The NFL draft is fast approaching and the Bengals FO, which has done little to nothing to improve their roster in free agency while waiting to come to an agreement with their "franchise" QB, once again will have to score big in the draft to keep up with the rest of the division and shore up some weaknesses at CB, O-line, RB, and possibly QB, DE and S.
Judging from the interview Brown gave about the ongoing negotiations with Dalton, the FO is clearly concerned about tying up such a large percentage of the cap in two players (Dalton and Green). My first draft-day trade proposal would address that concern and while the FO has shied away from trading up on draft day, this might be the time to do that. My second proposal is all about giving the Browns some much-deserved payback for the way they sniped Hawkins and (more importantly) preventing them from acquiring a key player, while adding an additional pick.
Trade A.J. Green to the Rams for the #2 pick and use that pick on Sammy Watkins. Green carries a manageable $6.26 Mil cap hit this year, which rises to a fairly hefty $10.18 Mil in 2015. If he continues to stay healthy and play at a Pro-Bowl caliber-level, he's probably looking at at least $16-20 Mil a year when he hits free agency in 2016. Watkins is a once-in-a-decade talent with a rare size/speed combination and no character, level of competition or work ethic flags. He is about as "Can't Miss" as Megatron and Andre Johnson were coming out.
This is a trade that would be appealing to both parties. The Rams, who haven't been able to find that #1 WR via the draft, get a tried-and-trued All-Pro WR, while the Bengals get one of the best WR prospects in the last decade and avoid having to hamstring their roster by tying up so much cap space in a QB and WR. While I'd personally rather trade Dalton and keep Green, it's doubtful the Red Rocket would fetch more than a 3rd or 4th rounder, so until the verdict is out on whether AD can be a franchise QB, this makes more sense.
As an added bonus, this keeps Watkins away from the Browns and increases the chances they gamble on one of the top QBs. The prospect of Hall, Newman and/or Kirkpatrick having to face both Gordon and Watkins twice a year (along with Baby Hawk in the slot) is downright scary!
Assuming Cleveland's new FO makes the smart choice to pass on a QB with their #4 pick and one of the top QBs (Bortles, Bridgewater, Carr, Manziel) is still on the board when the Bengals come on the clock, they should consider trading the pick and moving down a few spots, if there isn't a screaming BPA available like Dennard, Gilbert or Donald. The Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Raiders and Vikings would all be potential trade partners, if they haven't already addressed the position. This would net the Bengals an additional pick and harm a division rival at the same time. Personally, if Manziel were the only QB left on the board, I would re-consider this strategy, as I'm not sold on Johnny Football's style of play translating to the NFL and would hope the Browns drafted him but I won't include this as a poll option since everyone has their opinion as to which QB prospects will pan out. Another situation where this trade would make sense is if the Browns did select a QB at #4 and a talented WR like Mike Evans or Watkins (can't see this happening) dropped in the draft.
Let's hear what you think and be sure to voice your opinion in the poll. Who knows, if there's an overwhelming response to one or both of these proposals, Sarcasm_Font/maybe Mike Brown takes notice/Sarcasm_Font?