Peter King details Cleveland’s trade to move up to No. 22 in NFL Draft

Ray Farmer

Looking for some insight into how crazy things can get when an NFL team is officially on the clock during the NFL Draft? Sports Illustrated’s Peter King details—in what was nearly a minute-by-minute breakdown—what went in to Cleveland Browns’ GM Ray Farmer making the move that ultimately landed them Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The [Philadelphia] Eagles, who held the 22nd pick in the draft, informed teams after several players they loved at 22 were snatched—LSU wideout Odell Beckham, who went 12th to the Giants, and Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller, who went 14th to Chicago, among others—that they were auctioning the choice.

Six teams inquired about pick number 22. Philadelphia got four solid offers. Though it was reported by Jay Glazer that the Vikings and Browns jousted for the 22nd pick (absolutely true), they were not alone. The source said that another team, not Minnesota, was the leader in the clubhouse when Eagles GM Howie Roseman told Cleveland GM Ray Farmer with three minutes left in the 10-minute draft period that he had to make a better offer than the one Cleveland had on the table.

Minnesota and Cleveland wanted Johnny Manziel. But it’s clear that the second-place finisher, which already had a good quarterback, wanted another player at 22. I wish I knew that other team. I do not. I don’t believe it is Houston. Cleveland, as I reported Monday in my column, did sweeten its offer to move up from 26 to 22, by improving its last offer to the 26th pick and 83rd overall. (I don’t know what Cleveland’s offer was before this, but GM Ray Farmer had less than 30 seconds to improve it to Philadelphia’s satisfaction, and he did.)

If Farmer didn’t include the mid-third-round pick in the deal, Philadelphia absolutely would have made the deal with Team Unknown for the 22nd pick. Cleveland would have had to move on. In that case, Cleveland would have called Kansas City at 23 and Cincinnati at 24 to try to get a deal done. I am told Kansas City would have been receptive to an offer for the 23rd pick, but Cincinnati, in love with cornerback Darqueze Dennard, would have held onto the pick.

The finish line: Cleveland won. The anonymous team seeking a player other than Manziel finished second. Minnesota was third—obviously because the Vikings didn’t want to include the 2015 first-round pick. (I don’t blame them.) The Eagles would have likely made that trade knowing the three or four players they liked at 22 would have been gone at 40. And another anonymous team finished fourth.

First thing’s first: Nice to see that Teddy Bridgewater was Minnesota’s consolation prize following his comments on Tuesday. The crazy part? Cleveland appears to have been 30 seconds away from having to settle for their Plan B as well. Trader Ray’s finger was on the pulse, working the phones like mad, and was willing to do whatever was needed to get the players he wanted. The Browns may want to avoid the circus with Manziel, but there is little doubt that they feel—right or wrong—that he is their guy.

  • RGB

    I can’t believe he wrote all that without one reference to Lombanner’s brilliant acquisition of the 26th pick.

  • Jason Hurley

    Peter King must have decided that it’s too difficult to type with an erection, so he didn’t mention Lombanner this time.

  • mgbode

    Cleveland appears to have been 30 seconds away from having to settle for their Plan B

    it is also possible that we would have had to pay less (in $$ and picks) to KC if it fell through as Manziel apparently was not the target of the team we trumped (according to King — according to draft-day rumors we trumped Minnesota).

  • Kildawg

    No mention that the 83rd overall pick initially belonged to Pittsburgh, which could have had special appeal to their in-state rival. Therefore, the Stoolers helped the Browns land Johnny Football. That and a mid-3rd seems to be a fair price to move up 4 spots in the 1st.

  • steve-o

    The mystery team might have been the Chargers trying to move past the Bengals for Dennard. Our Steelers 3rd round pick was higher than the Chargers 3rd, which may have held them off. The other team that makes sense is the 49ers since they had a ton of picks.
    Our first offer was probably a 4th round pick, 106. Since we probably would have taken West at 83 and still managed to get him anyway, I don’t think it matters a whole lot.

  • nj0

    Credit where it’s due: as much as Peter King can annoy, this is what he’s best at. He has the contacts and can get the behind scenes stuff.

  • Harv 21

    The story is from an “impeccable” NFL source … Never read such a chesty modifier before. He’s so freakin’ proud that someone in Philly’s war room who could describe all angles confided in him that it’s probably all King can do to not scream “I’m in the war room, baby!”

  • Horace

    Good point. Along these lines, at least one of Manziel or Bridgewater would’ve fallen to us at 26 had we not made the trade.

    I’m starting to wonder if there was no 2nd team (excluding Minnesota), and that Philly was using this anonymous team to get us to raise our offer, which we did.

  • mgbode

    Possibly, but lots of teams could have been after dennard

  • Toddyus

    Do you mean to say, “type while having an erection?” Or, are you suggesting he attempted to use his erection to type? Quite different things.

  • Jason Hurley