Imagine being a Chicago Bears fan — I know empathy is hard, but just try — and going through what they did Thursday only to open ESPN on Friday and see a bunch of misguided, braindead analysts talking about trading Justin Fields. Over his past two starts, the Chicago QB is 43-for-64 for 627 yards with 8 TDs to 1 INT, showing the kind of playmaking Bears faithful prayed was possible, and the best we (sports media) can do is talk about moving him?

Image for article titled Trade talk is the nadir of sports journalism
Screenshot: ESPN.com

In 2023, there is no bigger crutch in this industry other than trade talk, and I’m including slideshows. However, if you can mix trade talk with a slideshow, it’s the holy grail of mindless engagement, and essentially the same formula social media uses.

Scroll, SCROLL, SCCRRROOOOLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! Thinking about leaving? Here’s another talking head offering up a different trade scenario about another player who performs well… from a readership standpoint. It doesn’t even matter if the athlete is actually good. As long as people continue to click on articles about Ben Simmons, “journalists” will continue to produce them.

“Well, there’s been talk about trading Fields before, so bringing it up again is justified.”

Let me stop you there, and leave. The morons that thought trading a QB who ran for more than 1,100 yards last season — on accident — was a sound draft strategy were just as idiotic then as they are now.

There isn’t a conscionable reason to trade a quarterback who does that in his second season, on an actively tanking franchise, no matter how long the losing streak is. Lamar Jackson has topped 1,000 yards rushing in a season twice in his career, but Baltimore needed to build a system tailored to his skill set in order to do so, and they just happened to have a competent coaching staff in place to win in the process.

Fields has Lester Diamond pacing the sidelines, and no creative offensive mind within 600 miles of Halas Hall, but, yeah, sell high on him. F*ck it. Sell high on everyone. Just trade them all. Joel Embiid, Mike Trout, Saquon Barkley, each of those athletes will trend on Google if you put “Five possible trade destinations for” in a headline punctuated by their name, so why not?

There’s only one way to improve a roster, right? Coaching, player development, free agency, and the draft all require time, patience, and faith* — three things severely lacking not only in sports in 2023, but in society writ large. (*Not a god thing per se. Merely the belief that there’s a reason for the process.)

Zach Wilson is a putrid, steaming, gross excuse for a quarterback one week, with Jets superfan Mike Greenberg screaming to trade for Kirk Cousins before dismal QB play erodes locker room morale any further, and the next time out the young Jets signal-caller almost beats the defending champs.

Seriously, what the hell are we doing? If all dialogue inevitably ends with “Trade him!” why even entertain another angle?

“Aaron Judge hit three home runs today. Should the Yankees sell high and get off that contract now? I mean it’s an albatross, New York missed the playoffs, Aaron Boone can’t manage, and their best pitcher is in the drunk tank.”

“One hundred percent agree, Mike. The only course of action Hal Steinbrenner has is to trade Judge, sell the team to Saudi Arabia, and see if Kylian Mbappe can play shortstop.”

For a long time, it was said that “remember when” was the lowest form of conversation humans could engage in, and Tony Soprano was right — for a time. Little did David Chase know that the species would devolve further since 2007, because trade talk in the new No. 1.

If the countless words wasted on “Damian Lillard to the Heat” stories aren’t enough to convince you that there is no greater time suck, no subject more hollow, no conversation less interesting than trade talk, you need serious help. 



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