More Player-for-Player Trades a Possibility this Offseason?

USA TODAY Sports

Steve Wyche spoke to two GMs and one head coach at the NFL Combine who indicated that there may be more straightforward player-for-player trades in the NFL this offseason. How might this impact the Falcons?

Steve Wyche said on 680 the Fan on Friday that he spoke with two GMs and one head coach at the NFL Combine who stated that they expected to see more player-for-player trades in the NFL during this offseason. Player-for-player trades used to be more common, but recently there are many more player-for-draft pick trades in the NFL, so if Wyche and his sources are correct, this would be an interesting shift.

The reason front offices may be anticipating more player for player trades is that several teams have discussed making philosophical shifts for the coming season. For example, both the Falcons and the Saints have alluded to planned shifts toward 3-4 defense, but neither team has adequate personnel in place to make a successful change with their current rosters. Since both teams have guys who were great fits for 4-3 schemes, and other teams have players that would be better fits for a 3-4, player for player trades could be a very expedient way for teams to address their roster needs this offseason.

While most teams have focused more on the player-for-draft pick trades in recent years, the Eagles have made a habit of pursuing player-for-player trades, even though it hasn't been popular. Since GM Howie Roseman came to Philly in 2010, 15 of their 25 trades were player-for-player transactions. Our very own Asante Samuel made the comment that it seemed like Roseman and the Eagles were "playing fantasy football" because of their propensity toward big name player-for-player transactions. With new head coach Chip Kelly in town, and several veteran cuts from the Eagles, it's reasonable to think they might lead the charge with player-for-player trades this offseason.

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It used to not only be more common for teams to pursue player-for-player trades, but for multiple players and picks to be involved in the transactions as well. For example, the largest trade in NFL history was the Herschel Walker trade. Surely Falcoholics who are also Georgia Bulldog fans remember this one. Initially, the Vikings received Walker and four picks, and traded away three players, three draft picks, and five conditional picks. Dallas took these players and picks, and traded for some other players and picks, and basically built a two-time Super Bowl winning squad with them.

What we all really want to know, aside from whether Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith were two of the guys who talked to Wyche about player-for-player trades at the Combine, is--could the Falcons make use of this approach, with a potential shift to more of a true 3-4 defense on the horizon? If so, what players would you like to see them try to get, and what players would you expect them to use as trade bait? Discuss!

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