A lot of people around the AAF have been wondering how trades will work in this new league.
While all the questions haven’t been answered, we have gotten our first taste of the trading in the AAF. @PrFleet reported that the San Diego Fleet sent tight end Darryl Richardson to the Memphis Express in exchange for running back and punt returner Jahad Thomas.
Darryl Richardson was a part of a very deep tight end group for the Fleet that featured four other players. Richardson didn’t play much in college and was used primarily as a backup and blocking tight end at San Diego State. He only had two career receptions, one touchdown, and 42 total yards over 28 total games. While his production wasn’t great, there were reports that he is a big and athletic tight end. But now he is headed to the Memphis Express to work under head coach Mike Singletary and with three other tight ends.
In exchange for Richardson, the San Diego Fleet receive running back and punt returner Jahad Thomas.
Thomas played at Temple for four years from 2013 to 2016, playing primarily as a kick returner in his first two seasons before taking over as the lead back in his junior year. He started for most of his last two seasons at Temple (missed two games in 2016 with a sprained hand) and had 2,849 total yards from scrimmage and 37 total touchdowns (30 rushing and seven receiving) through 26 games. Thomas was also a talented return man at Temple, totaling 1,136 punt and kick return yards and one touchdown over his career. His ability as an all-around athlete garnered him first-team All-AAC accolades in 2015 and second-team All-AAC in 2016. He went undrafted in 2017 before being signed by the Dallas Cowboys. He was subsequently cut in late July and signed with the Jets for the 2017 season. He spent much of that season on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster on December 30 of 2017. He was then released in 2018.
I think both teams come out positive in this trade. Memphis gains depth at the tight end position and San Diego gains depth at the running back position. In terms of Jahad Thomas’s role on the roster, I could see him sneaking into that third running back spot while performing as mostly a return man and special teams guy. Personally, nobody is unseating Bishop Sankey and Ja’Quan Gardner (who is having a good camp) from the first and second spots on the depth chart. But there is some competition at the backend of the running back group that could allow Jahad Thomas to sneak onto the roster.
With the first trade in AAF history in the books, there are still questions of how this will work. The only way trades will continue to work in the future is by a simple player for a player formula. Without future assets (i.e. draft picks) to trade, AAF teams can’t mortgage the future for a star today. The only way to get a star during the season will be to send a star away. This will limit the impact of midseason trades in the AAF.
But trades during the offseason could thrive. The idea of sending an unproven prospect for an unproven prospect makes sense. But athletes are only unproven until the season begins. As a fan, expect trades during the offseason but don’t expect many of them to happen while the regular season is going on.