February 17, 2013

NFL Notebook: Trading seldom the best option for future plans

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

With rosters twice as big in pro football, there are more than two times as many active players in the NFL than in Major League Baseball. But according to STATS research, there were only 448 players traded in the NFL over the last 10 years. In MLB? A whopping 2,362 players were dealt, according to STATS. While minor leaguers broaden the baseball talent pool, it still has a much higher rate of trades.

And in baseball, teams can't trade draft picks, so every deal is a player-for-player swap. In the NFL over the last 10 years, according to STATS, there were only 44 player-for-player deals that didn't involve draft picks.

Sure, Moss has been traded twice now. So has Brandon Marshall. Jay Cutler brought Denver a significant return, as did Jared Allen for Kansas City. But none of those deals were star for star, unless the star developed from a draft pick. Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey is one of the few modern examples of that. Several standouts have switched teams in recent years but for mere mid-round selections: like Marshawn Lynch and Anquan Boldin.

If speed is the most coveted asset in this league, youth is right behind. Plus, under the new collective bargaining agreement that limits the size of signing bonuses, first-round talent is cheaper than before. Players are a little like cars. Shiny new first-round draft picks driven right off the dealer's lot are typically worth a lot more in the NFL blue book than players five years in.

"You presume a draft choice is going to net you four to five years," Polian said. "So you're saying, 'Is this particular player going to net us four to five years at this stage of his career, and are we reaching ourselves going forward by making this transaction now?' It isn't the kind of stuff that you discuss over the dinner table or a drink after work: 'Should we trade 'Player A' for 'Player B?' It's far more complicated than that."

PACKERS: Before surfing into the locker room at Lambeau Field, Charles Woodson paused for a moment of reflection. He stretched his arms out, yelled and basked in the glow of a home playoff victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Maybe he knew it. Maybe not. But this was Woodson's final farewell. On Friday, it became official. After a seven-year run packed with highlights, Woodson was released by the Green Bay Packers.

Since 2006, he has crafted a Canton-worthy resume. A Super Bowl title in 2010. Defensive player of the year honors in 2009. More than 100 games full of momentum-changing turnovers. Initially lukewarm about playing in Green Bay, Woodson enjoyed a career renaissance. But he also turns 37 in October. For Green Bay, it was time to move on.

Woodson has no plans to retire. Agent Carl Poston said his client will forge ahead for a 16th NFL season. Woodson hopes to sign with a contender and pursue a second Super Bowl.


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