Possible Pierre Garcon Trade Scenarios

Redskins Personnel Washington Commanders

All Cap data courtesy of Over the Cap

Just one year removed from leading the NFL in receptions Pierre Garcon looks to be on his way out in Washington. Though fans might not like it, Garcon’s production has plummeted this year with the offseason signings of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts and the production from tight ends Jordan Reed and Niles Paul. With the Redskins on a pace for just 550 passing attempts this year there just isn’t enough targets to go around. Garcon is also visibly frustrated in most games and he would likely welcome a trade to a place where he could be more involved. The Redskins passing attack isn’t going to become elite overnight, and they don’t figure to be a team that has high attempts (Jay Gruden’s Bengals offenses never threw the ball a lot either), so keeping Garcon at a $9.7 million cap hit next year makes little sense. The Redskins can trade him and save $5.5 million in cap room next year as well as clearing an additional $10.2 million off the books in 2016.

Despite the down year Garcon could be pretty attractive to prospective teams. Though a number of big name receivers are set to become free agents this offseason (Dez Bryant, DeMaryius Thomas, Jeremy Maclin, Randall Cobb, Torrey Smith among others), few will actually make it to free agency without a Franchise Tag (most will likely re-sign). That means teams in need of receiver help will have limited options. Unlike last year where the draft was stocked with impact WR talent, this year’s class is definitely down. That isn’t to say there aren’t some quality guys, but you aren’t going to get the major impact and early impact guys that were in this class. A team trading for Garcon can get good receiver production for a pair of mid round picks and a contract that is going to be less than what a top free agent would want. Any team trading for Garcon would be responsible for salaries of $7.1 million in 2015 and $7.6 million in 2016, with an additional $400K in bonuses each year. None of that is guaranteed so a team could get out of it in 2016 if Garcon’s production doesn’t pick up or he gets injured.

Here are some trade scenarios that could make sense for both teams:

Cleveland Browns:

Assuming Kyle Shanahan doesn’t get a head coaching job somewhere, this makes perfect sense for all parties involved. Shanahan’s offense got the most out of Garcon in 2012-2013, and that was despite the fact that the system wasn’t necessarily receiver friendly. The Browns are looking for a compliment to Josh Gordon and trading for Garcon would mean they wouldn’t have to use one of their two first round picks to fill the position. Garcon and Gordon would be a great one-two punch on offense that could help Johnny Manziel grow as a quarterback. With the Browns showing signs of being a contender, it makes even more sense to add a more experienced receiver to the mix opposed to a rookie. With a ton of projected cap room the Browns could target any top receiver that hits the open market, but they may prefer to spend less money and years on Garcon and get similar production. Even if a number 1 receiver like Randall Cobb were to hit the market, Cleveland might not want to sign him since he’d be their number 2 guy at best.

In addition to having the system, need, and cap room to make a deal for Garcon to work, the Browns have the advantage in another area of well; draft picks. With two first round picks the Browns are already in a better position than any other team to move mid-to-late round picks to acquire a talent like Garcon. On top of that Cleveland has additional picks in both the 4th and 6th rounds, meaning they could trade two picks and still be set with 8 draft picks.

Oakland Raiders:

Now a lot will depend on who the Raiders next coach is, but Oakland is a place that could make a lot of sense. Assuming they stick with Derek Carr (which they should), they need to get him some additional weapons to work with particularly a go to target. James Jones and Andre Holmes have been okay for the Raiders, but they are more complementary receivers as opposed to a real number 1 or number 2 guy. Garcon has shown he can be that go to receiver and he makes more sense than a rookie who might need some developmental time. The Raiders could avoid having to spend an early round pick on a receiver, and address other key needs on their team. While Oakland isn’t a contender like Cleveland, adding Garcon makes sense to help in the development of Carr. Whatever free agent receivers do hit the market it will be tough to bring in a top receiver to Oakland given the team’s struggles. The only way they are getting a quality receiver on the open market is to overpay them, and that just doesn’t make much sense for a rebuilding team. The Raiders don’t have extra picks to deal from, though ti wouldn’t be shocking if they look to trade back in the first round to add some extra selections. Since the Raiders have a high pick in each round they would probably be able to get away with trading a single pick (say their 4th rounder) to get a deal done. Oakland projects to have the most cap room in the NFL so their are no issues with affording Garcon.

