This offseason in the NFL is definitely like no other offseason any of us have ever seen. The crash of the national economy has stressed quite a few NFL teams, most notably several small market teams, as well as the Cowboys and Giants who have taken on significant amounts of debt to finance the building costs of new stadiums.
Those macro realities have been amplified by 1) the expiration of the current CBA and its highly unworkable rookie salary structure for the high 1st Round picks, and 2) the relative quality of the players who are likely to be taken in the 1st Round.
Together, all those factors have created a "quasi-NBA" scenario, where the teams with the top 5 picks in the draft are all interested in trading those picks. Why? The answer is simple. Once the current CBA expires the rookie salary structure will radically change and the high draft picks will cost less than half of what they cost now. Here on Buffalo Rumblings we have intimate knowledge of just how much the #1 pick signs for, because Jason Peters wants to be paid more than Jake Long is. Every one of the first 9 picks in the Draft is held by a small market team.
Because of the Luxury Tax and other factors in a recent NBA trade the Phoenix Suns traded two #1 picks and a player to the Seattle Supersonics for a 2nd round pick. That's right. Two Ones and a player for a Two.Have we gooten to the point in the NFL where one teamswill pay another team to let them trade down.
I don't think the NFL has gotten to the full NBA extreme, but recent events in the NFL have a similar ring to them. Kansas City just let $20 million in cap money expire. They could have rolled it over, even a child knows how to do that now. However, they chose to let it go. They were among the teams whose actual salary expenditures were closest to the Cap floor last year and, obviously, they intend to be there again. You think they want to pay a rookie more than they paid Jared Allen? Well come to think of it, they didn't pay Jared either, they traded him away.
New Chiefs GM Scott Piloli is actively shopping the #3 pick to further reduce payroll costs. Any picks and players the Chiefs get will clearly cost much less in aggregate than the one player picked at #3 will cost. Therefore, a team like the Eagles that has 1) a strong financial position, 2) lots of Cap space, 3) a wealth of draft picks and 4) an abundance of tradeable players is in the position to take advantage of the Chiefs situation. The unknown piece is whether Piloli is considering taking much less in trade than the points on the longstanding Trade Value Chart.
How does this affect the Bills? If the Eagles decide that (for example) they can pull off a trade with one of the teams shopping the high picks then they probably won't have a #1 pick left to trade for Jason Peters. If you were the Eagles which course of action would you pursue, A) a trade of pick #21, pick #85 plus WR Reggie Brown for Aaron Curry, or B) a trade of pick #21 for Jason Peters? If your answer is A) then the Eagles suddenly evaporate as a potential trading partner for the Bills, unless the Bills are willing to work out something that includes the Eagles #53 pick as a starting point.
So one has to wonder if market conditions beyond the Bills ability to control will cause the Eagles to move on to greener trading pastures than the Bills can offer.