Browns defend trading two 2013 picks for two 2014 picks

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When we spent a portion of last Monday’s Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network pointing out the best and worst moves that we believed each AFC team made in the draft, I took issue with the Browns’ decision to swap a fourth-round pick in 2013 for a third-round pick in 2014 and a fifth-round pick in 2013 for a fourth-round pick in 2014.

The Browns take issue with the criticism of the decision.

According to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who as one league source pointed out appears to be on track to becoming one of the primary local-media mouthpieces for the new regime, the Browns simply didn’t like the players who were available to be picked at the time they swapped current picks for future picks in one higher round.

Per Pluto, a “top operative” in the Browns organization became “angry” at the suggestion that the new regime didn’t trust the work that had been performed by the scouts hired by the Mike Holmgren/Tom Heckert front office tag-team.  “We had all the information we needed,” the source told Pluto.  “We did our homework.  The [prior] scouts were not an issue when we came to the trades.  We just didn’t like the players available.”

In defending the team’s decision to trade the picks, Pluto writes that new G.M. Mike Lombardi knew he’d get the job during the regular season — which if accurate is hardly a ringing endorsement for the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule.

That said, we still think it would have been prudent to use the draft picks now and not later.  A lot can change by next April, especially with the Browns in the relatively unique position of being owned by someone whose other business is the subject of an aggressive FBI and IRS investigation.

Pluto has plenty of other keen insight regarding the Cleveland draft, including the team’s reasons for not trading from No. 6 down to No. 16 with the Rams, the four possible “blue chippers” the Browns had on their draft board, and the plans for first-rounder defensive end Barkevious Mingo, who’ll transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.

Moving forward, we’ll keep an extra-close eye on Pluto’s news and analysis of the Browns, because it appears he has definitely found a pipeline into the thinking of the folks now running the team.

54 responses to “Browns defend trading two 2013 picks for two 2014 picks

  1. Why would you or anyone ever take issue with trading a 4th and 5th for a 3rd and 4th?

  2. I think the trading into next year was smart. Cleveland isn’t going to compete this year and those picks will be in higher rounds next year. They could be especially useful if Cleveland wants to trade up for one of the franchise QBs in the 2014 draft.

  3. I thought the Rooney rule applied only to head coaches. I may be wrong. Regardless, the Rooney rule in itself is racist. I was skeptical of Lombardi being hired and Banner being involved the way he is but not anymore. I think they’re doing a great job. Browns are going up.

  4. How can anyone criticize that? If they made that trade every year with the pick they traded for the prior year, they’d be loaded with first rounders eventually

  5. This type of (brilliant) business of giving up a dollar now for $1.25 next year started with Lombardi and Belichick back in the Browns days. How could you possibly take issue with a team who is clearly not a few players away from contending improving their draft haul in a superior class?

    Hope you have someone competent investing your money Floors, this is the equivalent of having cash stuffed in your mattress because you might need stuff RIGHT NOW instead of investing for future return.

  6. Really? You’d rather have 4th and 5th round picks in the worse draft in years than the 3rd and 4th in what is expected to be (at least) a decent draft?

    I bet you can’t name even one successful coach or GM that would agree with you. But please try.

  7. “Moving forward, we’ll keep an extra-close eye on Pluto’s news and analysis of the Browns, because it appears he has definitely found a pipeline into the thinking of the folks now running the team.”

    Gotta be better than the “pipeline” that Mary Kay Cabot has been syphoning all of her Browns’ intel.

  8. 5 years in a row with at least 11 losses. This Mickey mouse operation simply doesn’t need to draft players.. Just too talented already. Steelers will get at least 2 third rounders next year for Wallace and Lewis anyways. Browns are simply a joke

  9. Browns are going up.,..omg. Clueless. Dumb. And being a browns fan no way to go thru life moron. Every team has tons of talent. Hate to break it to u

  10. That’s just dumb, I mean did Bill Belichick get any flak for trading a 3rd round pick to Carolina for its 2nd the next year?

