Philadelphia Eagles News

Will Restrictions In Free Agency Open Trade Market?

Two years ago, team president Joe Banner talked about how the perception of an escalating salary cap would force teams to make more trades, but in reality it didn't happen.

Could it happen now?

Agent Jack Bechta can't say for sure. But in a recent piece for, he says more trade demands are coming.

"This off-season, I guarantee you we'll see more players initiate public trade demands than ever before," Bechta writes.

These demands, he says, will come from players in three categories. The first is those on smaller market teams whose owners will take advantage of the non-existent salary floor. With a salary cap, there was also a minimum amount that teams had to spend on player salaries. In an uncapped year, which we are likely about to see, there is no minimum amount that teams have to spend on player salaries.

The second group includes 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." Of the 212 players, eight of them are from the Eagles: cornerback Ellis Hobbs, center/guard Nick Cole, fullback Leonard Weaver, tight end Alex Smith, linebackers Omar Gaither and Chris Gocong, wide receiver Jason Avant and guard Max Jean-Gilles.

Writes Bechta: "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 third group is simply those who are "unhappy with their roles and feel they're underpaid, or both."

-- Posted by Bob Kent, 6:09 p.m., February 11

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