Demaryius Thomas

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Bernstein: Active NFL Trade Season All Good Fun

A sometimes habitually transaction-reluctant league was busy Tuesday.

Dan Bernstein
October 30, 2018 - 3:36 pm

(670 The Score) It happens ever year around deadline time, the non-contenders folding their cards and choosing to live to fight another season, dealing off their high-leverage relievers and expiring veteran contracts to those still in it and willing to pay a premium. Viable starting pitching, versatile position players and speedy basepath specialists can all be had for the right price as the good teams fill holes and load up for the stretch run.

I'm not at all used to the same becoming true of wide receivers and defensive backs, but bring it on. It's happening right now in the NFL as real general managers play fantasy football with real players, and some newly free movement is great for all involved. The teams get better or less expensive, and developmental opportunities are created. Players get new chances in spots where they're wanted, and the rest of us get to keep track of all of it.

As the NFL trade deadline passed Tuesday at 3 p.m., the latest news was that Green Bay sent safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Washington for a fourth-round draft pick. That move came after the Packers had just flipped running back Ty Montgomery -- who allegedly defied coaching instructions in a fit of pique and ran a kickoff out of the end zone Sunday that resulted in a fumble that clinched a Rams' win -- to the Ravens for a 2020 seventh-rounder.​ 

Meanwhile, the Rams beefed up their pass rush by acquiring defensive end Dante Fowler from the Jaguars in exchange for a third-rounder and a fifth-rounder after reported interest also from the Jets and Packers. These followed other moves of the Lions sending receiver Golden Tate to the Eagles for a third-rounder and the Broncos dealing receiver Demaryius Thomas to Texans for a fourth-rounder and a swap of seventh-rounders.

The Cowboys had already shocked the league by parting with a first-rounder for Raiders wideout Amari Cooper last week, a move that came on the heels of Josh Gordon's trade from Cleveland to New England along with a seventh-rounder in exchange for a fifth-rounder. The moribund Giants decided they had little use for cornerback Eli Apple, so he went to the Saints for a fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder, while defensive tackle Damon Harrison was unloaded to the Lions for a fifth-rounder.  

And the mega-deal that Bears general manager Ryan Pace pulled off on Sept. 1 seemed to set the tone for all of this, moving two first-round picks along with a third-rounder and a sixth-rounder to the Raiders for star pass rusher Khalil Mack, a second-rounder and another conditional pick.

The first read of all this is good news for the Bears, as two of their NFC North foes parted with starting players, a possible insight into their respective self-assessments. The other is recalibrating our expectations for habitually transaction-reluctant NFL teams. Once content to invest reputations, time and money in drafting and developing their own assets, it may be seen as better business to move on when reasonable. The 10 names included above comprise five former first-rounders, two second-rounders, a third-rounder, a seventh-rounder and one undrafted free agent.

If this is the new normal in football, I'm here for it.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​​​​​​​​​​