The Philadelphia Eagles traded Mike Bell today for Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Harrison. Harrison has been unhappy with his role with the Browns thus far this season.
Despite being in his fifth season out of Washington State, Harrison has only carried the ball 304 times in his career. His limited carries, however, have been relatively effective. He has a career 4.6 yard per carry average despite playing for struggling offenses.
Last season, it appeared that Harrison finally made a breakthrough. In the final three games of the 2009 campaign, he carried the ball 106 times for 561 yards and five scores.
In the offseason, Harrison worked to renegotiate his contract but was forced to settle for a one-year tender. Additionally, the Browns traded for Peyton Hillis and drafted Montario Hardesty to add depth at the position.
Harrison's unhappiness with recent acquisitions, his contract and a fumbling problem in preseason all created tension between Harrison and the front office in Cleveland.
Implications for Cleveland
This trade shows a clear commitment to Hillis as the back of the future for the Browns. The upgrade in size from Harrison to Bell also shows Eric Mangini's preference for bigger, powerful backs rather than ball carriers looking to round the corner. Hillis, Bell and Hardesty are all larger, more powerful backs that may fare better against the defenses of the AFC North.
Implications for Philadelphia
Quite frankly, the Eagles already have their back of the future in LeSean McCoy. His gutsy performance on Sunday, playing with a cracked rib, has surely earned him the admiration of teammates and Philly fans. He's the same kind of back as Brian Westbrook and works really well within Andy Reid's system.
Harrison can be a nice complement to McCoy, especially in the passing game. Though he hasn't been asked to come out of the backfield and catch passes on a regular basis, he has been effective with his limited receptions.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Harrison will not solve their short yardage problems. At 5'9" and 205 lbs., he is smaller than McCoy and isn't necessarily a bruising runner.
This is a good trade for both teams. Cleveland is able to offload a disgruntled player and pick up the kind of back Eric Mangini likes. Philadelphia picks up a back who can spell McCoy and fits with Andy Reid's system.