It is always interesting when fans start talking about the draft. Can a team move up and down at will? The answer is probably. If your willing to pay enough. But to have a meaningful discussion about possibilities a certain amount of reality has to be injected into the conversation. That is why the NFL trade chart is so helpful. If you have never seen one click HERE. The chart basically lays out what each draft choice is worth in point values. Its not perfect. But it is more realistic than not using one. Fans generally don't like the chart. Why? Because it stops them from promoting unrealistic trades. The way around that is for fans to add players to the mix. For example: For the Vikings to move from the 15th choice to the first choice would require more than two first round draft choices. So, someone will propose sending a player ( usually one the fan hates) in the trade. Of course the proposal always has the other team wanting the bad player. After the jump I will propose a few rules for draft move discussions.
1. When proposing a trade for draft picks always refer to the chart. If it doesn't fall in the guidelines explain why a team would do this.
2. When trading players be honest with yourself. If the player is garbage on your team then value him as garbage for the next team. Statistics are often a very good indicator of a players worth.
3. When trading players look to see what other similar players at those same positions were worth. It is possible to get a comparison. Examples that come to mind of big trades are Jay Cutler, Jared Allen, Brandon Marshall,ect.
4. Take existing contracts into account.
If you franchise tag a player ( in order to trade him) don't forget that the player is guaranteed that full franchise amount from day one of the tag being used.
If a player has a contract with a big payday next year then the team trading for him will have to pay that big payday.
It probably should be noted that few players really get traded in the NFL for draft picks or for other players. The 2010 year was an anomaly due to the salary cap and floor being uncapped. 2011 looks like the draft will be held in late February. A lockout will probably occur and the season won't get started until very close to opening day. Little if no training camp. Little time to merge new players into the league. Little time to install new offenses and defensive schemes. A new salary cap in place. A new rookie salary cap in place. It will be an odd year. No one knows how it all will play out or how each team will approach the draft.
These are issues the owners and coaches will be dealing with when the draft rolls around. Fans should take those same things into account. But for us draft fans it will be business as usual. Maybe , just maybe, we can hold a few discussions keeping within a framework of reality.