2014 NFL Trade Deadline Recap

Mark Barron

Silence settled across the landscape.

As expected, the rapidly approaching NFL Trade Deadline filled the air with baseless rumors and fantasy suggestions.

There was Doug Martin to the Patriots. Marshawn Lynch to no one. Vincent Jackson to so many different teams that it wouldn’t have been a surprise if the NFL expanded to London tonight and built a franchise called the England V-Jacks.

In the end, there was nothing. At least, nothing earth-shattering.

There are two key factors into the hype machine that now surrounds the NFL Trade Deadline: baseball and social media.

Every July, baseball fans are treated to such a shakeup of rosters that it has bore a certain expectation of all trade deadlines. In baseball, major pieces are moved on an annual basis, making it not only much easier to project which players will be on the move, but a lot more fun, as well.

Cue the social media.

While a few giants of Twitter remained uncharacteristically quiet, the rest of the tweeting world picked up the slack. Every and any possible configuration of trade parts – from Marshawn Lynch to the Raiders to Jay Cutler to the Texans – that could be concocted was also suggested and shared. Most of these remained harmless, if not humorous. Nearly all of them were certain to have no substantial backing.

The fury of potential pairings began to finally die down as the 4PM eastern cutoff drew nearer. Alas, this is not the MLB Trade Deadline, and expectations began to finally meet reality as a calm acceptance set in. No true impact player was going anywhere.

Based in reality or conjecture, the 2014 NFL Trade Deadline – and the days leading up to it – were not completely lost efforts. Here is the recap and review of what transpired as the deadline came and went.

Percy Harvin to the Jets

The only groundbreaking, noteworthy trade that caught people’s attention was made over a week before the deadline. Harvin was dealt to the Jets for a conditional draft pick in what we described in an article as an obvious knee-jerk reaction to the Jets’ loss in Foxborough on Thursday Night Football. Unfortunately for New York, whether via a lack of quarterback talent or comfort in the system, Harvin looked completely unimpressive in his first Jets game, even contributing to the disaster that was the team’s loss to Buffalo.

If we are grading the move based solely on the hour of gametime we saw of Harvin in green, we are starting from the bottom of the scale and working our way upwards. As of right now, the needle remains unmoved.

The Buccaneers deal two players, but not the two everyone expected

For about 24 hours, everybody in America was focused on a 1-6 football team from Florida who, only a few days prior, blew a three-point lead to the Minnesota Vikings with less than two minutes left, then fumbled away any chance of an overtime win on the first play of the extra period.

The Buccaneers, through their horrid performance, were still the most interesting team in the National Football League on Tuesday.

While most of the NFL believes they have a chance at a playoff berth, the Buccaneers were bombarded with calls regarding Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson. Jackson could have garnered a nice price, while Martin represented a potential ‘sell below market value’ dump. In the end, despite the countless rumors, no deals were made.

In retrospect, holding on to these two players out of not having their asking price met is probably the best of the realistic options. Obviously, no teams were willing to overpay, and the Buccaneers now have a 25-year-old running back and solid wide receiver on their roster next season. If they decide to part ways later on, so be it. But they clearly were not getting enough right now to warrant a trade.

Despite the fantasy football loving world thinking otherwise, Tampa Bay actually had two players worthy of other team’s services: linebacker Jonathan Casillas and safety Mark Barron. Casillas looks to be acquired by the Patriots to help add depth at the linebacker position while Barron goes to the Rams – who have been decimated by injury all season – for a pair of draft picks.

Wide receivers are coveted, yet available

While Percy Harvin was the biggest name to be dealt this October, virtually every other rumor about possible trade pieces included a wide receiver. Among the names floated in the ether – almost none of these were confirmed as ‘available’ – Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Andre Johnson, Roddy White.

There’s a relatively simple explanation for this – starting quarterbacks don’t move mid-season and running backs fizzle out too quickly. Receivers, on the other hand, appear to have a slightly longer lasting power, thus leading to a better and proven track record. As the years pass, salary inflates relative to the receiver’s performance, and teams are more willing to move their contracts.

Or, in the case of every team except the Harvin-less Seahawks, proceed with business as usual knowing they have an extra pair of hands on their roster.

Too many winning teams means too many buyers

The sellers could have made a fortune today.

This is the third year since a new agreement pushed back the NFL Trade Deadline from Week 6 to Week 8. The extra two weeks were likely granted in an effort to allow teams to better assess their season before committing to a player for which they were not prepared. At 3-3, teams are far from eliminated from playoff contention. At 3-5, especially in a strong division, the future of no games in January is a little clearer. The extra two weeks have helped teams establish themselves as ‘buyers’ or ‘sellers.’

Except, of course, when no one is selling.

Of the 32 NFL teams, only 13 have losing records. Of those 13 teams, only six have two or fewer wins.

Almost everyone thinks they have a chance at the playoffs.

While we believe otherwise – sorry, Giants, even 3-4 is unlikely in the NFC East – the limited amount of players available speaks volumes for the temperature of the league. We know the Redskins aren’t going anywhere this season, yet they appeared to not have shopped anyone.

Buyers outnumbering sellers is great for a supply and demand imbalance when a supply is actually available. If teams were actively in the market to add parts, the sellers could have raised the price astronomically. The fact that no one bit at higher prices leaves only one conclusion: while the demand may have been high, the supply, itself, was nonexistent.

Most likely, the high number of ‘competitive teams’ – at least, based off the standings – is a function of the 2014 season, and nothing more. Next year we might be overwhelmed with so many sellers that bargains are found everywhere.

As it stood for 2014, however, the NFL Trade Deadline came with whispers and left with a hush.

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola