Found September 19, 2013 on
Waiting For Next Year:
At the heart of the Trent Richardson trade yesterday is pure emotional outrage. The Cleveland Browns should have been an eight-win team this year according to yours truly. As most of you know, my mantra has been that for this team, considering the development time on the roster and the amount of cap space available to them, eight wins is the reasonable expectation I put on this front office and coaching staff. That was going to be my standard. All through pre-season—including a fourth game where basically every starter sat out so as not to get hurt—we were sold that this team was ready to go this year and compete. I should have known that wasn’t the case when they dumped all their kickers and went after six new faces before the first game, I guess. It’s hard to believe that this team after only the second week of the season and a franchise-altering trade is an utter failure according to the standard I set.
Even beyond my standards, pro sports teams rely on fans and this seems so original and unheard of—trading a supposed franchise player after week two—that it comes off as abusive to a Browns fan base that’s seen far too much painful originality in their day. The move of trading one of the most popular players on the team—a guy coming into his second year as the third overall pick in the previous year’s draft—is never not going to be a shock to any fan base. But this isn’t just a shock. It’s worse.
This move makes this fan base feel stupid. It makes this fan base feel stupid for buying jerseys. It makes them feel stupid for buying season tickets with images of Trent Richardson emblazoned on them. It makes them feel stupid for having to come to grips with the very serious threat that the 2013 season—something that they’ve looked forward to for a very long time—is over basically before it even started.
All those fears that I tried to talk people out of with regard to game day experience not being the sole focus of the team and how good entertainment and success on the field weren’t mutually exclusive is now suspended indefinitely. It’s suspended in the air as the team almost necessarily takes a giant step back right this second.
It’s not fair. That sounds childish to even type out, but at the heart of it, that’s what this is about. These new guys came in here and have shifted direction without warning. This is not what Browns fans were sold. This is nowhere near what Browns fans could have expected considering the off-season maneuvers.
And who is selling it? Joe Banner is great at not shirking accountability, but he’s presumably not the one doing all the maneuvers here. Michael Lombardi is nowhere to be found as the presumed architect of the very trade that happened. Instead, in his place on the podium is a first-year head coach staring two losses in the face with who knows exactly how many more waiting to wash over him over the next 15 football weeks.
Yes, when I’m being honest, I think the Browns got good “value” for Trent Richardson. You know why? Trading players about a year into their career isn’t ever done unless it is to dump them. In comparison to that, I think the Browns did get good value, but that’s only because this is such an outlandish maneuver. When you draft players you tend not give up on them before they finish their second year, especially in the age of the rookie wage scale. It is usually a failure of a player who is traded for a fraction of what was used to select them. So from that perspective I am truly shocked that the Browns got a first round pick for Trent Richardson. But I’m not nearly as shocked by what they got as I am that they were shopping him at all.
It might be the best thing this franchise ever does, but it still stinks. Sure, the Browns might end up getting the franchise quarterback, which is without exaggeration the most important position in Cleveland, but it stinks right now because they might still not get that guy. And it is not what Browns fans thought was in store for this season. It’s not what Browns fans deserve by any stretch of the imagination.
This was one of the culmination types of years that comes after years of rebuilding. This was supposed to be the start of smelling that cake that’s been cooking in the oven for so long. Instead it appears once again that there’s no dessert coming anytime soon for Browns fans. A new chef is in the kitchen and he’s promised something tasty, and said that he needs to earn our trust, but he’s started earning it by throwing away the cake in the oven before it’s finished rising because he can seemingly see it’s already not good enough. How does he know that it’s no good if we haven’t even tasted it yet?
And what does he know about “good enough” for this fan base? What has he earned in terms of political capital and leeway? He’s asking for faith from the very people he’s making faithless. He’s pitching this to the very fans who’ve seen the clearing of the house which takes place from regime to regime in Berea, but this wasn’t supposed to require that. Why else would they spend money on the defense this season?
So the ones who are sticking around will sit and wait yet again to see if these are people worth believing in. They’ll sit and try to decide if the very people who put Trent Richardson’s mug all over their 2013 season tickets before trading him only two weeks in are the kinds of people who can make enough good decisions in a row to not let another generation of Browns fans die off and / or become Steelers fans.
Maybe they got it right. Maybe they’re brilliant and this will culminate in a Super Bowl victory someday, but shut up with that stuff right now. If you say those things loudly enough – no matter how true they might be – the folks in Berea might hear you and think they’ve achieved something by acquiring a nebulous asset. These guys haven’t earned that kind of benefit of the doubt merely by engaging in a speculative investment scheme that is the NFL draft.
