It seems to have come out of nowhere. News broke late today that the Cleveland Browns had traded their star young running back, Trent Richardson (the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft), to the Indianapolis Colts for a first round draft pick. And this comes on the heels of another announcement today that already sent Browns fans (and fantasy football players) for a loop: that third string quarterback Brian Hoyer would be starting Sunday against the Vikings. The futures for both teams and many of their players have been changed forever with the stroke of a pen.
For one thing, it’s now clear the Browns’ owners and management are planning on starting over from the ground up. It’s possible this deal was in the works before former QB wonderboy Brandon Weeden was injured, but more likely that was the last straw that make the boses think they have to go in a different direction to become competitive in the new pass-happy NFL. It has definitely changed the the AFC landscape, with the Colts becoming a potential new powerhouse and rising up the charts at sites that predict division champs and Super Bowl contenders like “NFL Futures at Top Bet“.
While the Browns were still struggling, the Colts, not two seasons removed from their meltdown without an injured Peyton Manning, had quickly become a contender with Andrew Luck under center. A combination of seasoned veterans and young upstarts at wide receiver made them competitive, but they still lacked a running game to challenge elite defenses. Now, with Richardson in the backfield, the Colts are suddenly contenders, Andrew Luck’s value (both in the NFL and as a fantasy football prospect) has jumped dramatically with some of the weight of the team’s offense taken off his shoulders.
This trade has also changed the future of the Colt’s wide receivers, tight ends, and anyone else involved in the offense. They will likely go from pretty good players on a decent team to stars on a potential powerhouse. Even their defense will likely also breathe a sign a relief, with a strong running game that will keep opposing offenses off the field for longer periods of time.
And the Browns? Their slow-starting season has now taken an even bigger dive and players like Weeden (assuming he comes back) will NOT have Richardson to rely on. Defenses will now key on their receivers, dampening their values. On the plus side, the value of former Denver Bronco runningback Willis McGahee has suddenly shot up, going from unsigned free agent to starting RB in Cleveland. Anyone crazy enough to have drafted in in fantasy football must feel like they’ve hit the jackpot now: he may not last long in the position, but likely the Browns will run him until he throws up.
Touches, touches, touches.
Yes, the future of the NFL has changed in a number of dramatic ways, many we won’t really know about for years to come.
Source – USA Today