The Cleveland Browns have traded Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts, signaling yet another monumental change in the future of the franchise. Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick from The University of Alabama in the 2012 NFL Draft, played in just 18 games for the Browns. He had an impressive rookie campaign and was expected to turn in an even bigger season in 2013 with Cleveland. Throughout the preseason, the Browns’ new offense was highly touted. Yet, in one day, traded Richardson, hinted that Brandon Weeden’s starting quarterback job could be in jeopardy while announcing that third stringer Brian Hoyer would start the team’s Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Just another Wednesday for the Dawg Pound, right?
Say what you want about this trade. Some love it for the Colts, who have now finally potentially acquired the final missing piece to the puzzle on offense. Richardson is a power back who could fit well into the system now being run by Pep Hamilton. Remember when the Colts were running circles around other teams with Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison? Well, Indy thinks they may have recreated some magic with Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and now Richardson.
Other people love the deal for the Browns, who realize that since they are not a playoff team with Richardson carrying the load and know that the 2014 NFL Draft could provide quite a few future franchise quarterbacks. Cleveland could use one or both of its first round picks to either select or trade up to draft a college quarterback, such as Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Stephen Morris (Miami) or Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M). They are clearly less than enamored with Weeden and also know that neither Hoyer nor Jason Campbell are the answers going forward. I would still not be surprised to see the Browns go after Ryan Mallett of the New England Patriots, but drafting a quarterback in May appears highly likely.
Either way, two things have become crystal clear. First, the Colts are going for it now. Owner Jim Irsay and General Manager Ryan Grigson are not afraid to pull the trigger on making a huge deal if they believe it will improve their team. I am not saying that Richardson is Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster, but he is a marked improvement over Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard.
Second, the Browns are also going all in… for the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. They will have some stiff competition from teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and others, but they will hope that the first pick goes to a team who sees Jadevenon Clowney (South Carolina) as the top clear cut No. 1 overall pick. Trading Richardson and benching Weeden should give them an inside track to one of the top picks in next tear’s draft.