2012 NFL Draft: Browns’ two first-rounders is a fair price for the #2 pick


I’ve always been in favor of trading down in the NFL draft.  It speaks to how many pieces the Browns have needed since being back in 1999.  It speaks to my value proposition consciousness in a league with a hard salary cap.  Now, it might be somewhat outdated.

I will forever thank Eric Mangini for trading out of the Mark Sanchez pick.  I’ve written about it here on WFNY too many times already, so I’ll be brief in mentioning it this time around.  Regardless of on-field production, Mark Sanchez was always going to be a very risky proposition.  His contract was $60 million for five years with $28 million fully guaranteed.  In 2012 Sanchez is scheduled to make $8.5 million and is also due a $2.75 million roster bonus on 3/28.  Alex Mack signed a 5-year $12.2 million deal with $8.3 million in guarantees.  The tough-as-nails center is due $1.303 million in 2012 and almost $2 million in 2013 before becoming a free agent.***

But the world of drafting changed dramatically with the labor strife of a year ago.  The rookies are now capped and with that, the dynamics of value in the first round have changed dramatically.  This is especially important with the Browns’ need for a QB and all the touted experts claiming that the Browns could and should trade up in order to get St. Louis’ second pick to get Robert Griffin III.

Without making any actual player comparisons (only financial) to RG3, let’s look at some examples.  Sam Bradford was the first pick in the 2010 draft.  His contract was 6 years and $78 million with $50 million guaranteed.  The average per year in guaranteed dollars is $8.3 million.  A year later under the new rules, Cam Newton was drafted by the Panthers first and signed a 4-year deal for $22.025 million fully guaranteed.  Not only is the guaranteed money less than half of what Bradford got, but the annual average is slightly north of $5 million compared to Bradford’s $8.3 million.  Newton’s deal is two fewer years meaning he hits free agency sooner, but any NFL team will take that trade-off for the reduced Jamarcus Russell-type $32 million risks.

Again, nothing about whether either Newton or Bradford is “worth” the money because nobody knew ahead of time.  In fact most “experts” would have told you that Bradford would be a much better QB in the NFL than Cam Newton.  The early returns on the two obviously state something different, but more important is the value proposition.

The NFL has been ruled by a draft pick value chart related to trading picks over the years.  On that chart the first pick in the draft was worth 3,000 points and the second pick was worth 2,600 points.  The Browns have the #4 and #22 picks which carry values of 1,800 and 780 respectively.  Add those two up and you get 2,580 or almost exact value for trading up to #2.

Perfect, right?  Even better.

The draft pick value chart needs an update.  If the #1 pick was worth 3,000  before and a team had to pony up Sam Bradford type of money, then that pick should undoubtedly be worth significantly more today under the new rules where that financial risk is capped and under control.

Meaning if the Browns are truly sold on Robert Griffin III and he is their guy and they deem that they absolutely need to trade up to ensure they add him to the team, trading #4 and #22 is a fair price based on historical values.  In fact it isn’t just fair anymore with rookie contracts capped.  It actually swings to the Browns’ favor from a pure value and points standpoint.

Obviously, there are a lot of hypotheticals in this as you work through all the game theory. Whether or not they should do it is still up for debate.  Most importantly, do the Browns want Griffin?  Do they really need to trade up to get him?  Is there anyone in front of them who would actually take Griffin?  Do any of the suitors for Griffin behind the Browns in the draft have the value to trade up to St. Louis’ spot?  Can St. Louis really turn down the opportunity to guarantee themselves Matt Kalil to protect Sam Bradford?

Just know that if the Browns do want Griffin and they trade up to get him they aren’t getting “ripped off” based on the book value of draft picks historically. Also, nobody let St. Louis know that they should probably increase the asking price for #2 and demand more than just the Browns’ first rounders.


*** As an aside, you can put Alex Mack on the list of guys the Browns will be negotiating long-term deals with sometime soon.  I think we would all bet big money on that one.

  • MrCleaveland

    Throwing away the #22 pick and who knows what else just to move up TWO SPOTS is insane! It’s nuts!

  • Deuce

    RGIII may be great, but the system isn’t his type. Picking other spots and deciding on McCoy or a FA may be more suitable for us. Drafting RGIII would be a step back considering he doesn’t even know anything about this style of offense. I’m not sure that he would be the best pick. I hear a lot of Trent Richardson rumblings also, and he would help us especially if Hillis is out. Problem, looks like the Browns want to run a pass first offense, hence the WC. If you can’t get Blackmon, I think you either trade out or get an o-lineman because we need to keep going forward and it’s impossible with no WR’s and no right line. 

  • Andrew

    Remember how much heat Butch Davis got for moving up one pick? This would be just as stupid. If he’s there at 4 and you want him, then grab him. If he isn’t then you move on. 

