The NFL is seeing a change of player empowerment shift before their eyes, in real time, during the regular season.
Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was drafted just last year, already has gone from the tanking Dolphins to the Steelers after requesting a trade after Week 1. Fellow defensive back Jalen Ramsey, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback at only 24 years old, also has requested to be traded from the Jaguars after being seen in a heated argument with head coach Doug Marrone.
Ramsey requested the trade prior to Jacksonville's matchup with the Titans on Thursday, but he still played in the game despite making it known he wants the Jaguars to move him.
Former 49ers turned NBC Sports Bay Area analysts, Jeff Garcia and Donte Whitner, played in a time when you hardly ever saw a trade request come to fruition during the season, and be so publicly known. The two also differ with their feelings on these players requesting trades.
To Garcia, this a generational issue that isn't going to get any better.
"I don't like it," Garcia said Sunday on 49ers Pregame Live. "I don't like the direction that the league is going right now with the players requesting [trades]. It's the new age of how kids grow up. We see it at high school levels, where you're not the starter, you're not the star that you thought you were going to be, so I'm going to leave this high school and I'm going to another high school.
"Well, now you see that being carried over into collegiate football with guys changing programs all the time, and they've made it easier to do so. And now at the NFL level, it's like a domino effect. I really don't like it. I think guys need to learn or be forced to battle through certain situations."
Whitner dealt with a situation during his 11-year NFL career that makes him have much different feelings.
"I have to disagree with Jeff because I'm all about individualism," Whitner responded. "I'm all about the business side of football, and these teams will cut you and put you on the street without a notice like they did me. The Cleveland Browns did me dirty. What they did was, they cut me so late that other teams already filled their roster up. So who's decision is it to do that so late?
"If you're going to let me go, let me go early so I can get on with another team. Don't wait to the last day to cut me so I can't sign with another team. So it's all about the players taking their onus on their careers, understanding what's best for them, what's best for their career and what team, what system, what defense might be best for them, like the NBA does it.
"The players run the NBA. The NFL players are trying to get to that level where they can have some type of ... more control over their career."
There are two sides to this argument, and they're not going away. Ramsey likely will get traded soon, and he won't be the last superstar to for a way out of his current situation.