Trade Blog

I'm sure the Redskins will spin the trade for T.J. Duckett in a bunch of ways, and they'll continue to laud Betts and Cartwright and assure everyone Portis will be just great this season, but here's my take on it.

1) The Redskins have shown again the draft ain't their thing. They do not value picks the way other teams do, and given their recent success in free agency and trades and lack of it for the most part in the draft, I don't even blame them. But this move screams to me their goal to win a Super Bowl ASAP. Duckett is a free agent at the end of the season and, at least in early talks, expressed little interest in signing an extension now, sources said. He might end up being a one-year rental.

2) I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't see them getting 16 relatively healthy games out of Portis. Team will target his shoulder all year, and he's already been prone to stingers with that low running style. They needed more insurance, and got it, but Duckett is a 10 carry guy at most to this point, and I would think they still need Ladell around. But trying to get Ladell signing to a extension just got much more difficult, if indeed it is still their goal to have him around as a long-term backup to Portis.

3) I can't imagine Ladell or Rock is going to be pleased with this, for what it's worth, and I wonder how Mike Sellers will feel, too. I found out about the trade around 8:30 last night when I happened to be in mid-conversation with an agent for one of the running backs or fullbacks on the roster. The agent's phone beeped, it was his client from the Redskins' backfield calling in, and this player was fuming, damn near irate, after just being told by a team official that Duckett was coming here. That's how I got the story, with other details coming in throughout the night. Sellers gave the Skins a Pro Bowl season last year, was set for a lot of short-yardage and goal line work, and that's Duckett's specialty. Rock is a stud on special teams, but that might not be enough to stick around on the final 53-man roster, and Nemo Broughton is a goner, like so many other recent draft picks ( another reason I can see why the team is so willing to part with future draft picks to make trades).

4) Denver has to love it when the Skins call. The Broncos have found a slew of starting running backs in the late rounds, loaded up on picks in the Jason Campbell deal a few years ago (albeit they struck out big time selecting Maurice Clarrett) and ended up with at least the equivalent of a high third-round pick for a disgruntled receiver Ashley Lelie, who they were going to give the TO treatment to anyway. An agent involved in the trade also told me Lelie gave back $250,000 in signing bonus money to the Broncos as part of the deal, which is another feather in their cap.

5) Anyone looking for a complex breakdown on the exact draft picks involved here, well, here goes. It all depends on how they teams finish in draft order and how each of their corresponding drafts picks stand on this "value chart" that NFL teams loves to use. Basically, they could end swapping first-round picks in 2007; they could flop first-rounders and the Broncos also get a four-round pick in 2008; they could flop firsts and the Broncos get a third in 2007; or the Broncos could end up with a third in 2007 and a fourth in 2008 (the Redskins do not have a fourth-round pick in 2007). In the end, the pick will be equivalent to what the value chart shows for a "high third-round pick" and the various possible first-round swaps would come into play if there is a big discrepancy in where the team's finish, and how high their picks are in each round.

By Jason La Canfora |  August 23, 2006; 12:29 PM ET
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Congrats on scooping last night! :-)

Posted by: P Diddy | August 23, 2006 12:41 PM

I just do not understand this trade. What we need is a punter. Sellers is a stud on special teams, blocking and short runs. Rock is a good fill in and has shown he can do the job for the short term. Broughton was going to get cut anyway. I just don't understand.

Posted by: | August 23, 2006 02:15 PM

Does team chemistry count for nothing to the Skins? How many backs to they need. I think Betts is a very serviceable back for a game here and there, and certainly Mike Sellers can handle short-yardage situations. I'm not sure this trade makes sense. Not to mention, giving up such a high draft pick, regardless of whether a team uses the draft or not, to a team that wasn't going to play its WR anyway is something beyond incomprehensible.

Posted by: Colin | August 23, 2006 02:23 PM

Seriously folks, are we really doubting St. Joe here? Come on now. The 'Skins have the best coaching staff and brain trust in the League, with oodles upon oodles of experience, and more Super Bowl rings among them than the President can count.

