Rarely do the Indianapolis Colts orchestrate the sort of blockbuster trade that landed Trent Richardson in the backfield.
And the fact that they did it tells us two things:
- The future is now.
- Ahmad Bradshaw can’t lead the way.
Enter Richardson, a 22-
year-old feature back who will be given every opportunity to shoulder — or rather, carry — the backfield load.
Acquired from Cleveland at
the high but not outrageous
cost of a 2014 first-round draft pick, the second-year back
has a high ceiling and a real chance to shine in an offense
designed around Andrew Luck’s right arm.
The No. 3 pick of the 2012 draft, Richardson rushed for nearly 1,000 yards during his rookie season and should, health-permitting, annually top that figure for the foreseeable future. He instantly makes the offense more diverse and, coupled with Bradshaw’s presence, suddenly turns a glaring weakness into a strength.
Until the trade, no one could say — with a straight face — that Colts were a running threat. Now, they are.
And what the trade shows is that Jim Irsay is serious about winning. Not down the road, but now. We sort of suspected that from his tweets, but now we know it from his actions.
Clearly not intent on giving the product a year or two more to gel, Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson are doing what they can to make a run this season. Whether the Colts truly have the tools to do it remains to be seen, but the powers-that-be are providing as many as they can.
Millions were spent during the offseason to plug holes and shore up weaknesses. Signing Bradshaw was a good example. So was adding safety LaRon Landry and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, among others. The front office was busy in the offseason, and it remains busy now.
Rebuilding? The Colts are still doing it, but at hyper-speed.
Fans should applaud that.
Cognizant in what they have in Luck, the Colts or, rather, Irsay is desperate to avoid the one Peyton Manning regret: That they won only one Super Bowl during his 14 seasons.
Irsay expects a different fate with Luck, a special talent and a special leader who — with a little help — has all the qualities to win multiple rings. Why not start pursuing them now?
That seems to be the message Irsay has been sending loud and clear since opening up the pocketbook and generously distributing its contents. It began in the preseason, when he tweeted his displeasure with an exhibition loss. It continued after Week 1, when he tweeted his displeasure that the Colts’ win wasn’t convincing enough.
He drove it home Wednesday, when — to the shock of the NFL nation — the Colts pulled a rare in-season trade, three days after a home loss against Cincinnati.
Winning? The Colts are serious about that. And not just winning for winning’s sake, but winning in a way that forges Super Bowl stock. Not next season, but the next game. Why wait?
They’re not. The future is now.
Rick Morwick is the sports editor for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.