    There are more than 2 good players in this draft. Joe Haden has been a nice consolation from the doomsday that was losing out on Eric Berry. These guys will figure it out.

  • Natedawg86

    I don’t like the points thing.  How is the 4th pick worth 60% what the number 1 is?  I think that the points probably vary depending on the year / players coming out for the draft. 

  • mgbode

    explain to me why we need to trade #22 when noone can trump our #4+#37 pick w/o throwing in next year’s 1st rounder too (in which case I walk away).

    we hold the 3 trump cards and there’s no reason to play more than 2.

    1. #4 pick means StL/Minn guaranteed Kalil, Claiborne or Blackmon (2 of 3 will be there.  Quite possible 0 of 3 there at #6)

    2. #37 pick is better than #39 pick for Washington (worse for Miami/Seattle)

    3. #22 pick is potentially even better than #37 from their eyes obviously, but absolutely no reason to play it in my eyes.

  • mgbode

    also, there has been a few indications in the media that our WCO staff is still somewhat friendly with Shanahan’s WCO-variation staff.  And that we won’t try to out-bid each other.  Now, we all know if both teams want RGIII bad enough, they’d try it, but it’s at least some solace that we could avoid it due to Holmgrens ever reaching tentacles.

  • Tim K.

    Here’s what I don’t understand…

    The Redskins have Picks #6 and #39.
    The Browns have Picks #4, #22 and #37.  

    How do the Redskins put together a trade better package, even if the Browns don’t include the #22 pick?! #6 and #39 aren’t as valuable as #4 and #37, especially if Justin Blackmon or Matt Kalil are the object of St. Louis’ affection.

  • mgbode

    or Claiborne

  • Tim K.

    You beat me to the punch!  I agree wholeheartedly. If anything, the Browns should be able to get away with a cheaper price than the Redskins. Granted, the Rams probably won’t tell the Browns what the Redskins are offering. Hopefully the Browns either call the Rams bluff or the Redskins get a QB in FA and this becomes a non-issue.

  • Josh

    If the second pick increased in value with the wage scale, didn’t the fourth pick increase in value with the wage scale as well?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    The curve would be steeper in my estimation.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I don’t disagree with this theory at all. I was just addressing the rumors that the Browns would trade #4 and #22 and discussing the value in that vacuum.  As I stated, the game theory portion is far from completely clear.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I6423N7UCT3SVURBC55JGXFYAU Bobby

    I think it will be interesting to see what St Louis decides to do. As you say Kalil could be the object of their affection, and even at #4 I dont think they get him. Say they do draft Kalil, then what does Minny decide? I think that puts them in a good position to trade with Washington and add picks while also adding a top OT (Reiff probably at that point). So where neither Minny or STL take RG3 I still see a ton of scenarios where if we dont trade up hes gone.

  • floydrubino

    because we still have a chance that st. louis would trade with us even if one of these other teams offered their 2 1st round picks.  St louis might want the tackle or receiver  and knows they can only go to 4 to do this. Also St. louis might even want our #4 to make another trade like cleveland did with julio jones so they could end up getting 2 additional 1st round picks instead of 1 if someone wants richardson or blackmon.

  • floydrubino

    because they include next year’s 1st round pick in the deal.

  • mgbode

    then we back away, quickly

  • Guest1717

    I think the Browns might have more options than just stand pat or trade up.  They could trade down like they did last year.  Admittedly, I doubt they’d get as good a haul as Atlanta gave them, but all we need is one playoff ready team that thinks they just need that “last piece” to really contend to make it worth our while.  Maybe RGIII is the next Cam Newton who will be worth 4 or 5 wins on his own.  Great, that might get us to the playoffs in the not fair AFC North.  I say keep finding partners willing to mortgage their future for glory now, and if we have success with our picks, the wins will start coming and then we can try to sign that franchise quarterback (if McCoy truly fails). 

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    >>>In fact most “experts” would have told you that Bradford would be a much better QB in the NFL than Cam Newton.>>>

    cam newton has jordan gross at tackle, ryan kalil at center, throws to steve smith and jeremy shockey, has deangelo wlliams and jonathon stewart in his backfield.  sam bradford.. he does not have these players in his offense.

    this wafer-thin analysis that goes as deep as ‘it’s a qb driven league’ as though no other players matter is severely trying my patience.

    can we please stop deferring to these ‘experts’ and start trusting our own evaluations?  im convinced we know as much as the ‘experts’ but without an agenda that includes maintaining access to players/coaches/etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=729640354 Mansoor Ali Khan

    People need to stop thinking of this as ‘throwing away the #22 pick’ ‘just to move up two spots.’ People need to think of it as using the #22 pick to get a franchise QB.

