Colts trade first-round pick for Trent Richardson

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In a bold and surprising move, the Colts announced Wednesday the acquisition of Browns running back Trent Richardson for a 2014 first-round pick.

The Colts lost starting running back Vick Ballard to a season-ending knee injury last week.

The 22-year-old Richardson was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft. As a rookie, he rushed for 950 yards and 11 scores for Cleveland. In two games in 2013, Richardson rushed for 105 yards on 31 carries.

With their starting back gone just like that and depth at the position thin, the Browns will work out free-agent running back Willis McGahee, the club said Tuesday.

In 17 NFL regular-season games, Richardson has gained 1,055 yards and 11 touchdowns on 298 attempts. Though he’s shown intriguing potential — witness his bruising, highlight-reel run against San Diego as rookie — he has gained just 3.5 yards per carry. Moreover, he has dealt with some injuries.

The deal is stunning both in its cost and its meaning. First-round picks are not often dealt, and more and more teams have taken the approach that good backs can be found in later rounds.

For the Colts, the trade signals their willingness to pay the price to make a big deal, something G.M. Ryan Grigson displayed last year when he dealt a second-round pick to Miami for cornerback Vontae Davis. However, this is an even more significant move.

For the Browns, the move weakens their offense in the short term, but it also gives C.E.O Joe Banner and G.M. Mike Lombardi another first-round pick to use in next April’s draft. It also signals the Browns believed cashing out their chips with Richardson now was preferable to having him as their featured back in 2013 and beyond.

The Browns have started the 2013 season with two consecutive losses, their offense sputtering in both games. With Brandon Weeden (thumb) out for Week Three, the Browns are giving reserve Brian Hoyer the start on Sunday at Minnesota.

111 responses to “Colts trade first-round pick for Trent Richardson

  1. Well, this explains the Hoyer move earlier. They’re clearly tanking this season to cash in on Bridgewater, Boyd, or Manziel in the next draft.

    All that being said, I’ve never been very impressed with Richardson. Seems very overhyped. 3.6 ypc last year and 3.4 so far this year. I know there’s not a lot of other weapons around him, but you expect better than that from a supposed franchise running back. So I don’t blame them for selling high on him.

  2. There’s got to be more to it than just a 1st. They traded a 1st, 4th, 5th, and 7th just to get Richardson in the draft. That’s insanity.

  3. Tanking for Bridgewater. Browns dump a guy because they didnt pick him, and will dump Weeden for the same reason.

    If I was a Browns fan, I would cancel my seasons tickets.

  4. Its official. The Cleveland Browns have raised the white flag for the 2013 season. You have 2 first round draft picks in a loaded 2012 nfl draft with one a top five pick and only the cleveland browns can blow both picks. Just stunning.

  5. so now they can trade joe thomas to AZ, hayden to PHI and just about any other guy they have worth more than a 4th rounder.

    Looks like they are going after clowny or bridgewater.

    Weedens already 40 and done…

    cant believe all they got was a late first rounder for the guy. Hold out and get a 4th and 6th thrown in or shop em to an NFC team like GB…

    Feel soo bad for the fans.

  6. Wow so ends this sleepy day waiting for news to break. Pretty shocking and didn’t see this coming whatsoever.

    Richardson will now become the All Pro stud we all expected no that he has permanently punched his time card at the factory of sadness.

    But again the colts trading a 1 for a RB?

  7. How do you mail it in after two weeks? Do the Browns really think they are going to get higher then the number 3 they spent a year ago? They just lost their best player on offense, and a back who sure looked like he could be an emerging star.

    The Browns are going to end up looking like the Colts did when they traded Faulk. What a waste.

  8. Everyone on this site was underestimating Irsay on the previous article. This could be the best trade in years if Trent plays up to his capability. Absolutely shocking

  9. Very bad move. Trading your 2012 first round franchise running back who has been producing is not smart. This team is not very good. I think they are trying to blow it on purpose to get a quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel. There is no other way to justify this. Hey they do need a new QB and the Colts are in desperate need of a game changing running back. Both sides win on this. If the Browns really want another 3-13 season to get a fast, exciting, playmaker with questionable character then fine. But he will have no running back to help him unless they are planning on drafting one or picking one up in free agency in the offseason. Might as well plan for the future because Weeden isn’t it. We will see though.

