Following their shocking trade of Trent Richardson, it’s become clear that the Cleveland Browns are making sacrifices now to ensure a brighter future. If that’s the case, could they be willing to part with other key pieces?
Yesterday, the Browns got a 2014 first-round pick from the Indianapolis Colts for Richardson, their first-round selection (No. 3 overall) in 2012. Seeing as they spent so much to get him – sent a 1st, 4th, 5th and 7th to the Minnesota Vikings to move up one spot – it seems desperate that the Browns parted with Richardson after only one season.
It could also mean the Browns are ready to throw in the towel on the 2013 campaign, but CEO Joe Banner insists that the team isn’t tanking the season to put themselves atop the 2014 draft order.
Having already hit the rebuild button after only two games, the Browns could be looking to move other players in hopes of stockpiling 2014 draft picks. But who would they be willing to part with?
One option is quarterback Brandon Weeden, who was the Browns’ other first-round pick in 2012. The Oklahoma State product struggled mightily during his rookie year and wasn’t impressive in his early 2013 action, which could have Cleveland looking to unload the 29-year old passer. The Browns already appear ready to move on from the draft-day mishap, and might be willing to send him packing for a mid-to-late-round pick.
Another option is cornerback Joe Haden, the Browns’ 2010 first-round pick. While it seems farfetched, so does the trade of Richardson. Haden is a proven playmaker in the NFL, and could fetch another 2014 first-rounder for Cleveland. Trading him would certainly hurt their defense, but riding themselves of his pricey contract could be enough to get a deal done.
One final option is Greg Little, who’s currently the No. 3 wide receiver in Cleveland. When he was drafted in 2011 in the second round, it was assumed that he would develop into the Browns’ top target in the passing game. Instead, drops and inconsistency have forced the team to look elsewhere. With the emergence of Josh Gordon, the Browns might be willing to ship Little to a receiver-needy team willing to part ways with a late-round pick.
After the Browns traded Richardson, it’s pretty clear that anything is possible. The future is obviously the priority at this point, so don’t be surprised if more players get moved before the 2013 trade deadline passes.
The next order of business for the Browns? Figuring out who they want with the first overall pick when May’s 2014 NFL Draft rolls around.