Bold Move Signals the State of Two Storied NFL Franchises

The Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts may have just succeeded in one of the most rare feats in sports: making a trade that benefits both teams.  Wednesday, Trent Richardson was traded from the Browns to the Colts for their 2014 first round pick; A move that was precipitated by Vick Ballard’s season ending knee injury.

It is really too early to tell how much the Colts gave up. We won’t know that until the season ends and draft positions are locked in. However, as it stands, the Colts added a bruising work –horse in Richardson that will ease the mind of Andrew Luck and add some muscle to the Colts offense. Indianapolis is still in post-Manning rebuilding mode, but Richardson along with Luck, represent a very strong young core that should only get better as the talent around them improves.

For Cleveland, as much as Richardson provided as a runner, he simply didn’t fit coach Rob Chudzinski’s upbeat, fast-paced

Cliff Welch/Icon SMI

Cliff Welch/Icon SMI

offense. For the front office, the feeling must be that once fans get over the shock of trading their first round pick little more than a season after drafting him, most will see the potential this trade brings. The Browns now hold two picks in the first round, two picks in the third and two picks in the fourth. If they hit on all cylinders next April, they could very well come away with at least five quality starters on a team that craves an infusion of talent. Then again, these are the same Browns who have started seventeen different quarterbacks, while cycling through seven different head coaches and seven different general managers since the franchise revival in 1999. So, you’ll have to excuse the fans if this move is met with skepticism…

This was a bold move by both teams. For the Colts, they had to give Andrew Luck a runner he could lean on. They got an exciting young runner who the fans can rally around. The team has to turn this trade into wins though. If the Colts fail to capitalize on the move, it further compounds the issue by improving the position of the pick. It is a dangerous gamble that could be a defining moment for a team looking to return to prominence.

Cleveland on the other hand, had to do something drastic. This franchise needed to show that they’re willing to make the tough decisions in order to get the franchise headed in the right direction. This move showed a commitment to a vision for the future. That future is now directly related to the Browns ability to buck trends and come away with a successful draft in 2014. If they’re unable to do that, ownership may once again find themselves in the dog pound.

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