On the eve of the Colts 2013 rookie minicamp, general manager Ryan Grigson traded reserve center A.Q. Shipley to the Ravens on Thursday for a conditional draft pick in 2014.
To put it bluntly, this was a very stupid move on Grigson's part.
First off, Shipley really shouldn't have been the "reserve" center. He started five games in 2012 in place of normal start, Samson Satele. Shipley outplayed Satele in those five games, with four them them resulting in wins.
Second, Shipley's contract is much cheaper than Satele's. Shipley counted $480,000 against the cap in 2013 and $570,000 in 2014. Satele's cap hit jumps up to $3,866,667 in 2013 and pops up to 5,366,667 in 2014. If he's cut before June 1st of this year, it frees up $1.7 million in cap space. With Shipley gone the Baltimore, the Colts are forced to keep Satele and absorb his $3.8 mill cap hit.*
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. DumbDumbDumbDumbDumbDumbDumb-diddy-Dumb. Dumb.
A problem completely avoidable if they simply hadn't traded Shipley.
But, hey, don't take my word for it. Here's what pretty much everyone else who covers the Colts said about this completely idiotic trade:
Yep, the Shipley trade was a stupid move. Not cost effective or talent effective. Grigson screwed up.— Andrew Mishler (@andrewmishler) May 9, 2013
The Colts today traded C A.Q. Shipley to the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional 2014 pick. My thoughts? One word: DUMB.— Josh Wilson (@Coltsfanwilson) May 9, 2013
Sure, but why trade Shipley who is a cheaper and more effective player than Satele? RT @nmoore2322 u realize khaled could start right— Derek Schultz (@Schultz1260) May 9, 2013
#Colts trade A.Q. Shipley to Ravens for conditional pick 2014. I'm surprised like everyone else. He had a strong 2012— Reggie Hayes (@reggiehayes1) May 9, 2013
@coltsinsider Thought there was a chance the Colts would keep Shipley and cut Samson Satele to save $$$. Thought Shipley played well in '12— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) May 9, 2013
Walter Football graded the trade as an A- for Baltimore and a C for Indy. And then there was this from Pro Football Focus:
@aqshipley The annoying thing is we were working on a piece where you were a possible Secret Superstar for the Colts. Had to scrap that now— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 9, 2013
Is the Shipley trade earth-shattering in its stupidity? No, obviously not. But, it's still pretty damn dumb.
Now the Colts are forced to eat Satele's cap hit when, if they had just not traded Shipley, they could have cut Satele and saved $1.7 mill. If Shipley struggled in 2013, fourth round pick Khaled Holmes could have stepped in. If Holmes was drafted specifically to start at center this year, Shipley was a better, cheaper, and younger back-up option over Satele.
So, why did Grigson make this seemingly boneheaded move?
He signed Satele to a big contract and raved about him last offseason. Cutting him after one season would be embarrassing.— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) May 9, 2013
I honestly hope that wasn't the rationale for Shipley getting shipped. I really do. If it was, Jim Irsay should fire Ryan Grigson immediately.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Call me crazy. Call me a dumb blogger. Call me an over-reactive schmuck. Whatever. The bottom line is winning and retaining the best players possible, not avoiding embarrassment. This isn't about justifying or vindicating free agency decisions.
Didn't we learn that lesson from the Polians?
To be clear, I don't personally think that's the reason, but if it is... oh boy.
[Cue the chuckleheads who will now use this completely valid critique as me campaigning for Ryan Grigson to be fired]
* Contract numbers via Spotrac