In Major League Baseball, NHL and the NBA, teams are honest with themselves at the trade deadline. Buyers or sellers? It's just smart business to admit you're done for this season and move ahead.
You rarely see that in the NFL. There have been more big trades than usual this season, but it's still not in the NFL's culture to hold a fire sale, even when it makes sense.
The Atlanta Falcons seem to be stuck on the flawed thought that they can't admit to the world that 2013 isn't their year.
Falcons coach Mike Smith told ESPN.com it's "preposterous" to think they would trade tight end Tony Gonzalez. It would be preposterous not to trade him.
Gonzalez, the greatest tight end in NFL history, has said many times this will be his last season. The 1-4 Falcons, now without Julio Jones, aren't going anywhere this season. Keeping Gonzalez and hoping to dig out of that hole to make the playoffs is a heck of a gamble. It's probably not the wisest move, either.
There are plenty of teams that could use Gonzalez. Kansas City would be the best story, but what about Seattle, Indianapolis, Baltimore or create an unstoppable two-tight end set in New England or San Francisco? Wouldn't getting Gonzalez for the last 10 weeks of the season be worth a late pick?
Gonzalez has said he doesn't want to go anywhere, but that's really the only thing he can say publicly. If he really wants to finish his final season in Atlanta, there's nothing wrong with that. But if he wants to be on a contender in his final season, it's the best move for everyone involved to trade him.
The Falcons' season is pretty much done. The Steelers, Jaguars and Giants are in the same boat. There's no reason for those teams to hold on to veterans like Maurice Jones-Drew or Hakeem Nicks when they can possibly deal them for draft picks, assuming a partner has the salary-cap room to swing a trade. It's not a happy moment to start a fire sale in the NFL, but it's the prudent move.