Around the SPOT: PFS Panel on Trent Richardson
Let the race for Teddy Bridgewater's services begin! If the Browns are trying to win games this year, then they certainly have a funny way of showing it. On Sep. 18, the Browns traded arguably their best player in running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for Indianapolis' first-round pick in next year's draft.
On paper, this is a phenomenal deal for the Colts. After all, the core of their offense is now made up of second-year players Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and rookie Hugh Thornton. Wow.
However, there are some Colts fans that aren't sold on the move, either by thinking Richardson is not worth a first-round pick or that he is overrated.
Let's take a stroll through Pro Football Spot and see what some of the Team Journalists from around the league think.
Joe Banner is an absolute genius. I said it.
Trent Richardson was a top-tier back, there's no doubt about it. He wasn't however, going to be the savior of the team or the organization.
If Richardson stayed, the Browns would have won MAYBE five to seven games this year, no matter who was at quarterback for them throughout the season (they're already on their second, injury or no injury). The Browns would have gotten a mediocre pick in the first round, and been stuck on the same carousel that they are right now.
Instead, they trade a player who they had only for one season, instead of trying to let him carry the team and possibly ruin his trade value with a sophomore slump or an injury of any kind. They got a first round pick for him, making that two 1st round, two 3rd round, and two 4th round picks in next year's draft, where the talent pool is overwhelming just thinking about it.
They get some great skill players in the first round, and go for position players the rest of the way. All of a sudden, in two years, the Cleveland Browns and their new management look like geniuses.
Mark my words, the Cleveland Browns WILL BE A PLAYOFF TEAM IN 3 YEARS. This trade makes so much sense for the Browns and their future, and all most fans can see is the up front value of losing their first round pick from a year ago. Great move by Banner and Cleveland. Now we all just get to sit back and watch the transformation take place.
The final piece of an already potent Indianapolis arsenal is missing no more. Trent Richardson proved himself to be a very capable NFL back a season ago for a last-place Cleveland team. Richardson will give the Colts their most complete back since Edgerrin James more than a decade ago.
Couple the addition of Richardson with what everyone believes to be a future All-Pro quarterback in Andrew Luck and a promising young receiver in T.Y. Hilton? The Colts will be one of the more explosive offenses for years to come. If Indianapolis can remain mediocre on defense and lock up Hilton, Richardson and tight end Dwayne Allen long term, there is no reason why Andrew Luck shouldn't be able to join Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning as quarterbacks to deliver the Colts an NFL championship.
I don't know why, but this trade has produced some kind of ridiculous overreaction from folks.
Cleveland is getting killed for pulling the plug on a season that, best case scenario, ends with a 6-10 record. Richardson clearly was never the impact player he was expected to be on the offense when the Browns traded up to take him third overall. Richardson hasn't even proven to be the best back in the class, despite his lofty draft status (give me Doug Martin over him every day of the year).
Indianapolis is getting praised for trading a first-round pick for a back who's averaged only 3.5 yards per carry on 298 carries. Oh, and he has an injury history. Plus, Richardson just entered the second year of his career.
So for everyone killing the Browns and praising the Colts, you can spin this one the other way just as easily. In the end, it's a good trade for both sides. Indy's offense was at risk of becoming terribly one-dimensional. Richardson brings stability. Cleveland was going nowhere with Richardson as he's clearly more of a role player than a franchise player.
It's Cleveland's job to do something with this pick it acquired. Next year's draft looks to be like one of the better classes in a while. It's a good year to have extra picks lying around.
Lucas Polglaze - (@MHSradio)
Quick! Has anybody seen England's crown jewels? Because after a theft like this, nothing is safe.
The Colts just made off with a huge bargain for Trent Richardson. A first-round pick? That's ridiculous.
Let's look at Richardson. According to the experts, he was the best running back in last year's draft. Now whether you believe it is wise to take a running back in the top three is a different question, but the Browns traded up a spot to grab him. In the process, they gave the Minnesota Vikings their first-round pick, not to mention their fourth, fifth and seventh.
Yet, just a year later and under a new management, Richardson has been traded away for a pittance, comparatively. The Browns have effectively traded their No. 4 pick for a late-first round pick, in the process giving away a 4th, 5th, 7th and No. 3 overall draft pick. Richardson, in his rookie year, rushed 267 times for 950 times and 11 touchdowns. He was voted the 71st-best player in the NFL by players last year.
How does this affect the Colts? A young, solid offense just got better. Richardson joins fellow second-year players Dwayne Allen (admittedly done for the season), Coby Fleener, T.Y. Hilton and Andrew Luck. If that defense improves, this could be a threatening team, considering their youth and the talent they've shown.
