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Interesting tidbit from Peter King this week about how the Vikings nearly acquired Johnny Manziel:

As the picks went by, starting soon after the Rams chose at 13, Cleveland GM Ray Farmer worked the phones, trying to find a partner to move up from their second pick in the round (26th overall) to grab Manziel. He couldn’t find a fit. Finally, with less than three minutes to go in Philadelphia’s 22nd slot, Farmer heard this from an Eagles representative over the phone: “If you’re not gonna jump in here, we’re gonna trade the pick right now.” It’s cloudy what his offer had been to this point, but now he had to sweeten it, and he offered the 83rd pick overall, a third-rounder, in addition to their pick four slots lower than Philly. Done deal. The Eagles liked that offer better than an offer from Minnesota, because the Vikings would have been moving up from 40.

As discussed in my round 1 recap, the Eagles made out like bandits picking up the 83rd pick to move down four spots. Not only did Philadelphia received 137 cents on the dollar according to my trade chart, but the Jimmy Johnson trade chart — which overvalues high picks and therefore cautions against trading down — had the Eagles receiving 112 cents on the dollar.

My guess is the Browns probably started with an offer of a 4th round pick and the 26th overall selection to move up to 22. Consider that last year, the Falcons traded up from 30 to 22 and gave up a 3rd and a 6th to the Rams to make the move.1

Here’s my best guess as what happened. The Browns are offering the 26th and 106th picks, which happens to be equivalent to the 22nd pick according to the JJ chart. But at the same time Minnesota is offering 40 and….presumably the 72nd pick in the draft, the team’s 3rd round selection, and something else (while the Eagles could have been playing poker, I think most teams would view 40/72 as inferior to 26/106).

If it’s 40/72 plus a 4th round pick (#108), though, that might better than 26/106. Fortunately for Cleveland, thanks to the Shamarko Thomas trade a year ago, the Browns could offer Pittsburgh’s 3rd round pick (#83) instead of the team’s 71st pick as an upgrade on the 106th selection to sweeten the pot.

But here’s the question: did the Eagles come back to Minnesota and see if the Vikings wanted to trump that offer? Perhaps the Vikings could have sent the 96th selection, which the Vikings had from Seattle as part of the Percy Harvin trade, and another late round pick in addition to #40 and #72.

This story from ESPN also says that the Vikings tried to trade up for Manziel, and that he was the team’s top quarterback. But the Vikings concluded that all decisions must be viewed strategically, and the decision to acquire a franchise quarterback does not mean one should overpay just to get that player. In other words, this is the “the quarterback is just like everyone else” philosophy. That’s in stark contract to another story from draft day, about a potential trade between Jaguars GM David Caldwell and Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff:

They had many discussions about swapping the third and sixth picks in the draft, with Atlanta handing Jacksonville a third-round pick to make the move. “I thought Wednesday night we were going to get it done,” said Dimitroff. “But Thursday Dave called me and said, ‘We’re going to stay put and pick our guy.’” Whoever “our guy” was. Dimitroff never knew who Caldwell wanted until it was announced by Roger Goodell on stage at Radio City.

More from Caldwell about Blake Bortles, his mystery guy:

“The reason I didn’t take the trade is there were so many teams that wanted quarterbacks—at one, four, five, seven and eight, and they were all within striking distance of us,” Caldwell said. “I just kept thinking, ‘One of those teams has to see what we were seeing in Bortles.’ So let’s say we move back and make a deal. What are we going to take in the third? A guard? [Jacksonville did use a third-round pick on guard Brandon Linder of Miami.] You can find guards. You can’t find the quarterback you think fits your team best. So in the end it wasn’t a hard decision for us.”

The Jaguars decided not to risk getting their quarterback just to gain an extra 3rd round pick. The Vikings decided to risk getting their quarterback at the cost of losing, presumably, a 3rd round pick and a little bit more. Two organizations, two stark needs, and two very different views. We’ll never know if the Jaguars could have still drafted Bortles at 6, but the team valued the quarterback too highly to take any chances. Minnesota seemed content to let the board play out, rather than falling in love with one player, and wound up paying less to trade back into the first round to draft Teddy Bridgewater.

Putting aside the evaluations of the prospects, which team do you think is the right call? Minnesota’s “don’t overpay for a quarterback” philosophy or Jacksonville’s “a quarterback must be treated differently” strategy?  I’ll note that the Browns also took some risk, trading down twice in the first round when Manziel was on the board, before ultimately moving back up to grab him.

  1. St. Louis also gave Atlanta a 2015 7th round pick, which has to be the least valuable throw-in in the history of trades. []
  • Krauser

    There’s a second Peter King article that gives additional details about the offers for pick #22: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/05/13/nfl-draft-johnny-manziel-teddy-bridgewater/

    The Vikings offer was reportedly 2nd-best to one from another unnamed team (who already have an established QB), when the Browns made their offer that swung the trade. King speculates that the Vikings were asked to include a future 1st and refused, but I think the asking price might just have been the high 3rd rounder (#72) plus another pick (#96 or #108). Spielman was clearly targeting a deep draft class, saying pre-draft that he planned to turn 8 picks into 10 (which he did), so he may not have been willing to package 3 picks for 1, even if the future first was off the table. It’s since been reported that the Vikings offer was “not close” from the Eagles perspective, who didn’t want to trade down as far as #40 (possibly because they wanted Dee Ford, who then went to KC with the next pick)

    Albert Breer reported that the Vikings had Manziel slightly ahead of Bridgewater on their board, both apparently rated as mid-to-late first rounders ( http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000349723/article/teddy-bridgewater-lands-with-vikings-thanks-to-careful-qb-hunt ). So their willingness to hold fire on the trade to #22 came with a safety net: with the Browns done for the round, there were no other teams at the bottom of the 1st likely to take a QB, so their close 2nd choice would likely still be there for the taking. Which is how it worked out.

    Not sure if you can compare that situation to the Jags. If they had Bortles as clearly superior to the rest of the QBs, and the only one worth taking in the top 5-10, it would make sense to lock him in at #3 rather than trading down and running the risk of someone else stealing their guy.

    The difference between how the teams approached the problem is probably mostly down to their evaluations (how much better is this QB than the rest) than their draft strategy, which was dictated by how they set up their boards in the first place.

  • Richie

    If the QB is going to be Peyton Manning, then I like Jacksonville’s strategy. If the QB is going to be Ryan Leaf, then I like Minnesota.

    But, if Jacksonville really thought that Blake Bortles is going to be Peyton Manning, why would they stand pat at 3 and risk the Rams or Texans grabbing him? (or somebody else trading up into one of those spots to grab him)

    So the Jaguars were so confident in Bortles that they weren’t willing to trade down and hope to still get him, but yet not confident enough to move up?