For years under the Bill Polian regime, the Colts front office had a philosophy of developing their own players as opposed to signing big name free agents or making big trades. Some would argue that this wasn’t a philosophy, but a necessity considering the amount of money we poured into the pockets of high-priced Colt players such as Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, Dwight Freeney, etc. Either way, today is a far different day than any day in 2011. Ryan Grigson was announced as the Colts new General Manager in early 2012. Since taking over, he has signed free agents, made trades, and completely transformed the Indianapolis Colts football team. Perhaps no move was as big as the move he pulled today. The Colts have traded their 1st round pick in the 2014 draft for RB Trent Richardson, the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft. Let me be clear – this was a complete coup by the Colts and Ryan Grigson. Make no mistake about it – trading a 1st round pick in next year’s draft for a player as dynamic as Trent Richardson is a no-brainer. The Browns continue to baffle the NFL world.
Richardson was widely viewed as a top 5 draft pick in 2012. He was ultimately selected by Cleveland with the 3rd overall pick. He did not participate in the 2012 preseason due to arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He was able to play in week 1 of the regular season, and finished the year with 950 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has gained 105 yards on 31 carries this season. He is a workhorse type of back and this is exactly the type of player that fits into Pep Hamilton’s offense. Yes, we still have offensive line questions that became even more cloudy with Donald Thomas’ injury on Sunday. Still, the Colts made the right move here for so, so, so many reasons. Allow me to explain:
- We do not have depth at running back. Kerwynn Williams as our 3rd string tailback just doesn’t cut it. Donald Brown doesn’t cut it. Ahmad Bradshaw is very good, but will benefit from being part of a 1-2 punch (similar to how he was used with Brandon Jacobs in New York). The Colts get Richardson as their running back with Bradshaw as depth, Brown as the #3 back and Williams as the #4 back. Bradshaw and Brown are free agents next year and the Colts will let them go. Ballard and Richardson will be next year’s 1-2 punch with perhaps Kerwynn Williams as a #3 or a free agent / late draft pick at #3.
- The Colts were going to have to burn a relatively high draft pick next year on a RB – why not get the 2012 #3 pick as our 2014 first round pick??? This allows us to take RB off the board for the 2014 draft We are set other than some fill-ins at 3rd/4th string. We can now focus our draft on other key needs.
- Trent Richardson will only cost the Colts about $6.5M for the remainder of this year and all of 2014 and 2015. That is a cheap, cheap, cheap price to pay for the #3 pick in the 2012 draft. Cleveland is going to have to eat his entire signing bonus of over $13M including dead cap space of close to $10M for this year and next year. If the Colts signed a running back with their 1st round pick in 2014 (assuming it is a pick in the early to mid 20′s), they would have likely paid between $8M-$10M for 4 years of service. Instead, they get a #3 pick form 2102 for $6.5M over the next 3 years. Wow!
I love this deal. I can’t say it enough. I love this deal! For those who say that we have to build through the draft……we essentially are! Our 1st round pick next year is not going to be a top 3 pick. Even Chuck Pagano can’t coach poorly enough to land a top 3 pick in next year’s draft. We’ll likely end up with a mid-1st round pick and I will absolutely trade the rest of this year and the next 2 years of Richardson for next year’s 1st round pick.
Get ready Indy……sadness turned to happiness very quickly! BTW….Give Grigson a TON of credit for pulling this one off.