Ok, great, you’ve identified the best players on some of the worst teams in the league. Awesome. Except that nobody who reads long-form sports articles needs to be convinced that the players are good and that the teams are bad.
Alright, so you’ve explained how Joe Haden is good and the Browns are not good. You’ve also cleverly deduced that Joe Haden’s prime won’t last until the Browns are competitive again. So, in a perfect world, the Browns would consider a trade. Tell us who might be able to use his services (the Panthers’ defense is really missing Josh Norman and, while they aren’t doing great this year, they plan to be competitive for the rest of Joe Haden’s career). Tell us what the Browns might be able to get in return for Joe Haden and how that might improve the Browns’ fortunes (amassing as many draft picks as possible is the best way to start accumulating talent and, in fact, that has been a part of the Browns’ ethos recently). Then tell us how the Browns and Panthers might fit a deal in under the salary cap (I have no idea how to do this but, then again, I’m not writing an article about NFL trades).
This article makes it sound like each of these teams should do the league a favor and send their best players to teams that can better utilize their skills. Football lacks entertainment value as it is these days, so who benefits if we take the worst teams and make them worse? The NFL, unlike the MLB and NBA, and maintaining that is one of the few things keeping casual fans interested. Also, one of the best team-building strategies in recent years is to take a few savvy veterans, surround them by young talent, and then hope that everything comes together while the young guys are still on reasonably cheap contracts (look at the Seahawks, the Panthers, the Cardinals, stop me any time). If you’re telling me that my favorite team should get rid of one of it’s savvy veterans then convince me that it will work out better that way.
Lastly, most of us aren’t Patriots fans. We don’t expect to be competitive every single year. Our teams make little runs every once in a while and in between we need to have something to keep us going — something that let’s us enjoy the games. In many cases, for me at least, it’s the type of player that you’ve identified here. “Look at DeAndre Hopkins out there; that dude’s a beast!” “Did you hear that Joe Haden made the pro bowl this year!?” “I’m glad the young guys have Joe Staley to look up to. Maybe he’ll come back and coach when he’s done.” I love that one game a year where my team’s Todd Gurley puts the team on his back and squeaks out a victory that they don’t really deserve.
This isn’t Madden where we can move all the 85+ players to six teams and ignore the rest. If you’re going to dream that bad teams might give up their only talented assets then you need to present an actual argument.