Some have said that Richardson is a pedestrian back with a 3.5 yards-per-carry average. Look at the quarterback he played with: Brandon Weeden. Not really a passing threat as his numbers have shown this year (54.7% completion, 3 picks, 11 sacks). Richardson had to run against stacked boxes who defended the run. On the Colts, with a huge passing threat, Richardson will benefit from less defensive focus on the run.
What does this say? Cleveland has shown continued ineptitude in running a franchise and the Colts have made a huge trade to shore up their running back problem.
This could prove to be one of the biggest trades that has ever gone down. Time will tell.
Chris Schad - (@crishad)
The Cleveland Browns are either completely hammered or they have a rush for high-stakes poker.
That's the way I feel about the Browns trading one of their few offensive weapons to the Indianapolis Colts as they try to rebuild a team that has been historically bad since their 1999 renaissance. The move itself seems insane, but maybe the brain trust has an idea what they're doing.
The saying that's been floating out recently is that no price is too steep for a franchise quarterback. Looking at recent history, that might be true.
The New York Giants took advantage of Eli Manning not wanting to play in San Diego by stepping up to the plate and offering a pair of first-round picks and several mid-round selections to acquire him. While the Chargers got a pretty good quarterback, a solid kicker and pass-rushing beast in the deal, the Giants got a franchise quarterback and a pair of Super Bowls. Not a bad trade.
Even in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins went all-in to get their franchise quarterback and threw three first-round picks at the St. Louis Rams with several mid-round selections to select Robert Griffin III. We don't know how this trade will play out yet, but it's safe to say that no Redskins fan is crying over not having a first-round pick last April or this upcoming May.
That's where the trade of Richardson makes some sense.
If the Browns are right on Teddy Bridgewater, nobody in Cleveland will remember that Richardson used to be there (well...until he blows up in Indy). With a deep draft class in 2014, the Browns could easily get their man with their likely top-three selection and use the Colts pick to selected a talented running back such as De'Anthony Thomas or Lache Seastrunk as a replacement.
If the Browns can turn one potential superstar into two, they'll win this trade. They just have to suffer through 2013 to do it.
Seth Keysor - (@RealMNchiefsfan)
Let's take a look at what Trent Richardson is. He's a high first-round pick the Browns invested heavily in. He's a guy who was highly touted coming out of college. He's a young guy who hasn't been worn down. He's a guy with a ton of potential.
Now let's take a look at what he ISN'T.
He isn't a guy who rushed for even 1,000 yards last year.
He isn't a guy who averages even four yards per carry. That is, he isn't a guy who is even average when it comes to efficiency.
He isn't a guy who has stayed healthy so far in his pro career.
He isn't a quarterback, or other such position that requires a first rounder to get great results.
He isn't a guy who gets yards after contact, contrary to popular belief (He was 44th in the NFL in yards after contact per attempt at 2.1).
He isn't an All Pro player.
He isn't even arguably a top-10 player at his position. Don't believe me? Peterson, Charles, McCoy, Martin, Spiller, Morris, Lynch, Rice, Foster, Gore, MJD, Jackson, Williams, Forte. And that was without breaking a sweat.
So just to be clear... the Cleveland Browns traded a wildly inefficient player who plays a position that is more replaceable than almost any other in the NFL, who can't crack the top 10 at said position, and who wasn't producing anything on that team. They weren't going to do anything with this player on the team, which meant wasting another year of this player (who, by the way, plays a position notorious for a short shelf life).
And in return, they got a first-round draft pick (you know, the type of pick no one spent on a running back this last year).
And everyone... is killing the Browns over this?
Maybe Richardson (don't call him T-Rich. There is one T-Rich. He played fullback for the Chiefs/Jets/Vikings better than anyone has ever played the position) will do great things in Indy. He was headed nowhere in Cleveland. This way, they cut their losses and move on from a guy who wasn't working out with them. And again, they got a first-round pick for a running back who isn't Adrian Peterson.
That's incredible. Running back is the one position you absolutely know you can get great prospects in the second and third rounds. Unless Richardson turns onto a top-five running back for the next 5-6 years, the Browns made out like bandits here.
I guarantee if they would've wanted to trade Richardson at the end of another "blech" season, they wouldn't have been able to get a first rounder. Probably not even a second. This was absolutely the right call in a year that's going nowhere regardless for the Browns. There was no end in sight. What good is all of Richardson's "potential" if he's not getting it done? This was the right move for them.
Stop killing the Browns. Even if this is the right move for the Colts (debatable, but I can see Richardson doing better there), that doesn't make it the wrong move for the Browns.
Cheer up, Browns fans. This was one of the most ballsy, forward-thinking moves I've seen from a club in awhile. It's a better long-term plan than slogging away with a guy who has produced less efficiently than the vast majority of NFL starting running backs.