  • Big Z

    The more I hear about the Redskins’ interest in RG3, the more I think we’ll see McCoy back under center next year. Danny Snyder will end up trading his entire draft and / or high round picks for the next couple years, and the Browns will be stuck like chuck. If this is the case, I assume Heckert will go defense early and often, grab a mid-round wide receiver, and call ‘er a day. I certainly hope this doesn’t happen… maybe the ‘Skins don’t like him that much.  

  • Big Z

    I’m not sure they’d be able to move back without RG3 on the board. It’s looking like he’s probably gone at #2. Maybe someone would want Blackmon if he were available?

  • Henry Brown

    This is false, he can play in any system,  he is a quality football player. Colt McCoy and 90% of the QBs in college played the spread and it has little to do with pro success. In contrast, all those USC QBs who have failed all played in pro style system. If you look at RG3s skills he just a better version of Young, McNabb, Favre and all the other guys Holmgren’s tree has used.

  • Henry Brown

    Grow up, its just a pick. If you think RG3 is the guy, and you probably don’t, but that’s not relevant, you easily give away a #1 next year. It’s not even a question.

  • Henry Brown

    RG3 projects better than Newton. He is a more polished passer, he’s smarter and nobody questions his intangibles. 

  • Henry Brown

    You’re absolutely correct to be tired of people dismissing the other 21 players as being irrelevant, you want to have quality at all the positions, if possible, but unless you have a really good QB all those other positions rarely matter as much. Also in the salary cap/free agent era you can’t be like the 80s Niners and have a pro bowler at every spot just because you’ll pay for it. You have to put your money into impact positions. QB, LT, DE, CB1, WR1

  • Henry Brown

    Well said

  • Henry Brown

    Dan Snyder does not run the show in Washington anymore, they have Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan. Shanahan’s ego alone will probably be enough to keep them from trading for Griffin.

  • Craig

    The most interesting story this offseason for the Browns is whether or not the Redskins pursue Manning/Flynn.  If the Redskins are out… Browns take the #22 off the table immediately.  May not even need to trade up.

  • Craig

    Please name a playmaker on the Browns roster currently.  There isn’t one.  JC 2 years ago, maybe Haden eventually.  Instantly the Browns have a playmaker in RGIII.  I’d gladly “throw away” #22 for that.

  • Andrew

    RG3, Luck, Richardson, Blackmon. One of those playmakers WILL be there at 4. No need to reach and cost yourself ANOTHER playmaker in the form of Vontaze Burfict or whoever they grab at 22.

    Two is better than one, especially on a team without any.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Wow really better then Favre and McNabb well by all means lets trade all our picks for this next savior!  St. Louis has to be loving the position they are in right now.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Sounded like Washington was pretty hot for Griffin – please let it be true!

  • Henry Brown

    Just skill wise coming out of college, I have no idea if he’ll be better than those guys in the pros, but nobody does, we’re just trying to project a skill set. Sorry, thought that would be obvious. 

  • Henry Brown

    I also think Flynn will want to follow Philbin to MIA so I think the biggest threat is Seattle trading with the Vikings (I’m not sure STL will want to hand their division rival a premier QB prospect).

  • BrownieBob

    Let me throw out a wild scenario….If the FO is not totally sold on RG3 or if they think Colt may still be the guy…..Then why not trade down with Washington and grab at least their #1 pick for next year…..Then you have #6 , 22,37 this year…and 2 first rounders next year…..i am really starting to like taking 3 quality players this year instead of 1….you will be able to get quality at DE, RT, WR, etc……I am changing my mind to believe that we might actually know what we are dong nowadays in the draft…..no more robiskie,momass,veikiune in what might be the worst 2nd rd draft in the history of the nfl……Thoughts?

  • Paulbip

    Take an OG at #4 and shut these guys up that don’t want to draft a franchise QB.

  • floydrubino

    I agree.

  • Henry Brown

    Yes, that would be a good move if they think he’s the guy.

  • Henry Brown

    Who has more impact? A QB, a WR or a RB? Guess which 2 won’t be there at 4.

  • Guest1717

    The ideal trade partner is not another team like the Browns looking for that mythical “franchise quarterback.”  You know, a perennially bad team, no real playmakers, numerous holes to fill.  The ideal trade partner is a team already competitive for the playoffs.  A team looking to make that important upgrade and is willing to mortgage its (draft) future to do so.  Blackmon (WR), Richardson (RB), and Kalil (OT) are all attractive upgrades right now for their great athleticism.  I would rather the browns not draft a WR or a RB, since traditionally they haven’t been the best options in the draft, and the Browns already have a future Hall of Famer left tackle. 

  • Seth

    I love Mack, great pickup with great character. 

