Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Talking trades

By Rob Staton
I don't include trades in my mocks, but obviously there will be some movement during the draft. Last year, Cleveland alone moved down three times before selecting Alex Mack. Tampa Bay moved up to get Josh Freeman, as did Baltimore to select Michael Oher. Green Bay also made a switch to get Clay Matthews. Of course, we also remember the significant deal between Seattle and Denver that gave the Seahawks an extra first round pick this year and a similar deal occurred between San Francisco and Carolina.

The 2010 draft won't be any different and I wanted to discuss four potential moves that could happen in the first two rounds.

Cleveland (#7) trades into the top three
A lack of options outside of the top two quarterbacks will make Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen hot property. We saw this last year when Matt Stafford went first overall and the Jets made a big move to get Mark Sanchez. Mike Holmgren admitted this week that 35-year-old Jake Delhomme is not a long term option (clearly). Trading in front of Washington to get a WCO fit like Jimmy Clausen would make sense.

The Browns have five picks in the first three rounds, so own the ammunition to trade up. Clausen fits the bill for Holmgren's offense, although the Browns new 'football czar' may prefer to work on a bigger project whilst running Delhomme. Detroit and Tampa Bay have shown interest in moving down - but both teams are well placed to grab Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy.

This could heat up if Holmgren likes Clausen enough and Washington show strong interest in the quarterback. A costly move into the top three still seems a bit ambitious, but Tampa Bay are in penny-pinching mode and might feel obliged to move down if it means making a financial saving.

Kansas City (#5) moves down the board
Scott Pioli comes from the New England school of drafting which means trying to accumulate as many picks as possible in rounds 2/3. Any potential move to trade down last year were scuppered by the fact KC picked so early (3rd overall) and they ended up drafting a prospect they could have had further down the board in Tyson Jackson. They may face a similar problem this year, but if Jimmy Clausen is available and the Chiefs don't intend to select him - teams might be willing to move up to pick #5 to usurp the Seahawks.

It'd be quite the story if Cleveland (and Holmgren) jumped ahead of Seattle to take Clausen. If the Chiefs were preparing to take an obvious 3-4 scheme fit (such as Rolando McClain, who would fill a big need too) they would have no qualms about moving down a couple of spots for an extra pick or two. If the Seahawks want the Notre Dame QB, Kansas City pose a threat in more ways than one.

Should Clausen get past the Redskins - but interest the Seahawks - teams will view Kansas City as a potential trade partner if they want the quarterback. Pioli and co. won't waste any time discussing a trade.

Jacksonville (#10) moves down the board
By now everyone has heard the theory - the Jaguars will draft Tim Tebow to sell season tickets. Of course, there's no obvious threat for Jacksonville in the first round if they wanted to wait until later. The only problem is - the Jags don't own a second rounder. If they want to select Tebow without spending the 10th overall pick they'll have to explore a trade.

The Jaguars situation at quarterback isn't secure and having David Garrard on the roster would buy some time to prepare the Florida QB. They could move down into the late first and take Tebow there, or try to accumulate a second rounder. Alternatively - they could trade a future pick. In my latest mock draft, I had Tebow going 41st overall to Buffalo. Chan Gailey experimented with the spread as the Chiefs offensive coordinator using Tyler Thigpen at QB. Like Jacksonville, Buffalo need a QB and a face of the franchise. Who picks directly before Buffalo in round two? The Seahawks. That could be an understated position of power for Seattle.

If Jacksonville really intend to draft Tebow for financial purposes - then it's likely. Taking the local hero will generate a huge buzz and likely ignite ticket sales - regardless whether Tebow would start in year one or even have an impact at all.

Seattle (#6 , #14 and #40) trades for Brandon Marshall
The Seahawks didn't fly in the Broncos receiver on a seaplane to fill an empty weekend. There was a certain element of showmanship too the way Pete Carroll embraced Marshall with a warm hug as he boarded at the VMAC. There's genuine interest there and I have no doubts that Seattle fully intend to do everything it takes to make a trade with Denver. To get the best deal, however, they're going to have to wait it out - potentially right up until draft day.

Seattle won't agree an offer sheet and cough up the #6 pick before the deadline passes well before April 22nd. Denver might not want to pick twice in the top fifteen picks due to the cost involved. The Seahawks might be better served trying to trade down from #14 to accumulate more picks and present a more reasonably priced first round option to the Broncos. Alternatively, maybe Seattle has no intention of spending a first round pick and thinks it can work out a deal elsewhere. That may be unlikely, but with little reported interest elsewhere, Marshall's off the field concerns and possibly Denver's desire to find a deal could be the catalyst for something to happen.

Marshall hasn't made any other visits yet, but that doesn't mean he won't do or that teams aren't interested. The alternative options do appear limited though and if it becomes a two-way discussion, Seattle will be better placed to work on a deal. It really depends on Denver's willingness to keep Marshall on the roster in 2010 if they don't get what they want.


Charles said...

Rob, I don't understand why any team in the NFC West especially wouldn't tender Atogwe. Especially if their FS situation isn't a great strength (like the Seahawks), and they have the funding to pull off such a move. It would do two things, both improve the teams secondary, and also weaken a divisional opponent. The contract could be heavily front loaded to for this year so it was very cap friendly for the rest of its duration. Also, the team could poison pill clause the tender even though its frowned upon. It wouldn't cost the team doing it any draft picks, and if anyone knows how the poison pills work and that they were okayed by the NFL, its the Seahawks. Just seems like a move that doesn't take alot of thought to do, yet nothing is being done yet. Plus it would still allow us to be alot more open in the draft and get the BPA instead of being stuck into a need situation. I know it's been brought up before but especially now with the cutting of Grant, why the heck wouldn't we make a move like this? Thoughts?

cysco said...

Anderson just signed with the Cardinals. Sounds like Whitehurst will be a Hawk.

So does this mean no QB in this year's draft?


Anonymous said...

Assuming we aren't giving up #40 as part of the Whitehurst trade, which seems inevitable at this point, we could part with #40 to Jacksonville for their 2011 first rounder. I liked they way it worked out this year with Denver's 1st rounder, and wouldn't mind doing that again.

Rob Staton said...

Charles - I think there's a stalemate with Atogwe. Teams know if they offer a reasonable deal now, the Rams wil probably just match and keep him. If they over pay, they get the player but have to pay the big contract. I think I'm right in saying that in a few weeks time, he'll have more freedom. Teams are waiting it out right now but there should be some interest eventually.

Cysco - It's too hard to judge right now. They needed a backup. The cost is quite high, but they wanted someone who fits the scheme and whom might actually provide some competition. With all due respect to Derek Anderson, we know what he brings to the table. It hasn't been good the last two years. Seattle clearly thinks Whitehurst has more to offer. This might be a long term view of starting in 2011 and not feeling obliged to start a rookie in year two if you didn't want to.

There could be a lot at play here. Investment in Whitehurst to make teams think Seattle aren't interested in Clausen? A resignation that he'll go before #6? An objective to avoid QB early this year knowing Whitehurst might be able to start in 2011 if Hasselbeck departs? Potential competition in year one for Hasselbeck? Lots of unanswered questions.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - that's pretty much what I insinuated in the article. Personally, I think Jacksonville would be crazy to do it - but then who expected the Denver deal last year?

Charles said...

Rob- wouldn't the poison pill clause that we could put in the deal stop or at least severely limit the rams ability to match? or are you thinking that it's just taboo now and teams won't use that anymore? Also we have the richest owner by far in an uncapped year. If we wanted to get the player and make it so other teams might be hesitant to match it, just front load a huge portion of the money. Set it up so your first year you take the majority of the hit and the remaining years only cost 1 mil or so of cap space. Would make him cheap on the salary cap when it comes back, and good value for trade later if we do pick someone up that we like that can replace him. When money is all it costs to bring an upgrade in, I don't see why we wouldn't want to do it, especially since we don't have ANY current depth at the position.

Anonymous said...

I think trading Tapp for nothing shows a lack of intrest in Bradon Marshall. Tapp is a mid to late second round value. He's not Freeney but he would have made a dent in the marshall trade even if that involved a third team that fit tapps skill set.

Rob Staton said...

Charles - I think teams are unwilling to go down the poison pill route. There's been a move by the NFL to try and put an end to it. Although there's no rule in place, I think teams will avoid it.

I think the uncapped year/rich owner is a red herring to some extent. The minute you pay one guy an over inflated salary - the rest of your team want the same kind of money. Potential free agents come in and ask for more because they know you're willing to shell out. Rather than merely securing one good player in an uncapped year, it could have a major affect on Seattle's ability to do business in the future.

Dan Alexander said...

What about our 14th pick for Jared Gaither?

I have no clue how good of a player he is via my own two eyes. But I've heard good things about him, and that he's big, 23 and been started at LT for 2 years now I believe.

He's as young as some of these guys in the draft but with more experience. Would he be worth giving up the 14th? OR would it be better to slap our pick on an unproven college kid?

Rob Staton said...

Gaither is a much bigger lineman than you would often find in the Gibbs system. I think it's an unlikely match.

Dan Alexander said...

Yeah good point, totally forgot about that aspect of it

Charles said...

Probably answers the question if we'd be interested in someone like shawn andrews as a protential RG or LG then right?

Rob Staton said...

Yes, although I'm curious to see what the Seahawks do if Sims departs. They need to bring in some scheme guys, although obviously Ben Hamilton remains an option. I think Unger is safe and Spencer is still on the roster. I expect the line will get a heavy focus in the draft and I still really like Charles Brown as a perfect fit in the Gibbs scheme at LT.

Brandon said...

I hope Sims doesn't get dropped. This team has enough holes. Sims isn't a world-beater, but neither is he a hole.

ChavaC said...

" Seahawks acquired QB Charlie Whitehurst from the Chargers in exchange for a swap of 2010 swap of second-round picks and a third-round pick in 2011."

I just threw up.

smitty12 said...

2 deals to head scratchers