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Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm brings you hot news and the inside scoop about the NFL.

Three recent player swaps that were a net loss

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

I hadn’t yet written about Brady Quinn or LaDainian Tomlinson reaction, so I thought I would kill two stones with one bird (my Dad’s corruption of the popular phrase) and hit both in one post. Why? Because I think both moves — plus a third swap of players — fits into a similar category.

In each case, the team in question below let a player (on in the Browns’ case, two players) at a given position and soon after signed or traded for a de facto replacement. These weren't straight-up trades, mind you, but the teams essentially swapped one or two for the other. In all three cases, I thought the moves were bad or pointless, or, heck, both.

So, onward with our disapproval swap list:

Browns swapping Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson for Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace:
And the Browns gained what exactly? Look, not the biggest Anderson fan here and I am no Quinn apologist. But did Quinn have no upside, no development potential at all? In 12 starts for the team, the Browns had seen enough apparently. And you know what? He might not be very good, a plus-level starter, ever.

But we know what Delhomme and Wallace are at this stage in their career. Love Jake as a man, but I feel he has a bad case of the yips, spurred on from that disastrous playoff loss to the Cardinals on his birthday. I was there that night. I saw him walk, like a ghost, out of that locker room. I heard the deafening silence in the room and the pained, flabbergasted expression on his face as he tried to explain what happened out on the field.

I don’t think his problems since then have been physical; they’re clearly mental, though at 35, the physical part might not be far behind. And Wallace, well, he’s a career backup (and maybe not even that great) and occasional trick-play option or wideout. Maybe Anderson for sure had to go and Quinn’s time was close to being up anyway. But could you not have gotten more in return or at least replaced them with better players?

Jets swapping Thomas Jones for LaDainian Tomlinson: This one will haunt the Jets. Running backs have this strange, precipitous drop in their careers, and though they don’t know when it comes, it’s usually sometime close to their 30th birthday. Jones will be 32 in August, so perhaps he was due to fall from 1,400 yards and 4.2 yards per carry to roughly 750 and 3.4 next season. Maybe that’s what he’ll get in Kansas City.

But Tomlinson, only a year younger but much farther along in his body damage than Jones (841 more touches in his career), already has hit that wall. Heck, he hit it in the second half of 2008, before anyone wanted to admit it. Last year, no one could ignore it. With 730 yards, 3.3 yards per carry and only three rushes longer than 19 yards against mostly seven-man fronts (let’s be honest here), Tomlinson was cooked in 2009. He did that work on 220 carries; what’s he going to get as Shonn Greene’s backup? He’ll be lucky to see 200 touches total.

And the whole mentor-for-Greene thing? I don’t buy it. Tomlinson is mostly a classy guy, no doubt. But he’s also a type-A back in the Emmitt mold who wants his touches, despite all the good things he’s saying now. There will come a point, maybe when Greene’s fumbling problems resurface (don’t tell me you forget about them), when LT drops the slightest of hints that he wouldn’t have lost that ball. For years, he wouldn’t have. Now, I am not certain.

A bad move that actually cost the Jets $100,000 to make when you take into consideration how much Jones signed for in Kansas City. Would he not have given the same reworked deal to the Jets? Bet he would have.

49ers swap Shaun Hill for David Carr: The Niners gave up on Hill then thanked him for his terrific service after trading him for a bag of day-old doughnuts (actually a seventh-round pick). The real reason: He wasn’t a Mike Singeltary guy. But I can’t figure out why. Sure, you don’t want Hill starting 16 games for you, no, but can you do much better than him as a backup? I like the guy. He’s self-made, has starting experience and has the guts to come in and try to win a game when your starter is out, injured or ineffective.

Carr? He might be none of those things. I talked to a front-office man on one of Carr’s former teams who said he didn’t think the QB had a “gamer’s mentality.” Didn’t think he cared enough about the game. Yeah, when Carr got out there, you might see him make a few plays, but when was the last time — has there been a time? — when he made a play you remembered? A play that won a game, saved a game or put his team in a position to win? I’ll loan you the Houston Texans highlight DVDs from the first part of the decade, and you’ll see that those plays don’t exist.

And yet the 49ers paid him very well for a backup. So much so that it begs the question: How much does this team, the playoffs-verge team supposedly, really trust Alex Smith? Enough to bring in Carr and perhaps draft a QB in Round One at either 13 or 17? The whole thing stinks to me.

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