Peter King: Richardson “Not a bad trade by Cleveland”

Peter King is giving everyone a pass on the deal that the Vikings and Browns made to move up from four to three.

I’ve been hearing GM Rick Spielman of the Vikings took advantage of a Browns team that didn’t want to risk losing Trent Richardson, which is true. I’ve been hearing Browns GM Tom Heckert got snookered into throwing fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks. That’s a load of crap. This is the easiest Monday Morning Quarterbacking to do (hey, that’s trademarked!) after the draft.

There’s no way Heckert could know what real offer Spielman had on the table. Spielman, as it turned out, had talked to Tampa Bay about the pick, but the Bucs were never seriously interested in it. But Heckert had no way of knowing that at the time. General managers making vital decisions for the long-term cannot sit there and say, “I wonder if Spielman really has something, or if he’s bluffing.” They have to make decisions on the fly. The Browns kept the top five picks of a vital draft intact and got the guy they wanted, Trent Richardson, and still had 10 picks to work with. I don’t castigate Heckert. I applaud him.

At 11a, you’ll be seeing the WFNY discussion of the Browns draft wherein most of us feel the same way. There are certainly things to be critical of the Browns at times, but using their well-earned bullets to ensure they got the biggest potential difference-maker this Browns team has drafted in a decade isn’t one of them.

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

  • CP3

    Completely agree. With 13 picks at the beginning and ending up with 11 and the guy you wanted at #3. I liked that move, others not so much.

  • I’m fine with losing those picks for TRich, because he is an explosive difference maker on a team lacking both of those things.

    I’m not fine with drafting John Hughes in the 4th round, 87th pick.  That is inexcusable.

  • Steve-o

    Yes, it was a fantastic trade… for the Vikings. Let’s face it, we got bluffed by duece seven offsuit. The only consolation is that it was for a small pot.

  • BenRM

    we probably didn’t get bluffed that bad. I mean, immediately after we traded up, Tampa traded down. Then they traded back up for RB#2. That says to me that they were also after Richardson.

  • TheRobot57

    TR is a good pickup. It would make more sense to have gotten one of the OL at 22 that had fallen and maybe pick up Weeden at 37. Or a receiver. I just don’t think this offense gained much explosiveness this draft. TR can’t do it all himself. I was appalled at how long it took them to address the WR position.

    Taking Hughes so high is definitely the big blemish on this draft. There was some good later round talent taken but this was not a home run draft like it should have been.

  • Max

    good luck fighting the good fight, Sir. To quote Phil Collins “I don’t care anymore”

    I agree with your whole post above, btw

  • I was surprised at first, but if Richardson is who they really 100% wanted then they did the right thing to get him. And what was given up didn’t necessarily break the bank.

  • I feared this would happen to the team once this draft was done.  I feared that fans who love this team but only have the patience of a nun (not a saint, which I think is needed) would start to become to disenchanted with this organization that they will just sink into the quiksand of apathy and give up.

    I can’t blame you but I also can’t join you.  I get it, I really do; you’re fed up and you have every right to be.  But, to quite Trent Reznor, “Nothing can stop me now / ’cause I don’t care anymore.”

    I might be the only crusader left at the end.  Don’t fret; if this ever turns around you can come right back into the fold.

  • BenRM

    I have to believe H&H are just really big fans of Ferris Buhler’s Day Off and couldn’t pass on the opportunity for the joke.

  • I love that movie but maybe its just a case of the Mondays because I don’t get the reference…?

  • Steve-o

    The Vikings were going to take Kalil at three. That is the player they picked, and obviously who they wanted. If they traded with Tampa they might have lost him either to us or to the team we trade with. The Vikings sucessfully convinced us they were interested in Claiborne, who could have been the pick if they traded with Tampa. If we were on the ball, we could have claimed there were two prospects that we were equally happy to take at four and would take one of them right there. Instead we laid our cards on the table and said that we have distinct 3rd and 4th ranked players, and the Vikings made us pay for that error.

  • ctowndc

    It is way to early to start saying this draft wasn’t a home run. The draft ended TWO days ago and we probably don’t even have jerseys made for the guys we took on day three, yet everyone is already knocking on them as players. I’m also upset at the lack of urgency with the WR position, but just because a few guys show up on mock drafts doesn’t mean they will turn into star players (stephen hill is a great athlete, but he has 49 career receptions. No one knows what kind of player he will become).

    I have never heard of just about every guy we drafted after the first
    round, nor have I ever seen them play (I think it is safe to assume that
    is the case for 90% of Browns fans commenting about our draft), so I
    cannot grade what the FO did. However, I’ve moved past the idea of simply liking guys because Mcshay and Kiper shove their names down my throat leading up to the draft. Those guys miss on 50% or more of the players they grade high. That fact is that fans don’t see 95% of the rating process for players, so I’m going to continue to trust the people who actually evaluate these guys and see how they turn out.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I heard and read from a few different places that what King mentioned about TB not moving up was true.  They wanted or were at least interested in Morris Claiborne which made more sense given the fact they already had Blount as a RB.  Dallas beat ’em out but they still got Barron.  Later in the first they picked up a nice RB in Doug Martin.

