Denver Broncos' Josh McDaniels Traded Earl Thomas for Dan Gronkowski, Other Cuts

Reid BrooksAnalyst ISeptember 5, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Alphonso Smith #33 of the Denver Broncos warms up before their game against the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 27, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I'll explain, but before I explain, let me offer this brief defense of Josh McDaniels.

The entire reason Alphonso Smith was expendable was because Perrish Cox and Syd'quan Thompson (I really hope I can remember how to spell that name) are doing so well. I'll stop my defense there because Josh's mistake in this situation was virtually inexcusable.

Go back to spring of 2009, when Josh McDaniels had just arrived in Denver as the new coach of the Broncos and Jay Cutler was in the process of being traded to the Chicago Bears.

The feeling amongst the fans was confusion and anger; Denver had just lost the key pieces to its elite offense. And when the draft came around, after Josh robbed (we can see that in hindsight) Chicago in their trade, the confusion kept piling on.

That is because for absolutely no reason, Josh McDaniels traded away Denver's first round pick for 2010 (which everyone knew at the time would be a deep draft class, they just didn't know how deep) to the Seattle Seahawks for their second round pick—which anyone with a brain figured McDaniels was preparing to use on Rey Maualuga.

Instead, Josh picked Alphonso Smith. Who?

At the time he was a random cornerback coming out of Wake Forest who a small portion of extremely uneducated fans who only watch east coast football thought would be really good. He wasn't.

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And even if you think the risk was warranted, take into consideration that Josh knew how deep the draft class would be in 2010, so this was a situation in which he did not have room for error. And he knew that.

But still, Alphonso Smith was the pick. And with the Denver Broncos first round pick, Pete Carroll selected Earl Thomas.

Now Alphonso Smith has been traded to the Detroit Lions for Dan Gronkowski, whose only redeeming quality as a tight end is that his name is fun to say, so Josh's experiment has ended with the bizarre traded mentioned in this article's title.

Fans need to keep these things in mind. If Josh McDaniels is making all of these high-risk, "look-at-me!" personnel moves, they sure as heck better pan out. And so far, on the whole picture, he deserves a grade in the range of C.

If Tim Tebow works out, then of course, Josh will look like a genius and everything will be fine in the Mile High City. But if he doesn't?

Then you can throw him onto the Alphonso Smith pile along with Brady Quinn (he'll be there soon, and I miss Peyton Hillis already), and the entire burned draft class of 2006.

Just keep in mind that Denver could have had an identical draft and additionally and other player selected 14th or later this year. Instead, the Broncos have Dan Gronkowski.

In other news, the biggest cuts out of Broncoland on Saturday were former Patriot Jarvis Green and Brandon Stokely was placed on IR, effectively ending his long career.

The Broncos also said goodbye to linebacker Darrell Reid, Kevin Alexander, Britt Davis, Kyle McCarthy, Worrell Williams, and Seth Olsen, among others.

Yesterday the Broncos cut Jammie Kirlew, Chris Baker, and Nathan Overbay, among others.

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