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The Cost To Trade Up

Based on the projections, the Cardinals may need to trade up in order to grab one of the top four quarterbacks in the draft.

General Manager Steve Keim said any prospective deal likely wouldn’t be struck until draft day because the right player has to be available. While it’s unknown how Keim feels about the quartet of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, past trades can give us a rough estimate of the typical cost to make the move.

Last season, the Chiefs traded two first-round picks and a third to move from No. 27 to No. 10 and grab Patrick Mahomes. The Texans traded two first-round picks to go from 25 to 12 and get Deshaun Watson.

Jimmy Johnson created a draft trade chart in the early 1990s, and Rich Hill of PatsPulpit.com published an updated one last year which was based off pick-for-pick trades over the past six years. By using Hill’s work as a guide, we can approximate the baseline of potential trade negotiations if the Cardinals hope to jump into the top-10.

Two caveats:

  • This is a quarterback-heavy draft at the top, which could force teams to pony up more than projected to move up.

  • In the end, it’s all about the player being acquired. If the Cardinals make a move for a quarterback, the value of hitting on one in the draft is exceedingly high because the rookie wage scale keeps his salary low for five years. While the trade chart can be a guide, Keim will have to go by feel if a scenario presents itself. “It’s an inexact science, and really, at the end of the day, you can throw the trade chart off your desk, because you have to be willing to be able to give up what you’re comfortable with,” Keim said.

Below is the projected compensation the Cardinals would have to give up for picks Nos. 2 through 10. While it’s impossible to gauge the value of future picks, for this exercise, I’ve assigned 2019 picks 75 percent of this year’s value.

The Cardinals' Projected Cost To Trade Up

Team

PICK

Points

Theoretical Cost

Giants

2

717

1st (315 points) + 2019 1st (236) + 2nd (124) + 3rd (57)

Jets

3

514

1st (315) + 2019 1st (236)

Browns

4

491

1st (315) + 2nd (124) + 3rd (57)

Broncos

5

468

1st (315) + 2nd (124) + comp 3rd (39)

Colts

6

446

1st (315) + 2nd (124) + 6th (6)

Buccaneers

7

426

1st (315) + 2019 2nd (93) + 4th (17)

Bears

8

406

1st (315) + 3rd (57) + comp 3rd (39)

49ers

9

387

1st (315) + 3rd (57) + 4th (17)

Raiders

10

369

1st (315) + 3rd (57)

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