The Houston Texans are not in a great position to trade Jadeveon Clowney for anything less than a first round pick, unless the deal also involved a player. Let me just get this out of the way right now: C.J. Prosise is not worth mentioning. Your trade proposal involving Prosise was bad the moment it was a seed in your brain. He’s a fourth-year RB with virtually no on-field regular season experience of note, a free agent in 2020, and constantly injured. No. Just no. Stop it.
Rashaad Penny is a 2018 first round pick who some Seattle Seahawks fans have wanted to trade in for “something of value” since the day he was drafted, but we have no reason to believe yet that Pete Carroll is dissatisfied with that decision. The team plans to run the football more than every team in the NFL and they probably aren’t prepared to do that with Chris Carson alone.
An injury to Carson, without Penny, leads to the team starting Travis Homer, J.D. McKissic, or Prosise. It would not take much for the Seahawks to be in the same position they were in back in 2017 when Carson was injured as a rookie. Have whatever opinions about running backs that you have, I’m basing my assumptions on what Carroll would do, not what you or I would do.
At best, with one year removed from being a late first round pick, Penny could be considered comparable value to a third round pick. Maybe. I don’t see it being a first and I’m not sure that it would be a second, especially given that the Texans might assume that with Clowney, Seattle won’t be picking early in each round.
What players could the Seahawks include to make it a trade that’s worth it for a team suffering issues at offensive line and running back? I have no idea and there’s zero reason to speculate. But I don’t see Seattle having an offensive tackle or running back to offer to Houston. My expectation would be that even in the best case scenario, a team without a player to offer is giving up a second round pick. If the Texans get lucky, maybe even a first.
Great! So your team that you already liked just traded a first or a second round pick for a marquee player. You must be on your way to the Super Bowl, right?! That’s how it works! All of these trades work out. They’re perfect in every way.
If you’re the New England Patriots, maybe. For everyone else, it’s been kind of a bad move time and time again. I know that most people who want Clowney will ignore the following or pick out the parts that help the argument, but this is what you’re about to see:
Unfiltered, uncherrypicked cases of every first or second round pick used in trade to acquire a player, covering the years 2007-2017. That’s an 11-year sample size with 28 trades. Which of the 28 trades below tell you that for the near and long-term success of the franchise, the Seahawks should give up draft capital and salary cap space for a one-year rental of Jadeveon Clowney?
2007 to 2017 - First round picks for players
3/10/17 - Patriots trade 1st, 3rd to Saints for Brandin Cooks, 4th
New Orleans got Ryan Ramczyk. The Patriots went to the Super Bowl — for the second time in a currently-active three-year run — and traded Cooks to the Rams after only one season.
Philadelphia acquired Derek Barnett this way. Bradford didn’t help Minnesota with anything.
3/10/15 - Seahawks trade 1st, Max Unger to Saints for Jimmy Graham, 4th
You know how this worked out. Graham had some productive games for Seattle, but as a team, the franchise declined from 2012-2014 to 2015-2017. The trade may not have been at fault for that, but it wasn’t helpful either. The Saints’ best acquisition here by far was Unger, the pick was spent on Stephone Anthony.
“Wow, really?” then and “Holy cow, seriously?!” now.
Cleveland used the pick to trade up for Johnny Manziel.
4/22/13 - Bucs trade 1st, 4th to Jets for Darrelle Revis
Tampa Bay acquired the best or second-best cornerback in the entire NFL. He was 27. They signed him to a $96 million contract and cut him one year later. New York drafted Sheldon Richardson.
3/12/13 - Seahawks trade 1st, 3rd, 7th to Vikings for Percy Harvin
I think today I’m taking a hard stance that I don’t care anymore when people say that “Harvin helped the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.” In a season that saw Harvin on the sideline for 95% of it, Harvin came back for the Super Bowl and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. In a game in which the Broncos could do absolutely nothing on offense or defense. I know there will be comments saying something magical about that kickoff return ... I’m still not gonna buy it. I know as Seattle fans we want to kick ourselves down whenever possible and believe that the worst is on the horizon, but that game was over. Harvin was not a positive acquisition for the Seahawks.
Minnesota drafted Xavier Rhodes and Jerick McKinnon with two of those picks.
Cincy selected Gio Bernard and Dre Kirkpatrick with these picks. Palmer went 8-16 for Oakland in a little less than two seasons.
9/6/09 - Raiders trade 1st to Patriots for Richard Seymour
Seymour spent four seasons in Oakland, making two Pro Bowls. But they never posted a winning record with him and New England used the first to select tackle Nate Solder.
4/20/09 - Eagles trade 1st, 4th to Bills for Jason Peters
A two-time Pro Bowl 26-year-old left tackle on the trade market is pretty damn near impossible to find. And nine years after making the trade, Philly won the Super Bowl. Buffalo spent the first on center Eric Wood.
4/3/09 - Bears trade two 1sts, 3rd, Kyle Orton to Broncos for Jay Cutler, 5th
Denver made a lot of deals with these picks. They eventually ended up with both Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas because of it. They also got Robert Ayers and a couple other low key players, but clearly this is a win over having just Cutler, who didn’t do much winning in Chicago.
What a strange trade, both now and at the time. Williams was disappointing in Detroit and only got worse in Dallas.
