BREAKING: The Browns have acquired the Indianapolis Colts’ first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft for running back Trent Richardson.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 18, 2013
The Cleveland Browns have just announced that they are waiving the white flag on the 2013 season before week two, by shipping their best offensive player running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. The Browns will get the Colts 2014 first round draft pick in return for the 34-year-old Richardson, who was the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, and showed a ton of promise as a rookie rushing for 950 yards an 11 touchdowns in 2012.
Cleveland Browns fans are surely going to be upset about trading their best offensive player, however, I think this move makes a lot of sense for the Browns new regime. They have a very young, talented defensive unit that should be good for a long time, however they are desperate to find their quarterback of the future and are sure Brandon Weeden is not that guy. General Manager Mike Lombardi knows that there is a much stronger quarterback draft coming in 2014, with names like Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley, Tajh Boyd and Johnny Manziel expected to be available. Richardson has already had numerous injury problems, and the Browns are not ready to win now, why waste Richardson’s prime taking punishment on a bad team when you can get a first round pick for him? The Browns will now enter the 2013 draft with a lot more ammunition in the early rounds to find their quarterback of the future, and they should be able to find a running back who can give them a percentage of Richardson’s potential in the middle round of the draft. While that player will not likely be as good as Richardson, he can grow with the Browns young offense, and as we know running back is the easiest position to fill. I do not believe in trying to find a running back until the rest of the team is ready to win, and you can find that guy in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft, like the New York Giants did when they drafted Brandon Jacobs (4th round) and Ahmad Bradshaw (7th round). Find your franchise quarterback, build an offensive line to protect him, find him some weapons in the passing game and build the defense. You can find a running back.
The move makes it clear that the Colts think they are ready to win now, they have the face of their franchise in Andrew Luck, and just added one of the most talented running backs in the NFL in Richardson. Running back was a weak position for the Colts anyway, then starter Vick Ballard was placed on the injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the season, so acquiring Richardson will be a huge boost for them offensively. Clearly the Colts think that, if they can add pieces around Luck and Richardson in the later rounds of the 2014 draft and during the offseason, that this team is ready to become a contender.