Right now, it’s just a theory.
Over the next three days, though, Tennessee Titans’ general manager Mike Reinfeldt and the rest of the National Football League will discover whether time really equals trades.
The league has expanded its annual draft to three days with the first round Thursday, the second and third rounds on Friday and the remaining four on Saturday. The belief within the Titans’ facility is that with the process halted twice, there is more opportunity than ever for teams to imagine, negotiate and execute deals.
“I think you’re going to see more picks for picks (trades),” Reinfeldt said. “(Then) I think … as teams do get though the first round and get through the second or third round, you’ll see veteran players get traded for picks.
“I do think there will be more activity this year.”
Reinfeldt said the players to watch are the veterans who have signed one-year tender offers this offseason and are scheduled for unrestricted free agency following the 2010 season. Those are the ones who could be dealt for draft picks if a team believes they can draft a comparable player at the same position, one whose rights they then would have for multiple seasons.
For the Titans, that group includes players such as running back LenDale White, defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson and tight end Bo Scaife.
“I think we’ve already started to see this (around the league), where players that don’t fit with a certain team, or a restricted player that’s signed a tender,” Reinfeldt said. “I think you’re going to see a lot more trades, especially after the first, second and third rounds. In that time period there, teams have time to evaluate where they are.”
In previous years, the draft was divided into two days.
Typically teams reevaluate their needs and adjust their draft boards prior to the start of the second day. Now that there are two breaks, it only follows that teams will do that twice as much.
Plus, the additional pause offers expanded opportunities for teams to discuss deals.
Reinfeldt indicated that he is open to such discussions and, in fact, already has had some.
“We’ve had discussions with a number of people, and I think that’s the good thing about the way it’s set up now,” he said. “You’ve got time to kick those around and really evaluate if it makes sense or not.”
The Titans are scheduled to make nine picks over the seven rounds.
Following their first selection (16th overall) they won’t pick again until the third round. Their choices include two in the third round, two in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Thus, it’s likely they will explore potential deals to add a second-round choice.
“I think there’s always that chance, that with people being willing to move around, that there’s a possibility we could move back and pick up an additional second-round pick,” he said. “I think the fact that we have two thirds takes some of the pressure off that.
“I think you’re always open to the idea (of a trade); I don’t necessarily anticipate it. I think we’re probably in more of a mode to kind of see how it unfolds a little bit. But I think there are teams that are willing to do things already at this point in time.”