I’m sure the shock still hasn’t worn off for most Cleveland Browns‘ fans. After all, their team just pulled off one of the most astounding trades in NFL history. No one saw it coming, and rightfully so. But the reality is that Trent Richardson is now a member of the Indianapolis Colts after playing just 18 games with the Browns.
Many Browns’ fans are furious. Richardson seemed to have the makings of a top-tier running back, despite his reputation of being injury-prone. Of all the players the team could have dealt, the running back wasn’t even on the radar. Or so we all thought. But at the same time, he’s one of the few players on their roster who could have gotten them a first round pick.
So as frustrating as this must be for fans, the harsh reality is that this Browns’ team wasn’t going to compete for an AFC playoff spot this year. Even with Richardson, there’s just not enough talent on their roster. So with that logic in mind, the Cleveland front office decided to just go ahead on move on to next year and start planning for the future. It’s rare that you see something like this happen in week three of a season, but what difference would it have made if they did it in week seven? The end result is that they sold off Richardson’s stock when it was at its highest.
Now, they have two first round picks in 2014 and 10 total picks at their disposal. That’s the way you build a quality, well-rounded team these days. It’s not by signing a bunch of big name players off the free agent market. Their strategy also seems to indicate that they’re going new-school. By dealing a back the caliber of Richardson, it seems all but certain they’re going to go with a passer friendly draft class in 2014. It’s a good strategy, but it also has to be frustrating as heck for fans that have been waiting years to see a winner on the field in Cleveland.