Browns submit proposal to move NFL trade deadline back to Week 10

The Cleveland Browns are submitting a proposal to move the NFL’s annual trade deadline back two weeks. The current deadline comes after Week 8 of the NFL’s 18-week season, and the proposal will seek to move the deadline back to the Tuesday following Week 10.

“As a league, it makes sense to give teams the most flexibility,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said. “Moving it back (two weeks), we felt that was the sweet spot.”

Berry cited research that said MLB and the NBA place their annual trade deadlines after about 65 percent of the regular season has been completed, and the NHL’s trade deadline comes after 78 percent of the season has been completed. He said the NFL’s deadline currently comes after 48 percent of the games have been completed — some NFL teams have played eight of their 17 games, some have played nine — and the proposal would make that number approximately 55 percent.

“(That number) helps maintain the competitive integrity of the season so you don’t have a player getting dumped late in the year,” Berry said.

Berry said the proposal both “retroactively corrects” the deadline not moving back when the NFL season expanded from 16 games to 17 ahead of the 2022 season and would be “proactive if the schedule eventually expands to 18 games.” He said that over the last 10 years, the earliest any team has been officially eliminated from playoff contention was Week 11 — and that’s only happened twice since 2014.

Last year’s trade deadline was Oct. 31. The Browns made one trade, sending wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones to the Detroit Lions for a 2025 sixth-round pick. Across the league, there were eight trades made in the final days ahead of the deadline. The 10 trades made just ahead of the 2022 deadline were the most on a deadline day in league history.

Berry said he’s hopeful but uncertain if the proposal will gain enough momentum to be voted on by the owners at next month’s annual league meeting.

“That’s probably to be determined,” Berry said of a potential March vote. “There’s probably more discussion to be had in the committee process.”

Essentially, the new proposal would give more teams a chance to make a move in hopes of bolstering their playoff chances and it would give teams more time to assess their plans for both the short and long term. The Browns were 5-3 after eight games in 2023 and lost starting quarterback Deshaun Watson after a Week 10 win in Baltimore that made them 7-3.

The Browns eventually signed Joe Flacco, whose big December helped push the Browns to just their third playoff appearance since 2002, but Berry knows the Browns were fortunate to find Flacco available. With a later trade deadline, they might have found themselves trying to acquire a veteran quarterback via trade.

A later deadline could spur more trade action, generate more fan interest and give contending teams a better chance to add to their rosters heading into the stretch run. It’s a proposal that makes a lot of sense, but Berry said “you’d be surprised” at some of the pushback he’s received from some of his peers at this early stage. Why would any general manager be against the chance to create more time and opportunity to improve his team’s roster and excite the fanbase ahead of a potential playoff push?

“I’m probably not the one to speak on (why someone would be against it) because (the answer) will be dripped in sarcasm,” he said.

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(Photo: Justin Casterline / Getty Images)

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