Breaking Down 2015’s NFL Trades

The NFL’s trade deadline for 2015 came and went yesterday, and while the Broncos and 49ers completed a deal on Monday, no moves were finalized on Tuesday. It’s no secret that the NFL’s trade deadline isn’t as exciting as deadline day for the NBA or MLB, with most teams reluctant to try to get players acclimated to a new system or scheme halfway through the season.

Still, while no trades happened on Tuesday, teams around the league made plenty of deals over the course of the last eight months. Since the 2015 league year began back in March, NFL teams have completed a total of 69 trades, by our count (if we missed any, please let us know).

Here are a few observations on those 69 deals:

Of the NFL’s 32 teams, 31 made at least one trade, and 30 made at least two.

The Bengals, who typically don’t splash around much in free agency, also didn’t dive into the trade market in 2015, becoming the only team in the NFL not to complete at least one deal. The Packers, another team that generally stands pat in free agency, made just one trade. The NFL’s other 30 teams all made multiple deals.

Here’s a breakdown of the number of trades completed by team:

  1. New England Patriots: 9
  2. Detroit Lions: 8
  3. San Francisco 49ers: 8
  4. Houston Texans: 7
  5. Minnesota Vikings: 7
  6. New Orleans Saints: 6
  7. Philadelphia Eagles: 6
  8. Seattle Seahawks: 6
  9. Baltimore Ravens: 5
  10. Chicago Bears: 5
  11. Cleveland Browns: 5
  12. New York Jets: 5
  13. St. Louis Rams: 5
  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5
  15. Carolina Panthers: 4
  16. Dallas Cowboys: 4
  17. Denver Broncos: 4
  18. Indianapolis Colts: 4
  19. Miami Dolphins: 4
  20. Oakland Raiders: 4
  21. Washington: 4
  22. Arizona Cardinals: 3
  23. Buffalo Bills: 3
  24. Kansas City Chiefs: 3
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3
  26. Atlanta Falcons: 2
  27. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2
  28. New York Giants: 2
  29. San Diego Chargers: 2
  30. Tennessee Titans: 2
  31. Green Bay Packers: 1
  32. Cincinnati Bengals: 0

Of the 69 trades completed this year, 64 included at least one draft pick.

Draft pick compensation is crucial for getting deals done, with all but five of this year’s trades featuring at least one pick, whether it was for the 2015, 2016, 2017, or even the 2018 draft. Of those five deals that were purely player-for-player swaps, the Patriots were involved in three of them, but they didn’t play a part in the most notable one — the Eagles sending LeSean McCoy to the Bills for Kiko Alonso back in March.

Of course, many of those draft-pick trades occurred during the draft itself. By our count, 24 deals were completed during this year’s draft, with a few picks changing hands more than once over the course of the three-day event.

In total, 143 draft picks were included in this year’s 69 trades.

As noted above, a few picks have been dealt multiple times over the course of the year, and some of those picks are conditional, so they won’t all change hands. But overall, an incredible 143 draft picks were included in this year’s trades. Here’s the breakdown by draft year:

  • 2015: 96
  • 2016: 36
  • 2017: 8
  • 2018: 2
  • Unspecified year: 1

And here’s the breakdown by round:

  • 1st: 5
  • 2nd: 12
  • 3rd: 13
  • 4th: 20
  • 5th: 29
  • 6th: 24
  • 7th: 24
  • Conditional: 16

Eleven trades were completed after the regular season got underway.

As I noted in the intro, in-season deals aren’t too common in the NFL, with most teams not wanting to upset chemistry, or teach a player a new system on the fly. But since the Patriots and Steelers kicked off on September 10, teams have completed 11 trades. Most notably, the Cowboys acquired Matt Cassel, the Panthers landed Jared Allen, and the Broncos traded for Vernon Davis.

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