    As far as the Browns go I’ve given up on my intitial (after Friday) reaction and just excepted the draft.  I’ll let it play out, lets see what these guys do but as of this moment this wasn’t the draft I had hoped for at all.  They finally added a legitimate offensive threat in Richardson.  That gives them one legitimate threat.  The whole Weeden thing I’m indifferent to because I feel like he’s just this years flavor.  You replaced a questionable McCoy with a questionable (but he has the size and arm) Weeden on a terrible offense with one weapon.  They added a RT whether he was the best RT is debatable, for those who know more about RTs, I was a Reiff fan myself.  As for the remaining selections time will tell.

    Now with regards to Heckert I think he’s done a mediocre job.  He came into this draft loaded with picks and possibilities but I get a feeling a year from now we’ll be picking in the top 5 again, minus all the picks.

  • BenRM

    John Hughes directed Ferris Buhler and some of the Brat Pack films.

  • BenRM

    I disagree completely. oh well.

  • TheRobot57

    Valid points but there is definitely a higher chance of success with early round players than later. That is true. Waiting until the 4th to grab a WR means a much less likely chance that they will be an impact player and even less likely to be a #1 target.

    The problem lies with where they select these guys with where they could have been picked. Hughes could turn into a great player, worthy of a 2nd or 1st. That doesn’t mean taking him in the third was a great idea. If the player was going to be around in the 6th taking him in the 3rd is spending more than you have to. Waiting to take him later gives you that 3rd round pick to select someone else that could be good. That’s how teams become talented. By not spending more than you have to.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Completely agree about #22 and #37 it’s how I feel.  Supposedly once Martin went at #20 that’s when Weeden became the target.  Why, I have no idea but I’ve heard it and read it from multiple sources.

    As far as Hughes go at least Heckert didn’t trade up to get him.  He traded back actually, I think.  It’s amazing how the great decision of trading up to select Hardesty a year ago doesn’t get mentioned.  There are more then a few blemishes as I see it on Heckert’s performance.  I really question his decision making.  He seems like he’s completely reactive rather then proactive.  His one major proactive move was Weeden.  That can’t be overlooked.  We’ll see what happens.  Personally I’m skeptical.  Sure he has the arm, the size and the maturity but he was also a baseball player turned football player and played in a spread offense in a conference that was largely offensive.

  • Max

    I figure they left me for 3 years in the 90’s perhaps it is my turn now. Also, I don’t want my Son to end up being a Browns fan just because I am, and then subjecting him to this kind of life. Sports are supposed to be fun. I feel it would be irresponsible if I allow this burden to be thrust upon him. If he chooses that path on his own, then I’ll be back, with him, and because of him.

  • Oh Lordy that’s a stretch but props to remembering the dude’s name,

  • dreinha5

    4th round?

  • stien

    Had the Browns not made the trade and not gotten Richardson, there would be a bunch of people on here complaining.   Did the Browns get took on the trade? Yes.  Did they really lose all that much in the trade?? NO.  I am fine with the trade and look forward to seeing Richardson playing some smash mouth football!

  • Jeremy

    We will be picking in the top 5, but it won’t be because this was a failed draft.  It will be because we are young and have a tough schedule.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I’ve never seen people get so worked up over 3rd day picks.  Yeah, they might pan out.  Losing a 4th rounder is somewhat significant because it could add some depth and maybe even a starter if you get lucky.  Sixth and seventh rounders are total crapshoots.  There is a better than even chance that those guys get cut.  So we gave up some potential depth and a couple guys who probably won’t even make the team to ensure that we got arguably the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson.

    I, for one, think it was a smart move.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea that’s part of it but that’s the NFL.  All the more reason selecting another QB, in the first round this time, is questionable/gutsy whichever side you come down on these days.

    If Weeden starts game in the first four games he will be thrown into the fire.  Is this how it’s supposed to work?  With the Browns it does, how’s the track record?

  • Woops, I meant fourth pick.  Sorry.

  • DonFelder

    The issue with trading those later picks is not what we could have gotten picking at those spots if we kept the picks; rather, it’s how we could have used those picks in a later package to trade UP for another impact player in the late 1R/2R.

    As far as the trade itself, it’s not about the merits of T-Rich as a football player. I hope he’s every bit as good as advertised (I wasn’t that impressed with him, but my sample size is incredibly small).

    But it doesn’t come down to how good (or bad) he ends up being. It comes down to Heckert getting played and panicking ONCE AGAIN (see: Hardesty, Phil Taylor). Let’s think here: the Vikings made an incredible reach to take Ponder at 12 last year. They needed to protect their reach pick in the worst way. The Browns also had abysmal protection last year. All Heckert had to do was say “Look Rick, I don’t know if you’re bluffing or not, but I can assure you we have NO QUALMS about taking Kalil and moving him to RT. None. So you better not move down.” This is not scholarly 20/20 hindsight, this is simple “on your feet” thinking that I was running through over beers with buddies at 7:30 shortly after they announced the trade.

    It just bums me out that Heckert seems to panic. We could have used those picks to get another impact player. I appreciate the importance of adding depth (which is why the FA allergy KILLS me), but we needed impact players, too. We blew our chance to do both most effectively.

