The NFL is finally catching on that fans love active and chaotic trade deadlines.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, several NFL teams have asked the league to move the trade deadline back two to four weeks, so it would coincide with Week 10 or Week 12, past the halfway point of the season. The goal, Schefter reported, would be to increase the amount of activity that takes place around the trade deadline.
There’s no guarantee that moving the deadline back two to four weeks will result in increased activity, but the theory is that by waiting longer, more teams will know where they really stand and what their chances are of making a big playoff push. Trade deadlines in MLB and NBA, which are later than the NFL, are typically massive events that are followed closely by millions and millions of fans, and usually feature major, franchise-altering trades.
The NFL has the earliest trade deadline in major sports
The NFL’s trade deadline has been after Week 8 since 2012, when it was pushed back from Week 6 to — you guessed it — encourage more trades. But the NFL’s trade deadline is so early compared to MLB, NBA, and NHL.
Since every team plays a different number of games on a different schedule, the most fair way to gauge this is to look at how far the trade deadline is from the actual middle of the season. In MLB, teams reach the middle of their 162-game season in early July, and the trade deadline is 3-4 weeks later, either at the end of July or in early August. In the NBA, teams reach the halfway point of their season in mid-January, and their trade deadline is also 3-4 weeks later. The NHL has the latest trade deadline, coming two months after teams hit the middle of the season (and just one month before the season ends).
The NFL’s deadline occurs much earlier than the others. It comes before Week 9, roughly the halfway point of the 17-game season, a point when many teams are sitting at 5-3, 4-4, and 3-5. A few good weeks could turn everything around, or launch them directly into the ground. And since uncertainty does not typically lead to trades, pushing back the trade deadline could remove that uncertainty.
According to Schefter, the question of moving the trade deadline will be addressed at the upcoming general managers meetings in late Nov., and then could be voted on at the NFL owners meetings this spring.