New Madden NFL 18 Franchise Mode Changes Include Improved Trade Logic

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  • Xbox One
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Madden developers changed the way scouting is done in Madden NFL 18's Franchise mode, one of the many changes in this year's game.
Madden developers changed the way scouting is done in Madden NFL 18's Franchise mode, one of the many changes in this year's game. EA Sports

EA Sports released a blog devoted to the changes that were made to Franchise mode in Madden NFL 18. For those who enjoy these modes, where you take control of your favorite team and build them the way you want, EA added subtle changes to make Franchise mode more realistic than before.

There was a lot of information released by the Madden developers in regards to the changes to Franchise mode. Instead of going through every single adjustment, we will look at the three top improvements made to the mode. Let’s start with the biggest issue in every single sports video game to date.

Trade Tuning

Trades are hard to make in the NFL. Some players are valued so highly that trading for them would be nearly impossible. Franchise now simulates this by addressing some types of players that were previously too easy to get from the trade system and would often leave teams without future investments.

All rookies now have bonus trade value for the teams that drafted them, making them harder to trade for. Players in the first year of a new contract now have bonus trade value for the teams that signed them, making them harder trade targets. Backup quarterbacks and running backs now also have bonus trade value, making them more difficult to snag.

Trade tuning, or trade logic, has been the major bugaboo for sports games over the years. Franchise players on teams are traded for almost nothing and rookies being traded for other less talented rookies has been a problem since the days of the NFL 2K series. NBA 2K17 started the trend towards improved trade tuning, as was pointed out in a previous article about MyGM mode with the New York Knicks. Now Madden NFL 18 has joined the party to make trades more realistic.

The real test for Madden NFL 18’s trade tuning will be the instance when someone tries to trade Tom Brady or Eli Manning and see what those players would require to acquire them. Some players are untradeable, whether it be for money reasons or a player being the face of the franchise, so hopefully there is a way for players to know little details like that while attempting to either trade for or trade away a player.


Preseason is an exciting time for teams as they make decisions to build their 53-man roster. Teams use this time to evaluate their players and test new strategies in a live competition, instead of on the practice field. To make the experience more authentic, Franchise has made adjustments to some preseason rules.

Teams are no longer required to make roster cuts until the final week of the preseason.

Preseason games now feature more authentic playing time for starters. Starters will play:

  • 1 quarter in Preseason Week 1
  • 2 quarters in Preseason Week 2
  • 3 quarters in Preseason Week 3
  • 1 quarter in Preseason Week 4

Ah yes, the most disputed time in the NFL. You are either for or against the preseason, but it serves a major purpose. Preseason is a time for veteran players to get some real-time action under their belt before the regular season begins. For young players, it is a make or break time to play their best to make a team when the season starts. Madden NFL 18 changed the way preseason works, and it makes the preseason very important.

In past years, starters played most, if not all, of the preseason games. Now, they will play a specified amount of time during exhibition games. This gives you time to see your young players work for a roster spot. Another change for this part of Franchise mode is that players are not required to make cuts until the final week of the preseason, which is a blessing for teams that may suffer major injuries. Instead of going back on the free agent market, you still have players in place for your season. Yes, it is only preseason changes, but it is a good touch from the Madden team.


Regression is a necessary system for ensuring that Franchise simulates the realistic rate of churn among NFL players. The average NFL career only lasts a few years. For the simulation to be accurate, more than half of the league needs to be replaced every three years. Franchise now ramps players into the regression system slowly so that you have more time to use these players and to execute a replacement plan.

  • WRs, CBs, and RBs can no longer regress speed below 90 due to age.
  • Adjusted regression points so they are introduced more slowly over time.
  • Added new awareness regression for older players on underperforming teams.

This was the change that got the biggest reaction. Not every player is Tom Brady and can play their best football at the age of 40. Football careers are short and due to the nature of the sport, players’ abilities begin to suffer earlier than in other sports. Madden NFL 18 has tuned regression in Franchise mode to be more reflective of real-life football.

The awareness regression change is necessary because it is no longer just about the player. Awareness goes down for a player on the tail end of their career who are on bad teams. Franchise modes get very interesting when your best players start to age and their ratings go down, especially in football when your team has major roster turnover a lot sooner. It should be interesting to see how players react to this change as it could affect how teams are made up.

What are your thoughts about the changes to Franchise mode in Madden NFL 18? Let us know in our comment section.

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