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Making sense of the Trent Richardson trade

The Cleveland Browns took the world by storm when they traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts less than three weeks into the 2013 regular season.

The Cleveland Browns took the world by storm when they traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts less than three weeks into the 2013 regular season.

The Cleveland Browns shocked the world this week when they made a dramatic trade just two weeks into the NFL regular season.

They sent second-year running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the Colts’ first-round draft pick next year.

What made this move such a splash is that midseason trades are a rarity in the NFL. There must be something in the hazy air of Ohio, because the last time a first-round pick changed hands in the middle of the season, the Cincinnati Bengals were shipping quarterback Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders.

Former general manager Tom Heckert had envisioned rebuilding this team with Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weedon. One year later, Weeden is benched with a broken thumb and has no guarantee of a roster spot when he returns, and Richardson is playing for Indianapolis.

What happened? The thought is that Trent Richardson did not fit into Norv Turner’s offensive scheme — or, apparently, general manager Michael Lombardi’s longterm plans for the team.

Trent Richardson has never proven himself as dominant as LaDainian Tomlinson, another Norv Turner acolyte.

Trent Richardson has never proven himself as dominant as LaDainian Tomlinson, another Norv Turner acolyte.

Wheeling and dealing

In last year’s draft, the Browns traded their fifth overall pick, along with a fourth rounder, a fifth rounder, and a seventh rounder, to move up into the third overall spot and select Trent Richardson.

Richardson was coming off a nearly 1,700-yard season that ended with a BCS National Championship title for Alabama and a runner-up Heisman Trophy finish. Unfortunately, Alabama players are notorious for coming into the NFL with less than healthy bodies.

During training camp his rookie year, he had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage from his left knee. He played most of last season with two broken ribs and missed their season finale after rolling an ankle. This offseason, he hurt his shin in spring practices and experienced the same injury again in training camp. Maybe Cleveland simply had enough of injuries slowing down their cornerstone player.

Although Richardson did finish his rookie campaign with 950 yards and 11 touchdowns, his career average is a mere 3.5 yards per carry. He has only managed to peel of two runs of 20 yards or more in 298 career carries — second fewest among rushers with 200 carries last season. No doubt the fact that he was playing on a bad offense and consistently facing eight men in the box had a lot to do with that.

Browns are building

Going into the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns will hold their own very high — possibly first overall — selection, as well as Indy’s mid-to late-first-round pick. They also have a second-round pick and two third-round selection, also via Indianapolis through a different trade.

It’s possible they will package some of these picks to trade up, perhaps even into the first round to acquire still a third first-round pick. This draft is expected to be amazingly deep at the quarterback position, with the likes of Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Brett Hundley (UCLA), Johnny Manziel (Texas A & M), Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), and A.J. McCarron (Alabama) all possibly available.

In the late first or early second round there will be plenty of fruitful running backs, including Todd Gurley, De’Anthony Thomas, Marion Grice, Ka’Deem Carrey, Carlos Hyde, Silas Redd, and James White.

Therefore, as much as I dislike this trade, I understand the rationale behind it. In fact, I think Cleveland could have done better than settling for a first-round selection. They probably could have added a fourth rounder or even a roster player like running back Donald Brown to ease the sting. Willis McGahee is not going to get it done as a replacement for Richardson.

The Indianapolis Colts are determined to build an offense that can contend in the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts are determined to build an offense that can contend in the NFL.

Colts are contending

Despite not having any offensive player that is individually better than average, the Indianapolis Colts have put together quite the offensive masterpiece in the last two years.

Andrew Luck is the surefire selection out of the 2012 quarterback draft class who will remain healthy and productive for many years to come. Reggie Wayne is the savvy veteran wide receiver with plenty left in his tank, while T.Y. Hilton is a valuable deep threat in the mold of Mike Wallace. Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener open up the field from the tight end position. If Darrius Heyward-Bey can regain his composure and contribute as a No. 2 wide receiver, look out.

Unlike last year, when defenses played deep to shut down the passing game, opposing teams will now have to put a safety in the box to account for the threat of Richardson in the rushing attack. In the short term, at least, Indianapolis is the clear winner in this trade.

476 comments
tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

I'm staying over here.  The other page hurts my eyes.

JVince 11
JVince 11

I am out for the weekend boys....


GO PACK GO!!!  28-20 victory!

JVince 11
JVince 11

In January 1988, Griffey, at the age of 18, attempted to commit suicide by swallowing 277 aspirin pills but wound up in intensive care in Providence Hospital in Mount Airy, Ohio.[83] Griffey, Jr. cited arguments with his father, Ken Griffey, Sr., depression, and anger as reasons for his attempted suicide.[84] On his failed attempt, Griffey, Jr. stated, "It seemed like everyone was yelling at me at baseball, then I came home and everyone was yelling at me there...I got depressed. I got angry. I didn't want to live."[84] He stated that he had also previously contemplated taking his own life, but he had not acted on it until this incident.[84] After Griffey swallowed the aspirin, his girlfriend's mother drove him to the hospital.[84] While in intensive care, he ripped the IV from his arm in order to stop an argument between him and his father.[84] Both Griffey, Jr. and his father have stated that the incident changed their relationship, and there is now more "understanding" on both parts.[84]


I had no idea this ever happened.

jmac3444
jmac3444

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter 2m

No team has made the playoffs after an 0-3 start in 15 years, since the Buffalo Bills did it in 1998.

Buhlitze
Buhlitze

ima look for that boombaya sign on sunday

nonstradamus
nonstradamus

I like the non-color-corrected version of that picture better.

LKP
LKP

@jmac3444 Redskins were 3-6 and made the playoffs. It ain't over until the fat lady sings

jmac3444
jmac3444

Minnesota, Carolina and Tampa are on watch

Buhlitze
Buhlitze

I also like the "about to be 1-21 in Washington" sign

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

@jmac3444 And the Giants.  Whoever loses the CAR-NYG game will be 0-3.

JVince 11
JVince 11

@tmonson78 @JVince 11 @F*** it Dude, let's go bowling.  i jus tlooked it up.... that was without Griffey, Johnson, and A-rod.. they had a team of basically average players playing out of their minds..  Well they did have Ichiro.. but Mike Cameron, Carlos Guillen, Bret Boone, Edgar Martinez, Scott podsenik and pithers like Jamie Moyer, Freddy Garcia, Paul Abott, and Joel Pineiro.