The trade deadline in the NFL is a set date the marks the point in the season in which NFL teams are no longer allowed to trade players with one another. The trade deadline is put in place in order to keep the NFL at a competitive balance at the end of the season.
The trade deadline occurs after week 8 of the NFL regular season. In the 2021 NFL season, the trade deadline will be November 2nd 2021.
When Are Teams Able To Resume Trading
Once the trade deadline occurs teams are not able to resume trading until the next league year has started. The league year does not start until the previous season has concluded.
In 2022 the league year is going to start on March 16th. This date comes roughly one month after the Superbowl has concluded.
Throughout the year teams are able to discuss trades yet they are not able to execute them until this date.
Why Do Teams Trade At The Deadline
Now that you understand what the trade deadline is you may be wondering why exactly teams are so keen to trade at this deadline. Below we will cover the top reasons that teams remain active at this time each year.
Making A Playoff Push
One reason that teams often trade at the deadline is to make a playoff push. By the halfway point of the season, many teams have found out whether or not they’ll make the playoffs.
No teams will have clinched playoffs yet but for most teams, it’s fairly easy to tell how the season is going to unfold.
Teams that are confident about clinching a playoff spot may look to bolster their roster for their playoff run.
To do this teams will look to make trades before the deadline ends. These trades often include replacing injured players, or fixing holes in the roster that the team could not address in the offseason.
Cashing In On A Future Free Agent
Another reason that a team may look to trade at the deadline is to offload an upcoming free agent.
Say your team is 2-5 and has an extremely talented player who is looking to sign with a new team at the end of the season. At this point, it may be time to swallow your losses and flip the player to another team.
Since the remaining games are somewhat meaningless trading away the player a few months before you lose them to free agency is often the best move.
Load Up On Draft Picks
Teams also look to use the trade deadline to load up on future draft picks. As we stated above, some teams are already aware that the current season isn’t going to be their year.
At this point, it may make sense to trade away your stars players and start the rebuild. It can be difficult to gain draft picks in the offseason so trading players for picks during the season is often the easiest way to improve.
If a team is a big seller like this you can be sure they are looking towards the future and letting the current season fizzle out.