Washington trades massive haul for rights to draft Robert Griffin III

Chris Chase

Reportedly spurned by Peyton Manning, the Washington Redskins didn't waste any time finding their quarterback of the future.

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported late Friday night that the Redskins traded the No. 6 pick in this year's draft, two future first-rounders and a second-rounder for the Rams' No. 2 selection in next month's draft. It is presumed they'll use the pick to select Robert Griffin III, the explosive Heisman trophy winner from Baylor.

[ Related: Rams huge winners in dealing No. 2 pick ]

It's a huge haul for the draft's second-most coveted player. Griffin threw for 37 touchdown passes and over 4,200 yards during his junior season with the Bears. He shot up on draft boards with scintillating early-season performances and solidified his standing with a memorable showing at last month's combine that included a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash.

For the perennial offseason champs, it's another mid-March splash. For the third straight year, Mike Shanahan will enter a season with a hand-picked quarterback. Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman/John Beck were abject failures. Will RG3 be the guy? Shanahan apparently thinks so. If he's not, Shanahan & Son won't be around to worry about those two future picks the team gave up.

Speaking of that haul, it's steep enough that critics will scoff. Three first-rounders for a No. 2 pick? On its face, it sounds crazy. Even D.C. fans who desperately wanted RG3 were taken aback by the scope of the deal. When the trade talks first surfaced last month, the rumor was that Washington would swap picks in 2012 and give St. Louis a future first-rounder. That seemed fair for both sides. But giving up two first rounders? That's stretching into Ricky Williams territory.

But it'll be worth it if RG3 is as good as advertised. It's not like the Redskins first-round picks of the past 10 years are rewriting record books. The team doesn't tend to draft well. They aren't the Baltimore Ravens, in other words. Trading picks in '13 and '14 shouldn't be viewed as giving away good, young players, it should be viewed as the Redskins giving away picks they were going to waste anyway. If RG3 comes in and is doing a Cam Newton impersonation, nobody in D.C. will care about those picks by Week 7.

And that's a big if. How will Griffin work in a Shanahan offense that relies on precision in the pocket. Will he adapt to his coaches or will his coaches adapt to him? Who will he throw to? Who will block for him? Will they give him the freedom in the pocket to extend plays and freelance on his own? This trade creates as many questions as it answers.

And because it's the Redskins, the swap will be viewed differently than if it had been, say, the Browns. There's always a sense that no matter what move the Redskins make, it's the wrong one. In this case, it's easy to say that the Rams made out well. Did Washington give up too much or is this a case of a mutually-beneficial trade?

There's distinct potential for this to be yet another Dan Snyder albatross. If RG3 fails to lives up to expectations, the colossal trade is the latest blunder by a team that hasn't been of consequence since Joe Gibbs left in 1993.

The franchise that signed Deion Sanders, traded Champ Bailey and picks for Clinton Portis and tried to make Donovan McNabb its franchise quarterback is back at it. Instead of throwing money at a problem, the team is mortgaging its future for the hope that RG3 is the cornerstone quarterback that hasn't been around D.C. since Sonny Jurgensen.

And if they believe that RG3 is that guy, the player who will be there for 10 years and make runs at the NFC East title, playoffs and Super Bowl chances, then the trade makes sense. Too often in football we think that the future holds more power than the present. That's bunk. This isn't baseball. Football teams are built to win now. It's why we see so many teams go from 5-11 to 11-5. Why not go all-in on RG3 and ride with it.

At worst, you're back where you started: With a mediocre quarterback and poor rebuilding efforts. At best, you've got your guy -- THE GUY -- that the city has been waiting for for 35 years.

Did they give up a lot of picks? Sure. But it'll be worth it if Griffin turns into the savior, rather than the Shuler.

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