Every year the madden cycle comes in and shakes up the Top Madden rule book. From the QB sneak/FB dive ban, the impact player/no trade list, and most recently the manually moving of defensive players, the league works hard to adapt to the challenges of the current madden cycle and provide a sim experience. After test driving the beta it’s evident that there is going to be some shake up in the rule book and here’s what I think will top the list.

Preseason Simulation

For the longest time, Top has simulated preseason games in order to get to week one as soon as possible. This normally has no issues as long as injuries are off and people are on post draft to gain some experience. 

This cycle, the superstar traits have been reworked and incoming rookies that have SS dev or higher have their trait hidden until they have played 500 snaps. The tricky part is, if those snaps have any impact on whether or not they get X factor traits, then we could see Top Madden playing preseason for the first time in its history. If the performance on a player in those first 500 snaps doesn’t affect the Trait decision, then expect Top to continue like they have in the past.

No Huddle

No huddle offense is a staple of football and being able to push the tempo and force quick defensive decisions is something many offenses built success from. In Top, no huddle has been frowned upon. Whether it’s a placebo effect or if there really is an imbalance to fatigue, I’ve seen no proof of, but it’s time it was tested. With the fixing of run off time on no huddle plays it seems that EA has made an effort to balance it out, and i believe we could see a legitimate usage of no huddle by teams who have elite QBs and can make extra adjustments at the LOS.

RPO Playcalling Limitations

With RPOs being entered into the mix of play calling, it would be no surprise for Top to make an effort to make sure that it was a balance part of an offense. While using solely RPOs could balance out the run/pass ratio, it will be interesting to see if Top still limits what % of your plays can/should be RPOs. Madden has taken an effort to balance them as from the beta, we saw that you can’t hot route the routes in an RPO. This may open up some leeway for users to utilize the new plays without becoming too unsim.

Hybrid Players

One of the best features of the upcoming cycle is the long awaited fix to passing trajectories. Stopping players way underneath routes from jumping 10+ feet and making 180° interceptions creates an entire new dynamic to the passing game. I fear that if the linebacker draft classes are similar to the ones from the past, that there simply won’t be enough players that are capable of playing coverage in the middle of the field, thus making it very very easy to move the football. In m19, despite the SUBLB position being introduced, the Top CMs decided they would restrict the position to linebackers only. But like mentioned before, the custom draft classes simply don’t reflect the hybrid linebacker type athletes we are seeing in the NFL today. A possible outcome could see one of the 2 SUB LB positions being allowed to introduce a safety into that spot. Per the Senior Competitive Gameplay Developer Mole:

“While you gain an advantage in coverage by having a DB in that position, we made it a point to see that there is a drop in run defense as the player isn’t a true linebacker”

With the leaping interceptions available only to SS players with that trait, it really could be a risk reward scenario and trajectories would still allow the right throws to be made without insane interceptions. If not allowing one DB in subLb, maybe a restriction on a max allowed block shed of say, 70 for the player so that there is a sacrifice to the run defense by having the DB in during nickel situations. 

No Trade List

I think the no trade list has been a fine addition to the league and it helps stop teams from beating gutted. Something that has roamed my mind has been to combat everyone trying to offload bad contracts or players in return for high picks instead of letting a player just walk to free agency. 

The NTL currently lists the top players on your team at a given moment, for example let’s say there are 5. These being an elite veteran or two, a young talented player, and then your teams most recent first and second round rookies. By having the NTL, they can not be traded until after season 1, but let’s go further and say that of the course of the entire cycle that you can only trade 3 of the 5 away. And for the last two, you can only have them leave the team by way of free agency or by cutting them. This can be compensated to a player In a number of ways.

The current rules state that after the draft, once preseason starts that each team can only sign 1 free agent until regular season week 2. But if you lost one of your NTL players to free agency, then you can have extra picks in the free agency before week 2, based on the value of the player. 

This incentive allows players to get a little extra value on the free agent scraps after a draft, as well as creating a free agent pool that would excite the league that much more

Free Agency Spending Caps

One of the more frustrating rules for the new users in the league has been the cap in money you can spend in free agency. It’s an obvious safeguard that the CMs have put in place to stop teams from ruining their teams cap space. The downside is now everyone, regardless of cap space available, has the same max amount of $$ to spend and it hurts those to manage their cap space well and have room, or rookie QB contracts. So what’s a fix?

I still suggest that we have a cap, but instead of an across the board cap, we set it to a % of your available cap space.

So you cannot offer more than X% of your available Cap to a specific position. That way those with more cap space have more spending money on big players and you don’t see small cap teams throwing all their money at one guy. 

So for QBs if you have 90m in cap space you can’t offer more than 30% of your available cap space towards a FA quarterback, this comes out to 27m per year. 

All in all, this is not meant to criticize the leagues ruleset but just to prepare ourselves for the M20 cycle and too see just how much better this league can get. 

By Fin

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