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NFL trade deadline: When is it? And how does it work?

Tayyib Abu
NFL trade deadline: When is it? And how does it work?Getty
When does the NFL trade deadline close, and how does it work?

The 2023 NFL trade deadline is fast approaching. The window for teams to acquire and offload players will close soon, and rosters will be locked in. Here is DAZN's explainer of the trade deadline.

When is the trade deadline?

This year, the trade deadline is October 31, at 4 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. UK / 10 p.m. CET. After that, teams can no longer trade for players.

How does the NFL trade market work?

Unlike soccer, no transfer fees are involved when NFL teams trade for players. Instead, teams have to negotiate with one another and offer valuable assets in return.

Tradeable assets are typically players or future draft picks. For example, in 2021, the Denver Broncos traded Von Miller to the LA Rams for two 2022 draft picks. Miller would help the Rams win the Super Bowl later that season.

Another difference from soccer is most NFL players have no control over where they get traded. Last season, tight end TJ Hockenson was surprised when he found out the Detroit Lions traded him to the Minnesota Vikings.

Some players do have no-trade clauses in their contracts. Quarterback Kirk Cousins confirmed his no-trade clause in a press conference earlier this season, meaning he can veto any potential trade if he does not want to go to a specific team.

Trades can reshape an NFL season, and change careers. While contending teams often look for reinforcements, struggling or rebuilding teams may have a fire sale and move several players on. Teams tend to do this when they want more draft picks for future seasons and to create salary cap space ahead of free agency.

How long is the market open?

The trade market opens when the new league year commences. The new league year typically starts on the first day of free agency. In 2023, the new league year began on March 15. Teams have nearly seven months to recruit players and strengthen squads. The market tends to hit high gear once the season starts as unhappy players may be surplus to requirements, struggling teams hold fire sales, and injuries may force top teams to dip into the market.

Several significant trades have already occurred since the new season kicked off. The LA Chargers traded cornerback JC Jackson to the New England Patriots. The two teams also exchanged two picks from the 2025 draft.

And as the deadline nears, many more trades will happen. With teams like the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, and Carolina Panthers struggling, the market should get busier as the deadline nears.