The Browns have traded RB Jerome Harrison to the Eagles for RB Mike Bell, the Eagles announced Wednesday.
Harrison has not been able to build on his strong finish to the 2009 season, when he rushed for 561 yards as the Browns' featured back. He lost his starting job to Peyton Hillis and has rushed for just 91 yards on 31 carries in four games.
Bell, 27, has rushed for just 28 yards on 16 carries in five games this season. He signed with Philadelphia in March after two seasons in New Orleans.
The way we see it
The trade is basically a wash in terms of money, with Harrison, 27, making $1.759 million this season and Bell reportedly making $1.7 million. And both backs join offenses which might suit their skills a little better. The 6-foot, 225-pound Bell could fit well in Cleveland's scheme, which successfully has emphasized a physical ground game with Peyton Hillis as the focal point. The 5-9, 205-pound Harrison has good quickness and catches the ball well, and he could be a nice addition to a potent Philadelphia offense.
Both teams have starting running backs who are playing hurt; Hillis has a quad injury, and the Eagles' LeSean McCoy has a rib injury. Browns head coach Eric Mangini reportedly said Wednesday that he expects Hillis, who was to sit out practice Wednesday, to play Sunday, and Eagles head coach Andy Reid reportedly said that McCoy, who missed practice Wednesday, should be back Thursday.
These teams are familiar with each other, with Browns GM Tom Heckert holding the same position in Philadelphia before joining Cleveland in January. What's more, they have a history of making deals together; this is the third trade the teams have struck since April. (Interestingly enough, the last deal they made was on the second day of April's draft, when the Browns moved up to take rookie RB Montario Hardesty, who was expected to compete with Harrison for the starting job before suffering a season-ending knee injury.)
In short, this appears to be a deal that makes sense for both clubs, considering the circumstances.
Both Harrison and Bell project as backups with their new teams as long as the starters can play. Harrison has more value because he joins a better offense.