August 1, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Good luck selling this one, Berea

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links to Clevelandish sports stuff, or at least things I think are interesting. Links are the currency of bloggers. We give out five or so everyday. Sometime it would be cool if the sites we linked to reciprocated. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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It’s not just about selling this move to the fans: “Dumping the No. 3 pick in the 2012 draft, a player with nearly 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie, isn’t exactly a sign of confidence that management is dreaming of January. In the NBA, you can just play out the string. It’s basketball. Football in the NFL is way too demanding for that; physically, mentally, emotionally.

Naturally, Cleveland is trying to say they haven’t given up on the season despite starting the season 0-2 and announcing Brian Hoyer as the new starting QB.

Good luck to rookie head coach Rob Chudzinski on getting the locker room to buy into that.” [Dan Wetzel/Yahoo! Sports]

New regime, same track record: “There’s spinning your wheels, then there’s the Browns. This is one of the more baffling moves the team has pulled off, and there have been plenty to go around. The new front office, led by general manager Mike Lombardi, decided to ship off Richardson already – and in the process announce they’ve practically given up on the 2014 season after two games.” [Frank Schwab/Shutdown Corner]

Stepping back from the impact on fans and the team, a look at the trade itself: “I think it’s pretty fair to base an opinion of a trade off of the unsolicited opinions that tend to trickle in. And the overwhelming majority of the texts, calls and emails I received from GMs, scouts and execs was that the Browns did very well in this trade.

Receiving a first-round pick for a running back is pretty good work in this day and age, even for one who was a recent top-five pick.” [Jason LaCanfora/CBS Sports]

The onus, however, is now wholly on the front office: “The Cleveland Browns are officially on the clock. The Browns must deliver a franchise quarterback in the 2014 draft, or the next excruciatingly painful 14 weeks will be an utter waste.

The white flag was raised on the Browns’ 2013 season Wednesday afternoon when they shocked the football world by trading running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft pick. I initially thought someone had hacked Adam Schefter’s Twitter account when I read the news. Trading your top player for a draft pick after two games? This is strange even by the Browns’ standards. The Browns received a pick that will likely end up in the bottom half of the first round and are left with no offense for the rest of the season. This is a bad trade, and the only way the Browns can save face is by finding the new face of the franchise.” [Jamison Hensley/ESPN.com]

And finally, the great guys ar DBN: “That gives Cleveland a lot of options next year when it comes to re-building the offense. Remember, the front office also stockpiled on a bunch of later-round picks this past draft, in anticipation for 2014. Depending on where the Browns finish, they might have the quarterback they want fall into their lap, and can use that other first-round pick on some other position that can help the team. Or, they have enough assets in the draft to trade up to get the first overall pick if they really want their top quarterback.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs by Nature]

  • BenRM

    The only people not blasting this trade are (1) Lombardi’s stooge, LaCanfora, and (2) Cleveland fans trying to convince themselves this is a good thing.

  • JHop

    Now that I’ve calmed down from my drunken fury, there does seem to be some logic behind this move – and the LaCanfora article states it perfectly. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I think it was becoming clearer that Richardson was not going to develop into the back that was capable (both skill- and health-wise) of literally and figuratively carrying this franchise into relevancy. He isn’t an Adrian Peterson; not by a long shot.

    The reality of today’s NFL is that RBs are a dime a dozen. Spending the #3 pick on Richardson looks foolish when you consider that the Redskins used only #173 on Alfred Morris.

    What don’t come so cheaply are franchise QBs. I’d say there are only about 10 legitimate long-term solutions at QB out there right now in the NFL, and the effects they have on their teams are immense. Brady is keeping NE atop the division despite having less playmakers than the Browns do; Luck and RG3 single-handedly took teams with sub-par skill players and non-existent defenses into the playoffs. In contrast, Peterson is arguably the greatest RB of all time, and even he can’t help the Vikings get off to better than an 0-2 start.

    I think at this point the best we can all do is to root for Terrelle Pryor. If he plays well, then the Raiders will play themselves out of a top 3 pick and most likely will not be looking to add a QB. It’s beyond a reasonable doubt that the Jaguars will take a QB next year, but with the Raiders out of the QB picture we’d at least guarantee ourselves a top 2 QB, which is doing pretty well considering next year’s crop (take any one of Mariota, Bridgewater, Boyd, or Hundley and I’d be ecstatic).