Let it go, enjoy the ride. The whole season will come down to dumb luck and injuries, just as it will with every other team.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 23, 2006 02:27 PM

I agree 100% wih Jason: the 'skins think they have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl this year, but only with a healthy and proven starting running back. No matter what they say, they don't think that the Betts/Cartwright combo can get it done for 16+ games -- and they probably believe Portis' early statements about his injury being something that could linger on and hinder his performance all season long. Duckett is a rental. If the skins can win the Super Bowl, who amoung us will care that they dealt a 3rd and 4th round pick for him and whether or not they can resign him?

Posted by: TechNomad | August 23, 2006 02:38 PM

Hey there. I'm not saying they should or should not have made the deal, just sending out my take on why they really did, and what it indicates to me, regardless of what they'll end up saying publicly about it.
It could very well work, but to me Rock and Sellers in particular have to be scratching their heads, and it can't be good for chemistry at this point. While I think Ladell would still be the main guy if/when Portis is out, his desire to re-sign here might not be nearly as strong, and the Skins might end up having to play him and Duckett off one another if they truly do want to keep one around long term. Neither one might be inclined to stay, and they'll probably end up overpaying, but, again they don't really care about that and it's not really a factor. They'll definitely spend whatever they can to try to win, and that's always admirable.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 23, 2006 02:53 PM

I think this trade is great. Remember when Portis complained about having too many carries two years ago? THis allows for TJ to get 10 good carries a game. THis guy has average 9 TD's a year for his career. I will take 6 or 6 TD's from him and be happy. When Brunell is out there throwing 5 picks a game and all we can do is run the ball TJ will be very useful. Give this trade a chance and you will see!

Posted by: Capital Punishment | August 23, 2006 02:54 PM

After the last preseason game, Coach Joe Gibbs said (of course with the weight of the loss on his mind), 'I haven't done my job'.

Do you think maybe he's over compensating? I agree with almost everyone that I don't see why we are getting an at-best average running back who plays in limited situations? Unless the team really is trading Betts (whose better overall than Ducket), isn't convinced Rock & Nemo can do the job, is truly concerned with Portis' health and durability (I mean, he did get hurt on the very first true hit of the preseason) and doesn't want to give Sellers any more spotlight.

Does Gibbs think he's doing his job now?

Posted by: Ajay Gupta | August 23, 2006 02:57 PM

I follow the Falcons and read the Atlanta papers, and the Falcons are happy to have dumped Duckett in exchange for Lelie (who has his own baggage). Duckett showed flashes during the past 3 years, but dances around in the hole, runs soft, and doesn't utilize his bulk and potential power. On the upside, I guess this is what was said about Stephen Davis his first few years.

Posted by: mart | August 23, 2006 03:03 PM

It's TJ, dummy. Not DJ. I know this and I'm not even the beat man for a major newspaper. And this moves smacks of desperation. Buh bye Super Bowl plans...

Posted by: marshall | August 23, 2006 03:09 PM

This is another example of the Skins making a move with long term ramifications based on short term overreaction.

Agree 100% with what you say about Denver. Through the years, we've given them:

Champ Bailey
A second round pick
A first round pick
A third round pick
A forth round pick
And now a third round pick

We've received:

That's a starting RB, his backup and our third string QB. That's in exchange for the game's best shut-down corner AND almost an ENTIRE DRAFT.


Posted by: TB | August 23, 2006 03:20 PM

Riggins/JoE Washington '81-85
George Rogers/Kelvin Bryant '85-89
Gerald Riggs/Earnest Byner '89-92
Gibbs always wants to have an inside/short yardage guy and an outside/home run type guy, as good as Betts is or may be, Gibbs inherited him and his future with the team may not lasted past this year regardless of the Duckett deal, people blasting this deal don't know what the hell they are talking about

