NFL Draft: Holmgren Urged Browns First-Round Trade with Vikings

Refuting all speculation and baseless reports to the contrary, Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren said that he urged the team’s general manager to pull the trigger on the deal which ultimately netted the duo a brand new running back in Alabama’s Trent Richardson.

Sensing that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (among others) were considering a move that would leapfrog the Browns for the all-purpose back, Heckert used a fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round selection to move up one spot and secure the player whom they coveted. Following the move, CBS analyst Mike Freeman concluded that the Browns were “duped” into the move and that they paid more for a player they could have had at the fourth-overall spot, citing that “the entire NFL knew the obvious.” Holmgren, in defense of his staff, stated that this was patently false.

“Contrary to what was written and said yesterday, we had to compete [for Richardson],” said Holmgren following the Saturday afternoon festivities. “We weren’t the Lone Ranger in that deal.’

“My conversations with [Browns head coach] Pat [Shurmur] and Tom were,” Holmgren continued, “‘if you even think somebody is going to is jump us, then what are we going to do to prevent that from happening? We had that conversation many, many times – how far were we willing to go to do this? Tom did a masterful job of setting that thing up. I thought it was an excellent trade because we got the player who, Lord willing, stay healthy and all those things, is going to be a really fine player for us for a long time.”

Richardson will be counted to to step in immediately and help improve an offense that was among the league’s worst in 2011.

Related: Undrafted Free Agent Recap: Browns Look for WR, OL and DB Help

  • Thekidd56

    (A) They shouldn’t have to explain anything.
    (B) They had13 picks. Were 13 of these players actually going to make the team.
    (C) They were third day picks.
    (D) WHO CARES.

  • TheRobot57

    You care when those picks used in the trade could have been packaged to get another 2nd round or to trade up. Whether they tried to do it or not they could have packaged those with the 22nd to move up and get Floyd.

  • Edmondsr

    Time to get rid of this front office….Why do we have to start over every year??Holmgrem sucks, I still cant get over taking a 28 yr old qb in the first round.

  • WWbrownsD?

    “‘if you even think somebody is going to is jump us, then what are we going to do to prevent that from happening? We had that conversation many, many times – how far were we willing to go to do this? ”

    Hey Holmgren where was that mind set when you went for RG3? 

  • Humboldt

    I don’t know why the belief persists that the leaders of an organization that represents our city (and whose stadium is funded by local tax payers) have no obligation to explain their decision-making.

    Personally, I would much rather have had Holmgren push aggressively for a franchise QB, but I don’t have too big a problem with the trade-up for the reasons mentioned in “B” above.   

  • kev

    When you look at what the bucs did in the draft, I believe 100% what holmgren says…

  • C-Bus Kevin

    There is so much hate showing up in the comments section of this website regarding the draft. How can anyone be that mad about these picks before seeing them play a few games. Nobody said they had to pick who you wanted…get over it. If you’re that mad, don’t watch the games.

    Plus, no matter how many Schefter tweets you read, the fact is you don’t know what market forces were driving up the price on Richardson.

    I’ll be one of the first to the keyboard to get fired up if this team starts 0-8 or something close to that. Until then, let’s everybody take a deep breath and relax…it’s Sunday.

  • The very fact that Tampa was so quick to trade down after we traded up, combined with the fact that they then used their pick to also take a RB, tells me they wanted Richardson and were trying to move up to get him. Maybe they would have given up enough to jump to 3, maybe they wouldn’t have. We’ll never know. But that’s the point. It’s easy to sit here and say “OH MY GOD NOBODY WAS EVER GOING TO TRADE UP TO #3”, but all it takes is one team on draft night to say ‘You know, we need a franchise RB and we know Cleveland is taking the only one in this draft at #4. Let’s just go ahead and pull the trigger on the trade with Minny.’ And like that, Richardson is gone and then everyone in the comments on this and other sites would be blasting the front office for not moving up. 

