Mike Holmgren, former president of the Cleveland Browns, recently made waves when he revealed that he offered all of his team’s selections in the 2012 NFL draft to the Indianapolis Colts in order to take Andrew Luck.
Holmgren let that tidbit of information out during an interview discussing the shocking Trent Richardson trade between the Indianapolis Colts and Browns with Dave “Softy” Mahler of 950 KJR-AM in Seattle.
He described a run-in with Colts general manager Ryan Grigson during the owners meetings, prior to Cleveland trading their first-, fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks to the Minnesota Vikings to move up a spot in the 2012 draft:
I talked to [Grigson] last year before we made the trade. I said, "I'll give you all of our draft picks for the No. 1 pick, and I'll take Luck. I'll give the whole draft to you." I said, "Ryan, let's do the deal, right now, right here." He said, "We're taking Luck." We were by the pool, I might've even had a lemonade in my hand. He didn't take me seriously, because I was ready to pull the trigger.
It wouldn’t have been an unprecedented move, as Mike Ditka—then the head coach of the New Orleans Saints—dealt all of his team’s picks in the 1999 draft and two the following year to the Washington Redskins in exchange for the No. 5 overall selection. The Saints would select Ricky Williams and deeply regret the decision shortly thereafter. Fox Sports' Chris Landry called it "one of the worst trades of all time," per Bill Baker of The Times-Picayune.
This trade would have made a bit more sense, as Holmgren knew his team needed a franchise quarterback to win in the modern NFL.
Unfortunately, the Colts were sticking with Luck at No. 1, while the St. Louis Rams received a better offer than the Browns' No. 4 and No. 7 overall picks—three first-rounders from the Washington Redskins—for the No. 2 pick that would eventually become Robert Griffin III.
The former Super Bowl-winning coach knew his offer was a long shot, as Holmgren said he would have "choked" had Grigson accepted.
Did the Colts make a mistake not taking all of Cleveland's 2012 draft picks for Luck?
When those two surefire stars were off the board, Holmgren decided to target T-Rich, a bruising running back out of Alabama. He never lived up to expectations in Cleveland—he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in his rookie season—and was recently dealt to Indianapolis for a first-round pick, per ESPN.com.
With Holmgren’s terrible tenure in the Cleveland front office now over, the current regime has once again made nabbing a franchise signal-caller a priority.
By trading away his best offensive skill-position player and effectively waving the white flag on the season, general manager Michael Lombardi has gone all in on the future.
It was a bold move, but one that could pay off if his organization is able to score a potential superstar like Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater at the top of the 2014 NFL draft.