Joel Thorman of our sister site, Arrowhead Pride, agreed to take part in a little experiment with me this week as we put on our fake general manager hats and attempted to negotiate a trade. Being the visiting team, I allowed Joel to make the first proposal, to which I responded. Below is a transcript of our entire correspondence.
GM Brett Kollmann, it's incredible you've gone from Battle Red Blog to GM of the Texans. Congratulations! The Chiefs are in the market for an offensive lineman. We have a couple of players hitting free agency next year, as well as some young, unproven guards. We are interested in trading for your guard, Brandon Brooks. We are prepared to offer a draft pick but there are also players on our team that are available. Is there a Chiefs player you're looking for to make this a fair trade?
Oof, it might take quite a bit for me to give up Brooks. Brandon is a certifiable athletic freak that put up height/speed/weight numbers comparable to Dontari Poe at his Pro Day in 2012. Brooks did not start right away in his rookie year, but once he took over the right guard position, he never looked back. Strong at the point of attack, nimble in space, and virtually unmovable in pass protection, Brooks has been one of the anchors on Houston's offensive line for almost three years now. Power, zone, anything - he can run it all. Were it not for the Texans having a poor win/loss record during most of his time in the starting lineup, he probably would have made a couple of Pro Bowls by now.
When you throw in the fact that the Texans have no depth at guard this year, Brooks could be quite expensive. I'll do it for Jeff Allen and your 2016 first round pick. I fully expect the Chiefs to at least make the divisional round with Brooks on that line, so that pick conceivably would be in the mid-20s or later.
We both know you're not getting a first round pick for a guard. I'll go ahead and take Brooks off your hands AND give you the extra cap space you'll save when you don't have to sign him to a big extension. You're losing money not doing this deal!
I'll go ahead and throw in another guard -- take your pick between Jeff Allen, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Zach Fulton or former Pro Bowler Ben Grubbs, who is admittedly on his way down rather than his way up. He was worth a fifth-round pick with a higher contract. Let's say a third round pick for Brooks, who is a player less proven but with a higher ceiling in the next few years than Grubbs. What say you, GM Kollmann?
Well, considering we spent a third rounder on Brooks to begin with and he has played a Pro Bowl level, I can't in good conscience let him go without getting a significant return on my investment. You've seen what good guard play can do for an offense with Zack Martin's arrival in Dallas, Marshal Yanda reviving Justin Forsett's career in Baltimore, and of course the Saints scoring endless supplies of points down in New Orleans when they had the two best guards in football on the same line. Whether or not some recent first round picks at guard have "busted", it is still an extremely important position for a zone run scheme like the one KC uses.
Let's look at it this way: how much more productive can Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin be when the interior of the pocket is secure on virtually every snap? How valuable is it to have a dominant right side of the offensive line paving the way for Jamaal Charles on zone stretches? Building off of that, how great would it be to see defenses hastily over-pursue on those dangerous zone stretches, only for Alex Smith to have miles of open grass in front of him on a bootleg as he hits Travis Kelce on uncovered crossing routes? Some guards might not be worth first rounders, sure, but Brandon Brooks sure is. Without him, we are screwed on the offensive line. If I don't get a return on the investment, I simply can't let him go. He's too valuable to us.
How about Brooks and Garrett Graham for Travis Kelce and Jeff Allen?
Obviously the front office over at Arrowhead Pride and I could not reach an actual agreement, but multiple workable options were thrown on the table throughout the discussion. If you were the GM of the Texans, would you take any of these different deals? If so, which one? If you would not agree to any of them, throw out your own trade proposal in the comments below so that we can all judge it for ourselves.
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