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Even During Lockout, Teams Can Trade Draft Picks

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During the NFL lockout, no roster moves can be made involving players. This prevents free agency from starting, and it also prevents players already on the open market from signing with new teams. Trades involving players also can't be made. One of the biggest reasons the Detroit Lions improved so much last season was all of the offseason trades they made to acquire talent, but that is currently not possible.

Although players can't be involved, trades can still happen; they just have to include draft picks as the only type of compensation. It's unlikely any trades will be made until the 2011 NFL Draft, but on draft day fans should still expect to see a great deal of movement via trades. What's more, draft picks in 2012 and beyond can still be traded at teams' "own risk," according to Chris Mortensen.

I guess the fear is that if the worst-case scenario were to happen and the NFL doesn't have a season or a draft next year, teams could make trades with 2012 picks and then not actually get to use them. To me that seems highly unlikely, no matter how bleak the labor situation looks right now, so I would expect plenty of picks -- 2012 selections included -- to be dealt at the draft next month.