This is something that's been bothering me for years but maybe someone can explain it to me. It seems that for some bizarre reason, the entire league way overvalues draft picks and undervalues established (even pro bowl) players.
Now, logically to me, if a team trades a player for a 3rd round pick, the idea would be that the team that gives up the player believes they can acquire a player of the same talent or greater, regardless of position, in the 3rd round. Otherwise, you're losing value. Considering how many drafted players (even first rounders) never amount to anything, this doesn't seem reasonable and their chances of replacing the talent of an average player, let alone a pro bowler, with one drafted in the 3rd round seem very slim.
This past offseason gave a unique chance to really get into the minds of GM's because three good WR's were traded by teams primarily because of personality issues:
Santonio Holmes (and the inability to use him for 4 weeks) for a 5th round pick
Anquan Boldin and 5th rounder for 3rd and 4th round picks
Brandon Marshall for two 2nd round picks
Now, the relative values of these players to each other is reasonable and the Marshall trade makes sense... here, you have a 2-time pro bowler in exchange for two 2nd rounders. Makes sense. Considering that Marshall was drafted in the 4th round, his value has grown considerably as it should. Makes sense.
The others don't and for a variety of reasons.
Aside from the unlikely chance that either the Steelers or the Cardinals could replace that amount of lost talent in those rounds, they don't make sense from any player value standpoint.
Anquan Boldin was a 2nd round pick of Arizona in 2003. 7500+ yards, 44 touchdowns, and 3 pro bowls later... and it takes him AND a 5th rounder to equal a 3rd and a 4th? Shouldn't Boldin's value have gone up? Shouldn't he be MORE valuable now than he was as an unknown 2nd round WR prospect in 2003?
Consider, Taylor Jacobs and Bethel Johnson were drafted ahead of him in the 2nd round (not to mention Charles Rogers and Bryant Johnson in the first). Tyrone Calico went a few picks later. In case anyone doesn't recognize the names, those three taken in the 2nd round (Jacobs, Bethel Johnson, and Calico) have COMBINED career totals of 1491 yards and 10 TDs. Boldin has put up numbers close to that in a single season! That was the talent level of the guys drafted around him; in other words, his expected value as a 2nd round pick in 2003 at WR was lower than Taylor Jacobs' and Bethel Johnson's.
I'd say Boldin has considerably exceeded his 2003 value yet why is the 2003 unknown Boldin who was considered less valuable than Bethel Johnson and Taylor Jacobs now more valuable than the 2010 Boldin?
Now, Santonio Holmes has the issue of being suspended the first four games of the season so arguably that depreciated his value but what's four games to a 26 year old who can provide several seasons worth of value?
The thing is, Santonio Holmes was a 1st rounder as recently as 2006. In 4 years, has Santonio Holmes' value really dropped from a 1st round pick as an unknown prospect to a 5th round pick as a known capable #2 receiver? Now, Holmes was the only 1st round WR taken that year but the next two WRs taken in the 2nd round were (drum roll please) Chad Jackson and Sinorice Moss (I really want to establish how much of a crapshoot drafting is). (compare, Reggie Brown was traded to Tampa for a 6th round pick after only 5 starts the last two miserable years; is the difference between Holmes and Brown no greater than that between a 5th round pick and a 6th?)
Let's consider another player drafted in 2006 in the 2nd round who was also traded: TE Tony Scheffler. It was a three-way trade but basically amounted to Scheffler AND a 7th round pick for a 5th round pick (or Ernie Sims, basically Ernie Sims the 9th overall pick in 2006 is now equivalent to a 5th rounder). Scheffler wasn't as accomplished as some of the other players I've mentioned but he has proven himself to be a solid pass-catching TE who's good for 500 yards a season. How can it be that the unproven Scheffler was worth a 2nd rounder but the proven Scheffler now needs a 7th round pick to muster a 5th rounder in exchange?
Can anyone explain the trade logic to me?