    If you think the draftable prospects there aren’t worth the pick (Many viewed it as a weak overall draft) invest in the next year.

  11. What is wrong with stacking up picks for the future? Next year they can probably flip that 3rd and 4th for a 2nd and 3rd the following year. So if patient, they can take a 4th and 5th picks and truly turn them into something valuable. Makes sense to me.

  12. Mike Mayock defended these moves 100% at the time during the draft. And I have to agree. If the players available aren’t highly valued, then why waste a pick, a la The Dallas Cowboys, simply for needs? Instead, they trade a 4th and 5th this year for a 3rd and 4th next year… can’t find too much to hate on that. Smart move.

  13. This is not an issue, why spend the picks on a 4th and 5th when you think the young guys you have are just as good, now you have more flexibility for next years draft when you have a better handle on the guys you have under your new system.

  14. Its a smart move; the Browns aren’t legitimately competitive for the division in 2013, if they really didn’t like the players there, there’s no pressing need to take them and set yourself back.

    The ravens did this in 99 trading the Falcons a 2nd rounder for their 2000 1st rounder. The Falcons imploded in 99, had the #5 pick in the 2000 draft – and the Ravens selected Jamal Lewis 5th overall, a key cog in the 2000 SB and a 2,000 yard seasin on 2003.

  15. Pluto writes no different now or in his past with the akron beacon journal, he writes what is relevant at the time, the browns moves will always be looked at hard an long by all browns nation. people piss an moan about trading with Pittsburgh something that hadn’t happened in what 30-40 years? so what, fisher did it last year with the rg3 trade saying he wanted time to evaluate the team, players an outside additions, did anyone critique him???? what’s that NO, they all said great trade!!!! no you can argue 3 numbers 1’s is different than a 3rd and 4th.
    go browns, bring back elfie!!!!

  16. Florio, that “top operative” you have angered is more likely than not, Joe Banner.

    He is correct in this instance. Would Cleveland have been a playoff team this year with those two picks? Probably not.

  17. I was hoping going into the draft San Fran would have done this once or twice but I was happy with all their early picks.

    Would have rather seen them send their 6th for a 5th than draft a strictly special team LB a 2nd year in a row, we already took Darius Fleming last year, now either him or Nick Moody gets cut. If we do that trade and get a comp pick for Dashon, we’d have 12 picks again next year and we have a lot more big name free agents in 2014 than 2013.

  18. Reading all the comments before me, looks like these guys hit the nail right on the head. Took the words out of my mouth. Bad job out of you Florio.

  19. Pluto really does have good connections in this town because he’s a reasonable journalist. My God he even listens and reports accurately. His opinion pieces usually get explanations which he explains clearly. He’s not a puff piece writer like MKC or a cynic like Grossi. I like Grossi but his piss and vinegar approach, well earned I might add, is often nothing more than opinion not based on facts.
    Me? I listen to Pluto more than any of the other hacks in CLE

  20. All these taco bell employees defending the browns. As they should, their track record is tremendous. Browns. Lions. No trips to super bowl ever.. Wow. Impressive. But hey. Your qb stinks. Owner is an unethical fraud and your lb has to pay for sex. Only in believe land. Believe in what ?? Santa Claus. Peter pan and browns to super bowl soon ??? Lol

  21. Nothing wrong with trading the picks, especially after having like 15 rookies on the team last year and the big money they spent in free agencythis year.

  22. They actually got Gordon as a #2 last year and he had 1 year of experience on his pick from this year. Also, Bess was a huge pick-up and this took the place of the 5th rd. pick as explained earlier. Just another case of not being able to please anybody. If they had grabbed people then it would have been said that they reached or made bad picks. Seriously, can we just wait until we see the team perform along with Weeden as the starting QB?

  23. If you consider it a bad move that the Browns traded a 4th and a 5th for a 3rd and a 4th, what about the teams that traded 3rd and a 4th for a 4th and a 5th? The move is even worse on their part by your logic.

  24. I think the Browns actually made a great decision trading their picks for better picks next year. Gives them more ammo next season. The draft class was weak after mid round 2, this year anyways, and half of the 4 and/or 5 th round picks never start their first year.

  25. The Browns basically bamboozled the Steelers out of a draft pick they will desperately need when they switch places with the Browns in the AFC North basement. This year will long be remembered as the one in which Belichick hoodwinked the Steelers into sacrificing the present and the Browns cleverly tricked them into wasting their future.

  26. These are the players the Browns ended up with…Mingo, Josh Gordon, Leon McFadden, Devone Bess, Jamoris Slaughter, Armonty Bryant, and Garrett Gilkey! I’d take Josh Gordon and Devone Bess in a minute over half of those picked in the second and third rounds. Jamoris Slaughter would have been picked much higher, if he didn’t get hurt this past year. He was an excellent safety at Notre Dame.

  27. Since when is it the role of a league source to point out that a columnistn “appears to be on track to becoming one of the primary local-media mouthpieces for the new regime?”

  28. I’m no Browns fan, but I respect the moves. If you’re not in love with a guy then trade back. Perhaps in 2014 they’ll like a guy more.

  29. Its not just that Banner and I am not Vince Lombardi traded draft picks for future picks. Each of the picks they made have serious risk or in I am not Vince speak–“huge upside”.

    Mingo is undersized for his position.

    McFadden is short by an one or two inches for the shut down cornerback they wanted.

    The safety they drafted in the 6th round admits he was shocked he was even drafted due to injury.

    They drafted a d-lineman that was busted for selling pot to a cop in 2012.

    This draft is about Joe Banner and I am not Vince Lombardi trying to prove they are smarter than the rest of the NFL.

    Too bad everyone else is laughing at them.

    And I am a lifelong Browns fan…

  30. I thought this would be pretty clear. They aren’t sold Weeden, obviously. QB from the last regime and he hasn’t exactly been someone to write home about. What do you do?

    Trade a couple picks this year for one round higher next year. This is Weeden’s sink or swim season. Next draft they do one of two things…

    1. Package those picks into a top 2 or 3 to draft one of the probable franchise QB’s coming up next draft.

    2. Weeden takes a giant leap forward and you parley these picks stacked into providing him the depth necessary to truly shine.

    Either way, it’s good for the team. If it’s option one, though, this season won’t be good for Brown’s fans, unfortunately.

  31. Only Florio would have a problem with those trades. Not everything has to benefit this coming year. Seeing 2-4 years out is frankly a step in the right direction for CLE.

  32. It is amazing how people just keep accepting next year as a solution in Cleveland. Rational? Maybe. Acceptable? In Cleveland? No. Especially when trading picks will only move the Browns up a half a round since they pick at the top of the round anyway. How about we put pressure on the Owners to spend all the cap money they have to fix the solution now. How about we pick players this year if you only get a unsubstantial upgrade in draft position. After all Browns fans support the team every year, not every other.

  33. I am a Browns fan. I really hate to defend Lombardi because he couldn’t judge talent if he were a talent judge! Oops, he is :(!!!!

    The move was smart yet stupid. A) This is how BB & the Pats have loaded on picks year after year and are able to surplus talent, let vets walk instead of overpaying, & have a great team and low cap.
    B) It was ignorant because they allowed a team lacking a back up QB option whose starter gets hurt often to now groom a guy that could be a much more viable option than Charlie Batch. In addition, they allow them to pick a player they want to groom behind Troy Palamalu. All the while, its a team in your division.

    We will see in three years whether this deal was a winner by a group of genius’, a draw, or a complete loss by the hand of ignorance!

  34. @timmons94:

    “All these taco bell employees defending the browns. As they should, their track record is tremendous. Browns. Lions. No trips to super bowl ever.. Wow. Impressive. But hey. Your qb stinks. Owner is an unethical fraud and your lb has to pay for sex. Only in believe land. Believe in what ?? Santa Claus. Peter pan and browns to super bowl soon ??? Lol”

    It took me about as many seconds to find out you’re a Steelers fan as games that Big Ben missed last year. But that’s fine. You probably don’t like trading a better pick next year. That’s fine, but geez. It’s a good business move, especially since next year’s draft (in Cleveland, next year always means another opportunity) likely has more talent. But our “unethical fraud” of an owner learned everything he knew while he owned part of the Steelers.

    And at least Quentin Groves had the “decency” to pay for sex, because if you believe rumors, Big Ben didn’t even pay that woman except if she shut her mouth.

    I normally hate arguing with someone while hiding behind a computer, but I made an exception.

  35. You’re just now going to pay close attention to what Terry Pluto writes? News flash – Pluto knows more about about the Browns – past, present, and future – than anyone who has covered the team in the last 30 years. Wake up Florio.

  36. The Browns had a lousy draft. Few picks and lousy choices with those. Jamoris Slaughter? They’ll probably blow next year’s extra 3rd and 4th as well. Any comparison to what Belichik has done in New England is risible. Its one thing to trade for future picks with a loaded roster. But to trade present picks with the Browns’ crappy roster is just inane. I’m sure the folks in Cleveland were thrilled to be told-during the recent draft- we’ll get better through the draft NEXT year.

  37. To me the move makes good sense – but knowing the Browns did it, it clearly can’t be good.

  38. I’m kind of surprised to see so many acting as if this is some genius plan on the part of the Browns.
    Picks in the far off future have ALWAYS been less
    valued in the NFL than one usable now. In the same way that if you ask a man: “Which would you prefer,
    a burrito now, or an identical burrito a year or two from now?” The other problem is that one is assuming that clever Browns management will get a significantly better player with a 2014 4th rounder, than a 2013 5th rounder. Ummm…I’m not sure their record supports that faith. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not blasting the move…I’m pretty neutral on it…just surprised that so many are acting like it’s an awesome strategy. Hopefully the Browns still have some fans in 2014.

  39. Why the hit piece on a good guy like Terry Pluto, Florio? Isn’t your drum beat of Browns’ front office bashing enough?

    You should stick to lobbying for gays, the union and expanding the Rooney Rule. Leave the football articles to others.

  40. This trade will be ultimately be judged in hindsight, after we see what the Browns get with these picks next year, and after we see how these picks worked out for the Colts and (especially) the Steelers.

    But to the fans commenting that these picks will somehow be a critical part to a possible trade up to draft a franchise QB next year, I have to ask, do you remember what Washington gave up to move up to get RG3? It wasn’t a third and a fourth.

  41. The mouth breathers doing the criticizing this year will be praising them next year. If Weeden/Campbell don’t work out they now have some ammo to move around in the draft to grab the best QB available and if they are set at QB they can stay put and add some good players to their roster. Great move Lombardi!!

  42. I don’t think trading the picks was the problem. I think the bigger issue is that the new regime is sending out some mixed signals. For instance, if they want to build from the ground up, why wouldn’t they trade Sheard for a 2nd or perhaps a 3rd rd pick seeing that he may be no more than a rotational player from this point forward. The same could be said for Rubin and/or Taylor.

  43. The biggest difference between what NE and Bal and the other winners that trade picks are they trade with teams that are no threat of making the post season the picks the Clowns will get will be in the later half on the 3rd and 4th in spots no one will care to trade for so there is no VALUE there for other teams or themselves since they will be in the upper half for at least another 4 years

  44. Here’s something else to consider the core players like Hayden,Thomas,Mack and a couple others will become unrestricted soon so how long are they asking them to be patient some of these guys may actually have aspirations of getting a ring if those or a couple of those guys are lost the team is right back where it started with a bunch of young players that continue to need time to develope and the other teams aren’t becoming bad anytime soon this team is and will be so far behind most of us reading and writing responses won’t live long enough to see this franchise make it to the Bowl

  45. timmons94 says:
    May 5, 2013 8:04 PM
    All these taco bell employees defending the browns. As they should, their track record is tremendous. Browns. Lions. No trips to super bowl ever.. Wow. Impressive. But hey. Your qb stinks. Owner is an unethical fraud and your lb has to pay for sex. Only in believe land. Believe in what ?? Santa Claus. Peter pan and browns to super bowl soon ??? Lol

    Spoken like a true bandwagon fan. Did you know that the Steelers sucked for 33 years? Or the fact that it took up until 2009 for the Steelers to match the head to head win total against Cleveland? You wouldn’t know because you probably just started watching the Steelers, when they started winning. Did you forget the owner of the Browns, owned part of the Steelers? Or that your QB was suspended for conduct violations resulting from rape charges that we placed upon him? Some Steelers fans are just blind to the obvious, and I feel bad for the dedicated Steelers fans who actually know what they are talking about. You’ll see the real Steeler fans showing up, regardless of how bad their team is, as is such for the last game of the year, when only 51,000 fans bought tickets the Browns vs. Steelers game at Heinz Field!

  46. @ballboy48

    Easy. Thanks for giving a young Steeeler fan, who most likely loves his team blindly, a brief lesson on team history. But, let’s not go too far.

    Let’s do a rundown, shall we?
    Pittsburgh 64- Cleveland 56 W/L’s

    6 Super Bowl Titles (More if the Patriots had not cheated the league, and the NFL destroyed the tapes)

    22 Hall of Famers, with Bettis and other’s come shortly.

    Haslem was only a SMALL percentage owner, as the Rooney’s would never give up any major control of the organization. In other words, they used his money, to make more money.

    Funny how Haslem is also a confessed “1,000% Steeler Fan…LOL. Hopefully he can rub something off on the Browns.

    As for the 51,000 fans, that’s attendance, not paid. Pittsburgh tickets have been sold out for over 40 years, with the longest waiting list for season tickets in the NFL. There will never be a blackout, or lack of football in a town, that embodies the true spirit of what a sport does for a community.

    As part of SteelerNation, and a 41 year season ticket holding family, our community of fans are not only EXTREMELY knowledgeable about the game, with the WIDEST FAN BASE (Truly America’s Team) but especially our team. When it comes to attending a useless game, against a horrible Browns team, there are better things to do on New Year’s weekend. We expect greatness year in and out, and if its not present, silent protest exist, hence the 51,000. As for other towns, the owner quietly moves to another city, breaks the hearts of faithful followers, and could care less.

    Lastly, I hope the Browns bounce back. I loved the rivalry, and going to the old Three Rivers, watching the games in bad weather, on bad turf, and seeing Pittsburgh kick a ditch in Cleveland. It’s a shame really. Our true rival will never be Baltimore, as it has less to do with the team, but more with a city that tries to copy the success that we have. Sure, Cleveland had their small time in the sun, but that star burned out years ago.

    Young Steeler fan, get your knowledge up, but you will always be welcomed into the greatest sports town on the planet. Impressive how a town of 350,000 can produce so much professional talent, championships, and pride.

  47. It kind of surprises me how many people are defending Banner and Lombardi after they ended free agency with 25 million in the bank and no starting FS or CB across from Haden then passed up highly regarded ballhawk FS Phillip Thomas in the 4th round only to see him snapped up right after.
    Our defensive secondary needs real, legitimate, healthy ballplayers who can lineup with the height and leaping ability of A.J. Green twice a year, speed of Torrey Smith and the TEs of Baltimore, Pitta + co.
    Leon McFadden is 5’9 and Jamoris Slaughter is coming off of Achilles surgery and neither one is a true NFL starter. I love the Browns, win or lose, good or bad, through D.A., Gradkowski, Frye, Holcomb, Quinn, Lewis, McCoy and Weeden but I would have been a lot happier if they had used that 4th rounder on Thomas and either signed a CB of note in free agency or packaged picks and moved up for Robert Alford this year than try to sell us on McFadden, Slaughter and savings bonds.

  48. Lombardi was not hired as a GM. He only changed job titles so that they could hire Ray Farmer as an assistant… thus ruling out the ill-informed Rooney Rule comment.

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