As we all know by now, Teddy Bridgewater suffered a serious knee injury in the final week of August. After a successful surgery, the team placed Bridgewater on Injured Reserve, ending his season before it really began. All indications so far point to a full recovery for the team’s franchise quarterback.
On September 3rd the Minnesota Vikings made a trade that was viewed as highly questionable by some NFL experts. In a move reeking of desperation, Vikings GM Rick Spielman sent a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 conditional fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for oft-injured Sam Bradford. The 2018 draft selection can become a third-round pick should the Vikings extend their season to the NFC Championship Game, or increase in value to a second-round pick should the Vikings win the Super Bowl.
LeVaughn Nelson previously posted why the trade makes sense for both teams. The Vikings are undefeated, and Carson Wentz – the Eagles’ second-overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft – has turned out to be the sensation Philadelphia was hoping for. Bradford and Co. head to Philadelphia this Sunday for a Week 7 matchup.
Several of the Vikings’ key players have been placed on IR since the trade, including future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson, left tackle Matt Kalil, right tackle Andre Smith, and safety Michael Griffin. They’ve tried to mitigate their sudden lack of depth by signing veterans like offensive tackle Jake Long and running back Ronnie Hillman. Quite frankly, those players are bandaids trying to stop the bleeding of multiple gunshots.
What moves can the Vikings make to bolster their roster before the NFL trade deadline takes effect at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday November 1st? Here’s my hot take: trade Teddy Bridgewater to the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns are a dumpster fire that may not smolder until the end of the 2017 NFL Draft. Cleveland will likely hold the top pick, and spend it on an NFL-ready quarterback like DeShaun Watson. Or, Cleveland could acquire Bridgewater, a proven NFL quarterback, in exchange for a couple players that could help the Vikings win the Super Bowl. Sam Bradford has proven to be a viable quarterback in Mike Zimmer’s system, and he earns a salary that’s pretty average for a quarterback playing as well as he is. The Vikings should go for it all with Bradford this season and next.
With that, Cleveland should send left tackle Joe Thomas and cornerback Joe Haden to the Vikings in exchange for Bridgewater, left tackle TJ Clemmings, and a 2019 first-round pick. Acquiring Bridgewater would allow the Browns to target another player key to future success with their high draft picks in each of the next three drafts. Much like those great Dallas Cowboy teams from the 90’s, Cleveland’s future success could rely on one monster trade and solid drafts.
You’re probably thinking: 1) Why would anyone trade for an injured player? And 2) Is trading for a player on IR even permitted by league rules? Like I said, Bridgewater is an above average quarterback that has shown improvement each season. I looked into the NFL rules on trading players on IR, and could not find anything prohibiting a deal from taking place. As long as both teams understand the risk and agree to the trade, I believe the league will allow the transaction.
Bradford is the real deal in Minnesota, and those purple fans should embrace the opportunity to achieve football immortality. Cleveland needs to stockpile draft picks and quality players to return to the dominance the franchise has not witnessed since the 60’s. This trade needs to happen, and the clock is already ticking.