Posted by: Brad | August 23, 2006 03:25 PM

This move gives me for the first time in this off season a little bit of doubt as to how good we can be this year. Makes me a bit nervous of the true health of Clinton and Ladell, we can't lean on TJ to take us to the promise land. It definitely does scream Superbowl bound if we use him as a filler for a play here or there to keep the other two 100% healthy for the entire year.
On another note:
I am sick and tired of the Skins wasting draft picks year after year. We must have the worst College Scouts in all of the NFL. Just one year would i like to go into a draft with all of our picks and come up with 3 or 4 starters. Wheres Bobby Bethard when we need him. Atlanta could care less about losing TJ...they have a rookie stud in Jerious Norwood that will take over for Warrick Dunn before the year is over. All that said and done...this is our best chance in a very long time to push for the Big getting my plane tickets to Miami. Fire up the Bandwagon(Tony is too busy so i thought id help get it started)

Posted by: Hammertime | August 23, 2006 03:38 PM

TB, who has Denver selected with those picks the Redskins gave them. And do you honestly believe the Broncos got the better of the Portis-Bailey deal. It certainly doesn't appear that way, especially considering Denver hasn't found an adequate replacement since they traded Portis to the Skins.

Posted by: Colin | August 23, 2006 03:39 PM

TB: we haven't missed Champ Bailey at all, thanks to Gregg Williams. We also got Portis for less money than what Denver paid Champ, so we saved cap space to use on other players as well, something the Snyder-hating media types always forget.

Posted by: KM | August 23, 2006 03:46 PM

Brad hit the nail on the head above.

Anybody who knows Gibbs's history with the Redskins knows he's always had a 260 pound RB in his stable. Duckett is going to be that guy this time around and don't think for a second he won't be re-signed.

The Redskins will offer him a crapload of money because Gibbs wants a proven power back in his RB stable. Gibbs really values those guys and will pay the money to have one in Duckett.

As for the Redskins "spinning" this deal, I have no doubt Gibbs likes Betts and Rock for what they bring to the table. But Gibbs requires having that 260 pound back, neither of which Betts or Rock are. They may not understand that because they're young guys who don't know Gibbs's history, but it's just the reality. Gibbs is a big back guy.

And don't say Sellers is either because he probably doesn't have 20 carries in his entire career. Gibbs wants him at fullback lead blocking, not carrying the ball. Who would lead block for Sellers? It doesn't make sense. But Sellers lead blocking for Duckett? Wow, that sounds positively nasty. At the very least, there'd be no 3rd and 2 we wouldn't convert.

Posted by: Walt | August 23, 2006 03:55 PM


Thanks for correcting Jason on his mistake in calling TJ Duckett "DJ." Now, if you plan to continue throwing words like "dummy" around, please find the nearest exit and log onto the message board.

Posted by: Jim | August 23, 2006 04:05 PM

slow down fellows. portis is hurt and will be lucky to last the season. ladell is hurt. rock is a special player on "special teams" only. sellars is great for short yardage. so, who do we have if ladell and portis are out at the same time. hello duckett, and welcome to the redskins.

Posted by: johnnymack | August 23, 2006 04:07 PM

First, thanks for the blog. Living in Carolina Beach NC is too far to keep up with my Redskins, who's games I went to at Griffth Stadium as a kid...

Brad's point about previous power backfields just sunk in...add to that our upgraded recievers and the new coaching makes me think that this team might field the best wepons ever.

Hard feelings aside the time is obviously now and Rock, Betts, and countless others have had their opportunities and the coaching is looking to improve our position where they couldn't.

Posted by: Capt. John | August 23, 2006 04:26 PM

Look guys...I want to trust Joe as much as the next fan. But you can't say, "hey, remember Joe always uses a small back and power back combination." Remember, this is not Joe's offense--it's Al Saunders'. Now, he did have Priest and LJ, but Priest was the main guy until he got hurt, giving LJ a chance. It wasn't the same as the kinds of combos Gibbs had back in the day. In short, I think this is a questionable move that is going to hurt team chemistry. I hope I'm wrong!