    You can never know anything in the draft for 100% certainty unless you have the #1 pick. The Browns obviously felt there was a decent enough chance someone would bite on Minny’s trade offer at the last minute, so they decided to make sure it couldn’t happen, and they gave up some Day 3 picks to do so. I myself wasn’t crazy about the trade, but it’s easy to see why they did it, and it was by no means some kind of horrific trade that will set this franchise back for years.

  • Justin Weiser

    Bingo! No one could have said it any better.

    Thanks for proving that there are still level headed fans out there.

  • Rob

    I actually read the freeman article a few times over the last few days – not necessarily by design, but CBS changed the title 3 times. The second title was ‘the Browns are rudderless and sinking’ if memory serves. I’m still not sure how Freeman can convey such a strong sentiment when none of these players have taken a single NFL snap. But then I realized that he gets paid for these page views. I also remembered that most of his articles aren’t really as accurate as the other CBS writers (prisco isn’t too good either though). Now I’m angry with myself for getting so annoyed by such a crap reporter.

  • Completely autonomous situations.

  • floydrubino

    I don’t mind at all securing the guy they wanted but I question how they secured the information on the players we wanted so they didn’t feel the pressure to over pick some of these players because people knew we wanted them so bad. I don’t think you should say we had 13 picks so who cares if we used them because we could of packaged those picks with other deals to move up later in the draft. Also it doesn’t appear that all people are on the same page throughout management and executive level. 

  • Harv 21

    imagine what would be written on this very site if Tampa moved up to take Richardson and word came out that he was our real target. We would be apoplectic, with good reason after missing on Griffin and not being willing to part with stinking extra 4th and 5th rounders.

    The repeated missteps and changes of philosphy has caused this org to be stuck in the mud behind two fine teams who are by now able to afford their inevitable drafting mistakes because they have top players, a consistent philosophy and a winning culture. But when H & H move aggressively to kickstart this thing the same fans who last week moaned about a lack of urgency claim now claim there is unnecesary panic. What they seem to expect is the historic Steelers drafts from ’69-’74 along with immediate proof of it.

    A sound philosophy and sound drafting will eventually create what we all want. Demanding draft results that are both obviously brilliant and lucky is just ridiculous.  To compete in this brutal division we’ll need not only competence but patience with one regime. Appears to me that Heckert is at least minimally competent and that he is now correctly aiming to build power football so we will no longer get manhandled 4+ division games each season. Some picks will go toward that at the expense of skill positions every draft, just like our rivals do every year.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Well, draft day is over so I’m also done being critical of our draft.  Do I think we probably overpaid in a couple spots?  Sure.  I’d rather have gambled to drop back on the Weeden pick or draft him with the 2nd round pick and Schwartz with the 3rd, and Hughes with the 4th, etc, but I realize I’m no expert.  I don’t hold grudges really well, and besides that I could end up being really happy with the guys we got.

    The truth is, we’re starting over at QB, and 4 guys who have a lot of experience with good (or at least highly-drafted) QBs didn’t think McCoy could ever be a legit starter in the NFL.  Weeden is going to be a rookie who makes rookie mistakes, and we’re all going to have to be patient again this year.  And of course, this is all opinion, but I think we’ll be at a spot in the draft next year where we’ll be able to grab a star receiver for Weeden (they’re not taking a QB in the first round next year… not unless Weeden shows them absolutely nothing this year).  And if Weeden beats the odds and has a stellar rookie year, I’ll be celebrating with everyone else.  Heck, maybe MoMass or Little will look like a legit #1 with Weeden throwing to them.

    Putting on my rose-colored glasses and moving on.

  • Steve

    Not really.  They obviously were willing to give up more to get Griffin, as they tried to re-up their bid later, so why weren’t they willing to do what it takes to prevent someone from jumping them the first time?