Blake Meek - (@BMeek23)
Does this even help Cleveland?
Unless the Browns get the #1 overall pick... I don't see the Jags trading it to them. So then Cleveland would take the 2nd best QB that they would have already gotten regardless.
A couple thoughts:
1. In regards to who Seth thinks is better than Richardson. I'd take him over MJD, Gore, Williams and Jackson. One could also argue Alfred Morris is a product of a system that turned a lot of very mediocre backs into 1,000 yard guys. So I have Richardson at 10th or 11th at his position and poised to rise.
2. There is a reason he was inefficient in Cleveland. His name is Brandon Weeden. With this change, I wouldn't be surprised if Trent averaged over 5 ypc in Indy and caught 60-70 passes from Andrew Luck. I can see close to 2,000 total yards for Trent Richardson the Colt.
Truth Hurts Huffman - (@Armchair_Psycho)
Using the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on a running back? Dumb.
Trading picks No. 4, 118, 139 and 211 to acquire that No. 3 pick and draft a running back? Dumber.
17 games later, trade that running back for a single first-round pick that's projected in the 20s? "Priceless" is the last word that comes to mind.
Let's review. After the dust has settled, the Cleveland Browns basically traded 2012 picks No. 4, 118, 139 and 211 for 17 games of Trent Richardson and a 2014 first-round pick in the 20s.
The Browns acquired another pick that they can use to fill voids on their roster. At the same time, they created another void when they traded their 22-year-old running back. Bobby Rainey and Willis McGahee aren't long-term options.
How much success will Richardson have with the Indianapolis Colts? Despite an up-and-coming supporting cast with Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, the Colts have a suspect offensive line. Taking full advantage of Richardson's ability will prove challenging unless he can stay healthy and the offensive line improves.
It can't hurt though. A one-two punch with Ahmad Bradshaw and Richardson doesn't sound too bad. Luck and Richardson make for a backfield that includes two of the top-three picks from the 2012 NFL Draft.
William Watts - (@ChiefBlindersOn)
Trent Richardson has 105 yards this season...
He gets traded and it's headline news? Around the SPOT news?
Don't get me wrong, I feel that Trent Richardson is a dynamic young football player, extremely talented. He was great at Alabama and he's certainly shown flashes of brilliance in Cleveland... but this move isn't that big of deal.
It's strange. It's an attention grabber. It's a first rounder being moved midseason in the NFL. It's teams in the same conference swapping NFL talent. It's fun to think about the implications of next years NFL draft.
All that doesn't make it a big deal. It's just unusual.
I'm anxious to see how Richardson does with Andrew Luck in the future. That pairing could be deadly in the red zone. But the Colts had to do something, they look awful at running back without Richardson. This was a desperate attempt to put some life into their running game after Vick Ballard was injured. After all, would you want your feature back to be Ahmad Bradshaw? Most teams wouldn't.
Will it work? I don't know. If any quarterback can feature Richardson to win games in the National Football League, it's Andrew Luck. Things are getting interesting in Indianapolis.
As for Cleveland, who knows what they are doing... Good "Luck" with Brian Hoyer, Browns fans.
What a trade. Trent Richardson for what will probably be a later first-round pick. I've seen people praise this move and criticize this move from both sides of the fence. Why such differing views? It all comes down to what you think of Richardson.
Despite the nay-sayers, this is definitely a win for the Colts. They got a player who was taken in the top 10 of last year’s draft. As a rookie for a team that did not have a good offense, Richardson put up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Was his average great? No it wasn't. 3.5 yds per carry isn't anything to write home about, but geez, he was a rookie!
Let’s look at the 2012 season. Despite the No. 7 passing offense, the Colts put up the No. 22 Rushing offense. A chunk of that was Andrew Luck. On the other hand, Cleveland put up the No. 24 rushing attack (but if you take Brandon Weeden's and Luck's stats out, Cleveland comes on top) and that is with the No. 19 passing attack. Take the threat of Richardson running and add it to what Luck did without a run game? Indianapolis is significantly better off.
Yes, they used a first-round pick up, but could they have done better in the draft next year? Probably not with that pick. Instead, Cleveland is poised with 10 draft picks with five of them in the top three rounds.
Its a bold move, but its definitely a win-win for both teams.
Charles Toomajian III
Imagine you're moving into a house. The house comes with furniture, including a couch. You value the couch at $100, but you find someone who is willing to buy it for $200. You make the sale, right? Now, what if you find out that the person who used to live in the house had paid $300 for the couch. You ask around, but the highest bidder you can find is still just offering $200. You still make the sale, right? It doesn't matter what the guy before you paid; if you can get paid an excess of the amount that you value the couch, you should sell it.
