More trade demands are coming

This offseason, I guarantee you we’ll see more players initiate public trade demands than ever before. I may even a have client or two on the list.

These demands will come from players in three categories. The first is those on smaller market teams whose owners will take advantage of the limitless salary floor (story here: owners will embrace uncapped year) and determined to pocket some monies normally earmarked for player salaries. Agents and players are getting a good sense of who these teams are, and players will begin their trade campaigns relatively soon. We’ve already heard from the Dolphins’ Joey Porter and the . Although not necessarily victims of frugal owners, they’re the first of many more to come.

The second group that will clamor for a change of address will be marquee players who are part of the 212 restricted free agents who would have been unrestricted had we not rolled into an uncapped year, as we most likely will. Although these players are victims of the current labor agreement, they will look to their teams to “do the right thing” and sign them to long-term contracts. However, many teams will give them a high tender and say, “We’re just working within the system that the players agreed to.” Once those tenders are assigned and players feel their teams are not making efforts to secure them to long-term deals, more trade demands will come.

The Chargers probably have more marquee players in this group than any team in the league. They are LB Shawne Merriman, RB Darren Sproles, WR Malcom Floyd, WR Vincent Jackson, and LT Marcus McNeill. Also, Pro Bowl special teams star Kassim Osgood has asked for a trade in the past, and starting center Nick Hardwick is grossly underpaid and could be knocking on the door soon. So don’t be surprised if we see some demands coming out of San Diego sooner than later. I suspect the Chargers will assign all these players with first-round high tenders to show them some love. However, I doubt the Chargers will complete five or more long-term deals for restricted free agents. After all, precedent is a big part of this business. The Chargers are one team that may benefit greatly from an uncapped year, but the challenge is making sure the players in the locker room are happy.

The third group is simply those who are unhappy with their roles and feel they’re underpaid, or both. Regardless, many agents and players believe there will still be several teams who will pay handsomely for premium players and take advantage of an uncapped year. Those players will seek trades, sometimes publicly and sometimes quietly. But it’s coming, and it’s coming fast.

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