Trading Value of NFL Veterans in Decline?

Maybe it's a trend, or maybe it's what the NFL has become, but lately, it seems as though talented veterans who still have plenty left in the tank are getting moved pretty inexpensively to their new teams. This week's trade of Trent Green is just another example of a team getting a former Pro Bowler for relatively modest price

Trent Green finally got traded to the Dolphins. I can't even begin to fathom why it took this long for the Chiefs to pull this trade off. Look, if you know a guy is not happy with where he's at, and probably won't play any of the season because the organization has basically moved on to the future (whether that's Damon Huard or Brodie Croyle remains to be seen), why continue to hold on to him? It's not as though his trade value was going up and down because it was public knowledge the Chiefs weren't going to start him. Basically, the teams that were going to trade for him had a good amount of leverage in the dealings for Green.

Also, it's June, meaning that everyone's QB situation is basically accounted for. Miami had already made this trade declaration back in March, and yet, the Chiefs thought they could get a third-rounder for Green, knowing that there were literally no buyers out there. Sure, Cleveland was in the running for a little while, but now, with Brady Quinn, Charlie Frye, and Derek Anderson on the roster, there was clearly no room for him there. Minnesota? Well, apparently they never really were interested. So the only takers all along were Miami and yet the Chiefs wanted more. Well, finally, they were tossed back to reality, and settled for a fifth-rounder.

What I find fascinating is that unproven commodities seem to be worth more, in terms of draft picks, than proven talent. I think that Deion Branch will perhaps be the last vet to ever be traded for a first-round pick. Look at what happened over this past offseason. You have the aforementioned Green going for a fifth-rounder, the Pats trading a fourth-rounder to Oakland for Randy Moss, the Niners also swapped a fourth-rounder for Darnell Jackson, and the Bills got two threes and a seventh for Willis McGahee, a guy who, had it not been for 10 yards, would have joined an exclusive list of players who rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. Only five players who have started their careers in the last 10 years have accomplished that: Shaun Alexander, Corey Dillon, Eddie George, Clinton Portis, and LaDainian Tomlinson.

That's a pretty select group, and for the Ravens to only give up two threes and a seventh for a guy who is entering just his fourth year in the league seems a little low to me. Sure, the average career for an NFL running back is short, but this guy is an All-Pro talent. Another way of looking at is through how many Pro Bowlers have been produced from 2000 to 2005 in the first round, and how many have been produced in the third and seventh rounds:

First Round:

2000: 11
2001: 14
2002: 8
2003: 7
2004: 10
2005: 3
Total: 53

Third Round:

2000: 1 (Laverneus Coles)
2001: 3
2002: 1 (Brian Westbrook)
2003: 2
2004: 2
2005: 1 (Frank Gore)
2006: 0
Total: 11

Seventh Round:

2000: 0
2001: 0
2002: 0
2003: 0
2004: 0
2005: 0
2006: 0
Total: 0

So why is it that McGahee, who was drafted in the first round, went for so little? Perhaps it was due to a couple of injuries McGahee had over the past year, but still, even if those players they end up drafting end up doing great things, will they ever account for the value of a franchise back? It just seems crazy to me that teams are able to pry away veteran talent, some of whom are in their prime, like McGahee, for relatively little value.

Now, look at some of the trades involving picks for picks in this year's draft:

Jets trade 25, 59, and 164 to Panthers for 14 and 191
Broncos trade 21, 86, and 198 to Jaguars for 17

It's clear that certain teams put a big premium on young guys that probably won't be able to contribute for a few years. Another interesting move was by Houston, who traded two second rounders to the Falcons, as well as swapping first rounders this year, to get Matt Schaub, who has only thrown 161 passes in the NFL in his three years with Atlanta. Then, the Texans promptly signed Schaub to a six-year, $48 million deal that includes $7 million in guaranteed money. Schaub has basically no track record other than the fact that he has "franchise potential." So, Houston decided to mortgage a huge part of its future, both in terms of draft picks and money, to get Schaub, a guy they are hoping will turn their fortunes around.

Meanwhile, here is Trent Green, a guy who had thrown for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons before suffering a concussion stemming from a hit in Week 1 of the '06 season, who just went for a fifth-round pick, and will probably end up signing a deal worth about $3-4 million over two years. Personally, I think Schaub will be a good quarterback in this league, but if you really wanted to make an immediate impact, a guy like Green would have been perfect, especially when you consider the Texans did relatively little to upgrade its o-line, meaning a guy like Schaub, who has little experience, will have that much less time to get adjusted to the flow of the offensive, than Green, who, although passing behind one of the better lines in the league, still would probably have a much smoother transition into making split-second decisions.

Even though he missed almost half of last season, Green still had a 61.1% completion rate. Yes, he had more INTs than TDs (7 to 9), but the Chiefs' receivers are garbage, and if Green had guys like Andre Johnson and Eric Moulds to pass to, I would think that the numbers would have been a lot better in comparison to throwing to Eddie Kennison and Sammie Parker. Perhaps this move will work out for the Texans, but don't expect an immediate turnaround, the kind that a veteran like Trent Green would have had a better chance to provide.

Comments and Conversation

June 8, 2007


On the HBO concussion special, Nowinski admits he has white spots on his brain in MRI.
In his address to the MA brain injury meetings he states, “I got kicked in the chin” also on chronicle. One theory is, His repeated concussions from blows to the jaw have led to the white spots. Vasa spasms are commonly found in boxers, Andre Waters, soldiers and
are known precursors to Parkinson’s, Alzheimers and brain decease.

Because of the similarity in chin strap design, Soldiers in Iraq with Multiple IED exposure are developing these Vasa spasms. Ted Johnson recently stated on WEEI in Boston, he does not have these white spots or Vasa spasms. He also said he wore the Maher mouth guard for all of his thirty concussion events. The question is, does this procedure protect against vasa spasms also.

Tufts is now forming a study to find out. Yet no contact from the NFL for funding, just a grant rejection letter from Gene Upshaw and others. Ira Casson, Vianno were all investigators on the Riddell revolution study program with Pellman. They are deliberately stonewalling the media, ESPN, HBO about what really happened and why
we no nothing more about preventing concussion than before the studies. No mention of Labyrinthine concussion or the Boxers “Glass Jaw”. Even though its initial study confirmed 70% of concussions originated at the earhole down to the chin strap or TMJ. A study from 1934 on this area of the skull would lead one to the conclusion it should be protected, 2007 and they are still in the dark. I believe it was the basis for Stengers studies at Notre Dame in the 1960’s.

Tufts is the pioneer of TMJ research and should be consulted on this. The NFL has a perfect opportunity to fund an independent study with them, yet we only get a stonewall and the silent treatment from Goodell and his people. One bright spot is the work of Mike Haynes. He has connected the mouth guard with the commissioner of the Arena football league. The owners, primarily NFL owners, have widely accepted the mouth guard and seem to be in the dark on the intricasies of the concussion committee’s activities. It is Now the official mouth guard of the arena league and, at this point, won’t be present at the Concussion summit in Chicago. Why?

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