As you've probably figured out, Trent Richardson is the metaphorical couch. Browns GM Mike Lombardi wasn't the guy who made the foolish draft-day trade to acquire Richardson; that was the work of his predecessor, Tom Heckert. The price that Heckert paid for Richardson has no bearing on whether or not Lombardi should have pulled the trigger on the Richardson trade. The only relevant inquiry is whether Lombardi valued Richardson more than what he was getting in return. Being fixated on the price you paid to get a player is bad business. For an example, take a look at the Vikings' management refusing to cut the cord on the Christian Ponder Experience just because doing so would be an admission that they wasted a high draft pick.
Accepting that what the Browns gave up to acquire Richardson is irrelevant, we can take a more focused look at whether the trade they just made—Richardson for a mid-to-late first rounder—makes any sense. Obviously, the Browns "winning" this trade is going to be dependent on using the draft pick well, but if they are able to do that, this trade definitely isn't a loss for them.
To appreciate that, one first has to understand that the Browns aren't interested in winning right now. Richardson could put in a top-five running back performance this year (unlikely) and it wouldn't affect the trade from the Browns' standpoint. They weren't going to win many games this year even if Richardson was doing that work for them. So, considering that the Browns' strategy is going to take a few years of churning before they hit their stride, doesn't it make more sense to take a first rounder in the 2014 draft and have a guy with zero NFL miles on his odometer rather than an injury-prone RB with two seasons of abuse under his belt?
I like Richardson. He reminds me of Steven Jackson, which is one of the best compliments I can give to a running back in terms of having a tough, grinding, max-effort style. But assuming that Steven Jackson is the ceiling for Richardson's potential (which is being very generous to Richardson), what did Jackson accomplish in St. Louis? You need more than a workhorse feature back to win in this league. Those types of backs are neither necessary nor sufficient for team success. Running backs just simply aren't that valuable in today's league. If you can get value for them in a trade that allows you to make your team better elsewhere, you do it.
Jake Arthur ~ Closing
It's 5:30pm on Wednesday. I get word that Colts owner Jim Irsay is up to his teasing ways again. I check Twitter and see the following:
@JimIrsay: "OMG...the Earth is SHAKING!!!!! Shock and AWE is coming VERY SOON!!!!!!!"
@JimIrsay: "Colts Nation...are you sitting DOWN!!!!!!"
@JimIrsay: "Announcement coming SOON!!!!"
@JimIrsay: "This day of MONSTER TRADE,The Tidal Wave Of Deal making...Shocks the system of "..Didn't see THIS ONE COMING!!!!!!" Grig's Rollin' Dice!"
As I drove home from work, I dangerously refreshed my Twitter feed every five seconds. Writers and fans feverishly speculated over who was the player we were about to land. Was it Kenny Britt, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jeremy Shockey? After all, when Irsay normally goes on a tangent like this, the acquisition hardly ever lives up to the excitement. Then, I got home and then this popped up:
@AdamSchefter: "Filed to ESPN: Browns RB Trent Richardson to Indy for Colts' first-round pick."
When I saw this, my first reaction was "WHAAAAAAAAAT?!" I texted what I would refer to as my "Inner Circle of Football Enthusiasts" and we immediately started gushing over the deal.
A day later, I felt the same way. A first-round pick is a small price to pay for a potential All-Pro running back. Especially with how aggressive Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is, we may land another first- or second-round pick down the road before next year's draft. The offense led by Andrew Luck, Ahmad Bradshaw, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and now Richardson looks complete except for one gaping issue: the interior of the offensive line.
The Colts' run offense has been fine thus far as the team averages 5.1 yards per carry through the first two games. However, the pass protection is the real issue with the offensive line. Bradshaw and Richardson may both be used more often than fans would think at protecting Luck's backside, especially this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers. Over the course of the season, Bradshaw and Richardson will work admirably together. I wouldn't say they will both eclipse 1,000 yards, but I'm sure Richardson will. On paper, this appears to be one of the NFL's best running back duos.
As a Colts fan, I am ecstatic for this deal to have gone down. We are getting a running back of a caliber we haven't seen since Edgerrin James was shown the door. Many may think that because of how his first season went, Richardson is overrated. Well, as Lee Corso says "Not so fast, my friend." Trent Richardson is not overrated. Let's just get that out of the way now and forever. He may have been expected to put up more than his 950 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, but that's what happens when you are hampered by minor injuries and teams are still stacking the box against you.
With an endless array of other weapons for the opposing defense to focus on, Richardson will bloom. We won't know until it happens, but this could be an Eric Dickerson-type payback for the Colts. You know, minus all the lost draft picks and a tenure of only a few years.
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- jhutch, Truth Hurts Huffman, Jake Arthur and 1 other like this