  10. Just wow. I can’t believe it. As a Browns fan I’m sick. And, if the Colts are good then it is a low first rounder. This is not good. This is just…dumbfounded as a fan.

  11. Great move by Browns! Richardson couldn’t quite get it done and winning starts at QB. No one on Browns roster is long-term solution. Hate to say it so early, but wait til next year!

  12. I wish more teams made deals like this when they were rebuilding. It would definitely make the trade deadline more exciting. And then players don’t have to rot on bad teams forever.

  13. They take this guy number 3 last year, then trade him for a pick that’s most likely not even going to be top 15? There’s gotta be something else to this.

  14. I think this speaks more to the Browns old regime. Trading up from 4 to 3 when the Vikings have AD was dumb. Picking Weeden was idiotic.

  15. As a Lions fan who had to endure years of the Millen era I truly feel for Cleveland…

    Irsay will become this era’s Matt Millen in ownership form mark my words.

    If the Colts make the playoffs again this year (and they just might considering Richardson may take this personally) then it wont even be a top 15 pick… all bad.

  16. From the Colts perspective: What would they need a 1st round pick next year for? They already have their franchise quarterback. And if they have the season they had last year they wouldn’t be drafting in the top half of the 1st round anyway.

  17. For people thinking they will keep the Colts projected mid to late first round pick, no. They’re using it for fire power to trade up even further for their franchise QB. Odds are Lombardi will still screw it up.

  18. Say what you want about Trent but I’m telling all of you right now this is huge for the colts, they already have a good air game and now with Trent I think he is going to have that chip on his shoulder and want to prove to everyone he is the real deal and Cleveland will be the ones on the losing end of this!

  19. So the Browns say that Trent Richardson didn’t fit Chudzisky’s (or however you spell it) system, but when Trent Richardson was drafted I heard people compare him to Deangelo Williams who played for this Chud guy in Carolina. So I guess I don’t get it.

  20. This is the dumbest trade ever. Why would the Browns give up their third overall pick (which they traded up to get, by the way) for a first round pick that will likely be much lower than number three?

  21. Cleveland will spend two years rebuilding, fire another coach, and then tell fans that a new regime will bring the winning tradition back to Cleveland. I am really really tired of cheering for this team. They find new ways to lose.

  22. By the end of the season everyone will see what Mike Lombardturd and Joe Bummer really know about football.

    Two first round picks in any other league front office would position them for growth; for the Browns another Lombardturd/Bummer ‘Dream Team’!

  23. This stupid! And I’m a Steelers fan! This makes no sense for the Cleveland Browns at all! Yes you could get Teddy Bridgewater but I think the Browns could have got Bridgewater with keeping Richardson.

  24. Richardson gets do over after being drafted by the Browns. Career ending just got turned around in a heartbeat.

  25. Well I am officially done with the Browns. Absolutely cannot take it anymore.

    Also, if those morons wanted to draft a franchise QB, couldnt they have just kept Richardson and still drafted one? The way the offense looked in the first 2 games it appears as though we would have had a top 5 pick anyways.

    Oh boy now we get a 1st round pick, most likely in the 20s, for our 3rd overall pick. That we traded up to get. I havent been impressed with T-Rich thus far, but trading him after 2 games in his first healthy season? Who on earth does that?

    Lombardi and Banner are morons and they will pick the wrong QB. And I certainly wont be around to witness it. Good luck Brownies!

  26. Unusual and brazen, but a good move. Richardson is very injury prone and doesn’t seem to be the player they needed him to be. At 3.5YPC, he’s actually below league average, which definitely wasn’t expected. With the move to sign Willis McGahee, the Browns won’t notice Richardson missing, McGahee still has plenty left in the tank.
    Depending on how they finish this year out, the Browns could end up with two picks in the top 10.
    In the top 10 there will be a couple great of choices at the Quarterback position and a few other pretty solid players at various positions, Safety, Receiver, Pass Rushers. The Browns should be able to snag some great prospects with this deal.
    The Colts? Maybe they see something more in Richardson that others don’t? I guess only future will reveal that.

