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Don't expect many fireworks at NFL trade deadline

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Nov. 3 is too early for most teams to decide what holes they need to fill for a late-season run.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL trading deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and if the last two-plus decades are any indication, absolutely nothing exciting is about to happen.

Sure, the 49ers traded Vernon Davis to the Broncos on Monday, but that's the biggest action the deadline has seen in years -- and it centered on a 31-year-old tight end who has already missed two games this year with an injury.

Last season, the big names moving at the deadline were Akeem Ayers and Mark Barron. OK, they were the only names moving at the deadline. Ayers went from Tennessee to New England for draft picks, and Barron was sent to St. Louis from Tampa Bay, also for picks.

That was a fairly busy deadline for the league -- in both 2012 and 2013 there was only one move made on deadline day.

In other major sports, the trading deadline is a huge deal. Baseball, basketball and hockey teams make newsworthy deadline moves every year to either chase a title or start a rebuilding process. This season, both the New York Mets (Yoenis Cespedes) and Toronto Blue Jays (David Price) made it to the League Championship Series thanks to the Detroit Tigers deciding to rebuild their roster at the deadline.

The major difference is that in other leagues, the trade deadline is late in the season, so teams have a good idea of where their seasons are headed and what they can do about their futures. In the NFL, many teams won't even be halfway through their schedules on Deadline Day, making it even harder to predict what they will need down the stretch or in the postseason -- a factor that is amplified by the higher injury rates in football. Move the deadline back toward Thanksgiving, and teams will be in a better position to judge their strengths and weaknesses.

However, you probably still wouldn't see a lot of moves. Part of that involves the league's salary cap, which puts all kinds of financial obstacles in the way of trades, but a bigger reason is that every team is running its own offensive and defensive schemes. When the Mets got Cespedes, they didn't have to teach him how to play left field or hit cleanup in their system. He just did what he had done for Oakland, Boston and Detroit in the last few seasons.

In the NFL, though, making a midseason trade means having to teach a player your system, which can be hard to do in the middle of the season. That's why teams tend to pick up players who have either played for them or at least for the relevant coordinator as free agents as injury replacements -- they will have a good grasp of the system they will be playing.

This year, there have been a few trades other than Davis -- Matt Cassel going to Dallas and Jared Allen to Carolina -- and there are the usual rumors floating around. The Bears might be willing to trade Matt Forte for future help, as they did with Allen, and Cleveland is rumored to be talking about moving several players, including star offensive linemen Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. Other offensive players like Jared Cook and Roddy White have been discussed.

Still, the odds are fairly good that, on Wednesday morning, they will still be in the same jerseys they are now.