Jabar Gaffney, and the Trade


As UkRedskin posted yesterday, Chris Russell tweeted that Jabar Gaffney told him that the Redskins were trying to trade him. Then today, HTTR4LIFE posted an article in the Daily Slop from CBS DC, about the Gaffney being puzzled about why he is being traded.

Jabar Gaffney was probably our season-long offensive MVP last year with 68 catches for 947 yards. As for keeping him or trading him, there are arguments on both sides. One side wants to preserve one of our few healthy, productive, non-delinquent offensive weapons from last year. Those folks would likely rather trade/cut Santana Moss to reduce the logjam at WR. The others side wants to remove pass-catchers who would take away reps from our young, developing WRs (Hankerson, Paul) and our new FA acquisitions (Garcon, Morgan). These folks want to get as much value as possible outside of those WRs, and since Gaffney is younger, healthier, and would fetch a higher draft pick than Santana Moss in the open market, they think that the value bet is to trade Gaffney. There obviously are opinions throughout this range of arguments, including keeping both, cutting both, etc., but that is not what prompted this fanpost.

My Issue

I guess I am trying to figure out why the Redskins told Gaffney that they are looking to trade him. The Redskins keep doing this- we reduce the trade value of our players when we want to get rid of them. When the whole league knows you are shopping a player, then they will likely give you less for him than if they think they are trading for a commodity that you still value/want. Also, when a player is aware he is being shopped, they usually become upset, further broadcast that they are available, and either publicly request a release from the team or become a malcontent in the locker-room if eventually retained. When players are known to be unhappy with their situation, they further lower their value because some teams may gamble to not make an offer so that they can pick him up as a free agent without giving up anything in a trade.

A few examples of how we have de-valued our trade bait in recent years:

  • Jason Campbell - We brought in McNabb. Rather than saying we wanted to retain him as a veteran backup, we told him not to show up anymore until we traded him. As a result, our starting QB was traded to be another team's actual starter for a 4th rounder. IMO, if we had pretended to want to keep Campbell or if we had moved him before McNabb got here, we would have gotten more.
  • Donovan McNabb - We benched him for the final 3 games of the season, there was the cardiovascular endurance/playbook/injury debacle, and everyone knew we wanted to move him. The truth is that he was on pace for 4,000 yards, and although he wasn't great, IMO we would have at least gotten slightly more in return if the whole world wasn't aware that the divorce was imminent.
  • Albert Haynesworth - This one wasn't entirely the Redskins fault. Fat Al certainly did enough to de-value himself... Nevermind; it's to painful to re-live this sh**-show.

My point is, that whether or not it's the right move to trade Gaffney, I just cannot make sense of why we would de-value him by letting him, and indirectly the media, know that we wanted to trade him (and on top of that, to even let on when we wanted to do it by... before the draft). The only way I can think that this would be an okay idea is if we already had 2+ active bidders, if the bids were already high enough that we were ready to pull the trigger, and if we were just sending it out there to accelerate offers in the existing bidding war/welcome in any late-comers. However, I highly doubt this was/is the case with a Jabar Gaffney... Although I think our FO is much improved from the days of Vinny, I think this shows that our FO still doesn't completely have their game faces on...

What do you think?

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