NFL - Better Trades
There are fewer significant trades made in the NFL than any other professional sport. Baseball, basketball and hockey teams swap players all the time, looking for the better trade that will put them over the top. That's not so much the case with football, where straight up player-for-player deals are not very common.
The most common form of bettertrades in professional football is usually made prior to the NFL draft. Teams will often trade a player they don't need for a draft choice. If a marginal player is traded, he will likely command a mid-range draft choice. If a good player is traded, he will likely command an early round draft choice. If a superstar is being traded, a team might have to package many draft choices, some of them over a span of years.
Why would a team trade a player in exchange for an unknown commodity like a draft choice? Often it is because a team has too many players at a particular position and wants to get something of potential value instead of simply releasing the player and receiving nothing in return. For example, if a team is overstocked at wide receiver, it becomes a better trade to exchange one of them for a draft choice. This permits the team to potentially draft a player it can use at another spot, perhaps at linebacker or in the secondary.
Professional football teams put a great deal of value in the annual draft. It's a way for them to fill the holes on their roster that come along with retirements, injuries and free agent departures, as well as simply trying to get bettertrades. Coaches can find someone a little bigger, faster or stronger through the draft and secure their services at a more affordable price.
Why don't teams look to make better trades among themselves? Many times the reason stems from a coaching staff's personal preference. A coach often wants to have their own players in their system, which explains why many underachievers are allowed to hang onto the club, even though their game has obvious suffered.
Coaches also think it's too difficult to change a player after he's been in a different system. What would be better? Trades for a player who fits a system or trades for a player who does not possess the skill sets required to make the change. Many times it has to do with the type of system; some players work best in a traditional offense or defense, while others have the speed that gives them the opportunity to freelance and make one-on-one plays.
Another occasional trade you'll see in professional football is the garbage swap. Team A has kept a player on its roster for three or four years, but it is obvious that he is never going to develop into a productive player. Team B is in the same situation with a different player. Instead of each team simply releasing the player, they'll trade them for each other. This can be a better trade, because neither has anything to lose, and sometimes the player only needs a change of scenery or an opportunity to play in a different system. That's when it becomes a better trade, possibly even for both teams.