The Broncos have acquired strong safety Su’a Cravens from the Redskins. The deal will see a fifth-round pick (No. 163 overall) go to Washington in return (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).
Also, as part of the deal, the Broncos and Redskins will swap fourth- and fifth-round picks. The Broncos will move down from No. 109 to No. 113 in the fourth round and from No. 142 to No. 149 in the fifth round. The Redskins will also receive a sixth-round pick in 2020 if Cravens appears in a playoff game for Denver. There are a lot of components in this deal, but the Broncos are essentially acquiring a talented former second-round pick for a fifth-round choice and change.
Cravens decided late in the 2016 offseason to retire from football. The news caught the Redskins completely off guard as they were banking on Cravens to start at one of their safety spots. The youngster reversed his decision hours later, but the Redskins were still skeptical about his desire to continue playing. After a short stay on the NFI list, the Redskins parked him on the reserve/left squad list, barring him from playing in 2017.
The versatile defender was diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome, according to a statement released by his agent late last year, but he is now “asymptomatic and cleared to return back to all things football.” The Redskins insisted that they would not trade Cravens this offseason, but they either had a change of heart or were not being entirely truthful.
“We’re not trading him,” coach Jay Gruden said just weeks ago. “I just saw that on the ticker. He’s still a member of this football team and we have every intention of seeing where he’s at. I’ll have to talk to him and see where he’s at mentally. Physically, I know he’s going to be in great shape. The big thing is, is this something that he wants to do? He has to commit to it full time. He’s a good football player, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a great kid. I’m sure it will work out for him.”
The Broncos’ faith in safeties Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons, and Will Parks led them to part ways with former Pro Bowler T.J. Ward last September. If Cravens is healthy and ready to rededicate himself to football, Simmons or Stewart could be displaced from the starting lineup with Parks pushed a bit further down the depth chart. Simmons was arguably Denver’s best safety in 2017 and he plays at strong safety, so it will be an interesting situation to watch. Cravens may also see time at linebacker, as he did in his rookie season with the Redskins.
As a rookie, Cravens tallied 34 tackles, one sack, five passes defended, and one interception. In his ten games, Cravens graded out as the league’s No. 27 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.