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It’s time to push back the trade deadline, again

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Michael Holley, Jim Trotter and Mike Jones try to make sense of the Chicago Bears' aggressive move for Chase Claypool, which sent a second-round pick to Pittsburgh.

Ten years ago, the NFL moved the trade deadline from the Tuesday after Week Six to the Tuesday after Week Eight. Last year, the NFL expanded the season from 17 weeks to 18. Thus, it’s time to move the trade deadline again.

At a minimum, it should move to Week Nine. At most, it should go even deeper into the regular season.

Why prevent teams from doing arm’s-length transactions with an arbitrary deadline that comes before some potential sellers are ready to admit they need to sell? As more game are played and more teams lose, they possibly would be more willing to fold the tents and do a deal.

Why shouldn’t they be allowed to do it? What’s wrong with free enterprise? What’s the harm in allowing trades to happen deep into the regular season?

If a contender wants to sacrifice future assets in an eff-them-picks all-in play to capture a Super Bowl, so be it. If a bad team hopes to dangle a great player or two in exchange for draft selections that will help the bad team get better, why not let them? In a league premised on parity, nothing smoothes out competitive disparities more than letting the haves give up too much to get players they want from the have-nots.

Really, there’s no compelling argument against allowing trades to happen well after Week Eight other than “it’s always been this way.” It doesn’t have to be this way. There could be a better way, with more drama and intrigue flowing from a deadline that arrives when the line between contender and pretender is far brighter.

So move it back, NFL. Or give us a better reason than “it was like that when I got here.”