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Mailbag: Rise In NFL Trades; More Intensity?

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Historically, the NFL has had very few trades, and even fewer during the season. This year we have seen an explosion of trades, teams giving up on the season, etc. Why the sudden change? Do you think that this baseball style trading will continue? Football isn't baseball, schemes are hard to learn, etc. This seems odd to me. - JEFF FREDRICKSON / BENNINGTON, NE

Bryan: Salary Cap. Guys that are in line for big-money deals or currently in big-money deals are getting moved. Packers and Lions weren't going to sign their guys. John Schneider should have done the same thing with Earl Thomas, so he's going to have to wait a draft before getting that compensation. By the way, I don't think it's giving up on the season. Younger and cheaper is the way to play this game now. 

Rob: Not sure this will become a regular thing, either, the other reason being that teams value their draft picks so much. In the salary cap era you've got to find good young players on cap-friendly contracts. But I think we've seen more movement because of parity. Are there really any great teams? Teams like the Cowboys are looking at their situation and saying, 'If we can add one player here, we've got a chance to put it all together by January.'

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With Paul Alexander fired, do you see a more nasty attitude from the group with Marc Colombo's leadership and pride as an ex-player for the team? - SONG NGUYEN / HARPERVILLE, MS

Bryan: I think you're making too much of a big deal about the former player bit. Colombo wants to do a good job because the front office trusted him to do it. He has pride in himself along with the knowledge of what these guys can do. Also keep in mind that he might be coaching for his job, not only here but somewhere else in the league. Great motivator. 

Rob: Colombo was one of the most intense players I've covered here. He still has that player-like intensity. But there's a balance you have to strike as a coach and teacher, and he's found it. We asked Zack Martin about him yesterday and he said the players connect well with him because he was in their position just a few years ago.

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