The NFL was rocked by a blockbuster trade on Wednesday—one that has fans in one Midwestern state dancing with joy, while their neighbors to the east throw their hands up in frustration.
Adam Schefter of ESPN was the first to break to the news:
Running back Trent Richardson, who was the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, was dealt by the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts. According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, the Colts will in turn send their 2014 first-round pick to Cleveland.
The trade has been met with either great delight or incredulity depending on geographic location. It's the latest bold move by a Colts organization that was not only a surprise playoff team last year, but was also aggressive in free agency this past offseason.
Team owner and CEO Jim Irsay, as one would expect, took to Twitter to spread the good news:
As one would also expect, this deal sent Twitter into a frenzy, but we're going to focus on one tweet in particular, from NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah:
Jeremiah is onto something here. There's a lot to like.
In quarterback Andrew Luck, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and now Richardson, the Colts now have the nucleus of an offense that may terrorize the AFC South for the better part of the next decade. This trio of young talent hearkens back to Indy's glory days.
Luck was the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. He threw for nearly 4,400 yards last year en route to taking the Colts from 2-14 to 11-5 and leading them into the playoffs.
The former Stanford star was drawing comparisons to Peyton Manning before he ever set foot in the NFL. Those comparisons only grew after he landed in Indianapolis and was successful as a rookie.
Now he is one weapon closer to living up to that lofty comparison.
Luck was joined in Indy last year by T.Y. Hilton, a third-round pick out of Florida International.
Hilton took awhile to make his mark as a rookie, but in Week 3 of last year, he had his first 100-yard receiving game, a mark he would reach four more times during the 2012 season.
It's premature to compare him to the great Marvin Harrison, but as Hilton showed by averaging more than 20 yards a grab on six catches last week against the Miami Dolphins, he's already one of the more dangerous vertical threats in the NFL.
What the Colts were missing was a bell-cow running back, a player capable of improving the team's NFL rank of 22nd on the ground last year.
Indy isn't missing that anymore.
Yes, Richardson's 3.6 yards a carry as a rookie wasn't impressive. However, the former Alabama star topped 1,300 total yards and scored double-digit touchdowns for the Browns in 2012.
There's a reason why Cleveland spent a top-five pick on Richardson. He's capable of giving the Colts the sort of balance on offense that the team hasn't enjoyed since Edgerrin James headed west.
Now, before anyone breaks out their old highlight videos and pencils in the Colts for the next six division titles, a bit of cold water needs to be thrown on this little celebration. An offensive line and defense that the Colts spent a ton of money on in the offseason haven't performed as well as many had hoped.
With that said, it's still early in the year, and the last time I checked, the dominant Colts squads of the past decade weren't known for their defense.
Not only does Indianapolis have the makings of a scary offense, it's even scarier when you consider how young the core is. And that's without even mentioning Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, the talented second-year tight end duo.
That sound you hear is fans of the Houston Texans groaning.
You know, before last season, a lot of people questioned why veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne would want to stick around for the rebuilding process in Indianapolis.
It would seem that the old man knew something we didn't, because the addition of Trent Richardson hammers home something that is now quite evident.
Offensively speaking at least, the Colts are rebuilt...and then some.