  • MrCleaveland

    Wastin’ away again in Rebuildingville.
    Searchin’ for my last sliver of hope.
    Joe says ‘It’s fine,
    Gonna be different this time.’
    Sure it will.
    Sisyphus up the slope.

    Hey Joe Thomas, it’s been great having you here. Best of luck.

  • maxfnmloans

    From a football perspective, there is an argument to be made that this trade makes sense (even if they didnt get enough in return), but the fact remains that the other 52 guys on the roster have exactly what to play for at this point in time? The only thing I can think of is that they’ll want to get some good stuff on tape so they can GTFO of Cleveland ASAP.

    I am now waiting to hear the announcement that Joe Thomas has been traded to the Broncos who just lost their left tackle for the year. I dont even really think I’m kidding

  • maxfnmloans

    we must have been typing Joe Thomas’ Cleveland obit at the same time, lol

  • mgbode

    Ok, I’m not really calm yet as I hate our FO not making this trade in April if they were going to make it. Making it in week2 just feels like they had no real plan.

    Worries:
    1. TJ Ward, Alex Mack, and then the guys coming up for contracts in subsequent years. Will this move push them away? Is the FO pushing them away on purpose to stupidly only have “their guys” on the team?

    2. Backup RB options. We have a guy we converted to FB and a waiver pickup on the roster at RB. If they were worried about Richardson, then why didn’t they do ANYTHING in the offseason? Again, it speaks to no real plan.

    3. We are now a really bad team with no real identity. Yaayyy. But, we still may find a few wins because our defense does look legit. So, we may end up picking in the #2-#5 overall range and miss out on the QB we desire (or have to pay a ton to get him).

    Silver Linings:
    1. For anyone that mentions how many QBs we have gone through, please realize that we have had 1 and only 1 top10 QB selection since ’99 and that was our very first draft pick that we put behind an expansion OL to get beaten half to death. This move signals that we are aggressively going after a top5 overall pick QB and there are potentially several guys to choose from.

    2. They did this early enough in the season for us to focus on college football and not waste our time with the Browns. I probably will still manage to watch some Browns games, but I don’t think I’m going to go out of my way to do it after this garbage (at least presently, talk to me in 2 weeks :) )

    3. Heckert signed Joe Thomas long-term, so we don’t have to worry about him leaving us (at least I hope not).

    4. There should be 10,000 fans outside the practice facility in Berea with pitchforks and torches chanting today. A good riot is tough to come by these days.

  • maxfnmloans

    yeah, I wish I had held on to my Berea Torch & Pitchfork Co. stock, I hear it’s skyrocketing today

  • mgbode

    wish I was in town. build a good bonfire up at Engle&Bagley so people can keep those puppies lit. charge ‘em $1 a light (but then get them on the $5/can for the cheap beer in the ice bath next to the bonfire). easy money.

  • mgbode

    on a side note, Wetzel has become my favorite sports writer. I don’t always agree with him and there’s nothing fancy about his writing style. But, he just makes common sense arguments rather than trying to “create a story.”

  • JHop

    Worries:

    1. If I’m Mack and Ward, I’d be more inclined to stay knowing that we had Bridgewater under center. Worst case this may remove any ‘hometown discount’ we would’ve received before.
    2. Agreed, very poor foresight. However, you have to remember that they did sign Dion Lewis who does seem to fit into Chud’s system a bit better than Richardson. The unfortunate injury left us more thin than we would have been.
    3. It’s a race to the bottom between us and Jacksonville. I’m convinced that the Raiders are going to (incorrectly) convince themselves that Pryor is their QB of the future.

    Silver Linings:
    1. Any QB we draft in the top 3 next year will fare much better than Couch did, primarily due to the fact that the line is much improved from that ’99 team.
    2. Time to watch a lot more Louisville games!
    3. Hallelujah. Might’ve been Heckert’s best move. I almost feel sorry for him, being trapped blocking for UDFAs his whole career.
    4. The biggest message would be sent to the team if a strong majority of season ticket holders did not renew from last year. I think that was the message that finally got the Indians to be slightly more aggressive in free agency this past year. Maybe that same message will reach the Browns.

  • Tim K.

    Regarding the FO not making this trade earlier/later and Week 3 being an odd time to pull off the trade:

    I don’t think the Front Office intended on trading Richardson until Tuesday. The Colts lost their starting RB and got desperate. They offered the Browns a 1st round pick and the Browns probably thought they were never going to get a better value for him, so they took it. I don’t think it was premeditated and I think if you wait to trade him until the offseason, he could be worth a lot less if he doesn’t perform. Remember our old pal Braylon Edwards was also taken 3rd overall and had a Pro Bowl season here…he only netted a 2nd round pick in return when he was traded.

