The Cleveland Browns came in with hopes of being more competitive this year on offense. When that did not happen, the Browns front office acted quickly and made an important calculation. They know the offense is horrible. They were not going to pretend it was not. The previous front office made a terrible pick in Brandon Weeden and just had this running back, albeit an exceptionally talented one, in Trent Richardson to get beat up all year long. Rather than just let him rot behind nothing, they make the move to trade the talented back to the Colts for a first round pick giving them two this coming year in addition to other picks to lock down the quarterback they so desperately need.
Richardson is a big ball of talent but there are so many critics who are disappointed with how he started out his young career. He came into the league after suffering a knee injury at Alabama. He suffered another knee injury in camp for the Browns and missed all of camp as a rookie. After his knee recovered, he suffered broken ribs. There is reason to be nervous with how he gets hurt.
Running backs not named Adrian Peterson are not difficult to find. The Browns can get another back and need to get several more backs in the next year(s). Using a top 5 pick on a back in the first place was a terrible investment given the nature of the position. Getting a first round pick is great value for a player who is talented but has not been great to this point. Getting the running back first and the quarterback second is not the right way to build. Get the quarterback first and get the running back to complement him and be able to hit the ground running and excel. That is why this is a good deal for both sides.
The Browns are in full on tank mode. As frustrating as that might sound, rather than being mildly bad, they are going to make sure they are awful. Like the Colts did with Andrew Luck, they have the opportunity to get a legitimate quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. He has the talent to be a franchise changer. Now, they still have an extra first round pick, an extra third round pick and an extra fourth round pick. Hopefully, the Browns finish for the top pick in the draft and can simply draft Bridgewater. Part of the brilliance of the Colts was they got Luck without giving up any extra picks while the Redskins were forced to mortgage the future. It was worth it but the Colts had more assets to build the team.
The Browns can hopefully use the first pick on Bridgewater and then use the rest to give him weapons and finish the defense. Imagine, getting Bridgewater and one of the talented receivers or tight ends in the class or getting a great defensive back. They could take a back or multiple backs in the middle of the draft.
Even if the Colts have a great year and the pick is in the 20s, it is still worth it. If they make the playoffs, more power to them. The pick gets even more valuable if they cannot get in the playoffs and that pick is in the teens. They have a ton of draft assets and now the pressure is on them to make this draft counts. Everything revolves around the 2014 NFL Draft. Trent Richardson seems like a genuinely great person and player, so all the best to him, but it never made sense here and he will see that when he has holes to run through because teams have to respect Luck. This could end up being a great move for all involved. The Browns get a franchise quarterback and the Colts get a franchise running back.
Finally, a front office who embraces the idea of how to get a quarterback and potentially having the ability to make up for the mistake that was not getting Robert Griffin III. All of this could be made up for and more if they can get Bridgewater and not have to trade a thing to do it.
As bad as this sounds right this second and how bad the team could be, they still have a talented offensive line and the makings of a great defense. Now, they should be in position to get a franchise quarterback and give him the tools to succeed. It will not be fun over the next 14 weeks, but it will be worth it if they can lock down a talented passer like Bridgewater. They will a lot of good tools in place and can really take off when Bridgewater and the new weapons get going. This could be the day that changes the Browns future for the positive, finally. Embrace it.