There was widespread speculation last year when the new CBA was signed that it would facilitate an increased number of draft day trades. I don’t know whether that will pan out over the entire draft or not, but it does almost guarantee that teams will be more willing to trade up into the top 10 or 15 to get a player they really want.
We’ve already seen one blockbuster move by the Redskins to move from the 6th overall pick to the 2nd overall pick, presumably to draft QB prospect Robert Griffin III. That’s not the only trade I expect to have occurred by the end of the first tonight’s first round of the draft.
Taking a quick cruise around the internet, I see that there are rumors that the Bills may be looking to trade up to take Matt Kalil per NFL.com, the Eagles may be looking to move up for Fletcher Cox according to Todd McShay, the Broncos have reportedly contacted the Jaguars about trading up to take Stephon Gilmore according to Shawn Zobel, and as you may or may not have known the Jaguars have been very public about saying that they may want to move down in the draft.
So, why is there a sudden movement at the top of the draft order for teams to move around? Well, it’s all about the new CBA. In previous years (before last season), teams could pay rookies pretty much whatever they wanted. Now, teams have to keep there rookie wages under a set amount. Essentially that means that the top drafted players, those drafted in the top 10, won’t be making the kind of money that players like Jamarcus Russell and Sam Bradford have seen.
There’s really no guarantee that teams will fly up and down the draft board with every GM’s whim, but it does seem clear that the new CBA will produce far more trades in the top 10. We even saw it last year when Atlanta moved up 21 picks (27th to 6th) to draft Julio Jones. It was a blockbuster deal for both the Falcons and the Browns, but it was also a sign of things to come.
No one knows what trades may come to pass tonight, not even the GMs themselves, but I can guarantee that there will be movement at the top of the draft order. Don’t be late to your respective draft night parties. You could just miss one of the trades of the decade.