  • Tim K.

    Check that…the Browns got Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, a 3rd round pick and a 5th round pick for Braylon…

    That makes me infinitely more happy that the Browns got a 1st for Richardson.

  • mgbode

    Edwards was also traded early-season. we might be the only team to trade major pieces of our offense early in the year.

    also, if the FO thought Richardson was only worth a late 1st round pick, then I think they could have gotten that 2014 1st rounder from a number of teams in April. Atlanta went all-in with S-Jax (Richardson is basically a younger version on a team-friendly contract). Indy may have not gambled on Bradshaw, et cetera.

    I think the deals would have been there if this is what they wanted to do.

  • mgbode

    Mack&Ward: depends on how those negotiations have been going. if they have been brutal or non-existant, then they may feel like the FO is trying to just clear out the present players. Perception can become reality quickly if the FO is not careful.

    Likewise, I think it would be a great signal to the fans if they got these extensions done ASAP. Mack has said he doesn’t want to negotiate during the season, but I’d still push for it if I was Banner.

  • Tim K.

    If his season continued the way it was going here the first two weeks, they would not have gotten a 1st round pick for him in April. They sold high when they were offered a 1st.

  • dimoko

    But guys, wiener dog races!

  • http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/ Charles Luzar

    The thing that bothers me most about the move? It has rendered Twitter a cesspool of self-loathing armchair general managers. You seriously have to be delusional not to see what the Browns did here. The offense is terrible and will always be terrible until they get a QB. In the meantime, we all get our Sunday afternoons back and can focus on the Tribe and the Cavs, both of which are in a much better position to win. What’s not to like? If you want good football in this town, rejoice. You just got a little closer to it.

  • Tim K.

    Food for thought on not getting enough in return: Braylon Edwards was also taken 3rd overall by the Browns. The Browns also traded him. He netted a 3rd rounder, a 5th rounder, Chansi Stuckey, and Jason Trusnik.

  • Tim K.

    My theory is the people who hate this trade are the ones who already bought Trent Richardson jerseys.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Mack is going to be traded too, if they can find a deal they like. They paid Greco thinking that they can move him to center next year… I’m sure of it.

  • boomhauertjs

    The Browns would be smart to offer fans an exchange of Richardson jerseys, like the Pats did with Hernandez. Would be a good PR for a team that is going to need it as the losses pile up.

  • Tim K.

    I agree it would be a good PR move and I hope they do that. It will be interesting to see if they actually do. The difference being that the Patriots wanted to disassociate themselves as much from a(n alleged) murderer. Historically the Browns have never cared about fans wearing old player jerseys, but maybe this regime is different.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’m starting the “Free Joe(s)” campaign now and I don’t mean Banner I mean Thomas and Haden. Phil Dawson was even smarter now!!!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I think we have another example of just how little Joe Banner thought of Tom Heckert. Man it must have been something in Philadelphia with them both there and Andy Reid.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’m 99% positive the Browns contacted the Colts not vice versa. Banner was looking for a way to get rid of Richardson. This is why they had less then 24 hours of discussion and why all it took was what will probably be a mid to late first round pick. There are other teams out there who could use a RB.

    For Banner it was a perfect day. Started out with Weeden’s injury taking him out of the picture and he ended it by getting rid of Richardson. I don’t expect Weeden to take the field as a Browns starting QB ever again.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If any team in this town deserved a severe drop in attendance it’s the football team. I’m going back to a promise I made before and that is to not call this team by it’s name. That is belittling and lowering the achievements of the true team for which it was named. Fourteen years of near futility is a disgrace pure and simple.

  • BELIEVEland

    You’ve got to understand that the people selling the merchandise and the people running the football team are different. I mean an entirely different company, not just guys in a different part of the building. That’s why there’s usually a disconnect between the football ops and the products you find in the Team Shop.

