Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Could Chargers Trade Ryan Mathews?


I’m sorry Ryan Mathews fans, but YES. In my opinion, the San Diego Chargers could very well trade Ryan Mathews during the 2014 NFL Draft.

If you’re anything like me, you probably had the sneaking suspicion that something was brewing back in March of this year when the Chargers announced the signing of Donald Brown, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts. Brown was drafted by the Colts with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. A pick that Tom Telesco had a hand in making.

In 1998, Tom Telesco started out as a scout for the Indianapolis Colts and gradually worked his way up the organization. By 2005, the Colts had promoted Telesco to the position of Director of Player Personnel thus beginning the greatest era of football in Colts history. Telesco’s promotion contributed to two Super Bowl appearances and one Lombardi Trophy over the next seven years until eventually being lured to San Diego by the Chargers in 2013.

Why am I telling you this? Because Telesco is a master of three things: scouting, building a team, and winning. Telesco knows what he has in Donald Brown, injury history and all. He also knows what he does and doesn’t have in Ryan Mathews.

The Haves:

He does have a running back who has hit the 1,000 yard mark twice in the last three years.

He does have a running back that averages almost 4.5 yards per carry over his career.

And perhaps most importantly, Tom Telesco does have have a running back in the prime of his career, whose contract expires at the end of the 2014 season.

The Have Nots:

Telesco does not have a consistently healthy running back. Ryan Mathews has missed 7 games in the last 2 years and has left numerous games early, including the a crucial playoff game against the Denver Broncos resulting in the Bolts playoff elimination. In that game, the gameplan was tailor-made for Mathews, and the Bolts couldn’t recover from his absence.

He does not have a consistently productive running back. Although in 2013 Mathews racked up over 1,200 rushing yards during the regular season, he failed to reach 75 rushing yards in 9 of 16 appearances. Also, Mathews only recorded 78 total rushing yards for his combined playoff efforts against the Bengals and Broncos.

And perhaps most importantly, Tom Telesco does not have any loyalty to Ryan Mathews.

In his second year as the General Manager of the San Diego Chargers, Tom Telesco will continue to define his legacy through the 2014 NFL Draft. With a deep draft and plenty of options on the table, that legacy might not be carried out on the legs of Ryan Mathews if the price is right. The Chargers can afford to take a running back in the draft and let him develop behind Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead. Here are some possible scenarios that we could see play out when the 2014 NFL Draft begins:

Scenario 1:

Part 1: The San Diego Chargers trade their 1st (25th overall) and 2nd (57th overall) round picks to the Tennessee Titans for the 11th overall pick in the draft.

Part 2: The San Diego Chargers trade Ryan Mathews to the Jacksonville Jaguars for their 2nd (39th overall) and 4th (114th overall) round picks.

Why: The Titans are rumored to want to move down in the draft to acquire additional picks and Tom Telesco already has connections with Ken Whisenhunt. If the Chargers are wanting to make a play at one of the top 2 corners in the draft, this is how they could do it. I also believe that the Jaguars will address the running back situation in the draft and Toby Gearhart will be relegated to the backup role once more.

Scenario 2: 

The San Diego Chargers trade Ryan Mathews to the Tennessee Titans for their 2nd (42nd overall) round pick and swap 3rd round picks.

Why: If the Titans don’t trade down with the Chargers they will find another suitor. Mathews has already proven his ability to beat the AFC South, racking up over 100 rushing yards versus Jacksonville and Indianapolis last year while scoring on a receiving touchdown against Houston. Mathews already knows Whisenhunt’s system and has a couple years of experience under his belt. Whisenhunt seemed happy with Mathews’ production in San Diego and could seek him out as the answer in Jacksonville.

Scenario 3:

The San Diego Chargers trade Ryan Mathews to the Cleveland Browns for their 2nd (35th overall) and 3rd(83rd overall) round picks.

Why: The Browns acquired Ben Tate in free agency, but Tate has never proven himself over a full season sitting behind Arian Foster. The Browns can afford this trade and a two-headed monster might be the protection needed for whichever mobile quarterback they take off the board in the 1st round. The AFC North can be a tough place to play in the winter, even tougher on running backs, which is why a 50/50 work-share might not be off the board.

With Donald Brown set to make $3 Million in San Diego during the 2015 season, don’t be surprised if the Chargers decide to “sell high” on Ryan Mathews in the draft.

Tags: Featured Nfl Draft Popular Ryan Mathews San Diego Chargers Tom Telesco

  • BruisingChargers

    Lame. Aint gonna happen!

    • Devin Sparks

      Crazier things have!