  27. Moving up for Trent Richardson was the last little piece left of the draft picks Atlanta gave for the Julio Jones trade.

    Thank you Browns for making that trade look better and better all the time.

    Sincerely, Atlanta Fans.

  28. Just heard this for the first time on the local news in MN. I shouted WHAT!!? when they said it. I feel so bad for Browns fans. It felt like a punch in the stomach when us Vikes fans lost Harvin and Winfield in a matter of days. It probably feels even worse for you guys since you were blindsided with it. Hopefully you guys will get something in the draft to be excited for next season.

    I’m a little unsure of who I want to win our matchup this week now. Kinda seems like the loser will end up with the better QB prospect in the 2014 draft.

  29. Smart move for both teams.
    NFL teams cant win without a FRANCHISE QB. this trade will net one for Cleveland. Plus, you can score a quality rb in the 4th rd if necessary.

    And…. a young QBs best friend is a solid running game, which will only make Luck better and the Colts balanced, therefore less predictable. They will miss the pick next year, but if TRich is what they think he will be, then everyone wins.

  30. Browns are by far the worst organization in football. LOL mean while my colts got trent Richardson to go along with Andrew Luck to terrorize the NFL for the next 10-15 years lol. this is awesome.

  31. As a Colts fan, I’m pretty happy. But I cannot figure out why in the world Cleveland would want to trade this guy. Especially since they traded up to get him. There’s got to be more to it that we don’t know. Maybe he had issues with the coaching staff.

  32. The issue isn’t whether the Browns drafted Richardson at #3. It’s a question of whether he was worth it. After one year and two games, he’s a good back, but if anyone could do that draft again he would not go in the first round given his production and injury issues.

    We’ll see how this works out, but the new Browns regime obviously didn’t think Richardson was a critical building block and they scored a #1 pick for him.

    it could also work out well for Indy as they really need a back and need to try to build NOW with Luck, so they were willing to take a chance with a first round pick.

    Once you get past the “shock” aspect this is a rational deal for both sides.

  33. As a Brown’s fan, this does not upset me as much as I would expect. They were not using Trent in a way to exploit his talents. Assuming front office remains stable and coaching also for the next few years, I have no issue with them cleaning house. With no QB Richardson was unlikely to work much magic with opposing teams concentrating on stopping him. I will admit also that it was not like Richardson was lighting up the world though the fault of this is not all on him….

  34. So let me get this straight…..the Browns traded the best offensive player early in the season with no reliable replacements at hand whatsoever just so they can get another 1st round draft pick in next year’s draft? Couldn’t of waited until the end of the season? Things were already pretty bad in Cleveland. Now they just got worse. The Browns took a huge risk that’s for sure.

    Cleveland fans are pretty peeved right now. I can’t imagine what they would be like if this whole proposed plan the Browns have in store completely fails.

  35. Why? Why, I have a Trent jersey coming in soon. No! I am not even a Browns fan, just love the way he pounds the rock through the holes. There goes my hope that Brandon Weeden could finish out the year with no monkey on his back. At this rate, he might as well go on IR and eat free money. He aint starting next year.

  36. Inspired by the popularity of the 49ers Pistol offense, Chip Kelly’s No Huddle offense, and variations of the Spread offense around the league, the Cleveland Browns bucked the trend and are setting their own standard.

    It will be called the No Offense. Cuts down on team costs because you dont have high priced necessities like quarterbacks, wide recievers, or running backs sapping away salary cap dollars. Instead you can focus on hard nosed, old school defense to win games, and only use your offense to kill clock time. Let the other team throw the game away. Its brilliant.

  37. Great move for the Browns. I can’t believe they were able to fleece the Colts to this extent. They quickly ditched a losing investment and almost broke even. They gave up a bottom tier starting running back for the potential to pick a franchise QB and likely a stud offensive lineman in the first round next year.

    The Colt’s got Kolbed-buying into the unjustified ESPN hype. 6-10 this season.