  • Natedawg86

    I think the biggest takeaway is that even with Peterson (Trent is not Peterson), the vikings only made the playoffs 3 times with him, and twice lost the first game. One of the playoff births they had Brett Favre. Hard to build an elite team around a RB that is going to win you a few games (when you don’t have a QB). Minn has played .500 ball since getting Peterson. Enough to prevent you from getting a franchise QB, but not good enough to consistently make the playoffs, or win the Superbowl. The only playoff victory Peterson has had was with Favre (Favre threw 4 TD passes and Peterson rushed for 63 yards)

  • Natedawg86

    Read my comments about peterson too. T Rich is not on his level, and I started to think about Adrian last night and how he has basically prevented the Vikings from drafting a franchise QB

  • Natedawg86

    Bingo on Pryor. I think he will win them some games. Jacksonville and Oak are prob only 2 teams I could see (out of top 6-8 worst teams) that don’t have a QB. SD is showing life now too. Should be interesting

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No way my man Adrian Peterson is to blame just look at the Seahawks. They run they don’t pass but they have the best defense in the league too. Minnesota has been horrible at drafting and free agent signings that’s the real problem not Peterson.

  • smrtazz

    Comparing Richardson to Edwards is, frankly, ridiculous.
    At the time of Edward’s trade he had proven, over and over again, that he couldnt hold on to a pass, had a corrosive mouth, and got into a stupid public spat with the city’s then most popular athlete. Also, the trade occurred several years into Edward’s career. Not 2 games into his second season.
    There’s no comparison.

  • Tim K.

    The comparison is that if the Browns had tried to trade Edwards right after his Pro Bowl year he MAYBE would have been worth a 1st round pick. The Browns traded a guy 2 games into his 2nd season for a 1st round pick who has not shown the promise he had coming out of the draft. Would you rather the Browns have waited 2 or 3 more years for him to show he can’t cut it and only get a 5th rounder for him?

  • Natedawg86

    I didn’t say he was to blame for them being bad. He is to blame for them not being bad enough to get a high first rd draft pick.

  • maxfnmloans

    I agree that Mack will not be a Brown next year, but I figure he will leave via FA. i doubt any team will give up very much for a guy who’s going to be a FA…unless they can work out an extension with him ahead of time, which, I don’t even know if that happens in the NFL, since it is so rare players are traded in-season.

  • maxfnmloans

    Braylon was also going into his fifth year, had a knee reconstruction in his recent history, and George Kokinis had a drinking problem (allegedly).

    Whatevs, I’m really not all that worked up about it. Would have been nice to watch some competitive football this year, but oh well. My lawn will be impeccable though.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Ah okay my bad hey you know I’m like a mother lion when it comes to his running backs. I love me some RBs! Always have true gladiators who run through brick walls literally.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The funny yet ironic thing is I was never a big Trent Richardson fan I just went along because he was here and I liked the idea of finally having a real RB. So much for that now.

  • Tim K.

    My point is, do you wait until Richardson is in his 5th year to find out he is worthless, or do you take the gamble and get a 1st round pick now? Yes, it’s disappointing considering he was the #3 overall pick, but the new Front Office guys can’t just say “oh well, this guy was picked #3 overall, so we’re stuck with him” The point with Edwards is to show what kind of thing can happen if wait too long. Richardson could go on to be a perennial pro bowler, but he could also have a career marred with injuries. Getting a 1st round pick for him knowing what we know at this moment in time is a good value. Will that value be good in the future? It might be better, it might be less.

  • mgbode

    teams that I think would draft a QB in the top10:
    JAX, Oakland, Cleveland, TB

    teams that could if their current QB is the reason they end up in the top10 (which is reasonable):

    Minny, Jets, Tenn, StL, AZ, Buffalo, SD

    last team that could draft a QB if one fell to them or they really are that bad and surprise alot of people:
    Pitt

  • mgbode

    I meant if they didn’t like him they should have traded him this PAST April. Enough people were high on him I think they could have gotten more than a 2014 pick 5 months ago.

  • mgbode

    It’d be a nice show if people still showed up for the tailgates and didn’t go inside the stadium.

  • Natedawg86

    That is what I was thinking too. Forgot how Freeman fel out of favor so fast. Add Dal, Philly and KC to last group

  • mgbode

    I don’t think Dallas or KC will end up in the top10, but, yeah, if they do, I could see them taking a QB (Jerry would love to get his hands of Manziel just for the marketing opportunities).

  • maxfnmloans

    The circumstances were remarkably different. Like you say, it might be a good idea, it might not. I never was debating that. It just means that the 2013 NFL season is over for Browns fans, and that’s kind of sad.

    Also, Banner and Lombardi have no track record for us to base any optimism on whatsoever, so all we have (yet again) is hope. Whoopee.