I LOVE THIS FREAKING LEAGUE! Where do we even start? In the midst of a wild spending spree by teams with money to spend and roster holes to fill, the Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns and the Chiefs traded star defensive end Dee Ford to the Niners!
OK, let’s start with the blockbuster deal. The Giants traded a superstar wide receiver to Cleveland for a 2019 first-round pick (17th overall), a 2019 third-round pick, and safety Jabrill Peppers. (Btw, another player for player trade! Yay.)
I mean, oh wow. Here are my knee-jerk reactions to Tuesday night’s two big trades.
1. John freakin’ Dorsey is building a juggernaut in Cleveland.
Pairing OBJ with close buddy Jarvis Landry and young emerging tight end David Njoku, plus the stable of running backs (Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson, Kareem Hunt at some point) is more than enough weapons for Baker Mayfield.
This is how you build a roster of weapons for a young quarterback. The Browns have the cap space and the draft picks to make this happen, and they did. When you have an excellent young quarterback on a rookie deal, you go for it.
Add in the trade for Olivier Vernon and the Sheldon Richardson signing, and Dorsey has been the winner of this offseason.
I can’t wait to watch the Browns this season. Yes, I wrote that.
2. The Giants’ haul isn’t as bad as it seems, if they’re in rebuild mode.
“We didn’t sign Odell to trade him” - Dave Gettleman, Giants general manager
Those are Gettleman’s famous last words from the combine. The trade rumors have been strong since Jay Glazer wrote about a possible Odell Beckham trade earlier this offseason. Giants brass tried to deny it, but it always came off as lukewarm. The Giants seemed to regret giving Beckham new money almost right away.
It was clear that new Giants head coach Pat Shurmur and OBJ never had synergy. It didn’t help that Beckham missed time last season and the offense was able to function without him.
That all being said, this move only makes sense if the Giants are going full rebuild. And even then, I’m not sure I can justify it. Let’s start with the package they received back for Beckham.
Unlike most of social media, I don’t think it’s the worst deal possible. Here’s a secret: Most NFL franchises don’t value wide receivers like the general public does. We’ve seen wide receivers like Brandin Cooks and Amari Cooper traded for first-round picks. The Browns traded for Jarvis Landry by giving up a fourth- and seventh-round pick, and the Raiders just recently traded for Antonio Brown for third-and fifth round picks (plus a new contract).
The Giants received the Browns’ first-rounder and a late third-rounder, which if you wanted to be picky, wasn’t the Browns’ best third-rounder. The Giants also received a starting safety with this trade. It’s a nice haul. I don’t mind the compensation.
3. Beckham gets way more criticism than he deserves.
However, that’s about the only nice thing that can be said about this trade. If you’ve followed me long enough, you know that I think having a high-priced wide receiver on your roster without the other essential pieces on the roster set (QB, LT, pass rusher, CB) is a big no-no. The Giants were in that situation. I’d normally agree with this deal.
But Beckham breaks this rule, in my opinion. I’ve seen him win the Giants games. He’s caught short passes and taken them to the house for the final score of games. For as much grief as he gets for proposing to kicking nets and punching cooling fans, he’s beloved in the locker room.
He works his ass off, keeps the locker room loose, and brings his A game on gamedays. He’s NOT a distraction.
So if the Giants traded him because of that, it was unfounded.
How about the money? The Giants just gave Beckham a massive deal last offseason. It made him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL at around $18 million per season. They paid him $21.5 million last season for the 12 games he played in, and incur $16 million in dead cap space this season for him.
Beckham wasn’t even asking for a trade and the Giants, at a large financial cost, moved him anyway.
4. The Giants REALLY don’t have a plan.
Others have made this point and it’s the truth: The Giants are building a team around a 38-year-old quarterback who’s lost productivity over the years. The Giants have shored up the offensive line, and added Saquon Barkley to run behind it. Sterling Shepard doesn’t scream No. 1 wideout to me, though.
The Giants have zero talent on defense. No pass rush, slow linebackers, and no one to defend the pass. What are they doing? What’s the plan?
The Giants should have hit the reset button last season. They could’ve signed OBJ, released Eli Manning, and drafted Sam Darnold. Or not sign OBJ. Whatever. But draft Darnold. He was there for the taking.
Instead, they drafted a running back. Now at No. 6, the Giants might be in position to draft Dwayne Haskins or maybe even Daniel Jones, both of whom have issues to fix. Darnold is better than both.
What’s a better haul? Barkley and Jones, or Darnold and some pass rusher this season? Clearly the latter. So yeah, call me skeptical the Giants have any plan going forward.
5. The Chiefs trading away Dee Ford is a head-scratcher.
The Chiefs, who desperately need help on defense, traded away rising star and their best pass rusher, Dee Ford, to the Niners in return for a 2020 second-round pick. Ford, previously on the franchise tag, gets a healthy raise from his new team — five years and a reported $87.5 million.
My love for the Chiefs is known, so I can still discuss them without bias. This trade doesn’t make much sense. You need Ford badly. There’s not a single trusted edge pass rusher on the roster now after Ford was traded and Justin Houston was cut. Who’s going to rush the passer?
Yes, the Chiefs did upgrade at safety with Tyrann Mathieu, but he can only defend the pass for so long. So far the Chiefs haven’t done much to shore up cornerback, but again, they have no exterior pass rush, which is vital to success in the NFL. And, with the Chiefs often winning at the end of games, a pass rusher has more value. Ford was a player they needed in 2019.
If you look at this trade from the Chiefs’ side, I can see why they just tried to get anything they could for him after seeing the Giants turn Landon Collins loose for nothing. If no one was willing to give more and Ford wasn’t in their long-term plans, then get rid of him. I get it from a financial angle, just not from an on-the-field perspective.
Patrick Mahomes can’t be extended now, so they didn’t need this money. Maybe they are planning on upgrading the Tyreek Hill contract soon and need the cash. It just feels like they could have made it work either way.
Just a wild night in the NFL. I’ll be back Wednesday for more — when free agency officially begins.