NFL trade-deadline deals are always fun to speculate about, but they rarely happen. After weeks of rumors, the 2013 deadline came and went with barely a whimper of activity.
As the clock ticked to zeroes at 4 p.m. ET, the only deal that materialized was the New England Patriots sending a fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and a sixth-round pick, as Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported:
Meanwhile, all of the hot players rumored to be on the trade block remained with their current squads, which isn't surprising in the least.
It would be wrong to say this season was a dull one for trades.
The Indianapolis Colts acquired Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns for a first-round pick. Linebacker Jon Beason was sent by the Carolina Panthers to the New York Giants in exchange for an undisclosed 2014 draft pick. Offensive tackles Eugene Monroe, Levi Brown and Bryant McKinnie were also traded.
But this was considered high volume for an NFL trade season, and the only deadline deal featured a player nobody had previously talked about as being a desired target.
There were some enticing players up for grabs—or at least rumored to be.
Josh Gordon was highly desired by at least a few teams, as noted by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, yet he remains with Cleveland:
Veteran pass-rusher Jared Allen could have been a vital key for a playoff contender, and it was no secret his services were up for grabs, as Glazer first reported last Sunday, but in the end no team was willing to give Minnesota what it wanted, per Glazer:
Other top players were rumored to be up for grabs, as well, such as Tony Gonzalez, Darren McFadden and Fred Davis, but nothing happened.
Just like nothing happens every single year.
Even before the deadline had arrived, one NFL team official told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, "I'm going for a run. Ain't s--- happening.":
The reason these deals didn't materialize is fairly simple: NFL teams treasure draft picks.
The most tempting player rumored to be on the market was the young receiver, Gordon, who possesses an ideal blend of size, speed, strength and athleticism. His ability to make big plays in the passing game was something at least a few teams wanted to add.
But in his case, the Browns weren't going to let him go without receiving a king's ransom in return, which was the same situation going on with Hakeem Nicks and the New York Giants, as noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
Likely, Cleveland was waiting for some team to get desperate enough to offer a first-round pick, which is the same price the Colts paid for Richardson earlier in the season.
Gordon's high price tag also came with extreme risk. He's one strike away from being banned by the league for an entire season if he fails another drug test, as noted by Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer.
General managers looking at the overall picture for their respective franchises just aren't willing to absorb that amount of risk—nor should they.
Every single season, hundreds of new players come pouring into the league, and teams are always looking to get younger, faster and stronger. Every draft pick teams make has the potential to materialize into a new league star.
Big trades don't necessarily guarantee success, either.
Just look at Darrelle Revis this season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He's still a great player, but the Bucs still struggle to defend the pass, having allowed 13 touchdowns through the air. Even more damning is the fact that the Bucs are winless.
Teams in this league build championship contenders through the draft. Free agency and trades aren't nearly as reliable for fielding a winning team year in and year out, which is why there are so few trades in the NFL.
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