The NFL is still buzzing over the Cleveland Browns trading away Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. When this came across the wire yesterday our CEO recounted how heavy Brown’s brass attended the Texas A&M v. Alabama game last weekend. So naturally it brought about the question: What did Cleveland gain by making this trade??
For starters they get a #1 pick going into next April’s draft. Yet what does that say about this year??
The optimism of the Browns offense in the preseason disappeared as soon as the regular season dawned. They could only muster 10 points at home in a loss to the Dolphins. In that game Richardson had 13 carries for 47 yards. However it was Brandon Weeden’s 3 interceptions that were the focal point of the loss.
The offensive woes continued in Baltimore where the team looked to bounce back against the Ravens. Now you have to remember this was a defense that was humiliated on national television as they gave up an NFL record tying 7 touchdown passes to Peyton Manning the week before. It was also on a Monday night, so the Ravens would appear to be vulnerable. Both in psyche and fatigue. Their performance in week 1 was so bad, that after holding Weeden to 227 passing yards in week 2, they’re still 25th in the league against the pass. Yet Richardson in another tightly contested contest, a 14-6 loss, was held to 58 yards on 18 carries. Something happened between these two games that convinced Cleveland brass they had seen enough.
Sure Richardson has been nicked and had injuries here and there but what running back doesn’t? We watched Ray Rice go down with a hip flexor in the same game and the Ravens have Bernard Pierce taking most of the carries there anyway. We don’t see the Ravens making moves regarding Rice do we?? So what gives??
Neither Brandon Weeden or Trent Richardson are players selected by the current coach /gm combo. New Coach Chudzinski wants to put his stamp on the team and two weeks into his new regime, he fields the league’s 28th best offense with a runner that has 105 yards rushing. That isn’t going to get it done anymore than Weeden’s 1TD vs. 3 interceptions. They had to make a move right now with the most trade-able commodity they had to draft the quarterback of the future. Weeden has 14 weeks 7 hours and 32 minutes to show he is the future of the Cleveland Browns. If not, watch for the Browns to draft a Johnny Manziel and bring in a #1 receiver to go with him.
The reality is the NFL and all teams function as a corporation. You acquire assets so that when it’s time for any liquidation, those assets still have worth. Ask yourself who would trade for a quarterback who is damaged goods psychologically like Weeden?? The Browns did what they had to do and with the performances of running backs drafted in the middle rounds lately (see Alfred Morris) and you realize they can duplicate Richardson’s performance for far cheaper. Sure this throws away the entire season for the Cleveland Browns but the question is: They are 0-2 now and lost to a Baltimore Raven team that was still staggering from a week one beatdown. How many wins were the Browns going to get with Richardson had he stayed??
When you have draft a quarterback number one you’re putting the franchise in his hands. Where Weeden is coming up short in Cleveland, in Indianapolis Andrew Luck seems like a decade long fit as the signal caller. Yet over the first two weeks of the season, the Colts are 27th in sacks allowed with 7 and 28th in quarterback hits allowed with 14. Or they were on pace to allow 56 sacks and 112 hits on the quarterback. This would probably get Andrew Luck knocked out due to injury at that rate. In comes a runner that should provide more physicality than Ahmad Bradshaw, who only has 97 yards on the season. Luck is just behind him with 76 yards running for his life.
Now they get a power runner free from teams stacking 8 man fronts on him with a quarterback that can complete passes downfield. Luck in return has a running threat that can keep defenses honest. This should workout well for the both of them. As for the fans of Cleveland?? Sigh!! Say goodbye to the competitiveness of the 2013 season. The Browns will likely use the draft picks on Johnny Manziel and a stud receiver. Why overpay for a running back when so many are on the open market you can get in the 3rd or 4th rounds?? Only time will tell if they made the right move or not in the eyes of Browns fans. However in The Chancellor of Football’s eyes….brilliant move. Kill two birds with one stone.
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