Nobody. The more I think about it, there were no winners in this deal. It was stunning. It was newsworthy. It however, will be not become historic or memorable.
The Browns certainly didn’t win. They gave the Vikings first-, fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks to move up one spot to take Richardson. They got 17 games out of him. They could’ve selected any of the other great players to follow and kept all their picks. They are now trading away their most recognizable player in hopes of adding another pick that they might use to replace their current starting quarterback they took in that same draft with the 22nd pick. Incompetence I believe is the word we are looking for.
The Colts? They certainly could use a running back. They were a pass-happy team last year, and with Bruce Arians leaving for Arizona and Pep Hamilton replacing him as the offensive coordinator they wanted to be more balanced. So, without a reliable and/or dynamic runner on the roster, they decided to give up a 1st round pick next year for Richardson. On paper, it makes some sense to give up a likely mid-late first round pick for a guy who is 23 and was drafted 3rd overall the year before.
But Richardson gained only 950 yards on a measly 3.6 yards per attempt as a rookie and had a long run of 32 yards. Not exactly what Cleveland was hoping for in a league where so many tailbacks provide explosive, game-changing plays. He also seemed to be fighting nagging injuries all year and again this preseason.
So what really is Indy getting? Are the Browns selling high or selling too early? Fair questions each. Maybe Jim Brown was right. Maybe he is ordinary. He is quite obviously jacked and extremely physical, but is that as important in today’s NFL? So many of the games top backs are known for their track speed. Richardson is more old-school. A banger between the tackles. He’ll be an upgrade for the Colts, I don’t question that.
But to give up a first round pick for what might be football’s most replaceable position? Seems like a reach knowing what we know. If Trent Richardson had run like a guy that is the #3 overall pick then he would have never been dealt. Feels like more of a short-term fix than a long-term solution for the Colts.
Indianapolis fans feel happier today probably. Browns fans wonder if they’ll ever feel happy. I’m not sure we’ll care much about this in five years time.