Is NFL draft trade talk little more than, well, talk?
Another day, another rumor. Well, actually, a couple of rumors.
First, NFL.com reports the Lions are shopping the second overall pick in the draft. Then, ESPN.com follows up with a report that goes even further. In it, Adam Schefter reports that the teams with the top four picks are each trying to trade down. Obviously, that would include the Bucs, slotted at No. 3 overall.
What's true? What's not?
Answer: Who knows?
But here's our best effort to make heads or tails out of all this. It's very possible that teams are indeed trying to trade down. There is intense pressure when it comes to picking high in the draft, not to mention big, big money. Another consideration is that the teams picking early in the draft -- St. Louis, Detroit and Tampa Bay, for instance -- have multiple needs. Trading down likely would involve accumulating additional draft picks that they can put to good use filling their many holes.
But here's the reality of the situation: All of this stuff should be considered unlikely, at best. As Schefter points out in his piece, the hard part is finding trade partners willing to move up. That's where these offers are going to fall flat. In fact, they already are. Word is there aren't many interested parties on the other end of these phone calls. The teams that are being approached with these deals are going to be unwilling to move up for the same reasons these teams want to move down.
And then there are other obstacles. Even if a team decides it's willing to play ball, agreeing on the compensation is a challenge unto itself. In 2007, the Bucs made an effort to move to the No. 2 pick which would have allowed them to draft Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson. Tampa Bay was intent on doing the deal. But Detroit declined its offer, which consisted mostly of existing players as compensation. The Lions wanted draft picks instead. Deal off. Bruce Allen never admitted this happened, but that story was told to me by a reputable agent who represents one of the players involved in the Bucs' proposal.
Here's the point: You're going to hear a million and one trade scenarios over the next two months. And you shouldn't be the least bit surprised. The real surprise will come when and if a blockbuster deal actually gets done.