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Chicago Bears, New York Jets Show Importance Of Draft Picks As Trade Chips

The Bears and Jets both went out and spent a lot of money on veterans while the common building block these days is the draft.

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In today's NFL landscape, front offices from one coast to the other are focused on preserving draft picks as their highest goal. The best teams seem to horde draft picks year after year, using them as chips to acquire the players on their draft board and maintain dominance through a continued pipeline of young playmakers.

However, some teams that have gone against this trend are enjoying success deep into this year's playoffs while other teams are getting an early jump on their draft strategies.

Specifically, the Jets and the Bears are playing this weekend for rights to go to the Super Bowl, yet both have bucked the trend of saving draft picks and instead used them to deal for key players who've played very important roles in their journey this far.

The Bears pulled off the most high-profile acquisition when they moved two first round picks and a third along with Kyle Orton to secure their quarterback of the future in Jay Cutler. The former Bronco had never played a playoff game before, but his clutch performance in this weekend's game gives the Bears some impressive return on such a draft bounty. 

The Jets meanwhile secured two of their top targets for Mark Sanchez via trade, giving up a fifth round choice for Santonio Holmes, the former Super Bowl MVP and a third and fifth for Braylon Edwards, the highly talented yet much maligned wide receiver for the Browns. Both players played pivotal roles with touchdown catches in the Jets win over New England. The Jets also traded a third rounder in 2011 to the Chargers for cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the same corner who frustrated Reggie Wayne of the Colts in the first round of the playoffs and took out Deion Branch for much of the Pats game.

The reality is that every team at this stage has their own journey and for every solid veteran acquisition, you have teams like the Redskins who made the high-stakes move for Donovan McNabb only to have it backfire in their face.

Yet it stands to reason that not all teams need to shudder at the thought of losing a draft pick for a known commodity. Any team sitting at home now needs a reminder that the front office should be open to any move at any time.