Similar trades that can be evaluated versus each other.
First, we all hope there is a big difference between the Browns decision makers that were involved in both moves. Trading the rights to Watkins made sense for GM Ray Farmer because he didn't value the wide receiver position. Not drafting Sammy made sense for HC Mike Pettine because he wanted to upgrade his defense.
The current Browns regime has little decision-making reputation to fall back on, much like Farmer and Pettine. The combination of Paul DePodesta, Sashi Brown, Andrew Berry and Hue Jackson have little to no NFL decisions to give Browns fans any confidence in their moves. Jackson has one major move that is often lambasted: Trading for Carson Palmer as the coach/GM of the Oakland Raiders. He gave up a ton for Palmer who has looked great in Arizona but flamed out in Oakland once Jackson left.
To move down 5 spots, from #4 to #9, the Browns got 2 picks in the next year's draft: a 1st and 4th Rounder.
To move down 6 spots, from #2 to #8, the Browns got 4 picks over the span of three drafts: a 3rd and a 4th this year, a 1st next year and a 2nd the year after that. They also gave up a 2017 conditional 4th Rounder, which will be their compensatory pick or the Browns 5th Rounder.
With the Watkins trade, we know the results already. The Browns got Justin Gilbert, Cameron Erving and Ibraheim Campbell for Watkins. Gilbert has been a clear bust while Erving struggled in his rookie year and Campbell got little playing time.
Erving and Campbell are expected to start and be important contributors this year but, so far, haven't amounted to much.
Watkins on the other hand, is a player that Browns fans love, despite his flaws. He has had over 2,000 yard receiving in his 2 seasons, with 15 TDs and 125 receptions. He is still injury prone with his slight frame, only 13 games last season and hobbled many more games over his two years. His route running has developed some but is not his strength. Even with all of that, the Browns 3 are not likely to have even close to the impact for their combined careers that Watkins will.
In this year's deal, Wentz is unlikely to play in his "age 24 season" (Turns 24 during the year). If all goes according to the Eagles plan, Wentz will see the field first during his age 25 season before the Eagles will know what they got. That is quite old for a developmental prospect. By comparison, Robert Griffin III will be in his age 26 season for the Browns this year, his first with the team and fifth in the league.
The Eagles will also get a late 4th or early 5th Rounder from the Browns as well.
The Browns then moved the Eagles pick at #8 to the Titans. The Browns added a 3rd Rounder this year and a 2nd Rounder next year to move down another 7 picks.
The Browns will add extra 1st and 2nd Rounders next year and another 2nd Rounder the year after that to Coleman, Coleman, Kessler, Louis and Kindred.
In the Watkins trade, the Browns got 3 players. So far, in the Wentz trade, the Browns have gotten 5 players with 3 more high-level picks left to come.
The Trade Partners
When the Bills traded up for Watkins, they were seen as an up and coming team. While E.J. Manuel flamed out at QB, the Bills still finished with a 9 - 7 record, finishing just outside of the Playoffs. Kyle Orton and the #4 overall defense pushed down the picks that were sent to the Browns. The Browns drafted Erving with the #19 pick in the 1st Round.
How the Eagles fair over the next two season will have a huge impact on the value the Browns get back. Sam Bradford is their starter at QB, somewhat begrudgingly on his part, and the team is transitioning to new leadership under Doug Peterson, an unimpressive hire according to most. A top 5 or 10 pick would add a huge amount of value to the Browns side of the trade.
While the Bills were seen as up and coming, the Eagles are in a rebuild. That leaves many to assume that they will struggle thus benefitting the Browns.
Trading with the Eagles, and then Titans, seems to be as important as the picks involved in the trade. Neither is expected to be good, using the BIlls 9 - 7 record as the standard, putting the Browns in very good position over the next two seasons.
If the Browns had drafted Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater instead of Gilbert, the trade with the Bills would look good to many. That would have kept the Browns from the Johnny Manziel fiasco. Not drafting Watkins was one thing, the decisions they made after the trade were more of a problem than the trade itself.
The same will be true with the Wentz trade. If Coleman is a #1 type receiver in the next 2 or 3 seasons (yes rookies need time to develop), if Shon Coleman is a starter, if Kessler is at least a solid backup and one of Louis or Kindred is contributing, the trade will look good. If the other high-level picks acquired are showing signs of being foundational pieces, which the Browns have few of, the trade will look great.
For some Browns fans, how Wentz plays will be of greater importance. Even if the players the Browns acquire play great, if Wentz is a stud QB, fans will hate the move. It is a harsh reality that situations, coaches, surrounding talent and culture play a huge role in how a player looks. Tom Brady and Russell Wilson are likely out of the league had they been drafted by the Browns.
While we can look at Watkins and Wentz and wonder the big "What if?" question, it is important to realize that neither would be the same in Cleveland, good or bad.
At this point, Watkins would be far more preferred than Gilbert, Erving and Campbell. We don't see that changing, ever.
Right now, we know close to nothing about the players and picks involved in the Wentz deal. We know the Browns got far more value due to how high the pick was and the position of the player. We believe that the Eagles, and Titans from the second trade, will have worse seasons than the Bills did.
Most believe that an NFL Draft class should be evaluated after 3 full seasons. Using that as a guide, it won't be till 2021 that we have a full evaluation of the Browns trade with the Eagles. Only 2 seasons in, it is safe to say that the Bills/Browns trade did not work out for Cleveland.
Let us all hope that by 2021 we feel much, much, much better about this year's deal.
How do you evaluate the Browns recent trade(s)?null