The Patriots made the first trade of the NFL regular season, shipping former first-round pick Laurence Maroney to the Denver Broncos. In the trade, New England swaps a sixth-round pick for a fourth-rounder in the 2011 draft. Below are some thoughts on the deal, both from an on-field perspective and a fantasy football perspective.
Maroney, a former first-round pick, never lived up to the hype in New England. He had three 700-yard seasons out of four, but never had more than 835 yards. He also failed to grasp the passing game well, which kept him from getting playing time. And this season, Maroney fell behind a healthy Fred Taylor, as well as role players Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk, which led to him being inactive in Week One. So he goes to Denver to be reunited with Josh McDaniels, who likes to collect running backs. Maroney won’t replace starter Knowshon Moreno, but he could usurp Correll Buckhalter as the backup. The Broncos don’t lose a draft pick but instead trade back from the fourth round to the sixth, giving up the equivalent of a late fourth-rounder. That’s a significant but not prohibitive price to pay for a guy who might just be a first-round bust.
For fantasy owners, Maroney’s departure raises Fred Taylor’s value to the point where he’s worth owning in any league of 10 teams or more. Taylor (who ran for 71 yards in the opener) could develop into a flex option going forward. In Denver, Moreno’s value holds steady, but Maroney’s arrival kills any value that Buckhalter had. Wait and see how the Maroney/Buckhalter situation plays out before dedicating a roster spot to either.