  • Diegoblue

    LMAO!! you are reaching waaaaayy too much brother

    • Devin Sparks

      Haha, that’s the response my buddy gave me 2 months ago when the story broke that we signed Donald Brown. In my opinion it makes waaaaaay too much sense. We may not trade him at the draft, but I don’t believe he will get resigned. What was it that they say? If GM’s lips are moving around draft time – they are lying. Telesco opened up after the acquisition and said, “”We know Ryan is our bell cow, he’s our No. 1 back. He had an excellent year last year. And we all know what Danny Woodhead can do in his role. … And we think Donald can come in and add to that, too, and give us some different options. And a different style, too.” Mathews was benched during a couple games at the goal line in favor of Woodhead. Doesn’t sound too promising!

      • Diegoblue

        Getting Donald Brown was real simple after the Denver game when Mathews was hurt it affected our whole offense they tried to put Woodhead in there as an every down back because we had no choice and it didn’t work.. Woodhead is the change a pace back… Yeah I remember those couple of games when they tried Woodhead at the goal line and it didn’t work because he’s too small and then we started to keep Mathews in there at the goal line and he started to get TDs and he was getting hot and he had the 2nd most 100yd games in the league at 6… Over 1200 yds.. Why would you trade a RB like that for unknown commodities … It’s not going to happen.. And if we don’t resign him it will be do to money but if he has another season like last year he’s getting resigned

        • Devin Sparks

          But don’t you think that’s an issue? Ryan Mathews injury concerns are so apparent, that Telesco had to go out and sign a $3 Million a year back up RB. If you were a manager of a shop, and you had an employee miss a bunch of work and constantly talk about how they don’t know if they can come in the next day – wouldn’t you start looking for a replacement? Lol. I recognize that these scenarios are highly unlikely to occur, but if we can’t sign him next year, why not find a cheap replacement now? Glad you took the time to read it and comment! After the draft, my Charger articles will be more reality based!

      • OP Bolt

        This is the most imaginative article I’ve seen during the additional two-week pre-draft hell we have been subjected to this year. I’m not a RM hater like some, so I’m not sure I see the DB acquisition as anything more than what it appears – keeping a good inside RB on the field for (hopefully) 20 games. I don’t really buy the TT conspiracy theme. However, while TT may not have had your scenarios in mind when he brought DB in, it is now a possible alternative (as opposed to a likely alternative!). If you drafted Hills from LSU with one of those picks, I might perk up :). BTW, what if DB is the draft bait rather than RM?

        • Devin Sparks

          Thanks! Something crazy happens EVERY year at the draft. In researching Telesco’s scouting history, values, and tendencies, this scenario popped out as a probability to me.

  • Julien Bélair

    Mathewd does not worth that much anyway

    • Devin Sparks

      He could be worth that much to the right teams! Remember, Browns have a TWO 1st round picks and TWO 3rd round picks. Worth is relative. The browns might think a 2nd and 3rd is that big of a deal all things considered.

  • OGsnakes1322

    Yes trade Ryan Mathews if you can….

    • Devin Sparks

      I was never huge on Mathews but if he can replicate his 2013 success, I’m all for resigning him! He needs to get a better nose for the end zone, but his strength is coming around. He had some BEAST shake-offs and stiff arms last year.

  • Jacob911

    Idk I feel matthews could be real good but if telsesco already has plans of realeasing him next season because it’s his final year then do it as hard as it is to say cuz if he won’t be here next year why not they something from it

    • Devin Sparks

      My thoughts exactly. I put myself in the mindset of Tom Telesco. Ryan Mathews will be 27 after season. I don’t know that I could offer him a 3 year deal, knowing he’d be 30 in the last year of his contract and he already has an injury history. I think I would trade him for value if possible and try to sign a 21 year old RB like Jeremy Hill of LSU

  • Lenin Ruiz

    The trade with the titans is the weakest point- Ken Whisenhunt does NOT have a quarterback right now which made his departure to tennessee confusing as his MAIN problem in Arizona was the lack of a franchise quarterback. the trade with cleveland is interesting enough- but only teams in desperate need of a RB would consider mathews. no one is picking up mathews as a 2 headed attack guy. People forget the chargers are lacking ONLY on defense- no one remembers that both starting WRs were out all year (floyd & alexander). with a steady oline, im not worried about offense at all… lets get those DBs and LBs!!!

    • Devin Sparks

      True. Depending on your draft board, there could be a decent QB available at 25. I’ve seen rumors that any one of the following: Manziel, Bortles, Carr, Bridgewater – could be available when the chargers spot comes up in the draft. That could be a valuable position to trade out of. So if Titans can grab one of those guys there, I don’t see why not. Rumors of Cowboys and NYG looking at Manziel could also cause a ripple effect prompting TENN to trade for Romo or ELI. VERY interested in seeing how tonight’s draft shakes out. The whole point to trading Mathews would be to acquire early round picks to swipe up those DBs and LBs!