    It’s just more double-speak from a front office that is quite excellent at waving their hand and telling you these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

  • mgbode


  • floydrubino

    I agree. Heckert is the first somewhat competent talent scout/gm in a long time for the Browns. I don’t mind going after all the players they did because who knows how they will turn out, but what I am a little confused about is why show your hand. Moving up to get Richardson is not as ridiculous as people are making it sound whether they needed to or not because of the unknown factor. They felt it was worth to move up not knowing if Minnesota even cared about going after 1 player specifically in the 3 spot which would of made it easy for Minnesota to let go of for picks to another team. I’m excited to have a new quarterback and running back in Cleveland even though I’m still kind of bummed we didn’t get Decastro although Ryan Miller looks like he could be decent. I will wait and see and support the new players.

  • porckchopexpress

    I listened to Holmgren talk about this, he pretty much said that Heckert was balking at moving up for Richardson, and he (Holmgren said, make sure you get him).
    To me its not “double speak”  I’m guessing (and please emphasize the guessing part) that Heckert put a bid on RG and it wasn’t enough.  There is ample evidence that TB at least was entertaining moving up, so I’m guessing Holmgren stepped in and said something like “We didn’t get the first one, make sure we get this guy.”  Holmgren has his faults with out a doubt, but he has said over and over that he tries to just be the tie breaker when making player decisions.  I’m guessing (again just Guessing)  that he as President saw the PR shot by losing out on RG and deciided that they had to get an impact player. 
    Also considering they did offer what was considered “unprecedented” in 3 #1 picks to get RG its possible that they simply thought that the best offer ever made was enough, they didn’t realize Dan Snyder is bat poo crazy.  What they gave up to guarantee TR even though it was only moving up one spot, was a pittance compared to what they would have paid to move up 2 spots for RG. 
    Just think about the devaluation in price from moving from 4 to 2 compared to  as opposed to 4 to 3.  At this point we have a clearer picture of what the Browns would have paid. 

    Is Richardson + Weeden + Schwartz (I can’t wait to use May the Schwartz be with you if he does something good)  + next years number 1 pick better than RG3.  Because that is what we would have given up to get him.  Now to me that is a much steeper price than Claiborne/Kalil/Blackmon + 4, 5, and 7th this year. 

  • Psaid2

    Thanks for your sensible comments. These writers will crap on the Browns every chance they get. If we got RG3 and then picked Cousins we would be considered the biggest idiots for drafting 2 QB’s but Washington is forgiven as  it’s a good future move

  • Psaid2

    I agree. We also drafted guys who may help against the run which we need desperately. Give these guys a chance. Changing front office every couple of years will never give us the consistency we need.

  • Steve

     That’s a pretty rosy picture there. I guess I can agree with most of it though. It still doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t make their best offer to make sure they didn’t get jumped for the guy they really wanted, and had plenty of excuses as to why, but when they did make an aggressive move that worked, they made sure to let everyone know how savvy they were.

  • porckchopexpress

    Couldn’t agree more.  I believe that people tell more about themselves with humour and what they say they’re “not” then by what they say they are.  Holmgren makes a regular joke about “If it turns out good I did it, if not Heckert did it.”  I think there is a grain of truth in that.  He didn’t step up and make the RG3 thing happen, which is where he actually blames others, much like he “jokes” he does.  So he overcompensated and made this the draft where “We get OUR guy”. 
    I still personally think what we would have given up for RG was too high of a price, I think Holmgren uses that price as an easy excuse for not knowing what he really needed to pay. 
    I actually like a lot of things that I think he has done as an overall President, I am just glad he doesn’t have final say over personel becuase I think he is a terrible evaluator of talent.

  • porckchopexpress

    should be “primary say” over talent, because obviously he has final say as prez/

  • @ScottyB330

    I don’t understand how this is even an issue! After the Browns took Richardson at 3, the Bucs traded back from 5. Then, the Bucs traded back into the first round to take a running back! Doesn’t that seem a little bit like “Well we missed out on Richardson, there’s no one at 5 we like, lets drop a few spots and snag Barron. Then, we’ll package a few picks and snag Doug Martin at the end of the first round.”? I’m absolutely baffled that anyone could reasonably condemn H + H for playing it safe here. TB clearly had at least some interest in that #3 pick.