The proposed NFL trade that almost broke Twitter

Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, NFL Draft, NFL News


On Sunday afternoon, I proposed a trade between the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. I was then roasted beyond words.

Unless I’m talking about the Green Bay Packers, I don’t generally expect that much engagement on random thoughts I have about movies or jokes I make, or the sports takes I have.

So when I tweeted, somewhat off-hand, about a trade proposal between the Dolphins and the Browns, I didn’t think anyone would care. There are some Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins people who follow me I thought might chime in, but that was it.

Then, I got ratio’d in the ground. Before I knew it, I’d be unearthed, and re-buried, first by Browns Twitter, then by NFL Twitter.

The proposed trade seemed banal enough to me: Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry and the 11th pick for No. 1 and No. 4 for the Browns

Cleveland got a franchise quarterback, a Pro Bowl receiver, and got to keep a high pick. Miami got the chance to blow its franchise up.

The idea came from a piece I’d written about teams who could trade up for the No. 1 pick. It was spitballed and thrown out as a fun way to get a team into that top spot without giving up future firsts, but using players instead.

My thinking was Landry and the 11th for No. 4 was a pretty good deal. The Browns could work out a long-term deal with Landry and absorb overpaying for a somewhat limited receiver but still a reliable playmaker who is just 25 and has his best football ahead of him..

Even some who dragged my tweet overall, seemed to think this was a reasonable premise. If we can agree that’s reasonable, then it’s really the second part that becomes the problem for people.

The No. 1 overall pick for Ryan Tannehill.

I get it, that’s not a pick you’d likely make on its own. And getting to No. 1 from the 6-8 range would probably require multiple top picks so this is where the trade breaks down.

But again, I didn’t think about it that much. That seems like a lame defense, but it wasn’t supposed to be that serious an idea. I’ve tweeted over 82,000 times. Most of them weren’t meant to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

That said, the Philadelphia Eagles are asking for a first rounder and other things for Nick Foles. Sam Bradford got a first and a fourth.

Tannehill is not the garbage quarterback Twitter will have you believe. Before Tannehill got hurt in 2016, the Dolphins were 8-5, he was completing over 67 percent of his passes while averaging 7.7 yards per attempt. His quarterback rating was 93.5.

You know who has never had a season that efficient passing? No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. It would be the second-best season by former No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton. It’s more efficient than three of former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck’s five NFL seasons.

His completion percentage and per attempt numbers (neither are perfect metrics separately, but together they tell an excellent story) are each better than former No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz’s during what was widely considered an MVP season last year.

Would any of the quarterbacks in this draft—which is weak overall and lacks blue chip quarterback talent— be drafted ahead of those three guys?

Tannehill isn’t better than Newton or Luck. I wouldn’t take him over Wentz, but I’d at least think about it with Winston.

If Foles/Bradford can be worth a first and change, why can’t a quarterback who is better than both of them be worth a high first?

Trading the first overall pick makes Browns fans queasy, I get that. I wouldn’t do this deal if I were the Browns because I think Rosen can be really good, but he’s also the only guy in this draft I have any confidence will be better than Tannehill.

Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield will have to find the right system. Sam Darnold and Josh Allen need a lot of coaching and refinement.

Why is everyone so sure those guys will be good? Statistically speaking, most draft picks aren’t, and even fewer quarterback picks are good.

The premium is for certainty. We know what Tannehill (assuming he checks out physically) is. We know what Landry is. They make the Browns better. In a draft that lacks game changers at the top, the best teams can really hope for is picking a solid starter.

It was laughable to hear so many Browns fans, who cheer for a team that hasn’t had a reasonable quarterback since Bernie Kosar, complain that a guy who regularly completes 60 percent of his passes, throws for 4,000 yards and hasn’t thrown more than 12 picks since his second year in the league is some trash.

What’s more, it’s telling how many fans are sure their favorite quarterback is the next Aaron Rodgers.

What if the Browns really do love Allen? What if they’re going to take Saquon Barkley No. 1? Even if they took Rosen and Barkley, there’s no guarantees those guys are good.

Best-case scenario out of No. 1 and No. 4, the Browns get a franchise quarterback and an impact starter at a premium position. That’s what the trade was supposed to be.

Like I said, I wouldn’t do it if I’m Cleveland, but asking which drugs I was taking or suggesting it was the worst trade ever (Do people not know who Babe Ruth is? Or that the Hawks traded Bill Russell to the Celtics for a song?) just fundamentally misunderstands 1.) How big a crapshoot the draft is and 2.) How hard it is to find quality players.

There’s an underlying problem that could be its own column, about the polarity of Twitter and how things that are even marginally bad have to be the worst and mocked, and anything marginally good is the GOAT and should be celebrated with memes and GIFs and Slate think pieces.

But this is the inherent problem with Twitter. It’s a snapshot. I can tweet something about my support for the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims and NBA memes right next to one another and it’s up to the audience to divine tone, sincerity and weight.

Did I mean for a never-going-to-happen trade idea to be serious? Not really. It was an interesting idea to me, so I threw it out there.

Getting ethered led to me creating this #content, so all in all a very 2018 last 24 hours. I expect somewhere in the next 80,000 tweets it’ll happen again.





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