Posted by: Skeptic | August 23, 2006 04:28 PM

TB, you are so right about how we throw away so many draft choices, especially when Denver is involved. I do like the TJ Duckett trade, and I think a 3rd in this case is a good deal (if that's all we're giving up), but our trading history with Denver is abhorrant. I don't know if it's Vinny or Danny who's to blame, but we need someone in the FO with a little bit better handle on value and negotiating skills.

Posted by: TahoeSkin | August 23, 2006 04:54 PM

Nice analysis Jason. btw, how was dinner last night and who did you have dinner with?

Posted by: TahoeSkin | August 23, 2006 05:05 PM

This is a great move and a sign Ladell Betts is out. A lot of you are fuming for the FO upgrading our running game. Duckett is a legit NFL p-o-w-e-r Running Back.

Posted by: Emmanouel | August 23, 2006 05:06 PM

Nemo is done for after that last game.

It has been reported in the Washington Post that the Redskins were seeking this trade before Clinton got hurt, and then went harder at it after the partial dislocation.

I would guess Betts is going to the 49ers or Texans, that is just my guess - and we will recoop some draft picks.

As far as us "giving" Denver a 1st round pick for Jason Campbell - we drafted Jason with a better 1st round pick then we traded for him - so in essence we "got" JC for a THIRD ROUND pick, not a 1st. We didn't lose a 1st, we used it to draft JC.

If you don't think that Champ and a 2nd is worth Portis - have fun in your corner, because you are going to be lonely - that is except for Steve Czaban.

Portis has been great in a putrid and then average yet unbalanced offense in his 2 years here. All that and he is still only 24 until September.

If we give Denver a 4th rounder TJ Duckett would have to have a hell of a season - if we are to swap a 1st he would have to be in Honolulu in February.

Finally I just don't believe the Redskins would make this trade if they didn't think they could sign Duckett to an extension. Obviously Betts wants a lot of money - if they are going to shell out a lot of money for a backup it might as well be a powerful change of pace back, who is younger, and has produced in the NFL.

thats my 2cents La Canfora fans

Posted by: Spearhead | August 23, 2006 05:06 PM

I am pleased that someone took note of the inaprpopriate and unnecessary usage of the word "dummy". Anyway, the one thing that has not been mentioned is the fact that (JG) Joe Gibbs and staff has made it a point to have guys who are unselfish and that has bought into the system and philosophy that the organization will do whatever that gives them the best chance to win. I feel that Betts is a ligitimate servicable back up where is Sellers is a situational back with excellent blocking and pass catching skills. Catwright for special teams only. You can never have too many good players especially when we are trying to make a serious run.

Posted by: Majordad | August 23, 2006 05:14 PM

Hey, I'm perfectly willing to let the big brains do what they think is best to get us to the show this year. I'll pay my money and scream my head off for however's wearing burgandy and gold. On a side note, Portis's fantasy value just tanked. Duckett will get most of the carries from inside the 5. Clinton better make sure he finds the end zone every time he gets the ball inside the 20...

Posted by: 12th man | August 23, 2006 05:16 PM

The Redskins are always criticized for valuing other teams players more than their own. Case in point, the Skins find and develop Ryan Clark to the point that he's a decent starter, but when it's time to pay him a starter's wage, they throw that money at Archuleta.

Betts has been a decent backup and part time starter. He's a free agent at the end of the season and instead of working out a deal with him, the Skins went and traded for someone a different backup RB. Bizarre.

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | August 23, 2006 05:17 PM

Has anybody given thought to creating trade levrage,
there are quite a few teams that need a quality running back like Ladell. In two weeks if we can get a quality O lineman, or proven DB for Ladell everyone will love this move. I am sure Joe was considering the lack of depth on the line and in the secondary when he made this trade.
Stay tuned, it's not over.