  • floydrubino

    carolina in 2010 only scored 17 touchdowns with all these players you mentioned without cam newton. When they brought in cam newton they scored 48 touchdowns this year with these same players. So your wafer thin argument about the quarterback not being important is comical. The example you used proves how important it is for you to have a franchise quarterback because if you don’t you can’t get production out of your best players. So you can’t see the transformation that happened in carolina with cam newton. There is no arguing that cam newton has some more weapons than bradford but steve smith was terrible in 2010 without cam. You can’t make any comparison to bradford last year because he played injured all last year when he even played. This league is a quarterback driven league there is no question but I don’t understand this weird attitude that we can’t get good players even going after a franchise quarterback. Cleveland’s #1 priority always as a franchise is to find the next great quarterback but that does not mean that we are not trying to improve at every position. 

  • Sammygianfrancesco64

    If u trade 4 R3 it is travesty you build from the draft not by given up picks take 2 wr woth 1 st round picks and rb 2nd round james oregon 3 plamakets 1 st 3 picks

  • Henry Brown

    These are good points but STL isn’t going to follow the old trade value chart and neither should we. They know the prize and they’re going to see how much they can squeeze out of it. I’m fine with that and would throw in an extra 3rd/4th this year and next if it helped. Until we get a QB we’re going to be spinning our wheels.

  • Chris

    For all those incredulous at the thought of trading both picks to move up (it will cost more than that, by the way), I would ask how many of you have actually watched tape on RG.  I suspect few if any.  I have not, but those who have believe he is special.  It’s still a crap shoot to be sure, but you need a QB to win in this league, and McCoy does not have it.  Wish he did, great guy, but he doesn’t.  You can make excuses all day long if you want, but compare him to any other quality QB and he comes up wanting. 

    If Heckert and company believe RG to will be successful, then they have to get him irrespective of what else the Brown’s need.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I6423N7UCT3SVURBC55JGXFYAU Bobby

    Why would Washington spend a 1st to jump 2 spots on a guy we wouldnt want to draft in your theory. In no world would that ever happen, sorry. Also, I highly doubt trading to the #2 would mean losing the 22nd AND 37th picks. It will probably be one or the other. Lastly, a great QB improves your team infinitely beyond that of an All-pro DE, RT or WR.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IX2YSH674BE5VXB46YDY4ZZ6C4 Matt

    Here is what I worry about with RG3.  If we get him we will need to trade away the picks that could get him a high quality play maker.  He will also have the same problems on the OL that we have now.  He will be in the same position that Colt was in last year.  Colt had college numbers that were as impressive as RG3.  What happens if the offense looks no better than it did under Colt?  Will we throw another QB under the bus?

    It bothers me that Cleveland has not had patience with a QB since Couch.  Where all our selections really that bad or did we make them bad with the lack of support and lack of patience?

    Now I realize that none of the QBs that have come through Cleveland have had any stellar carreer upon leaving.  They were not great.  But was none of them even adequate?

  • Greeksensation

    Thank you guys!  I love to see that other Browns fans are making this correlation as well!  If the Rams truly covet Kalil and Blackmon then the Redskins will have to seriously overpay to put them out of range for either. 
    In addition I had recalled reading an article where Shanny had admitted to believing the Skins were closer to competing than they were when he arrived and now has commited himself to the draft:
    Not that any of this is gospel; I realize that!  Still, the Skins value of the first 3 picks is 2350.  So they’d still be 250 short on the value chart.  That’s a 2013 2nd round selection.  And chances are the Rams bag this years 3rd from the deal and ask for their 2013 1st instead.  Would Shanny put his job on the line for this?
    It’s the Vikings at 3 that provide them an oppotunity without sacrificing their drafts.  If we call the Rams bluff at 2 they will likely take Kalil whom most believe the Vikings covet as well.  Since the Vikings pick on the chart is 400 points lower than the Rams pick it likely could be had with the Skins 2nd and 3rd rounders (1-3 2200, 1-6, 2-7, 4-7 2198). 
    Honestly, outside of some youtube highlight reels I haven’t watched a lot of RG3.  But a 6ft QB from a 1 read Pistol offense does frighten me a bit.  If the brain trust buys off on him and he is available at 4 then I’ll embrace him with open arms, but all this nonsense about the #22 pick is killing me.  Forget the chart on this one guys, H&H are no fools.  The Rams pick can be had for our 37 for the above state reasons.
    Any crap out of Fisher’s mouth crontrary to that is a button raise and you call him on it!  At that point it will cost us 37 with the Vikings if Washington doesn’t solve their QB issue via FA and RG3 is your guy.
    Anything can happen when you fall in love with a guy; especially a QB.  Logically speaking; this is what makes sense to me!

  • Greeksensation

    Sorry 2nd and 4th

  • Steve

    that would be a terrible move. the #2 is worth NOTHING to St. Louis. why should be pay anything for it? just wait until #4. It also makes sense for the ‘skins to wait and not trade up. If they wait and the Browns don’t trade up, then they know that the Browns aren’t interested. They can wait and trade up with… the browns and pay less for the same guy!!!