Player trades don’t happen too often in the NFL and they certainly don’t happen too often during the season involving a top three pick being shipped out after his rookie season, but that was the case with Trent Richardson who was traded by the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts for a first round pick.
The move came as a major surprise as many believed the Colts had just fleeced the Browns, but that notion quickly dissipated after Richardson struggled mightily with the Colts as he averaged a paltry 2.9 yards per carry and was buried behind afterthought Donald Brown on the bench.
However, don’t tell Colts tight end Coby Fleener that the trade was a mistake for the Colts.
“I still think it was a great trade for us,” Fleener told Around The League on Friday. “Our front office has done an awesome job putting together teams from Day One. I think that acquisition is going to be huge for us and pay dividends in the future.”
As many unforgiving fantasy football owners labeled Richardson a bust and Cleveland fans are counting their blessings for a second first round pick, Fleener and the Colts essentially are giving Richardson a pass after the midseason trade that forced him to pick up an intricate offense on the fly.
The 2014 season for Richardson will in many ways be a make-or-break season and he will have the benefit of a full offseason where he can absorb the playbook and become a more efficient and effective runner as he enters his third season out of Alabama.