Kansas City Chiefs:

The Chiefs are a really good football team, but they have probably the worst receiving corps in the league this year and it is costing them. Kansas City has gone 12 weeks without a receiver catching a TD pass, that is ridiculous, particularly since Alex Smith is playing well. Kansas City needs to add one or two receivers this offseason (and may look to cut Dwayne Bowe). While they figure to target one in the first couple rounds of the draft, they might be in a bad position to draft one in the first round. Likely the top 2 or 3 guys could be off the board by the time they select and then they might need to reach for one. Even if they do select one in the first round they don’t figure to be someone who will make an immediate impact as a top target. With a team that is in “win now” mode they need someone who they can count on from day one. The main issue facing the Chiefs is that they don’t have a lot of cap room (in fact they are barely over the projected cap). The good news is there are a lot of ways they could increase their cap space next year fairly easily through cuts and restructurings, so it probably won’t be a major barrier.

Seattle Seahawks:

The Seahawks tried the big name receiver option with Percy Harvin and it failed miserably, which has left their receiving corps in the hands of Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. They did draft receivers in the 2nd and 4th rounds this past year, but so far they have nothing to show for it. This is a team who is one of the top contenders in the NFL, with basically nothing in the way of receiver/TE talent. They have considerable cap space heading into next season, but they probably would be pretty hesitant to spend big on a free agent, given that they still need to extend some key players so they might not want to give out a massive 5 or 6 year deal. Trading for Garcon would allow them to boost their WR production without committing significant long term resources. Given their status as a contender they would have no issue shipping a pair of mid-to-late round picks for Garcon.

Indianapolis Colts:

The Colts have both Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks hitting free agency this offseason. While it’s possible Wayne could be back, he could retire after this year. If Wayne were to come back it would be at a cheaper rate and in a reduced role. That would leave the Colts with T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief as their primary receivers. That definitely isn’t bad, but when you have Andrew Luck you want more weapons not less. Garcon could be the stop gap if you don’t feel Moncrief is ready to be a full time starter, and since it is a shorter commitment the Colts wouldn’t be tied into a big money deal long term. The Colts have a lot of cap room this year, but they probably don’t want to spend it all with so many key players coming up for extensions. Garcon would give the Colts a good veteran receiver who the organization (albeit a different front office) is familiar with. They offered Garcon a deal to re-sign there back in 2012, but he left to go to Washington. They clearly like him in Indy and would probably be okay making this type of trade. One issue with the Colts is they would probably try to split the picks between 2015 and 2016, perhaps a 4th rounder this year and a 5th or 6th next year.

Denver Broncos:

This definitely seems like more of a long shot, but assuming Peyton Manning is back, and particularly if you believe he will play the next two years that Garcon is under contract this make some sense. The Broncos due have a lot of cap room for next year, but they have a lot of guys that they need to re-sign (namely DeMaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas), which many would think would preclude the Broncos for considering a deal like this, but really for Denver these next two years anything goes. Your window to win a SB (or possibly multiple Super Bowls) is now. Trying to ensure your cap is clean in 2017 and 2018 doesn’t make much sense, so if you need to restructure deals or backload other contracts to fit in Garcon (and other possible offseason additions) you do it. With Wes Welker a free agent after this year, the Broncos could use a 3rd WR to pair with DeMaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. They drafted Cody Latimer in the 2nd round, but he has just one catch in 12 games and wasn’t able to take advantage when other receivers/tight ends were out. Denver might not be too apt to trust him as the 3rd option next year. Now given their cap situation the Broncos could look to try and find an undervalued FA receiver like they did this past year in Emmanuel Sanders, but given their window don’t be surprised if they would consider Garcon.


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