AFL must allow trading on draft day and future picks

Lou Lando Roar Guru

By Lou Lando, Lou Lando is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    With the NFL draft just completed, maybe it’s to revisit the possibility of the AFL introducing trading during the actual draft and also allowing the trading of future draft picks.

    Before everyone starts with the old “why are you trying to Americanise our game” accusation, remember we already see the influence of American sports on our game. The draft and salary cap was based on U.S sports, in particular the NFL. Also broadcasting rights and now free agency were also based on the American model.

    We do not need to copy the States as we already have a great game, just pick the things that work and can make our game even better.

    The AFL has been reluctant in the past to allow draft day trading and even more reluctant to allow trading future draft picks. The reason for the reluctance is that some clubs may mortgage the future to help save careers that desperately need to win now. After all it could be very tempting for a struggling coach or list manager to forfeit future picks for players /picks that could help now and help them in their last contract year.

    But the reality these days is that no club would allow a struggling coach or even list manager the sole responsibility to make crucial decisions that may directly affect the club years down the track.

    My proposal for trading future draft picks is to limit the picks to one year. So trading prior to the 2012 November draft would be limited to that draft and the 2013 draft only.

    When trading season opens in early October clubs can trade for effectively two drafts worth of picks. Trading would continue until the end of November.

    What may you ask would be the point of this and what benefit would it be to the competition?

    Well the just completed NFL draft saw a staggering 27 trades completed including eight during the first round. Obviously with less clubs and less picks there would be less trades in the AFL.

    But the biggest benefit to clubs would be that it would allow greater flexibility.

    In the NFL draft one of the biggest moves saw the Jacksonville Jaguars trade up to the No 5 position to snare the best wide receiver Justin Blackmon, a position the Jaguars have always been chronically weak in.

    Let us take a scenario in the futuristic 2016 AFL draft. After a couple of ordinary bottom six finishes, the Cats are about to decide what to do with its second pick in the draft, early in the second round. The next three best players available on pure talent are three young athletic ruckmen. A position the Cats are very strong in, unlike several clubs that are desperately seeking ruckmen. The Cats have holes in several other positions and are looking at selecting a midfielder.

    At this point wouldn’t it be more beneficial for the Cats to trade their next pick to a team desperate for a ruckman? To trade down to a spot that they know will still see them pick up their preferred midfielder and possibly an additional pick. In fact both teams would be better off.

    The increased flexibility makes it easier for teams to fill needs. A top club, chock full of depth may be more willing to trade a future pick now than a lower club that has needs now.

    It also makes draft and trading time more intriguing and more strategic. Some clubs may assess that the following year’s draft is more rich in talent at a particular position and rather than spend that late third round pick on a raw, more risky ruckman, they may decide to trade for a future pick where talented ruckmen may be more abundant.

    With the introduction of free agency in October there may see more player movement, but players with under eight years at a club would still find it difficult to move clubs if they feel they are not getting a fair go at their present club.

    Having more choices (i.e more picks to trade) would allow more trades simply because teams will have more to offer, trades that in the past have bogged down and left all parties disappointed.

    The possibility of a big trade would see interest in the actual draft sky rocket.

    With free agency and extended trading, the off season would be two months of sheer bliss for football fans. Footy would still be prominent in the back pages and make the wait for the next season that more shorter. Importantly for the AFL it would mean more coverage at the expense of other sports. That may be too enticing to resist.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • Roar Guru

      May 1st 2012 @ 8:29am
      Kit Harvey said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      It irritates me when people say that the AFL is copying everything from American sports models, particularly the NFL. The fact is, they do so because they are proven formulas in a similar market and we have been doing it for years! Innovations like multiple camera angles, the normalising of boundary riders and on-screen scores all came from or were popularised in the USA. If it works, bring it in. It won’t affect the uniqueness and purity of the great Australian football code itself. It may just improve some of the peripheral aspects of the sport!

      • May 1st 2012 @ 10:23am
        Cameron said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        I totally agree with you on that point. If copying something from something else, i.e. multiple camera angles, to improve the sporting code and benefits millions of people, why not do it??? and why complain about something that makes the game better???

    • May 1st 2012 @ 9:06am
      GreaterWeStener said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      I remain unconvinced that draft day/future pick trading will add anything significant to the current system.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 9:17am
      JD said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      The difference between the NFL and AFL is that the player been traded (not draft picks) is required to agree to the change. On draft day in the above scenario with Geelong, say the Saints want the pick and geelong want to downgrade. If the saints are going to trade for that pick they need to do it with an existing player on there list. The 5 minutes Geelong have wouldnt be enough to get this done when it came to there pick.

      In US sports the players contract is switched from one club to another – there is no renegoitiation. In the AFL when a player is traded the contract is brand new. This would be a massive change. There would need to be a massive change in how players are traded for this to occur. Firstly the player would have to give up there current rights (will not occur) on firstly agreeing to go, and 2nd that there existing contract can be swapped without a new contract. On both circumstances the AFLPA will never agree to such changes to the current market.

      As such the above proposal will never be able to be implemented.,

    • May 1st 2012 @ 9:52am
      turbodewd said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Im an NRL and NFL fan and admire how the AFL copies best practise. I mean its perfectly rational. If you run a professional sporting comp u want a level playing field so any team has equal access to new talent. The NRL system is such that the Broncos almost automatically get full access to all SE Qld up n coming talent which is why theyve only missed the playoffs twice in their history (I believe). Its a miracle they havent won more Grand Finals.

      The NRL has a lot to learn about professionally running a sporting league. They just dont get it and its reflected in their financial state compared to the AFL.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 1st 2012 @ 3:21pm
        SpartanSM said | May 1st 2012 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

        Implementing a Draft day trade and future picks in my mind would be beneficial for the AFL, if a team plays their cards right they would be able to free up space in their salary cap, offload players from their team lists and if trading future draft picks; a draft pick in a future draft.

        For teams re-building this would be great for them it would just be up to the front office of each team to make the deals and get the ball rolling.

        Fremantle Dockers
        Trading: Zac Clarke, Peter Falks
        2013 Draft Pick, 2014

        West Coast Eagles
        Trading: Luke Shuey

        Now this trade is just an example I doubt that the eagles would want to trade Luke Shuey, but this is how a proposed draft day trade would look, where ever the dockers place and would pick the eagles having traded shuey would get 2 extra picks.

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