4/23/08 - Vikings trade 1st, two 3rds, 6th to Chiefs for Jared Allen, 6th
A first and two thirds for a pass rusher? Allen was 26 and coming off of his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl nod. It’s similar value to what Kansas City gave up for Frank Clark this year, so it’s less out of date than the Roy Williams deal. Allen was a great pass rusher for Minnesota, a team that went to the playoffs in three of his six seasons there, but won only a single postseason game.
The Chiefs turned those draft picks into Branden Albert and Jamaal Charles.
3/22/07 - Texans trade 1st, two 2nds to Falcons for Matt Schaub, 1st
With only a slight trade up in round one, this is basically two 2nds for Atlanta’s backup QB. Schaub of course played well in Houston for a little while, though he didn’t make a postseason dent for the Texans. The Falcons got Justin Blalock, a starting guard for eight years, and used the other on a trade up for left tackle Sam Baker.
2007-2017 - Second round picks for players
10/31/17 - Seahawks trade 2nd, 3rd to Texans for Duane Brown, 5th
Seattle certainly needed someone like Brown. They would have much preferred to just have hit on one of their tackle picks in the draft, but here they were. Too early to say how Houston’s picks will turn out.
10/31/17 - 49ers trade 2nd to Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo
I said it at the time and I have no reason to change my stance yet: terrible trade. Only because of the decision to give up a second for a player who’d be available after the season, then $137 million to him because of it. Garoppolo has yet to do anything of significance in San Francisco. In theory, a second on a franchise QB is great, but in this case it forced a team to gamble a franchise QB contract on an unproven backup.
9/1/17 - Seahawks trade 2nd, 7th, Jermaine Kearse to Jets for Sheldon Richardson, 7th
John Schneider does love to deal. This one, like Harvin and Graham, was a less than ideal deal. New York used the second as one of the picks to move up for Sam Darnold.
8/11/17 - Rams trade 2nd, EJ Gaines to Bills for Sammy Watkins, 6th
A one-year rental for a receiver who was injured and didn’t play that well. The second rounder was used to trade up for Josh Allen.
3/15/16 - Cardinals trade 2nd, Jonathan Cooper to Patriots for Chandler Jones
They still haven’t posted a winning season in the three years with Jones, but obviously Arizona is happy to use a second rounder to get an elite pass rusher. If your only goal is to acquire talented players for the sake of it, then you see many examples here of how that is possible. If your goal is to get to the Super Bowl, we haven’t seen how these picks have really helped teams do that.
3/12/13 - Chiefs trade two 2nds to 49ers for Alex Smith
A good quarterback for Kansas City who could run Andy Reid’s system. The Chiefs went 1-4 in the postseason with Smith, however. San Francisco eventually wound up with Carlos Hyde, Mike Davis, Tank Carradine, and Chris Borland, among one or two others.
8/27/12 - Colts trade 2nd to Dolphins for Vontae Davis
Miami drafted current Seahawks corner Jamar Taylor. Davis spent six years in Indianapolis, played some good ball.
7/29/11 - Cardinals trade 2nd, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to Eagles for Kevin Kolb
Kolb went 6-8 in Arizona.
4/14/10 - Dolphins trade two 2nds to Broncos for Brandon Marshall
Marshall spent two years in Miami, playing well but not helping the Dolphins win enough games to make the postseason. He eventually returned two thirds from the Bears. Denver got Orlando Franklin and eventually Tim Tebow with this trade. The Cutler trade was also tangentially connected to Denver’s eventual Tebow selection.
4/5/10 - Washington trades 2nd, 4th to Eagles for Donovan McNabb
Not much ever got going for McNabb in Washington, even though he was still only 34 at the time.
2/28/09 - Chiefs trade 2nd to Patriots for Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel
People called it a “sweetheart deal” for Kansas City, but what had Cassel ever accomplished at that point in his professional or college career? He made zero starts at USC and spent three years as Tom Brady’s backup, then one year in a nicely setup system for a team that went 16-0 a year earlier with 50 touchdown passes. Cassel had one fine season and is still puttering around the league. New England got Patrick Chung, a three-time Super Bowl champion defensive back.
2/27/09 - Bucs trade 2nd, 6th to Browns for Kellen Winslow
Winslow had a few productive years in Tampa. Cleveland selected receiver Mohamed Massaquoi with the pick.
3/21/08 - Raiders trade 2nd to Falcons for DeAngelo Hall
Like most people, I have no memory of Hall on the Raiders. He signed a $70 million contract, $24.5 million guaranteed, and was released after eight games. Eight games! It’s about as bad as the Percy Harvin deal. For Altanta, his pick was also involved in the Sam Baker trade.
3/1/08 - Browns trade 2nd to Packers for Corey Williams
Williams spent two years in Cleveland and Green Bay drafted Brian Brohm.
3/5/07 - Patriots trade 2nd, 7th to Dolphins for Wes Welker
Well we went back 12 years and finally found a trade that looks really smart. And it was pulled off by Bill Belichick as he was gearing for the next era in Patriots football with Brady, Welker, and Randy Moss. (Moss was acquired for a fourth round pick.) It was a rare moment when a team traded for a player based on what they thought he could do for them, not what he had done for somebody else. Welker had just 687 yards and a touchdown in 2006, but teams clearly liked his potential.
The trade was also only required because Welker was a restricted free agent on the second round tender. New England thought about “poison pilling” Welker, but ultimately just traded the picks.