I'm sure the Redskins will spin the trade for T.J. Duckett in a bunch of ways, and they'll continue to laud Betts and Cartwright and assure everyone Portis will be just great this season, but here's my take on it.
1) The Redskins have shown again the draft ain't their thing. They do not value picks the way other teams do, and given their recent success in free agency and trades and lack of it for the most part in the draft, I don't even blame them. But this move screams to me their goal to win a Super Bowl ASAP. Duckett is a free agent at the end of the season and, at least in early talks, expressed little interest in signing an extension now, sources said. He might end up being a one-year rental.
2) I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't see them getting 16 relatively healthy games out of Portis. Team will target his shoulder all year, and he's already been prone to stingers with that low running style. They needed more insurance, and got it, but Duckett is a 10 carry guy at most to this point, and I would think they still need Ladell around. But trying to get Ladell signing to a extension just got much more difficult, if indeed it is still their goal to have him around as a long-term backup to Portis.
3) I can't imagine Ladell or Rock is going to be pleased with this, for what it's worth, and I wonder how Mike Sellers will feel, too. I found out about the trade around 8:30 last night when I happened to be in mid-conversation with an agent for one of the running backs or fullbacks on the roster. The agent's phone beeped, it was his client from the Redskins' backfield calling in, and this player was fuming, damn near irate, after just being told by a team official that Duckett was coming here. That's how I got the story, with other details coming in throughout the night. Sellers gave the Skins a Pro Bowl season last year, was set for a lot of short-yardage and goal line work, and that's Duckett's specialty. Rock is a stud on special teams, but that might not be enough to stick around on the final 53-man roster, and Nemo Broughton is a goner, like so many other recent draft picks ( another reason I can see why the team is so willing to part with future draft picks to make trades).
4) Denver has to love it when the Skins call. The Broncos have found a slew of starting running backs in the late rounds, loaded up on picks in the Jason Campbell deal a few years ago (albeit they struck out big time selecting Maurice Clarrett) and ended up with at least the equivalent of a high third-round pick for a disgruntled receiver Ashley Lelie, who they were going to give the TO treatment to anyway. An agent involved in the trade also told me Lelie gave back $250,000 in signing bonus money to the Broncos as part of the deal, which is another feather in their cap.
5) Anyone looking for a complex breakdown on the exact draft picks involved here, well, here goes. It all depends on how they teams finish in draft order and how each of their corresponding drafts picks stand on this "value chart" that NFL teams loves to use. Basically, they could end swapping first-round picks in 2007; they could flop first-rounders and the Broncos also get a four-round pick in 2008; they could flop firsts and the Broncos get a third in 2007; or the Broncos could end up with a third in 2007 and a fourth in 2008 (the Redskins do not have a fourth-round pick in 2007). In the end, the pick will be equivalent to what the value chart shows for a "high third-round pick" and the various possible first-round swaps would come into play if there is a big discrepancy in where the team's finish, and how high their picks are in each round.
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