...and know when to TAKE ALL MY MONEY NOW!
Ah, the offseason. You can smell the trades in the air. The 1,000 scenario spreadsheet with branching trade strategies. The thrill of the negotiation and the jubilation at securing that vital cog for your team.
But just like the game as a whole, trading is a tool to improve your team by inches. Play too hard to try and take your sandlot team to the Super Bowl in a single season or get dazzled by the shiny item being dangled in front of you and you could be left spending more time than you realise trying to recover from the mistake.
So, as a person who pretty much followed the "Idiot's Guide On What Not To Do With Trading" like it was a frikkin' instruction manual, here are some gotchas I've helped prove.
Trade the horse, the jockey and the stable when all you wanted was a new gate
Ah, this is the greatest one of them all. You want that superstar player. You make your offer and the bugger on the other end of the line doesn't save you by rejecting it. No, they simply counter.
IT'S A TRAP!
And they've baited it. Your opening gambit was enough to pique their interest and now they're preparing to inch you along step by step until you've got your player and suddenly looking at your roster and wondering why your secondary looks flimsy, your draft looks shallow and that's a donkey in your back yard.
The best example I can give is in TWR (Benny Harbinger will smile and nod at this one who set the trap
). As part of a trade that gave me a sideways QB move, I traded away CB Rashean Mathis and pretty much spent the rest of the league's life searching for his replacement.
Pay careful attention. If you're chasing a player the other party isn't actively looking to trade, you generally need to open with something that'll be good. But make sure you don't go chasing that shiny carrot too far and leaving yourself simply chasing another missing cog at the end of the deal.
That's Future Me's Problem!
Why have 10 draft picks when you can have 20?!? Surely if I pack as much as I can into this draft I'll cover everything I need. This is basically the tactic of emptying next years draft pick wallet to either move up on this year or expand your pick list.
IT'S A TRAP!
Oooh this is so tempting for a society that is addicted to credit. The problem is that unless you're willing to sacrifice draft involvement next season, you can end up on the wonderful merry-go-round of attempting to convince other teams each offseason to accept next season's picks for their picks this season. And this is generally a lopsided trade, because a known pick on a known draft class should be considered more valuable than a draft position gamble on an unknown draft class.
However, if you're willing to trade away a player or two, you can recover from this position without sacrificing a year in the draft. It's all a balancing act.
Overall Is A Madden Swear Word For Overpaid Old Farts
Overall should be the last rating you go looking at when judging a player's suitability.
IT'S A TRAP!
Oh, look...that 95 overall linebacker is 32 years old and slower than a glacier falling over a cliff face. But he'll still cost me half my available salary space to sit on the pine and occassionally take the field.
Now, this doesn't mean overall doesn't mean anything, but it can hide some reality of their physical abilities and Madden seems to put an inordinate amount of weight on non-physical stats when calculating it.
But most of all...Madden will charge you more for the privilege of having that old guy there.
Used Car Salemen Can Never Be Trusted
Ok, I was admittedly trying to come up with something humourous here and failed a bit. But if the market is flooded with old farts with 10 years on the clock, can anyone really get upset if a team selling something shiny with lots of use left garners trade attention. Don't go onto the market with just the crappy stock you have no need for. If you want to make a valuable trade, you will have to sacrifice something worth people's while. That offensive guard with the punch-drunk smile and 3 missing fingers who can remember the 80's isn't going to attract much more than a minimum trade in.
IT'S A SELF-INFLICTED TRAP!
This is the time of the season we get given our allowance money to buy new players. You need to trump the guy in the post next to yours to get what you want and rubbish with 500,000 snaps on the clock won't do it. And if you can't meet what the market needs to get what you want, keep what you have and use it. Every team has the option to not trade away a pick but don't go expecting to attract the attention of that buyer with a first in his hand by offering the spare-parts squad. As they're putting their money on the table, they will expect something worthwhile in return.
Don't Be Like Me
I've done each of the above at some point. Used overalls (early days), chased the shiny carrot off the cliff face, spent future picks too aggressively and railed at the trade market because I wasn't willing to actually offer anything worthwhile from my side.
Always remember...patience is a virtue and silver bullets can still shoot you in the foot.