For some reason the comments section on PFT seems to be heavily populated with people who are questioning the reasoning behind the trade of Trent Richardson to the Colts, for a 1st round pick. People are screaming about how the Browns have effectively given up on this season by making this move. Sympathy from all directions is being showered on poor Browns fans.
Personally, I love this move, and think that it was a ballsy decision on the part of the Browns' management. When the Browns selected Richardson with the 3rd overall pick in 2012, it was a blatantly idiotic move. Unless you are Adrian Peterson, a running back just isn't worth that sort of investment. Hell, even if you are Adrian Peterson, I'm not sure you are worth that kind of investment (hasn't gotten the Vikings very much). Either way, Trent Richardson has at best been 'O.K.', but not exactly mind-blowing so far in his career, with a 3.5 yard career rushing average. I'm not saying that he is bad, I'm just suggesting that the likelihood of the team being in a position to seriously compete, before Richardson's rookie contract is up, was questionable. I'm not suggesting that the team trade away all of it's talent, in an attempt to build for the future, but if you have a player who is as easily replaceable as a running back, that someone is willing to trade for, it does make sense.
I also see that the Browns have issued the obligatory "We aren't giving up on the season" statement to the press. Let me make something clear. THEY ARE GIVING UP ON THE SEASON. I don't expect them to admit this to the ticket buying public, but it is the truth. They have an injured soon to be 30 year old QB with one year of experience (another brilliant pick!), one WR who can't catch (Greg Little), and another who is coming off suspension, and their hopes hinged on a running back who was gaining 3.6 yards per carry this year. I applaud them for giving up. It shows that they actually recognize the situation they are in, unlike most teams. Now they can focus on the future, where they can potentially improve (assuming they can learn how to draft better). Based on nothing more than the fact that the last 2 drafts have been relatively weak on actual talent (the 2013 draft in particular was garbage, in my opinion), I would expect the 2014 draft to rebound and be much better. An additional pick in the upcoming draft is a nice bit of extra ammunition
As for the Colts, well, I have mixed feelings. I'm not entirely confident that Richardson will turn into a savior, but he will probably do better with Indy's passing game taking some pressure off of him. For what the Colts paid, a 1st round pick that will probably be in the 20-25 range, it is closer to Richardson's actual value. He can probably deliver in a competent way for the Colts. Maybe he will excel there. I just don't see this as a move that puts the Colts over the hump, at least in the short term. Will they make the playoffs this year? I don't know. If they do, I expect them to be quickly bounced out by better teams. I think the Colts could have waited until the offseason to address the running back position.
Not everybody should be approaching the season with a "Super Bowl or bust" attitude. It just isn't sensible. Most teams don't really have a legitimate shot. There are some teams that just have too many areas of concern to be worrying about short term goals. I think it took guts for the Browns to take this path, and genuinely wish them the best, because I know the fans are going to be unreasonably brutal about this.