After a flurry of trade activity all season, the NFL's trade deadline passed without a single transaction of note, a surprising turn of events that multiple general managers attributed to last-place teams over-valuing their potential returns. Conversations with six NFL team officials who were actively pursuing multiple deals revealed a consistent refrain.
The Redskins and Bengals, who had been obstinate through the process as other teams reached out for a month or more, continued that approach at Tuesday's deadline, numerous sources said, showing no indication to engage in the kind of back-and-forth that produces transactions. And the Broncos, several league sources said, put too high a price on their older, soon-to-be-unrestricted free agents, seeking a second-round pick for Chris Harris, for instance, when the market was valuing him more around a fourth. The Jets were eager to move high-priced players like Le'Veon Bell and Trumaine Johnson at the deadline, but there was scant interest in them given their salaries.
"If you want to make trades in this league, you have to properly assess your assets at the time you are trying to trade them," one frustrated GM said.
"Tuesday was kind of a joke," another GM said. "I spoke to about a half-dozen of the guys I am closest with in the league after (the deadline) was over, and we all felt the same way. Teams were asking for way too much for rentals. I don't know if was because they over-inflated value after the (Jalen) Ramsey and (Laremy) Tunsil trades, but the things people were asking for just did not make sense."
Several teams said that despite having interest in multiple Bengals players, they essentially stopped reaching out on Tuesday with the team putting out signals it was not really interested in moving veterans at this time despite an aging roster and 0-8 record. Washington could have likely landed a first-round pick for disgruntled tackle Trent Williams back at the start of the season, when teams like Cleveland were aggressively pursuing him during his holdout, sources said, but set trade demands far out of reach when they finally began to shop the former All-Pro last week.
Ultimately, many of the players at the heart of trade discussions last week are likely to be moved come 2020. Williams, disgruntled Jets safety Jamal Adams and Bell will surely be the subject of future trade discussions, and several GMs I spoke to this week believe all three could be dealt at the combine.