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Draft King Analysis
March 10, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

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In one of the craziest half-hours in recent memory in the NFL, a flurry of trades involving high-profile players began to be finalized about 20 minutes before the start of free agency at 4 p.m. EDT, with deals being made well into the afternoon and likely to go on beyond publication of this article tonight.

The pace was frenetic, beginning with Jay Glazer's bombshell news that New Orleans was working to finalize trading TE Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick to Seattle for center Max Unger and the Seahawks' first-round pick, #31 overall.

It escalated quickly, with Baltimore trading NT Haloti Ngata to Detroit (as a presumed replacement for departing DT Ndamukong Suh) and St. Louis traded QB Sam Bradford to Philadelphia for Nick Foles. The particulars with accompanying draft picks were spelled out over the next several hours. And as my brother Matt noted, it felt like the final hours before the NBA trade deadline.

Player trades became much more uncommon in the NFL with the onset of modern free agency in 1993, particularly player-for-player swaps. The salary cap era created a new challenge: the acceleration of pro-rated signing bonuses for players swapped to another team. Part of why Ricky Williams was able to be traded from New Orleans to Miami in 2002 was because he had such a low signing bonus (only $8.8 million) in his rookie deal that was infamously negotiated by Master P.

The trade backfired on Miami, as while Williams exploded for a career-best 1,853 yards rushing in 2002, that triggered a stipulation in the deal that required an additional first-round pick to be sent from the Dolphins to the Saints in 2003. Williams had one more good season for the Dolphins before his abrupt retirement in 2004, and while he later returned he wasn't the same.

Speaking of unexpected retirements, former Titans QB Jake Locker managed to add another bombshell to an already shocking afternoon by announcing his retirement today at the age of 26. I was as negative on him as I've been on any player in my 12 years of running this site going into the 2011 draft, which unfortunately served as an awkward prelude to my favorite team (the Titans) drafting him... two spots before Houston landed J.J. Watt.

For me, it was never personal with Locker -- I simply felt he was outrageously overrated. I'm an analyst more than a talent evaluator, and I've tried to make that as clear as possible on here. But when something seems terribly skewed, I'm going to let my opinion be known about it.

As for today's big free agent signings, several deals have been announced since I began writing this, and I know it will go on into the night, including the Jets signing free agent CB Darrelle Revis. And as impressive as Ndamukong Suh's massive contract from Miami is, what Revis is reported to have received from the Jets tonight is particularly impressive for a player who turns 30 in July: a five-year, $70 million contract with $39 million guaranteed.

As Manish Mehta noted, with this new deal, Revis will earn a minimum of $123 million over his career with potential to earn $154 million. Not too shabby.

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