Posted by: steve | August 23, 2006 05:38 PM

Agree with majordad and steve. Let's stay civilized and have fun here. Jason is doing this on his own time and he's not getting paid for it. None of the rest of us get to hang out at Redskins Park, and Jason's as close as we'll get. Be nice. It's just football.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 23, 2006 06:28 PM

This is another WTF trade. Okay, I get the big back small back thing but we ALREADY HAVE SELLARS and BETTS. A third round pick for DUCKETT.. do you know how many people in the league must LAUGH AT US for over paying. The guy isn't worth a 5th round pick. 3.1 yards per carry? Are you serious. And to mess up CHEMISTRY. The Rock and Betts are SOLDIERS. And here is the REAL reason why this trade is HORRIBLE we need more help at other positions:

Kicker (John Hall is on his last leg, literally)
Punter (Frost is medicore at best)
O-Line depth (Once the first line is out of the game it's like a jail break)
CB depth (Two words: ADE JIMOH)

Posted by: Rando in LA | August 23, 2006 06:35 PM

I like the Duckett deal. People knock his yard-per-carry, but remember he's been getting the rock mostly inside the 20 his whole career. And who cares what draft pick we give up? I don't get why everyone waxes romantic about "building through the draft". There's lots of ways to skin a cat, and Gibbs has ALWAYS built his team around veterans.

Jason, I'm sure Betts,Rock,Nemo don't feel great about TJ in the house...but what I'm really curious about is how CP feels...let us know.

Posted by: pfunk | August 23, 2006 06:51 PM

Hey ya'll, thought I'd check in while we wait for Coach Joe and/or Duckett to talk about the trade.
Someone wanted to know about my dinner last night? Pretty killer BBQ chicken burrito my wife cooked up. Ate with my wife and mother in law who is town. Not sure what's on the menu tonight or when I'll get home, but it might be leftovers.

Someone mentioned something about other trades coming. I actually wrote in out initial story Tues. night that a deal for Betts or Rock could be coming (obviously the chance to recoup a midround pick would be higher with Ladell. But, getting a lot for Ladell will be tough, because he too is in the contract year and he doesn't have TDs numbers. Also worth noting that Ladell has about 230 less carries than TJ in his career, and twice as many 100 yard games (2-1), for what it's worth.

Someone mentioned me having fans. Really? That's pretty cool. Good to know.

Also, anyone thinking the Skins could give up less if TJ plays well is not correct. The deal is based on a numerical draft pick value based on how the teams finish in the standings.

They also said there was something in my paper that was never reported there about this trade being in the works before Clinton got hurt or whatever. Not sure where that came from, but it's not true and basically got done Monday and Tuesday, which is after Portis got hurt. They Skins were actually trying to get Ladell re-signed before and still have been after Clinton got hurt. (that also might make it easier to deal him, too, should they accomplish it).

Also, they gave up a third, fourth and a first to Denver for Campbell, not just a third and a first.

That's all I got for now.


Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 23, 2006 06:56 PM

Oh and someome wanted CPs take on the deal. He basically welcomed Duckett, but, like the rest of the Rbs, said he's not sure what the move means, what TJ's role will be, what it means for Ladell and Rock, etc.
Coaching staff is not making any comments on the deal until all the I's are dotted, and Lelie is supposed to be taking his physical in Denver and signing everything, but we'll see.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 23, 2006 07:01 PM

See Brad's coments. He got it right.
Heavy Jumbo with Donnie Warren (TE/H-Back) in front of Riggs was unstopable. Ask the Bills. Duckett with Sellers(FB/former H-Back) in front, means more TD's and more short yardage conversions. Portis will miss scoring and the Sports Center air time, but with the anti-celebration, anti-fun rules in effect, that was going to happen anyway. Remember, In Joe We Trust!

Posted by: Mick | August 24, 2006 09:01 AM

Jason, thanks for getting CP's take on the deal. If CP says he doesn't know what to make of the TJ deal; you should answer with the following: "Well CP, you complained about being injured and having other teams target your shoulder...TJ's role is to prevent that by taking away some of your carries, particularly around the goal-line! After all a player of your 'caliber' shouldn't have to take shots on the shoulder around the, don't you feel protected?".

Posted by: pfunk | August 24, 2006 04:19 PM

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