Each year countless trades occur during the NFL Draft. Trades involving a player while a team is on the clock is a rarity, and there’s a fundamental reason for that. A trade isn’t official until the League receives exact matching calls from both clubs, so when players are involved that becomes even more complex.
While I was with the Jets, we traded up to the No. 5 overall pick to draft Mark Sanchez in 2009. We had spoken with multiple potential trade partners prior to the Draft and talked about different scenarios while letting teams know that we had significant interest in moving up from our initial No. 17 overall spot.
There are multiple contingencies that are put on players and picks. If the player fails to pass the physical for the team trading for him, there must be additional value sent to the acquiring team, say a 3rd round pick in a subsequent year’s Draft. This is the case for all the players.
When we acquired the No. 5 pick in 2009, we traded away Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam, and Brett Ratliff. All three of these current (at the time of the trade) NFL players had to have their own contingency in case of a failed physical, making this draft day trade that much more complex.
Often, these picks, trades and players are all discussed prior to the draft with the plan that if the prospect that you are looking for is available, the trade that has been discussed will be formalized.
This gets complicated when the initially agreed upon terms are formalized while one team is on the clock.
For example, if Kenyon Coleman’s failed physical contingency was a 3rd round pick in a subsequent season, those exact terms would have to match via phone call by both teams to the League, including which subsequent season it may be. It can be difficult to get matching calls to the league office prior to the clock running out in that type of negotiation.
Through no fault of either side, in the 2009 Draft, we finalized a trade with multiple Draft choices, three players (with each one of the players having their own contingency) with 30 seconds left on the clock. It gave us enough time to turn in the card with “Mark Sanchez” written on it
If Deebo Samuel is traded during the upcoming Draft, as has been widely speculated, the acquiring team will need to have similar contingencies put into place as well to protect themselves in the unlikely event that he does not pass his physical.