Article for the XFL......
If you like it put it up........
Trading fundamentals......
The GM duties of a team is probably what have made the FPS series superior to any other football sim. The ability to trade, train and with the utilities sign players sure adds another dimension to the game. It have also, however, given coaches the ability to completely trash a team without even knowing it. Usually you'll see which teams that have had many owners by the look of their roster. It seems in every league there are about three or four teams whos completely down the drain and they usually have a couple of coaches each season. It's bad for the team, obviously, but the real damage is to the league as a whole. It's hard to get coaches to join a league when the teams available is crap, even harder if you wish to get "good" coaches. With the amount of player going down and no new versions of the game seems to be scheduled this fact makes it even more important to get player on the same page about trading.
This is my ground rules for trading
Know what you want to do!
If you intend to improve your team through trade, make sure you first take a momemtn to figure out how you want your roster to look. Which characteristics do you think is essential at each position. Decide which is "your" primary characteristics for each position, and while you're at it get a secondary too. This will define how your team will look and you will get your personal preference defined. "I want my RBs BIG", might be a result of your prefered characteristics (ST) at RB. This defines what kind of players you want for the position, so when a trade comes you might get a few players offered you'll know what to look for first. It also excludes a lot of runningbacks from your list of "good" players. If they don't fit your criterias don'r bother, even if it's a good player, it will pay of in the end.
By defining what you want you also define pretty easily which players you can trade. Now your greatest star might in this case be a HB with ST 40. He's a star allright, but he doesn't fit your criteria so he's a let go. Remember he's probably a star to someone else too so you should probably get his worth by trading him.
Look at your own roster first!
Look at what you have, first. Go through ech position and see how you like the current players. Do you have starters that you are satisfied with? Now for each position you're satisfied with, check if you have more players than the starters that is good enough to start. If you do they are tradebaits. A starter at any position is most likely worth more than a reserve. For each position you are satisfied with close that position for trading. You don't trade away from that position (except surplus talent) and you don't trade for it either.
Now spot the position which you have the most need, and pinpoint that position. If you only have 3 starting caliber DBs you'd better start working the market for a 4:th and a 5:th.
Look at the market...
Go through the other teams rosters at the position which you are looking for. Use some roster tool that gives you the whole league. Sort the player by your own criteria and start looking for players designated at WR3 or lower (ie WR4, WR5 etc) that ranks high with your preference (1st and 2nd criteria). This gives you two advantages. Fist the players are not rated as top players on the respective teams, and the teams they are on will most likely have their surplus talent at that position since they rank a good player so low. These both advantages gives you a better chance of striking a deal.
Be active, not passive. (Be specific)
Be the one proposing the trade. Find the player you want and end a request. Always keep in mind which players you intend to trade yourself. Don't get excited and give away anything you hadn't planned to give away. If that's a no-go, leave it. Never, ever stress a trade, even if it's one of the nicest coaches in the league. Always remember that you have a gameplan for your team and you wish to stick to it. If someone approach you let them know what position you want and preferably check out the other team at that position. If there's a player there that fits your mold ask for him otherwise leave it. Being specific makes trading faster and better for both parties. The worst thing is when someone is nagging you with good players who's in a positon which you don't need. If you're OK at LB don't accept the LB, because you don't want it.
When is my team to be ready to go for it. I usually never have a timeplan that goes beyond two seasons. Either I go for it this season and don't bother much about if the player is a 10:th or 12:th year player or I go for a season of rebuilding and tries to optimize for next season. By knowing your timeplan you can get great value out of agedifference. Genrally a lot of coaches is terrified of age. Use this. I can trade for a 12 seasons player but I won't give the world for him. Usually you'll get the advantage if you request an old guy and you could get a starter for a reserve player. If you go for it this season it's what you want, so it's fine.
On the other hand a 10:th or 12:th year player won't be worth much if you intend to rebuild and then you could ship them away pretty cheap without hurting your gameplan. By finding the Superbowl wannabes this season you could work out a favourable deal. I usually go for picks when trading older guys because you probably wont get many good players.
Draft picks.....
Draft picks are wonderfull. If you handle your card right you could get a tremendous leverage out of your picks by trading them. The close to the draft you go the more they'll be worth. There are many coaches who just loves the draft and most coaches wants at least to be a part of the draft. What is a pick worth? That's a key question you have to ask yourself without adding the excitement of drafting to the evaluation. Is a fourth year starter not worth a 1st round pick due to age differense? This is a matter of taste but if you have a timeplan you will be able to judge this much easier.
The dreamdeal....
Once upon a while someone will offer you a great player for a great "price". This is the tricky part. This player might fit your criterias and be a great player in any way. What you need to think about here is a few things. First does this player improve an area where your team is weak and does it give away from without weaken any area significantly? Well there's the easy one. However the player might be adding to an area allready strong on your team but you the price is very fair (ie doesn't hurt your team). Then it's time to go to the market again. By adding strength to a strong area you get a surplus and you wish to be sure you can "sell" that surplus to the market. You might even offer the player you are trading for another player from another team, which fills a greater need.
If you don't want to go through the effort of working the makret again, don't add a strength to a strong area of your team. It's not worth it.
Flavour trades.....
Sometimes you get an idea. I want the fastest LB in the league for example. This will probably be a very highly priced player and you might even be forced to give up your own superstar for this guy, or even more. So should you do it? Yes, you should I think (without completely forgetting your other priorities). It is a game and if having the fastest LB in the league adds some excitement to your game you should go for it. However, beware. Don't make to many of these trades, because they usually cost more than they are worth if you look at it in pure numbers.
Trading same positions
That's a no-brainer. Just don't do it. That's a good rule of thumb.
Salaries and stuff.....
It's pretty new to me and I think others might give some sound advice on that part.
If you do this, even if you're a new coach, you'll be allright. By keeping a steady direction in whatever rostermanagement you do you'll end up right in the end.
PS. I'm Swedish