  • DonFelder

    BTW, don’t forget we worked Kalil out. It’s not like Heckert would have been clearly lying about thinking highly of Kalil at that point.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I can appreciate what you’re saying…but what happens when the Vikings call Heckert’s bluff?  If you approach it like that, you better be prepared to lose Richardson…and I don’t think H & H were…and I’m fine with that.

  • DonFelder

    I hear you. Part of my stance comes from the fact that based on (again, my extremely small sample size) of Richardson, I WOULD be willing to pass on Richardson. I think part of this whole thing isn’t so much about Richardson. I think it part of it was they were still embarrassed about the RG3 fiasco and didn’t want to take the heat for something similar happening with T Rich.

    On the other hand, again, I truly don’t believe Minnesota was willing to call Heckert’s bluff because they have quite a bit invested in Ponder (and need better run blocking for AP, too).

  • Runcordes

    As I have said before, I think that they must not have liked Blackmon that much, because if they did, they would have no reason to move up 1 spot. Granted, T Rich can possibly be everything he is hyped to be but it is hard to overlook what taking Blackmon or trading back would have done for this draft.

    I think we would have had offers for Blackmon or Kalil if someone did move up for T Rich at #3. There are a lot of what ifs and that is what losers do. Bottomline, I only like the move if T Rich is the man. Otherwise, we wasted many picks and positions in this years draft – which really could have set the Browns on the fast track.

  • takedacanoli

    Look – we didn’t do well with the lower round picks we had anyway – what difference would it make if we had MORE picks to take players with no or marginal talent??

  • Jaker

    Well said Peter King. Needed to get TRich, and we paid the right price.

  • Runcordes

    Moving back into the 1st, 2nd or 3rd would have likely added good value. That is what those picks could have been used for when people are upset over them being used to move up 1 spot to get T Rich. Nobody thinks about who we would have taken in those rounds the picks came from.

  • DontbringLBJback

    Max, I’m assuming you’re kidding about your son… but if not, I’ll tell you why you should be.  My son is 4 going on 5.  He’s into lots of different stuff, but mainly Super Mario, Lego’s, and playing soccer.  But the best time I have with him is when we’re watching the Browns.  He loves football, and he loves the Browns, because I’ve pounded it into his head that the Browns are the best franchise that ever suited up.  We won a bunch of Championships back in the pre-NFL days…. we have Jim Brown who is still considered the best player ever… We had some great years with the Kardiac Kids, and the 86-90 Brownies.  We are in a low point right now, but we having nothing to hang our heads over.  My own Father, who is 76, instilled that love of Cleveland sports in me, and now my son will continue that.

    Go watch Field of Dreams and remember why we love sports so much.

  • dreinha5

    We wouldn’t have even had to bluff about taking Kalil if we had anticipated this and found a buyer in advance for the four should Kalil be there. Problem was Holmgren had already telegraphed that pass by announcing that they didn’t want to move down below eight.

  • saggy


  • Jmcdonald

    and you pay how much for your tickets. I take kalil,claiborne or whomever and still keep the picks

  • Jmcdonald

    we take hardesty,bad knees,we take richardson,two screws in both ankles,and you people glow over these picks and trades.You either got something wrong with your water or your air.I’ll do something constructive and you can sell my tickets to some other loser.

  • 1stAnubiis

    Perhaps you should read this article from ESPN stated some reliable league sources informed them that several other teams were going to draft that kid. The Saints, 49ers and Pitspuke amoung them.  ESPN Cleveland: John Hughes was in demand

  • 1stAnubiis

    That was awsome and it is the same reason I am a Browns fan myself.  You take the good with the bad but I will always be a Browns fan. Woof!

  • 1stAnubiis

    Actually according to Kiper the difference from #4 to #3 in draft points is 300 and what we gave up acutally equals 100. Now it could be said the Vikes got fleeced. How bout we got our guy and they got a some more picks.

  • 1stAnubiis

    Pessimism is like a warm blanket to the desperate.  They won’t have anything good to say until way after the party has started. Hughes was in fact being sought after by severl teams but HH beat them to him and considering the amount of egg on the front offices faces for not getting RG3 then I can see giving up what they did to get TRich. Which in draft points was not so much. I didn’t know that Hill production was just one year  while Little was explosive the year before his suspension so not having an off season kind of explains his drops. He will be better and so will the rest of the WRs. You’ll all see what we see. Have some faith in Browns brass.

  • 1stAnubiis

    He wasn’t see my post above. HH did the right thing in taking him. Not based on McShay or Kipers board but his own.

  • 1stAnubiis

    Thanks for saying this as logic not pessimism is what will get us to the finish line.

  • 1stAnubiis

    First the jury is not really out on Hardesty. I think he will have this year to show he can lead or at least back up at RB. Phil Taylor was a good pick and no one but you it seems thinks the Browns reached on him.  If we had not gotten him we would be playing  against him.  We did not give up much in draft points for the move up and the 3rd rounder we pick up as it now turns out was being sought after by several teams so HH did the right thing at the right time. Lets just wait and see before we start crying in our milk for once.