolutely nothing happens. We can all count the major moves that take place on or before Week 8 over the last few seasons on one hand.
If the NFL wants to fix that, if it wants to add some excitement to a somewhat lackluster aspect of their league, they would be wise to look into moving the deadline back a few weeks. Imagine if the NFL trade deadline wasn't until Week 12? Or even Week 14? Imagine if there were a few legitimate Super Bowl contenders all looking to make a January run seeking to do business with teams already looking to rebuild for the following year? What would the trade deadline look like then? Would we see entire future drafts gambled on a few key acquisitions? Would absolutely massive names change teams? Would the hours leading up to the trade deadline have the same feeling of energy, optimism, excitement, and action as the opening hours of Free Agency? Would teams and fans alike all be scrambling for the latest news and deals? Would the NFL once again accuse the Patriots of cheating as they picked up a monster linebacker and a safety in a smart trade?
The answer to all of those questions is yes.
If your team is out of it by Week 12 and you're just playing out the string, a key trade would give you a new life and renewed optimism for the following season. If your team is looking to make a run, how great would you feel if your coach added that final missing piece that could put you over the top? The league has tried to make the last few weeks of the season more enjoyable as of late by scheduling divisional matchups to close out the year in hopes that division titles will still be on the line at that point, but it hasn't entirely worked out. Knowing that you can either build for next season or shore up a championship caliber team in December adds a whole new wrinkle to the game and would make things a lot more exciting.
Extending the trade deadline makes all the sense in the world. Because of that, there is absolutely zero chance that the NFL looks into it. Maybe if I can come back and suggest a way to monetize that extension - this week's trade deadline brought to you by Snapple! - they'll consider it. But until then, it's likely to be more of the same.