Trader Ryan has struck again.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson – known for not being afraid to play ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ with other National Football League teams -- pulled another surprise out of his hat late Wednesday afternoon.
Grigson traded the Colts' No. 1 draft pick in 2014 to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for former University of Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Richardson had been the No. 3 overall pick in last year's NFL Draft.
With starter Vick Ballard sidelined for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and primary backup Ahmad Bradshaw signed to a one-year deal, Indianapolis was looking to solidify its future in the offensive backfield.
By trading for Richardson, widely considered to be the best running back available a year ago in the draft, the Colts have added one more piece to an offense that already boasts quarterback Andrew Luck; wide receivers Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey; along with tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.
During his three seasons at Alabama, the 5-foot-9, 225-pound running back rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also caught 64 passes for seven TDs. He was a college teammate of Colts second-year nose tackle Josh Chapman.
Richardson ran for 950 yards on 257 carries and scored 11 touchdowns as a rookie for the Browns last season. He has 105 yards in 31 carries through two games this year.
The reason the Browns made the move is rather simple. Cleveland is stock piling draft picks in order to draft a new quarterback. With a new front office and a new head coach, the team is in rebuild mode.
First-year general manager Joe Banner acknowledged as much in a brief statement:
“Trent’s a great player and we expect him to have success in this league,” Banner said. “Right now, based on how we're building this team for sustainable success, we're going to be aggressive and do what it takes to assemble a team that consistently wins.”
He later added during a Wednesday evening press conference that conversations with the Colts about a possible deal began on Tuesday.
“We had to decide if it was a move that would make us better and we had to make it now,” Banner said. “Moment presented itself. Felt we made the team better.”
Browns first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski said that the trade has nothing to do with Richrdson not fitting into his new offensive system.
Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano, meanwhile, are expected to make statements regarding the trade during today’s media availability.
One interesting side note. Since the start of the 2012 season, 80 NFL players have been traded. The Colts have been involved in either trading for or trading away 21 of those players.