Just an hour before going on the clock for the first overall pick of the 2018 draft, the Nottingham Bandits have sent shockwaves through the league by trading the pick to the Irish Flyers.
Rumours had been circling in the days leading up to the draft as to a possible trade between the two franchises, with Flyers running back Ezekiel Elliott reported to be involved in the negotiations as a possible trade piece.
The Flyers did give up Elliott in the trade, along with second, third and fourth round picks this year (2.01, 3.06 and 4.10) and their 2019 3rd round pick. The Bandits added wide receiver John Brown and Seattle Seahawks backfield-ingredient Mike Davis to sweeten the 1.01, and the deal was done with an hour to spare.
The Bandits front office refused to comment on the trade at this time, cryptically suggesting that they may have something to say publicly at a later date.
The Flyers were unavailable for comment, but when the clock strikes midday it will be their name on the 1.01 ticket.
UPDATE (26/5, 11pm):
Bandits GM Josh Ridge came through with his promise on offering some reasoning behind the move.
“I love what I’ve seen of Barkley, but his range of outcomes could be from the next Ladanian Tomlinson to the next Trent Richardson. Zeke got almost 2000 yards rushing and receiving in 15 games his rookie season, and got about 1250 rushing / receiving in only 10 games last season, so even if Barkley is amazing it’s unlikely to be a big downgrade overall.” he said.
“While there is a risk Zeke does something dumb again, there’s also a risk Barkley doesn’t adapt to the NFL where his athleticism won’t be as big of an edge. While I really like John Brown, his health issues have made him lose his value completely, and Mike Davis is buried in the depth chart, so the various picks were worth more and the icing on the Zeke cake.”
It wasn’t a complete end to the crypticness, however. “I was keen to get as many picks as possible for reasons I will explain later.”
The Flyers were still ‘unavailable for comment’ at this time, which is fantasy parlance for ‘passed out drunk’.