  38. while I find the trade surprising I see it as a win win for both teams if the browns play really really bad they get a very high pick and I assume a mid first round pick to add 2 key pieces and if the play so so they can trade up by using their 2 picks to still get the man they want while the colts get their man in a run to the playoffs and even if they don’t get back this year having Richardson means rounds 2-7 can fill in the holes in the o line for the future

  39. I am in total shock. Josh Gordon will next. Lombardi called the Browns stupid for taking him in the supplemental draft in 2012.

    The Colts now have the #1 and the #3 overall picks of the 2012 draft. Unbelievable.

  40. When I heard that news today I thought the Colts were crazy for burning a first on another team’s reach, but it sounds like most think the Browns are getting jobbed. Time will tell.

  41. so now they can trade joe thomas to AZ, hayden to PHI and just about any other guy they have worth more than a 4th rounder.

    IDK about haden but my RAIDERS will take Joe Thomas for a 2nd round pick, or a 3rd since the Browns front office has no idea what their doing.

  42. This will only be a horrible, horrible trade if Cleveland takes Manziel over Bridgewater or Clowney.

    Which they will.

  43. On behalf of NFL fans all over, we are sorry Cleveland–you have been crapped on again. I would make sure that stadium stays empty and demand new ownership. Sucks.

  44. Greatest think that could happen to Trent’s career. Throw in Luck and now Richardson, if Hilton starts to grow then the Colts will have a new set of triplets for many years to come.

    Two steps forward for Colts … a mile plus step back for Browns.

  45. This is not a game breaker for the colts. I think it is overall a bad move. They get a RB that can’t stay healthy, or move the ball. Giving up a first rounder for Richardson seems like the browns got the better of the deal. Luck will still be ordinary.

  46. Why aren’t the Brows mentioned in any of the LA discussions. Without knowledge of the situation, they must be contractually tied to the stadium and city for a long time.

    There is nothing the Browns have to offer that makes it a place for FA’s, rooks looking to sign a long term extension etc. a desirable place to go.

    “Our major selling points to get you to come here is out flat Midwest landscape, our 14 hour drive to the nearest beach, our team nickname is a color, incidentally of fecal matter, and our city has not sniffed a professional championship in 50 years”

    Kinda sad, hence thier nickname

  47. “Who trades a soph rb just into the 2nd season? Browns apparently.”

    The St. Louis Rams did that a few years ago; Jerome Bettis, to the Pittsburgh Steelers for their second round pick. Guess who got the better of that deal?

  48. I love the people pointing out Richardson’s low average yards per carry. I think he’ll do much better with the Colts. He couldn’t run with Cleveland because all the opponents stacked the box against him because they knew wasn’t going to beat them. With the Colts that won’t be the case. If they stack the box to stop Richardson, Luck is going to make them pay. I expect Richardson to start living up to his hype now as running lanes open up for him.

  49. The crime is more their giving up on yet another season than the fact they traded Richardson. How the Cleveland front office avoids having to offer refunds to season ticket holders is beyond me. But I will give them this: wait until later and no way do they get a first round pick for him. But, being it is the Browns, not sure what good that does them given they’ll just pick the wrong guy yet again.

  50. Don’t get it with the Alabama running backs. Ingram, Richardson or Lacy(early yet) haven’t shown a thing. Maybe it was all those highly drafted OLinemen, who were men amongst boys.

  51. The Browns come out the clear winner in this trade to me.

    Trent Richardson has been below average up to this point, and I honestly see nothing that tells me he will be a dynamic, top flight back, the Colts traded their 1st round pick for. If Richardson was the 25th overall pick in the draft, he may not even be able to get a 2nd round pick at this point.

    The Browns once again get to start over (deja vu) and try and make this happen. Having two first round picks again next year will hopefully turn out better than it did two years ago. Not like they were going anywhere WITH Richardson.

  52. Just why the Colts wouldn’t want a speed guy at RB is beyond me. Half your season in a dome and you trade your No. 1 for Richardson? Colt’s do your homework. Check out ” the greatest show on turf”…HTTR

  53. The #1 priority in the NFL is a starting QB. Obviously, the Browns feel as though they have a problem at the QB position. This is a smart move for them as it gives them 2 first’s,1 second and 2 third round picks in the 2014 draft. I’d say that thier new regime has an eye on the future. Good move.

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