Danger in Patriots trading for future picks

Danger in Patriots trading for future picks
March 30, 2011, 10:10 pm

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

It's pretty common knowledge that the Patriots are locked and loaded for the 2011 NFL Draft -- nine draft picks, six in the first three rounds. Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio andfriendsare going to be at liberty to do what they do best -- deal and seek value. And adding picks for 2012, as my CSNNE buddy Adam Hart points out, is likely a goal, too, since New England has just one pick in each of the first five rounds of that draft. But things could get sticky for the Patriots if they start making too many deals involving the future. The lawsuit the players are bringing in federal court against the NFL alleges the league is in violation of antitrust laws. And, as PFT's Mike Florio points out, the draft itself is a pretty good example of an antitrust violation because " . . . assuming the decertification of the union sticks, an effort by 32 separate companies to divvy up incoming workers easily runs afoul of the antitrust laws."Why was the draft legal in the past? Because the players -- as a union -- agreed in the previous CBA to allow the league to have a draft. No new CBA means no draft after this one. A lot of things would have to happen -- almost all of them bad for NFL teams, players and fans -- for the draft to go away permanently. But until there's a new CBA, there is no CBA, knowwhutImean? Hence, it's a bit of a dice roll to presume there will be a draft in 2012. Belichick measures risk and reward like a maniac on draft day. This year, one of the biggest risks he will likely take is dealing current picks for future ones when the future looks to be in doubt. So trading the 28th overall pick to a perennially bad team for their 2012 first-rounder could -- in essence -- be just like giving the spot away if things go from bad to worse between the players and owners. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran