THE MEAN MACHINES ROSTER (Current as of 03/27)
Rob has placed bottom 2 in back to back years. This stems from a poor Start Up Draft more than anything else. The offense is polarized such that only Drew Brees and Matt Forte have put up consistent elite production. The amazing revival of Steve Smith at age 32 due to the arrival of Cam Newton has been a strong plus for Rob's team as well. There are a few components that will yield strong results in the future such as Stevie Johnson and Mark Ingram but honestly, the rest is a ragtag bunch of players that are grossly under-performing.
Rob has picks 1.02 2.02 3.02 4.02 5.02
Rob has made it abundantly clear he's not looking to move his 1st round pick. I anticipate he'll draft Justin Blackmon 2nd overall. While I think it's a great idea to grab the best WR for a weak team, this draft is so deep this year that the pick could serve a multi faceted purpose. I'll get into that later on in the article.
The following players should not be moved short of both their core position being replaced with at least a lateral move PLUS another player or draft pick of quality.
It's a pretty short list. I'll address the obvious Drew Brees question in the next section. Matt Forte CAN NOT be moved. Let's get this out of the way. He will be back in Chicago. He'll also have an opportunity to get even better as there are more weapons in Chicago and defenses won't be as inclined to stack the box knowing 50% or more of the offense is going through Forte. He's coming off surgery but at 26 years old, he's in his prime and will be a monster for a few more years. Steve Johnson is the rising Buffalo Bills WR1 and is the foundation of Rob's WR Corps. Since starting in 2010, he's put up back to back 1000 yard seasons. He had a drop off in TD's this year but that'll happen when you're up against the top corner in the league 2x a year and being double teamed. Both guys will give Rob at least 3 years more top level production short of being injured and he shouldn't entertain offers for either of them.
Rob needs to sell Drew Brees right now. To the right owner, Brees could yield a combination of both draft picks and strong players if that owner has depth to give. A year ago, I tried to ship an RB2, WR1, TE1 and this year's 1st round pick to Rob for Brees and was turned down. Hindsight dictates I was overpaying when I already had a low QB1/high QB2 in Big Ben but that's irrelevant now. The bottom line is that Rob has a major bargaining chip to work with and should be active in moving Brees. I understand it's hard to give up a guy coming off 5000+ yards and 46 TD's. However, when you can draft an amazing QB, and still get 3 or 4 major pieces in return, you not only recover the points but increase the overall amount.
1.02 should be traded down. There are a host of players in our league that would like to trade up and would give up a package to do it. This is exactly what Rob needs. If he can trade 1.02 down and pick up 1.04 - 1.07 he will get a comparable WR in Kendell Wright or Michael Floyd and still get another player (at the very least) in the RB2/WR2 range. That's win/win for a team in rebuild.
The Carolina Handcuff needs to be broken. Steve Smith is an interesting player. If I was in Rob's shoes I'd look to sell high to a team looking to make a title run. Unlike Brees though, I wouldn't hold it against Rob to hold onto Smith until his wheels come off. Smith isn't a big TD guy but he puts up WR1 yardage and that's a very big deal. I'd look to move DeAngelo Williams to a team lacking in Running Backs. His ceiling is RB2 but more like RB3 nowadays. He'll likely get an underwhelming response in player trade value but he should yield a great offer for someone looking to move picks.
Rob's team is by far in the worst shape out of everyone at this point in time. The team is in need of what I'd consider 2 years of rebuild before it can playoff contend, never mind title contend. There are a few really strong pieces in its foundation but lots of work needs to be done. He's got to let go of the 1 or 2 giant numbers and realize consistent strong numbers across the board will yield far more wins.