Browns should trade for T.Y. Hilton

T.Y. Hilton Indianapolis Colts

Unlike it’s MLB or NBA brethren, the NFL trade deadline day usually goes by without much movement. There is no need for tracking planes or #hugwatch or eye ball emojis on Twitter. Most of the deals that get done via trade are made in the offseason with a focus on draft day while the occasional midseason move made to get someone some depth (Knile Davis to Green Bay last year) or to remove a disgruntled vet from a team (Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville last week) getting done. Just because something doesn’t *usually* happen doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. In the last 12 hours alone, we’ve seen Jimmy Garoppolo head to San Francisco while the Philadelphia Eagles shored up their running game by acquiring Jay Ajaiyi from the Miami Dolphins. The Cleveland Browns should follow suit and bolster one of their weakest positions by trading for wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.

A year ago on deadline day, the Browns stunned the NFL world by trading a third-round pick to the New England Patriots to acquire former Pro Bowl linebacker, Jamie Collins. The move was such a shock given the magnitude of the player traded but also the value Cleveland had previously (and continually) shown for their draft picks. Collins had made the Pro Bowl for New England in 2015 and, by all means of measurement, seemed to be on the path of being a cornerstone for Bill Belichick’s Pats for years to come. Belichick had soured on Collins due to reported personality issues and diva-like behavior. Couple this with an impending free agency and the Browns’ front office swooped in and acquired the would be starter by giving up only a third-round pick in the 2017 draft. Collins played well as a Brown, with 48 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble in eight games started and resigned with Cleveland for four years and $50 million. It’s possible that Sashi Brown and the front office see a similar situation brewing with Hilton and the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts faced an uphill battle to reach the playoffs with a healthy Andrew Luck. While they have surpassed expectations to this point in the season, the injury to their star quarterback curtailed any semblance of a divisional contention. Another year ticking off the calendar does not help the Colts and, as such, veteran players start looking more like trade chips than on-field performers. Enter Hilton, a former three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who led the league in receiving yards a season ago, having a decent-but-not-spectacular year catching passes from the likes of Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett. Hilton has three years and $42 million in salary remaining on his current five years, $65 million deal he signed in 2015. He is one of the few veteran players on the roster who would provide plus value at a position where there is little to be found available league-wide.

Trading for Hilton would give the Browns and DeShone Kizer a wide receiver they desperately need. A speedster on the field, Hilton is a home run threat from any position1 and would instantly become the No. 1 on a team bereft of talent on the outside. Acquiring Hilton would also give the Browns some addition by subtraction, giving the team yet another reason to cut Kenny Britt and therefore removing the mistake signing from the field and locker room. Starting for the Browns currently are Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis, both of whom work better on the outside, thus allowing for Hilton to work on the inside.

Cost becomes a conversation whenever you talk trade, of course, and trading for Hilton shouldn’t break the bank. Due to the length of contract still on the books for Hilton, draft pick compensation talks would more than likely start around a second- or third-round pick. Given that a potential franchise quarterback in Garoppolo was just traded last night for a second rounder, Indianapolis would be bonkers to expect that out of Hilton. Cleveland has multiple picks in every round except the third and seventh rounds, where they only have their own, but the extra picks allow for gambling on player trades.

This is yet another lost year for Cleveland, a season in which draft positioning is the talk of the town rather than playoff seeding.  The Collins trade of a year ago is template enough to show that you should never stop trying to better the roster by whatever means necessary. Bringing in Hilton not only makes this a better roster for 2017 but shows that it is a more attractive place for free agents in the offseason as well. Trading for T.Y. Hilton is not only a possibility, it should be a necessity.

  1. He performs better from the slot, which makes sense given his smaller frame. []

  • tigersbrowns2

    this would be a great move !! … and it’s not even in the same ballpark as Bowe & Britt … and the Browns have the capital to pull-it-off … this would be a good start in addressing the skill player deficiency on offense . if not , they have FA & the draft next yearas well.

  • RGB

    A second-rounder GRABAPABLO, and a second or third-rounder for Hilton?
    Sashi would have been a hero…

  • tigersbrowns2

    i totally agree with this … but are we all sure Grop is the real deal ? watching Brady every day , you would think so.

  • BenRM

    Yes. Do this.

  • RGB

    Sure, but getting Sashi to part with draft capital or cap space is like trying to get Gollum to give up the ring.

  • TimCleveland

    I think Garoppolo may be probably better than Beathard and Hoyer, but that doesn’t mean much. SF may actually have fewer players at the skilled positions than even the Browns. He has also only thrown 63 passes over his career, so he could be anything. The Patriots have ways of making Ryan Mallet, Matt Cassel, and Jacoby Brissett look like competent QBs, when they really are below average to bad.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi TIM … great point. the system & the support staff in NE is better than most.

  • Jeremy Humbert

    Any receiver help would be greatly appreciated. I have stopped watching, and even I know that they have some young depth and no starters. When does Coleman come back? We can keep talking about the QB being the problem for the next 20 years, but if there is noone to actually catch the ball…. its going to be hard to change that conversation. imo

  • ThirtyReset

    My first thought as soon as I saw rumors he was available for trade…unfortunately, my immediately following thought was that this made TOO much sense for this front office to actually do. Sigh. I would love to see what Kizer could do with a legit receiver, I think it’s ridiculously hard to make an evaluation with our current crop.

    Tell Indy we’ll throw in Britt for free just to get him out of town!

  • Saggy

    If he is really available they have to do whatever they can to get a guy like this. Quality #1 receivers develop quarterbacks more than coaches do.

    The best WR to play here since 1999 was Braylon Edwards (one year of Gordon I’m not counting), and so it’s also no surprise how bad the QBs have been. You can’t “throw a guy open” if the guy isn’t going to get open.

  • Steve

    “Bringing in Hilton not only makes this a better roster for 2017 but shows that it is a more attractive place for free agents in the offseason as well. ”

    Making the roster better for 2017 is counterproductive to the goal.

    And offering the most money is, far and away, the best way to make your place more attractive to free agents.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SAGGY … talking about Gordon , he supposedly finds out tomorrow about reinstatement.