The NFL Trade Deadline is early next week. Unlike MLB or the NBA the NFL deadline normally passes with a wimper. Part of that has to do with salary cap implications, the value of draft picks, the size of the roster and, until the new CBA, the early deadline. The deadline has been moved back two weeks, until the Tuesday following Week 8′s games.
The Browns have already been very active in trading. Starting during the draft trading for Devone Bess and moving 2013 draft picks for 2014 picks. Then the blockbuster trade of Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. That trade showed that this front office is not afraid to make big moves and seemed to be landscape altering. Brian Hoyer’s revelation at QB for a few weeks and Richardson’s YPC struggles have mitigated this slightly. Today we look at a few players on the Browns team that would be hardest to trade. There are a few ways we will define hardest: Difficult to replace their talent and/or leadership, difficult to get value in return and difficult to “sell” to the fans and the media.
Starting with the obvious choice in Gordon. While both the head coach and Joe Banner have said they have no plans to trade Gordon, moving him would not be surprising. Gordon is difficult to trade for all 3 reasons. He has the talent to possibly develop into a Top 10 receiver in the NFL, moving that kind of talent is rare. Due to his possible year long suspension for his next positive tests the Browns won’t be able to get the type of compensation to fit his skills and talent. Finally it would be a difficult “sell” to fans who have watched terrible offense for a very long time on the shores of Lake Erie. Trading the most dynamic offensive talent since… (Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow maybe)… could make fans feel like the offense is taking leaps backwards in a passing league.
Jackson has been the leader of the defense through regime and coaching changes a number of times. From 3-4 to 4-3 and back again. Jackson has had some struggles this year but provides the type of leadership and solid veteran play that a young team needs. Trading a MLB, in either scheme, is unlikely to bring back any large value. His value is similar to Anderson Varejao’s for the Cavaliers. More valuable to us then anything the team is likely to receive in return.
Thomas is in his 7th year with the Browns and has been a stalwart at the left tackle position since he arrived. Thomas is a unique player for the Browns. A perennial All Pro on offenses that haven’t lit the world on fire in anyway, yet consistently gets high recognition from his peers and writers. Thomas has not been strong this year, especially in the run game, but is still a high level performer. The Browns could possibly get a 1st round pick, and maybe more, for Thomas (a team like Denver comes to mind) but could they ever validate trading him? Could they turn over their entire offensive roster without setting the team back years?
Haden continues to blossom as one of the best defensive backs in the NFL. Haden, in his 4th year out of Florida, will be a free agent after next year, unless the sides come to an agreement. The Browns would have to be blown away by an offer for Haden, but what if they have the feeling that Haden wants to leave as a free agent? Do they risk franchising him for a couple years and having a unhappy player? (Please note there are no indications that this is his feelings, but for the Browns to think of moving him ever, this could be the reason). Haden could bring a huge haul for the team but replacing a shutdown corner in the pass happy NFL would be difficult. Almost no amount of trade assests could off-set his talent and value to the team. His passion and leadership is infectious and his desire to compete is obvious. Fan reaction to a Haden trade might be the worst of all.
So who is it for you, who would be the most difficult, hardest player for the Browns to trade? Tell us why that player’s trade would have the biggest negative impact? Talent, leadership, value, fandom or other? Is there a player we missed on this list?