We recently pointed out that Browns president Mike Holmgren arguably has been a bit too impulsive when it comes to his quarterbacks, giving up Brady Quinn for a cold turkey sandwich with wilted lettuce, trading for a career backup, and paying a king’s ransom to a turnover machine instead of waiting for the Eagles to reduce their price tag for Donovan McNabb.
As one league insider explained in response, Holmgren’s early moves aren’t surprising, given that he spent 17 years as an NFL head coach. “By its very nature coaching is an emotional profession,” the source said, “and impatience is more often driven by short-term emotion. . . . How can you ask a person whose short-term thought process is to ‘win now’ to have oversight of the idea to ‘build for the future’? They can’t do it. . . . They just can’t help themselves.”
But there could be evidence that Holmgren is making the transition to long-range planning. Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat believes that Holmgren may have been dropping a hint via comments he made in the wake of the McNabb trade. “The only way I was going to take all those early draft picks in rounds
1, 2 and 3 and use them would be for a young draft choice that I thought
could be the quarterback for the next 15 years,” Holmgren said.
As Balzer sees it, Holmgren possibly was saying that he’d be inclined to give up the seventh overall pick, the 38th pick, the 71st pick, the 85th pick, and the 92nd pick for an opportunity to trade up with the Rams and land Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.
Under the outdated (specifically at the top) draft trade chart, this package of picks would justify landing between No. 2 and No. 3. Given that the first overall pick in 2010 will entail the largest rookie contract in the final year of the free money, that haul of picks should be enough to justify a swap.
The real questions are whether Holmgren was talking about Bradford, and whether the Rams would be interested.
There’s another factor that should be considered in any such transaction. Bradford is represented by Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA, and Condon/CAA haven’t had a recent history of success with the Cleveland organization, starting with quarterback Tim Couch in 1999 and continuing with quarterback Brady Quinn in 2007.
So the Rams may want to trade down and the Browns may want to trade up, but Bradford’s camp may want nothing to do with Cleveland, even with Holmgren at the helm.
UPDATE: In a prior version of this item, we neglected to include the 71st overall pick. The points value of the pick does not alter the overall analysis.