The Brandt Report

Hakeem Nicks to Panthers among trades that would make sense

Trading in the NFL used to be easy.

Want to trade with the Chicago Bears? Talk to George Halas and it'll get done in one conversation. Open to a deal with the Baltimore Colts? Weeb Ewbank will walk over to your table at the draft and work something out in minutes.

When I worked for the Dallas Cowboys, we just made trades. We weren't worried about things like players sharing their former team's secrets with their new bosses. Obviously, we weren't worried about a salary cap. Trades were so loosely scrutinized, George Allen once dealt away draft picks he didn't have.

This looseness led to some active trade markets. I remember one particularly busy trade-deadline day in 1974. Norm Snead, the starting quarterback of the New York Giants, went to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for two high draft picks. John Hadl went from the Los Angeles Rams to the Green Bay Packers for five picks spread out over two years. The Kansas City Chiefs sent Curley Culp and a first-round choice to the Houston Oilers for John Matuszak and a third-round selection. And the Dallas Cowboys shipped Craig Morton to the Giants for a first-round pick (which we ended up using on Randy White). Today, people are loath to trade with rivals or within their division, but we didn't used to be concerned about that. Morton, for example, started against us the week after the deal.

In the modern NFL, of course, complicating factors like the cap and the complexity of playbooks make it tough to do much wheeling and dealing. When a major move does get done -- like last month's trade of former first-round pick Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts -- it sends shockwaves throughout the league.

Considering the high-stakes nature of today's NFL and the razor-thin line between success and failure, though, perhaps it's not surprising so few trades are made. It's like blackjack: If you hit, you're a hero, but if you miss, you're a bum -- and heroes get contract extensions while bums get fired.

As we approach the Oct. 29 trade deadline, I thought I'd put together a handful of potential deals that would make sense. Many likely would be precluded by the restrictive trade environment of today's league, but all of them would be helpful for both parties involved.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter @Gil_Brandt.

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