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NFL trade tsunami? This offseason could be defined by deals

Eli Apple

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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By Gregg Rosenthal – 2.21.18

This NFL offseason is long on salary-cap space and short on quality free agents. As a result, a tsunami of trades could be forming in the coming months.

It’s a shift in player-personnel trends that is overdue. In a copycat league, opposing front offices have surely noticed that no team made more trades for veterans over the last two seasons than the New England Patriots. The world champion Eagles, who rank with the Patriots as one of the two most active trading teams of the decade, deployed three key contributors in the Super Bowl acquired through trades: cornerback Ronald Darby, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan and running back Jay Ajayi. Acquiring veteran talent via trade might just be the new market inefficiency.

Extra cap room makes trading veteran contracts easier. Twenty teams currently have more than $20 million in cap space, according to, with 12 teams over $40 million. Most squads also still have a lot more room to create through roster cuts. With so few difference-makers available in free agency, there’s an argument that teams have been too fiscally responsible in recent years. Salary-cap space is overrated if nearly every team has enough of it.