This article is part of our The Reddit Madden League series.
The 2019 RML offseason has come to a close. I touched on some of the winners of the frantic down period yesterday, which you can read here. But as a wise person I knew used to say “the clicks are born from misery.” Yes, there will always be losers in a given offseason, especially as active a one as 2019. And don’t worry, even if the wheeling and dealing yielded a respective owner mainly positive results, you could still get shoehorned into this discussion by virtue of one bad trade. Unlike the previous article, listed teams and trades will not be in any sort of specific order.
New England Patriots
RE Olivier Vernon (91 overall), SS Tony Jefferson (91 overall), MLB Eric Kendricks (82 overall), OLB Tyus Bowser (79 overall), FS Tedric Thompson (75 overall), DT Derron Ballard (69 overall), 2019 first-round pick (No. 1 overall), 2019 fifth-round pick, 2020 sixth-round pick, 2020 seventh-round pick
MLB Luke Kuechly (99 overall), TE Zach Miller (81 overall), HB Danny Woodhead (80 overall), 2019 first-round pick (No. 6 overall), 2019 first-round pick (No. 30 overall), 2019 third-round pick, 2019 fourth-round pick, 2020 fifth-round pick
Analysis: When you add up all the moves the Patriots made, it doesn’t look as bad. And truthfully, given as chaotic as the offseason was, there wasn’t any major outlier in terms of horrid return on investment. But just like a Twizzler, when you begin to pull apart the strands, the overall product loses its flavor (is this a hot take?).
The Kuechly trade was defensible, if nothing else. Arguably one of the best users in the game, Kuechly is creeping closer to old man status (currently 28-years-old in RML) and was likely one of the only players worth enough value to claim a first-round pick AND additional players (Vernon, Kendricks and Bowser were included in the deal) while also being available for trade. But that first-round pick was then flipped for molasses-slow strong safety Tony Jefferson, who the previous owner tried to move to linebacker, was rejected in said move, then went on a one-man crusade to destroy his value in the league in a bizarre attempt to piss off Jefferson’s agent (that’s the only logical explanation I could think of). There’s certainly some value in a safety with enough awareness and recognition to understand that a person running in his zone should be covered (you’d be surprised how hard that concept is for Madden safeties), but when put in comparison with other safeties moved this offseason, it’s simply an overpay. And that’s without considering what should have been a diminished value on Jefferson thanks to what I can only assume was a SiriusXM-induced rage (something like a channel didn’t come in well enough, etc.) with fellow owners regarding the safety’s position and nature in RML.
And then of course, is the unfortunate circumstances with No. 1 overall pick, WR Gregory Steele, who was slotted with a slow dev despite showing practically zero signs of the oddity. Steele in all likelihood will still develop into a quality player, but the mere fact that it happened is a disappointment at best.
Most Unnecessary trade of 2019 offseason - HB Danny Woodhead (80 overall) and TE Zach Miller (81 overall) going to the Chiefs for a 2019 fifth-round pick.
When the combined age of two players exceeds the amount of daily tweets by Donald Trump that reference his amazing abilities as POTUS, that’s when you know you shouldn’t bother trying to sell them. The trade itself was fine, but the fact it happened in the first place had me shaking my head.
Anyone that trades with the 49ers
The 49ers only made one trade in the offseason, flipping their first-round pick (No. 24 overall), 2020 fourth-round pick and recently signed slow dev RT Bobby Hart (79 overall) for a 27-year-old center Brandon Linder (88 overall). It’s a clear win for the 49ers given offensive lineman retain their attributes for the most part even as they transition to a retirement home, but not a demonstrative one. No, the reason this landed in the losers list was simply the way in which the 49ers peddles his wares.
A little insight into the league first: RML has a trade specific chat, where owners are allowed to post pictures of players on the block and elicit interest from other owners. Save for randomly cold-calling a person about their best player, most of the trade action starts in this group. The conversation is kept strictly to the players available, with only a handful (I’m the worst of all) chiming in with odd quips about a respective player, or an occasional accidental post that was supposed to be displayed in another channel.
Most people simply post an available player and then follow up with a general interest in respected return – “Looking for picks,” or “Need an OLB.” Not the 49ers though. No, San Francisco has taken a unique approach to the trade block chat, rattling off a specific list of requirements needed in order to pull off a deal. At times it looks like a bid for a mail order bride just accidentally slipped into the trade chat. Here’s one such example:
“Trading my late first-round pick, looking for a 25-year-old or younger DT that has a 99 overall rating in every category and can also chug at least 14 gallons of alcohol in one sitting.”
Ok, that specific request hasn’t been posted (yet), but the absurdly specific details essentially limit most users from making an offer. Not surprisingly, few people tend to make inquiries, leading the 49ers to repeatedly post in the trade block their grocery list of preconditions, despite eligible users needing only to scroll up three messages prior to discover the concoction of delectable goodies needed to seal the deal. But miraculously someone always pulls through, usually after the fourth or fifth straight day of posting the necessary ingredients to consummate a trade. The tedious process is quickly becoming a time honored RML offseason tradition, one that I would happily have fall to the wayside.
Sneaky overpay of the 2019 offseason - Browns acquire TE Zach Ertz (92 overall) and Bears 2020 first-round pick for two 2019 first-round picks (No. 28 and 32).
I’ve already outlined two rather ugly trades in the first couple of paragraphs, but this one also deserves some recognition as well. I will readily admit, when it comes to the TE spot in Madden, I’m specifically looking for two attributes, speed and run blocking. Everything else after that is gravy. One of the better tight ends in real life, Ertz was somehow saddled with an unbelievably low 80 speed to kick off Madden 18 which automatically craters his value in my eyes. Already 28-years-old, Ertz’s secondary attributes such as acceleration, strength and catching stats have already begun to decline, which should have further killed his value. But somehow the Bears were able to net not one, but two first-round picks with the aging TE. Forget for a second that one of the picks yielded a 79 overall ROLB with quick dev; even if the picks were busts, the mere prospect of “potential” outweighs the known, slow commodity that is Ertz.
While Ertz was one of the only TEs available on the block, there are currently 65 tight ends with 81 speed or higher in the game, with 46 of those sitting at a low enough overall rating that they could have likely been acquired for a cheaper price. I recognize I might be snooty in suggesting run blocking and speed are two of the only attributes I look for in a TE, but there was simply no reason to overpay for a diminishing tight end of Ertz’s stature (and one that had been rotting on the trade block for awhile, mind you). The 2020 first-round pick might be the saving grace in this deal, but looking at the Bears schedule it would be a surprise if the team misses the playoffs. Another late first-round pick plus a “high-overall-and-that’s-it” TE seems like a bad return given multiple people were attempting to trade back into the first round of the 2019 Draft.