In these circumstances, could Airbus somehow liaise with current customers and squeeze out very slight deferrals to allow new business? It could be worth a discount for those offering to accept this in order to acquire business rather like offers to overbooked passengers. Worth it?
What you are suggesting is current practice when a manufacturer has to clear some 'overbooking' (actually, 'overpromising' : having made more delivery commitments than is possible), which is a frequent case. The same practice is seen when facing production delays, or when a manufacturer wants to offer some valuable slots as part of a key commercial contest. Buying out your own customers is, however, a costly method.
So, yes, Airbus may have some slack to lure one or two major customers, but I would bet that this could not go very far, since many - if not most - customers want the aircraft as early as yesterday ...
Discount or not, at some point we all have to move forward. If this what it takes for Boeing to get there then that’s what it is. The reality is that the MAX isn’t just going to disappear, but still heavily compete with the A320 Family.