Over the last few weeks as we've looked at the 49ers position in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, one issue I've pondered repeatedly is the idea of teams trading up into one of the top six picks. While we can't be 100% certain about the top six picks, we can narrow down things for the top six teams to a reasonable extent. The issue is how trades might affect this. The most pertinent trade would be somebody moving up to try and grab Patrick Peterson if it looks like he might be slipping to the 49ers.
However, it wasn't until reading an article over at PFT that I learned that dating back to 2005, only one team has traded up into the top six. In 2009 the New York Jets traded up to the fifth pick of the first round to select the Sanchise, Mark Sanchez. Teams make the move up in the draft, but it really doesn't happen all that frequently.
Gregg Rosenthal of PFT raised this issue in the context of the unsettled rookie wage scale situation. Whatever either side might say, a new collective bargaining agreement is likely to have some kind of rookie salary scale. The question is when such a CBA is completed. Moving up in later rounds, or even the latter half of the first round is not as big an issue since salaries start to flatten out at that point. It's the potential huge salaries at the top of the first round that can be daunting.
If there is the possibility of a rookie scale, does a team roll the dice to climb in the draft figuring it might be worth it from a financial perspective? We haven't seen many moves up into the top of the draft even during labor calm, so maybe this is not even really a pertinent issue. However, folks around here have said that if guys like Patrick Peterson and Von Miller are off the board it might be worth it to trade down. Of course a trade requires at least two teams. It's entirely possible nobody will want to move up to that position in the first round. Without knowing what kind of salaries could be associated with the spot, it might be too risky for other teams.