It was The Trade That Shook the NFL. Or, at least, The Trade That Shook Twitter. Certainly, it was The Trade That Reminded Cleveland Fans That No, They Can’t Have Any Nice Things.
The deal that sent running back Trent Richardson, picked No. 3 overall just two years ago, to the Colts for a 2014 first-round pick came as a huge surprise to everyone. Well, nearly everyone.
Browns players are still trying to figure out what just happened. One Indianapolis columnist wonders if the Colts just found their Edgerrin James to Andrew Luck’s Peyton Manning. One thing is for sure: this kind of big-name in-season trade is very rare, indeed. Especially if this list compiled by nfl.com (warning: slideshow) is any indication.
But why end the fun there? Plenty of NFL teams have holes that could potentially be filled by other squads. So let’s imagine a few more deals that could happen right away, some serious proposals and some, well, not so much.
● Panthers trade tackle Jordan Gross to the Broncos. With all the hoopla over l’affaire Richardson, the fact that the mighty Broncos just suffered a potentially devastating injury has been overlooked. Left tackle Ryan Clady is out for the season, and while Denver has expressed confidence in replacement Chris Clark, Peyton Manning – he of the multiple and still-recent neck surgeries — has to be concerned about his blind-side protection. Carolina doesn’t look ready to compete in the top-heavy NFC South just yet, and Gross is an 11-year veteran still playing at a high level, so the team could get, say, a second-round pick for him and look ahead to better days.
● Panthers trade Steve Smith to the Patriots. Hey, if Carolina’s going to punt on the season, might as well have a fire sale, right? Tom Brady, who’s not getting any younger, can’t be happy with his current collection of receivers who can’t stay healthy (Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola), can’t catch the ball (Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson) or can’t get open more than five yards downfield (Julian Edelman). So let’s give him Smith, a super-savvy veteran like Brady himself, who still has the speed and determination to make tough catches for big gains. A third and a fifth – and we know the Patriots have the picks to spare — might just get that done.
● Jets trade David Harris to the Redskins. Washington could surely use a player who knows how to tackle, even if he’s an inside linebacker. Harris is a long time run-defense specialist, graded very highly so far this season by profootballfocus.com, playing for a team in obvious transition mode. It’s a match made in heaven! Well, except for Harris’s hefty salary, but hey, we’re spitballing here, folks.
● Jets trade Rex Ryan to the Cowboys. With a new general manager on board, and the likelihood of another losing season, Ryan appears to be a dead man coaching. So why not ship him out of New York a few months ahead of schedule, and what more fun landing spot than Dallas, where he can tag-team boisterous commentary with Jerry Jones? To make a vague stab at actually justifying the deal, Dallas has many of the pieces for the kind of 3-4 defense Ryan prefers (he would absolutely love DeMarcus Ware), while current Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin could move over to the Jets, which just happen to have the makings of the penetrating, 4-3 defensive line Kiffin needs for his Tampa-2 scheme.
● Colts trade owner Jim Irsay to the Raiders. As we have seen, Irsay is a teensy bit a of a nutbar, and his talents seem wasted in a town as staid as Indianapolis. Meanwhile, new Raiders principal owner Mark Davis has, um, interesting hair, but he appears to lack the gift for controversial commentary that marked the reign of his late and legendary father, Al. I say, swap owners! Hey, it happened once before with the Irsay family. (Sorry for the reminder, Baltimoreans.)
So those are some of my thoughts. Okay, pretty much all of them. How about yours? What NFL trade would you like to see get done right now?
Des Bieler is a page designer, artist and writer who contributes his NFL insights to Opening Kick on Fridays and the print edition’s game-day page on Sundays. Follow him on Twitter at @DezBeeWP.
Around the Web
Heard enough about the Richardson trade? Of course not! So in honor of his draft position, here is a three-pack of links:
● Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer provides quite the in-depth account of how the deal went down.
● If, in the 20 years between the Gibbs Super Bowls and the arrival of RGIII, you muttered, “Same old Redskins,” hang your head in shame, for you don’t know what it truly is to be a suffering fan.
● But cheer up, Dawg Pounders! NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal explains why the move makes sense for Cleveland.
From The Post
● The Redskins practice at 11:50 a.m. on Friday.