Did the Colts win the Vontae Davis trade?

Today the Colts aggressively moved to patch up their cornerback issues by acquiring troubled Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davie for their second round pick along with a conditional pick in 2013. The team had long struggled to find a quality corner to start opposite Jerraud Powers. Davis has shown flashes of Pro Bowl ability but stymied many observers by showing up to camp out-of-shape, publicly tussling with new coach Joe Philbin and refusing to consistenly work hard. The Colts clearly acquired the 24 year old based on his youth, potential and cap-friendly rookie contract. But did they get the best end of the deal?

Davis is viewed as an exceptionally talented cover corner, the kind of guy you can ask to cover the best receivers in the league. In a division suddenly stocked with receivers it can’t be overstated how important this will become over the next few years. Walter Football’s scouting report notes that Davis shows the same kind of skills as Quentin Jammer but possesses more speed. While his work ethic is questionable if he capitalizes on his potential it’s clear the Colts have acquired the kind of cornerback fans have long sought.

Talent isn’t the question however. The real question is whether the Colts got a good deal or not. Davis only has two years left on his rookie deal and the team gave up considerable value for those years. Nate Dunlevy points out that this move signals the Colts believe they can win now:

Davis has two years left on his deal, and the Colts are giving up a second-round pick for the rights to them. They obviously feel like the team can be in contention immediately, or the deal makes no sense.

If Davis’ play is enough to lift the Colts in the standings, the trade makes sense. Otherwise, they’ll have given a high pick to help the secondary for 2013, after which time Davis will be able to walk.

Perhaps the team intends to offer Davis a long-term contract but given the question marks in his past that seems unlikely unless he has a stellar year. If Davis excels this year the Colts are in terrific position to wrap him up long-term due to an improving cap situation in 2013. If the team improves dramatically this year with Davis contributing solidly then it would be impossible to argue the team made a mistake. 

With many glaring weaknesses on the roster it is a bit of a surprise the Colts would part with their second round pick however. After news of nose tackle Brandon McKinney’s season-ending knee injury and the horrific offensive line play it’s clear the Colts have issues along both lines. Losing picks clearly means general manager Ryan Grigson plans to use his massive cap space next year to acquire impact veterans to improve the team in those regards. 

As for the Dolphins, they acquired what could be a high second-round pick in the 2013 draft. They also rid themselves of a personnel issue which may have been the motivating factor in the decision to deal Davis. In doing so however they also parted with a rarity in this league: a true cover corner. 

Todd Smith

About Todd Smith

Todd Smith is a part-time sportswriter who spends too much time arguing on Twitter. What he really loves is eating poorly and watching football. He got his first Colts t-shirt in 1984 shortly after the Mayflower trucks arrived and has never given up on his hometown team. He also still holds to the belief that Kordell Stewart stepped out of the end zone and thus cheated the Colts.

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