Unless you’ve been hiding out in a bomb shelter with Brendan Fraser and Christopher Walken, by now you’ve heard of the big trade pulled off Wednesday that delivered Trent Richardson to Indianapolis. This time, Jim Irsay’s cryptic tweets trumpeted the acquisition of a young and dynamic player at his position, and not a reserve long snapper that will land on the practice squad.
Since Wednesday, the entire free world has debated who actually won this trade. Alright…free world may be a touch strong. But every blog, major website, minor website and guys living in their parents basements weighed in on whether the Colts or Cleveland Browns got the better end of this deal.
Truth be told, we’re an immediate gratification society and we want our answers ten minutes ago. If you ask me (and since you dropped in for another epic edition of the article, I take that to mean you are asking me), we won’t really be able to weigh this trade until a couple of seasons down the line. Too many things are unknown at this time to make a solid judgment. However, that’s not sexy and it doesn’t generate clicks or move the needle.
We’ll tackle this topic the only way that I know how: we’ll have a self debate! That’s right, for the price of free, sit back and read as the greatness unfolds. I will debate myself on whether or not this trade makes good sense for the Colts. Don’t worry though…it’s not a multiple personality or schitzo situation. My opponent will be none other that my high school Spanish name: Diego.
(Jim): Diego, thanks for taking the time to drop by and debate the trade for Trent Richardson.
(Diego): Ah, Senor Richardson!
(Jim): Stop. We’re not doing that. You aren’t Spanish. You barely speak any Spanish, and we sure as hell aren’t here to offend anyone.
(Diego): Ok, fine. Let me tell a joke. Kind of an ice breaker if you will.
(Jim): Works for me.
(Diego) Knock, knock.
(Jim): Whose there?
(Diego): Eat a.
(Jim): Eat a who…wait a minute. Don’t you dare answer!
(Diego): You walked right into that!
(Jim): Let’s get back on track here. How do you view the trade?
(Diego): I can think of five areas where the Colts need help before they had to go nab a running back. That offensive line is still a wreck, and Donald Thomas is already gone for the year with a torn quad.
(Jim): Fair enough. Donald Thomas was probably the most effective member of the offensive line thus far, so it’s a huge loss. You said five areas. Where else?
(Diego): Didn’t think you could count. Impressive, writer boy!
(Jim): You wanna play? Tell me the entire Spanish alphabet.
(Diego): Cheap shot. The offensive line actually counts for multiple areas. The Colts wanted Hugh Thornton in the starting lineup this season, but at right guard taking over for Mike McGlynn. Now, not only is McGlynn still starting at right guard, Thornton has to slide in at left guard.
(Jim): You probably won’t get too much argument from anyone there.
(Diego): The defense has also been wildly inconsistent thus far, and LaRon Landry is out this week with an ankle injury. The Colts could use linebacker help, interior defensive linemen to collapse and rush the pocket, and a ball hawking safety.
(Jim): I doubt that Ryan Grigson would pass up an opportunity to further improve this team, and from what we’re hearing, the Browns approached him with this deal.
(Diego): You don’t spend a first round pick on a running back anymore. Short of Adrian Peterson, you just don’t. That’s a steep price to pay.
(Jim): Fair point, and it’s one we’ve heard from several places. However, I do think that this was an opportunity that the Colts had to seize. Richardson is only in the second year of his deal, and will come at an extremely cheap price for the next three seasons, with a team option for another year. He’s on pretty much the same contract schedule as Andrew Luck, and was in fact taken only two picks after Luck in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
(Diego): Way to find some information on the web!
(Jim): The Colts now have a franchise quarterback, a young running back who they feel has barely scratched the surface of his potential, T.Y. Hilton at receiver and two young tight ends in Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. The skill positions are set for the foreseeable future.
(Diego): Let’s get back to the first round pick. People keep saying it will be in the middle or later part of the first round. What if that doesn’t happen? What if this trade makes the Colts even more reliant on the run, leaving their weapons on the sideline? You just gave away a middle to early first round pick for a running back.
(Jim): That is certainly one way to look at it, but this trade helps immediately and in the future. Luck has already been sacked seven times, with the 49ers defense on the docket today. Trent Richardson presents defensive coordinators with the task of having to game plan for the Colts running game. He can also pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield. Tell me when the last time that honestly was the case?
(Jim): Hmm…you might not be too far off there.
(Diego): Not to mention, Richardson averages a whopping 3.5 yards per carry thus far.
(Jim): I care as much about that stat as I care about the Kardashians. Cleveland has nothing that scares you about their passing game. Richardson has faced loaded fronts geared at nothing but stopping him. Put him in this offense with Andrew Luck at the helm and with threats at receiver, and then let defenses stack eight men in the tackle box to stop him. Luck will make them pay.
(Diego): I thought you love the Kardashians?
(Jim): Clearly you don’t pay any attention.
(Diego): What? Did you just say something?
(Jim): Moving on then.
(Diego): Listen, I’ll sum it up for you. There are entirely too many other areas of need on this Colts team to trade such a commodity for a running back. Offensive line, linebacker, defensive line, secondary, and pass rush. Trading away next year’s first rounder for a running back was simply a luxury they can’t afford. It screams of overreaction to losing Vick Ballard for the season.
(Diego): Pep Hamilton is struggling to find the balance between ‘power running’ and getting his receiving weapons on the field to make plays. Now what do you think his play calling will resemble?
(Jim): There is some risk there, and I absolutely hate the one wide receiver formation. I do think that the threat of a running game will force defenses away from just attacking Luck at will. Richardson has a nose for the end zone, which can only help this offense. Third and short is still killing them, and 20 points a game is not going to get things done with the way the defense has been playing. They move the ball reasonably well, but it doesn't translate to touchdowns.
(Diego): How are those rose colored glasses treating you? Must be nice living in the land of marshmallows and pixie dust.
(Jim): What have you been watching?
(Diego): Alright monkey boy, let’s just agree to disagree. I've got a tanning appointment.
(Jim): Wait. We didn’t even discuss the 49ers and today’s game.
(Diego): Did Aldon Smith make it to the stadium sober? More importantly, how do you think I’d look with that hair?
(Jim): Far as I know, he’ll be there and playing today. Seems ridiculous, but the NFL is less than consistent or sensible in their punishments (or the lack there of).
(Diego): And the hair?
(Jim): Couldn’t hurt. Well Landry is out for the Colts, along with Pat Angerer. Did the Colts and 49ers trade defenses for the day?
(Diego): Not that I know of. I say take the 49ers no matter what the point spread is as of today. This one will be ugly for Colts fans.
(Jim): I have to reluctantly second that prediction. Wait a minute…did we just agree on something?
(Diego) Knock, knock!