Cleveland Browns: Is Trent Richardson Trade Reaction Overblown?

By Dick Primo

And to think that tonight I was going to write about Brian Hoyer starting…

The Cleveland Browns shocked their fans by trading Trent Richardson on Wednesday evening to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft pick in 2014. Everyone’s take on this is the most obvious thing of all: The Browns giving up on the 2013 season and preparing for the 2014 season. What part of the  owner saying in the offseason that the team wasn’t going to win the Super Bowl this year did you guys miss?

I’m going to skip the obvious talk and break this down as well as I can. What do I think of the Browns trading Richardson? I don’t know. Bad that they lost the only running back they had; good that they got a first-round pick for him.

Fans, of course, have their usual take. Nobody cared about this guy until this afternoon. Now we traded Jim Brown. I have been listening to sports talk all season and I have yet to hear anyone talk about Richardson with the exception of him not being on the field for third downs. Tonight, Twitter and the radio were filled with guys saying how Richardson is a 20 TD-a-year back. But that’s Cleveland.

I saw nothing about Richardson that impressed me. I think he’s a good back — I said so here — but I don’t think he’s an exceptional back. He may be, but I don’t see anything that says otherwise. This team is better with him here than with him gone, but when you have a lot of negatives on your offense, any pluses are a loss.

Richardson was a big guy, but he didn’t seem to have much in the way of moves. I didn’t see him make a lot of guys miss. He wasn’t a very good pass blocker. He did have some speed and some power, and I think in the right situation he may be able to make that work, but I also didn’t see anything special about him.

Look, like it or not, the league is all about the quarterback. The Colts didn’t have one and they lost 14 games. They got one and they won 11 games and go to the playoffs. The Browns need a quarterback.

If that means giving up a running back to get another trade piece to move up — if they even have to — then they have it. But there are no guarantees. The Browns had two first-round draft picks last year and they ended up with Richardson and Brandon Weeden. Not fair to this regime because they didn’t draft last year, but still. Draft picks are never guaranteed.

The immediate impact on the Browns is bad for the fans. They are so emotionally invested in this team and I feel bad for them. They may tell you how bad the team is, but every week they’re hoping for a miracle. It never comes. But catch them the next week and they’ll be hoping again.

The winner in all of this is Richardson. He got to go to a playoff contender, play behind a real offensive line and as far as Browns fans go, they’ve never cared more about him than they do right now. A good day for him indeed.

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