Cleveland Browns Again Rebuilding: Trade Richardson to Colts

The Cleveland Browns have thrown in the towel on 2013 and traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Cleveland Browns have thrown in the towel on 2013 and traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.

Trent Richardson was the biggest offensive star in Cleveland heading into the Browns 2013 NFL campaign, it was thought that the team would go as far as he was able to carry them. Well, things change fast in today’s National Football League. Just two short weeks into the season and Richardson has taken the Browns as far as he can this year, because he was traded to the Colts for a first round draft pick.

Maybe calling it ‘rebuilding’ is too kind for the Cleveland Browns.

This organization has been in the rebuilding phase since reentering the league in 1999. In 13 years back in the NFL, the Browns have finished above .500 just twice, and only qualified for the playoffs once. Cleveland is yet to win the AFC North division.

It would seem strange then, that such a team would trade its young and talented star running back for another prospect. Maybe the Browns just like building, and have no real plan to actually create anything.

A deal that makes no sense for Cleveland, they have essentially thrown in the towel on 2013 by dealing Richardson to Indianapolis. The white flag is waving above the Dawg Pound.

What is left in Cleveland is an offense featuring a sub-par quarterback in Brandon Weeden, and the almost entirely unknown Bobby Rainey at running back. Not exactly fire power. In terms of pass catchers, they really aren’t that bad, Jordan Cameron has shown his star power early on this year, and Josh Gordon also looked good last season. He is coming back from suspension this week.

With the continued struggles of Weeden, it appears that the Browns think highly enough of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to make him their number one draft pick next year. A franchise quarterback is the only explanation Cleveland can give its fans after this trade.

“I don’t want to tip our hands, but it puts us in a very good position to have made some good progress in the off-season, we’re in good salary cap shape,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said. “We’re positioning ourselves to build a team that is good and sustainable.”

He better hope he hits on those draft picks, or the fan base surely will be outraged.

For the other parties involved in this trade, Richardson and Indianapolis, the benefits are obvious. This new relationship will pay dividends for years to come. Richardson is an every down back, a bell cow you can run as much as you desire and he will only get better as the game wears on. This is a huge improvement over the oft-injured Ahmad Bradshaw they started last week.

Indianapolis is a pass first team, and already has a star quarterback in Andrew Luck. Both men came out of the same draft class in 2012, and figure to be together for the rest of their promising careers. Luck likes to air it out, and has had to do to a lack of balance in the Colts offense.

Putting the two together will take pressure off of each other. Defenses won’t be able to key on one aspect of the Colts offense like they have keyed on Richardson and Luck in the past, things will open up in Indy. The Colts now have a fierce offense.

In Cleveland, things look bleak for the rest of 2013 in the wake of Richardson’s departure. Rainey has 0 career NFL carries, and is slated to start this week. The Browns are looking at bringing in some help for Rainey, and names being considered range from Willis McGahee to Maurice Clarett. Yes, you read that right, Maurice Clarett. Desperate times in Cleveland as they await their renewed rebuilding efforts to break ground in 2014.

Charlie Gille

Senior Sports Editor

The Guardian Express

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