How Does the Trent Richardson Trade Affect the Packers?


Trent Richardson (33) runs the ball away from Detroit Lions cornerback Chris Houston (23). Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports photograph

In breaking news today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Indianapolis Colts have acquired Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson via trade. The Colts sent their 2014 first round pick to Cleveland for the second-year running back.

Colts owner Jim Irsay has been hinting all week that the team would make a move for a running back before the week six trade deadline, but it comes as shocking news that the back they acquired today was former first-round pick, Trent Richardson. Richardson was selected third overall in the 2012 draft, and it appears Cleveland general manager Michael Lombardi has already given up on the back.

The trade definitely helps out an Indianapolis team that has been dealing with significant injuries on offense this season. The team just announced today that starting tight end Dwayne Allen will undergo hip surgery and miss the rest of the season. They also lost starting running back Vick Ballard for the year due to an ACL tear. Richardson will join Ahmad Bradshaw in the Colts backfield and help keep Indianapolis competitive in the AFC South.

It appears Cleveland is already looking to the future and concentrating more on rebuilding than competing this season.

So why should the Packers care about this trade?

The Packers will face the Browns in week seven this season. This game will come at a crucial point in the year. Green Bay will be just becoming off a pair of tough games against division opponent, the Detroit Lions, and on the road against defending Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens. Both of these games follow the Packers’ bye week and will be a challenge to win.

After the Packers face Cleveland in week seven, they will hit a difficult stretch in the schedule heavily saturated with talented NFC opponents. Four out of their next seven games will come against division teams (Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota twice). They will also play the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, and Dallas Cowboys during this stretch. The games against New York and Dallas will be away, and neither stadium is pleasant to play at.

The game against Cleveland precedes this tough run of games on the Packers’ schedule. With Richardson no longer with Cleveland, the Browns will be much less formidable this season. The only other back currently on their depth chart is the unknown Bobby Rainey, who has still yet to record a carry this season. With starting quarterback Brandon Weeden struggling early on this season, the Packers shouldn’t have a problem notching a victory when Cleveland comes to Lambeau Field in October.

You never want to overlook an opponent, but with the Browns apparently in a “rebuilding” year and losing their most talented player on offense, the Packers game against Cleveland could be as a close as a “sure thing” there is in the NFL. At the very least, Cleveland will be less competitive than they were with Richardson in their backfield.

At least, let’s hope.

I’m sure the Packers will welcome a win any way they can get it, especially at such a crucial time in the season. With Cleveland making roster moves with more of the future in mind, the Packers shouldn’t have a problem getting a win at home before they prepare for a long run against tough NFC opponents.