Trent Richardson Run

Trent Richardson trade may not be the worst ever, but it’s pretty close

The Colts have a serious problem on the offensive side of the football. Andrew Luck can pick apart most defenses if given enough time. The problem is, he has absolutely no time in the pocket behind a weak offensive line. Add to that a rushing attack that is, well, terrible, and Andrew Luck has nothing to slow down his opponent’s pass rush.

When the Colts sent their first round draft selection in the upcoming draft to the Cleveland Browns in return for running back Trent Richardson, there was all kinds of reaction that instantly poured in. Some thought the Browns had gotten the raw end of the deal while others claimed the Colts gave up way too much in a desperate attempt to jumpstart their own ground attack.

Now it’s apparent the Colts did, in fact, consent to highway robbery at the hands of the Browns. I’m not comfortable calling it the “worst trade in NFL history,” but it’s bad – really bad.

First round selections are particularly valuable in the NFL. That’s the money round of the draft. The fourth, third and even second rounds are for building the core of a team, but the first round is where the elite players of the NFL are often selected. The Colts will be without such a selection, which is bad enough on its own merits, but when we consider what the Colts have received in return for that pick, it gets truly ugly.

Since joining the Colts, Richardson’s best performance came against the Jacksonville Jaguars in his second week with the team. In that game, Richardson averaged a flat 3 yards per carry, gaining 60 yards and chalking up a touchdown. Even worse, Richardson’s statistics have gotten worse since then.

Trent Richardson's Stats Since Joining the Colts

Date

Opponent

Attempts

Yards

Average

Long

Touchdowns

9/22

@ 49ers

13

35

2.7

7

1

9/29

@ Jaguars

20

60

3.0

12

1

10/6

vs Seahawks

18

56

3.1

16

0

10/14

@ Chargers

10

40

4.0

12

0

10/20

vs Broncos

14

37

2.6

8

0

11/3

@ Texans

8

20

2.5

7

0

11/10

vs Rams

5

2

0.4

5

0

Trent Richardson isn’t exactly facing off against the cream of the crop in a battle for playing time either. Donald Brown, the Colts’ preferred runner, has gained just 243 rushing yards this season. His season best, also against the Jaguars, was a very mediocre 65-yard day, and that included a 50-yard run.

Too often, I’ve heard the Colts described as a run-first team. That’s just not true. That seems to be the direction the team would like to head, but their running game is in terrible shape. It’s easy to blame Brown and Richardson for their terrible performances, but the best runners struggle with a poor offensive line, and with respect to Brown and Richardson, the Colts don’t employ the NFL’s best running backs.

At this point in the discussion, there’s no question who won and who lost in the trade shipping Richardson from Cleveland to Indianapolis. The Browns have won huge. They recovered much of the value spent on Richardson, who was drafted third overall in 2012. After seeing how he’s performed for the Colts, I can’t help but wonder if the Browns knew something no one else seemed to know.

On the other hand, there’s the simple principle of Occam’s razor. That is, the solution assuming the least is more likely to be correct. The Indianapolis Colts likely saw themselves as a contending team just a player away from the big time. They got ahead of themselves, and to this point, it’s bit them hard. The Colts are still building their roster, but losing a first round pick for a player showing no more talent than many undrafted runners is a tough pill to swallow. Was it the worst trade in NFL history? No, probably not, but it was certainly the worst deal in recent memory, and it’ll be haunting the Colts for several years to come.

Shane Clemons

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.

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