We are one game into the Trent Richardson trade, a fine time in our immediate, Twitter centric world to analyze the outcome of the trade right? While all big moves like this trade, or first round draft picks and new regime/coaches, should be given a full year, or so, before given a “grade” its fun to look at instant results.
For the Colts
The Colts put Richardson to work right away running him 13 times for only 35 yards for a average of 2.7 yards per carry. Richardson scored a 1 yard touchdown on his first carry as a Colt. The Colts did get a great game from their other running back, former Giants star Ahmad Bradshaw who toted the rock 19 times for 95 yards and his own score. Bradshaw had 5 yards per carry and broke off a long of 27 while the former Brown’s long was 7 yards. The 49ers geared up for the run when Richardson was in the game, knowing he didn’t have time to learn all of the important pass protections.
He is running behind a line that has struggled much of the year so expectations should be lower but his work as a receiver should increase over time. Neither Bradshaw nor Richardson has great injury history so expect a good split of carries while both healthy. For the Colts this was a long term move. Richardson might not be the deciding factor between the playoffs and the Super Bowl, but long term the goal is a solid foundation with Andrew Luck, Richardson, the two young tight ends and TY Hilton.
He is out of the spotlight of a top draft pick, not being looked to as the savior of the franchise, that is Luck’s job. He also has a running mate in Bradshaw this year to help him carry the load. Richardson will need time to learn the offense and his linemen before much can be expected. For now he is being celebrated for his touchdown and for being on a winning team. The same performance in Cleveland, with a loss, would of brought scrutiny. For now Richardson is part of the puzzle, not the whole thing, hopefully he finds peace in his new situation, especially after some of the bad mouthing he took from media and former teammates upon his departure.
For the Browns
The Browns are undefeated since the trade. Yes its 1 game, against a winless opponent, but a win is a win. The “running back committee” that will replace Richardson was more then limited in the game against the Vikings. Willis McGahee got to the team on Thursday, so hopefully after a full week of practice he can make a bigger impact. Similar to Richardson he will be running behind a struggling line so expectations are limited.
For the front office who made the deal the view is pretty clear. They want a franchise QB, yet many thought the team as constituted would be bad enough to get a high draft pick. The Browns front office may have seen a solid defense, a returning Josh Gordon and breakout star Jordan Cameron and had a hunch at the season’s results after 2 games. They may have saw a team good enough to win a few games but not good enough to make the playoffs. That team would not be in position to draft a big time QB in 2014. That team may still exist with the current Browns only now the FO has 2 first round picks, as well as the rest of their loaded draft cupboard to move up if possible. A mediocre team doesn’t get the impact QB with its own draft pick. Maybe the FO had higher expectations for this team then we expected? Maybe the trade was needed because they saw some wins coming, just not enough to go farther. If rumors are true that they plan to take a run at Ben Tate next year they will have traded Richardson and money for Tate and a first, a firs that may be needed to trade up in the draft.
All in all, for now, I would say everyone got what they were looking for. The Colts have their future offensive weapon, Richardson has pieces around him and the Browns have options moving forward to make the team the way they see best. A solid B+ move for everyone. Long term how Richardson fairs and how the Browns use the pick will decide the “final” grade.