Mock GM: Josh Gordon to 49ers, more trades that should happen before deadline
Chris Burke and Doug Farrar take on the roles of NFL general managers in Mock GM, as they work on speculative wheeling and dealing …
The NFL trade season already has been more active than usual, with former first-round picks Trent Richardson, Levi Brown and Eugene Monroe on the move. Who might be next to come off the block? With the trade deadline of Oct. 29 less than three weeks away, Doug Farrar and Chris Burke offer up three possibilities.
TRADE 1: Josh Gordon to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2014 second-round pick
Cleveland’s GM reacts (Farrar): As the Browns general manager, I’m looking to the future even though my team has surprised with a 3-2 record. I’m looking at a quarterback in Brandon Weeden that I didn’t like before the 2012 draft back when I worked for the NFL Network, and he still has a lot of the same limitations he had back then. I need a franchise quarterback and a dominant running back, and I can get another pass-catcher in the 2014 draft with a pretty deep level of talent at that position.
I know some fans will believe that we’re tanking the season with this trade, but I have faith in the defense we’ve built, and to be perfectly honest, I’d rather get as many draft chips as possible and build a legitimate contender over the next few years. Gordon is a talent, yes, but he’s also got enough dings on his personal record to make him a risk into the future. I’ll take advantage of the 49ers’ need to upgrade their passing offense now in return for upgrading mine drastically over the next few years.
San Francisco’s GM reacts (Burke): With three more Kansas City wins the draft choice sent to us in the Alex Smith trade locks in as a second-rounder, so we feel pretty comfortable dealing our original 2014 Round 2 spot. Plus, we’ve still got an extra third-rounder to work with, too, should anything else pop up on the radar.
From a pure football sense, this makes our team better. We’re still hopeful that Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree can come back and contribute in the next month or so, but waiting on them still leaves us shorthanded now. Plus, we’re not sure either guy will be back in 2014, so landing Gordon should help in the present and definitely down the line.
TRADE 2: Tony Gonzalez to the Kansas City Chiefs for a conditional fourth-round pick
Atlanta’s GM reacts (Farrar): Well, this is not what we expected. After grabbing the top seed in the NFC and nearly going to the Super Bowl last season, my team is 1-4, and the offense and defense are both falling apart. At a certain point, I have to acknowledge that there are several holes in the roster I’ve built. And with Julio Jones possibly out for the season and Roddy White hobbled all season, that vaunted passing offense isn’t working out.
Tony Gonzalez came back to Atlanta for one more season to chase a Super Bowl, and that’s not going to happen in Atlanta. GMs aren’t usually sentimental, and it’s a pragmatic move — we lost a ton of draft picks when we moved up to get Jones in 2011, and I need more picks to remedy that over the long term. My offer is Gonzalez to a Chiefs team that really needs a short and intermediate target and has a Super Bowl defense. If he hits certain statistical targets for the Chiefs in 2013, the fourth-round pick in return becomes a third-rounder. And if Tony is on the Chiefs’ roster at the start of the 2014 league year in March, the third becomes a future second.
Kansas City’s GM reacts (Burke): We’re pulling the trigger here for one reason and one reason only: We feel we can win the Super Bowl right now. Obviously, coughing up draft picks is not something to be taken lightly — with this trade and the Alex Smith trade, we’ll be short going into the 2014 draft. So only a perfect fit would even entice us to consider such a deal.
But this is a perfect fit. Gonzalez is still a beloved figure here, he gives us a massive upgrade at an important position and it’s workable financially — with $2.5 million in cap space, Gonzalez’s pro-rated salary fits, even if we might have to create a little wiggle room down the road.
TRADE 3: Kenny Britt to the Detroit Lions for a conditional 2014 sixth-round pick
Tennessee’s GM reacts (Burke): For us, it was becoming increasingly obvious that not only was Kenny Britt going to leave as a free agent after 2013, but that he badly needed a change of scenery. We don’t feel like this is equal value for the caliber of player that Britt is, but it was a better-than-nothing proposition for us, really. Hopefully, he’ll rediscover his game in a new situation, and we will move on in a more harmonious fashion without him.
Detroit’s GM reacts (Farrar): We’re hoping this won’t be Titus Young redux, but for a conditional sixth, taking Britt’s baggage is worth it in the short term. Our team is tied with Chicago for the NFC North lead, and we saw what our offense looks like without Calvin Johnson in last Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. In short, it wasn’t pretty. With Nate Burleson out for another month or so, it would certainly help to have a complementary target when Megatron is on the field, and something resembling a deep target if (God forbid) he isn’t. This would be a bad move for a non-contending team, but we can’t waste what Reggie Bush has done for our offense. If Britt drives us nuts like he drove the Titans nuts, we can cut bait sooner than later — or just have Ndamukong Suh talk to him.