The only ones who have earned the benefit of the doubt here are Cleveland Browns fans who continue to show up and support a pairing of colors that’s supposed to represent a team they love. These might just be the latest guys who are taking that for granted while they waste our time before getting fired and replaced. We have no way of knowing they aren’t failures and their initial performance hasn’t given any reason to think otherwise.
Trading Trent Richardson after the second week of the 2013 season might not be a bad move, but make no mistake, these guys are on notice and we shouldn’t let them forget it.
They’ve earned nothing. Remember that.
BEST OF MAXIM
Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner and coach Rob Chudzinski both said they’re committed to developing a winning team this season. Banner was asked about how Cleveland fans will react and think that the Browns are mailing it in on this season by trading RB Trent Richardson.
Brandon Weeden, the 29 year-old sophomore quarterback, will not start this Sunday against he Vikings due to a thumb injury.
Furthermore, it looks like Weeden will not be guaranteed to be the starter once he is fully healthy.
Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski had this to say:
“I don’t really see it as that. We’ll see how things are going, how Brandon is doing from a health...
The Indianapolis Colts acquired running back Trent Richardson on Wednesday from the Cleveland Browns. The Colts (1-1) traded their 2014 first-round pick for Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards with 11 touchdowns in 2012, while posting
With the Browns trading Trent Richardson today to the Colts for a 2014 #1 pick, it says a great deal about what they thought of him. The team, under the previous regime, spent the #3 overall pick last season on him, and they just dumped him for a pick that will likely be in the late teens or the 20's. While Richardson battled injuries and ran behind a bad offensive line, he...
There's a reason why longtime Cleveland Browns fan Ryan Alessio hates the Cleveland Browns. It's because the Cleveland Browns don't want to win these days.
The Cleveland Browns have announced that Brian Hoyer will start in place of Brandon Weeden this week.
BREAKING: Head Coach Rob Chudzinski has informed Brian Hoyer that he will start at quarterback Sunday at Minnesota.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 18, 2013
Weeden is currently dealing with a thumb injury and hasn’t played well so far this season.
Hoyer will now have...
The Cleveland Browns have sent the most loyal fans a team can have, into shock this week. First it was the news the team would give Brian Hoyer the start against the Vikings, then will out any warning at all, the team traded a fan favorite. Now, the fans think the Browns have thrown the season out with these decisions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cleveland wants to win...
Like most people, I was shocked to hear the Browns had traded Trent Richardson, the third overall pick of the 2012 draft, to the Indianapolis Colts. I didn't think much could surprise me in this league anymore, but you just don't see trades like this happen these days. Especially with such a marquee, so-called franchise player like this, only two games into his second season...
The 0-2 Cleveland Browns have made a statement that they don’t plan on competing during the 2013 season. The team, which has a new front office and coaching staff, waited just two weeks into the regular season to shake things up. Shake things up they did. The Browns traded second year running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the Colts 2014 first round...
What else should we expect from the Cleveland Browns? We all knew that they weren’t going to be good this year with the 40 year old sophomore quarterback, but if they could have finished out the season with a bad record and drafted a good quarterback, they would have been contenders in the AFC North in a couple years. But the Browns front office had vastly different things...
You ever started to date a woman and immediately regretted it, but because you put in the time, money and effort into the relationship you felt the need to stick around longer than you should have?
That was the Cleveland Browns 2012 NFL Draft.
They had two picks in the 1st round (#3 that was originally #4 but they traded with Vikings for no good reason and #22). When you have two...
In one of the most shocking in-season trades in NFL history, sophomore running back Trent Richardson has been dealt from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts.
Only 16 months ago, Richardson entered the league as the most highly-touted rookie back since Adrian Peterson, but there's a new regime in Cleveland now -- one that has zero ties to that Richardson selection...
The NFL never sleeps.Not even on Wednesday's.Today (9/18) the Indianapolis Colts have made the move of the year by acquiring former Browns running back Trent Richardson in a trade.It is nothing short of a monumental move for Indianapolis, and is showing that they're no longer planning for the future, because it's now.For Cleveland on the other hand, it's a shocking...
Tweet Wednesday evening, the Cleveland Browns shocked the sports world by trading 2012 NFL draft third overall pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first round draft pick. Despite some early season struggles, Richardson was widely regarded as arguably the team’s best offensive player. The trade got the Browns fan base so […]
( image, courtesy of Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Cleveland Browns Running Back Trent Richardson has been traded to the Indianapolis Colts for their 2014 first round draft pick.
This move gives the up and coming Colts , the 1st ( Andrew Luck) and 3rd ( Richardson) picks from the 2012 draft and the Rebuilding mode Browns 2 first round picks in...