Free agency is open, and the moves are flying in. Later this weekend, we’ll do a football relativity list comparing these moves to each other. But the trade market is also moving in the NFL. On Friday, the Sage Rosenfels trade to the Vikings was finalized, and Rosenfels got a new 2-year, $9 million deal. But that wasn’t the only significant trade of the day. The Browns traded TE Kellen Winslow II to the Buccaneers for what was at first called “undisclosed draft picks.” (My guess was that they’re similiar to the 2nd- and 5th-rounders the Giants got for TE Jeremy Shockey, and that’s exactly what it is; reports are that that’s the case – a 2nd in ’09 and a 5th in ’10.) And the Patriots traded LB Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for an undisclosed pick.
So I thought we’d put together some thoughts on these trades. This may turn into part of a trades football relativity comparison if there are enough deals between now and draft day.
Kellen Winslow never quite lived up to his potential as a top-10 pick, but the second-generation tight end has certainly shown flashes of it in his five-year career – most notably during his 2007 Pro Bowl season. In Tampa, he’ll be at least the second receiving target (behind WR Antonio Bryant). Cleveland obviously wanted to turn the page and start over under a new coach and GM, and I’m not surprised they dealt Winslow. (I was expecting the trade to be WR Braylon Edwards to Philly, but this move is quite similar.) But the Browns will have to upgrade their offensive weapons if QB Brady Quinn (or Derek Anderson, if he starts) is going to have a chance of success. This move makes Tampa better, and it gives the Browns a chance to push the reset button harder and more effectively than they could have with Winslow still in the locker room.
Mike Vrabel went from an underrated performer to an impact player to a grizzled vet in New England – and the last category is why the Chiefs want him to be part of their team. Ex-Patriots official Scott Pioli is now running the show in Kansas City, and he knows Vrabel can be a great influence in the locker room and in the defensive huddle. Vrabel’s value is as the veteran influence who can help the Chiefs learn a new defensive system as well as develop a personality of a winning team. When Romeo Crennel was in Cleveland, he brought in Willie McGinest to do a similar thing. This is a move that won’t win a ton of games in Kansas City, but it should help the Chiefs’ young players learn how to win. That’s certainly worth a mid-round pick to Kansas City.