The prevailing sense in league circles this week was that most trades would be done before Thursday, due to COVID-19 protocols that require players to wait several days before joining a new team. And while that may indeed be the case, there’s one last dynamic that needs to play out.
Some teams that are fading from contention may lose, making them more likely to sell. Some teams that are on the fringes of contention may win, making them more likely to buy.
The Patriots, for example, could fall to 2-5 and, given coach Bill Belichick’s public lamentations about the cap situation, could be more willing to swap current talent for future draft picks, if the Patriots lose to Buffalo.
The Lions, conversely, may be feeling even better about their chances in 2020 if they beat the Colts on Sunday, moving to 4-3. Already, they’ve traded for Cowboys defensive end Everson Griffen.
Those two teams are mentioned for one specific reason: The Lions perhaps could be a destination for cornerback Stephon Gilmore. If he makes the defense just good enough to get the Lions to the postseason or close to it, a potential housecleaning in Detroit would be avoided.
Regardless of the teams that could buy or sell before Tuesday, Sunday and Monday night could be a factor in any final trades — even if for the 28 teams that play in Week Nine a deadline deal would make any new arrivals unavailable until Week 10.