Sunday, March 11, 2012
The Redskins giving up three first round picks and a second rounder for him, is brainless.
And before we go any farther, please stop your silliness people with the argument that is was "only" TWO #1 picks because the Skins and Rams "swapped" first rounders this year.
I mean, really. This is your best argument in favor of such roster malpractice?
Here, let's walk through this slowly: YOU have Robert Griffin III. I have three first round picks and a second rounder. We swap. Now, how much have I "paid" for Robert Griffin III.
The price of Robert Griffin III if you are the Rams, is one first round pick. The price if you are as desperate to sell tickets as Dan Snyder and as floundering without his next Elway as Mike Shanahan, is FOUR TIMES as much.
Even independent football minds have deemed this the single most expensive "move up" in almost 40 years.
Jason Lisk of the Big Lead has an exhaustive history of these type of draft blockbusters. Most are not pretty for the "surrendering" team.
While Michael David Smith of PFT.com focuses in on the two most recent comps, the trades for Eli and Vick.
Now, the second silly argument in favor of this trade, is that the Giants did almost the same thing for Eli Manning, so..... THERE!
Okay, good. You have ONE instance in which it could be argued that such a trade was "worth it." And I will even forgo the reminder that the Chargers STILL got an equivalent QB talent in that deal in Philip Rivers.
Rivers: 63% - 24k yards - 163-78
Manning: 58% - 27k yards - 185-129
The fact remains: even IF Robert Griffin III is EVERY BIT AS GOOD right away as Cam Newton (a high bar), the Redskins are STILL three full good players BEHIND the Panthers in terms of talent acquisition.
They play in the same conference. This is not trivial.
There are reasons why NFL draft picks - especially 1st and 2nd rounders - are so valuable. They are players you can select from a deep pool of fresh talent, for whom you do not need to compete for their services with money like in free agency. Their motivation level is high, because they are looking to someday get that big free agent payday. They are less injured - in a cumulative sense - than players who are already in the league. And they cost a lot less money to your team, in a ruthless hard-cap roster eco-system in which production per dollar against the cap is paramount to success.
Of course, there are risks. The draft remains a crap shoot of uncertainty. Plenty of high picks wash out.
Yet the Redskins have not in any way mitigated against this risk by moving up for RGIII.
He too, is a risk.
Yes, despite the amen-chorus of football experts who have all but declared him a sure-fire superstar for years to come.
Had the Redskins traded this haul of picks for Drew Brees, that would be another story. At least with Brees, you KNOW he can play at a high level. And while you would be getting fewer likely serviceable years from him, there is virtually zero chance Brees would be a bust in burgundy and gold.
It seems like everyone I know getting all excited about this move, are blissfully obtuse to the irony of whom they traded with. The Rams themselves selected a "sure-fire" star at QB in Sam Bradford, who earned offensive Rookie of the Year honors his first season.
The Rams did not spend 4 picks to get Bradford. They spent one.
And yet, the Rams were right back at the top of the draft again this year, thanks to a 2-14 season in which injuries riddled their lineup at various positions.
Lesson: a good quarterback can't cover everything. Depth of talent is crucial.
Imagine how screwed the Rams would be, had they done what Snyder and Shanahan just did!
But hey, what are the chances the Redskins have injuries that decimate the roster next year, or the year after?
Here's one way to see how stupid and panicked this move really was. The Redskins made no attempt to hide the fact that they wanted to be big players in the Peyton Manning derby. But when Peyton started making his itinerary and Washington was nowhere on it, Shanahan and Co. quickly swung to "Plan B" - RGIII.
So in other words, the franchise had a plan. Either get a 35 year old Hall of Famer coming off 4 neck procedures who is still not fully cleared to play.
Or, spend 3 #1's and a #2 on a hot college prospect.
That's really "charting a course for the future" isn't it?
I need a car, and I have a "plan." I'm either going to buy new Porche, or build my own car from a kit I order on the internet. Either way is cool. But I know what I want.
The other big argument in favor of this move, is purely emotional. It goes something like this... "After 20 years without a franchise quarterback, you have to pay whatever price it takes."
Why? Because Robert Griffin III is the LAST quote "franchise" quarterback the college game is ever going to produce? Because if the Redskins don't make the playoffs this year, the NFL has announced the franchise will be folded forever?
The answer is simple. The owner is desperate. The coach is desperate. And when the fan base is also desperate, you have fertile conditions for "stupid."
Look, nobody is saying this kid doesn't look, sound and feel like anything but an absolute sensation. He does. He's as fast as Michael Vick, yet bigger, with perhaps a more accurate arm, and way better software and leadership skills.
I flat out love him.
But I would not have paid this much for him. My limit was 2 #'1s and a #2. Which I know, is close. But that was a really "stretched" limit of tolerance. The third #1 would have absolutely been a deal breaker to me.
Many of you asked me - indignantly, I might add - on Twitter over the weekend "well, what was YOUR plan at QB then!"
Answer: don't go on a two-year, time-wasting, patience-testing, teeth-gnashing, draft pick-squandering mis-adventure on McNabb, Beck and Grossman.
Undaunted some of you said: "Well buddy, too bad there's no time machine! NOW, I demand your 'solution' to our QB problem!"
Sorta unfair to ask ME, to bail out Mike "I Know The Position" Shanahan after he ran the franchise into a QB dead end. I mean, the guy doesn't even have ONE decent prospect on the roster after two full years and two full drafts. That's remarkable malpractice for a coach making $7 million a year.
But if you want my preferred options at QB instead of this.... well, here's a quick list.
1. Matt Flynn and keep all your picks
2. Draft a "Tier 2" QB in the late 1st/2nd (possible trade down)
3. Wait 'til next year.
Yeah, I know. Wait 'til next year. Interesting concept. There WILL be a next year. It's like this owner, and this franchise never thinks "next year" is worth waiting for, or building for, or that it will ever come.
The fact it's been 20 years since the Redskins have had a decent QB, doesn't make me feel more urgent. It makes me feel more patient. If we're talking 4 picks for 1, then shit, what's ONE more year?
Some will say, if Griffin is the real deal, then all will be well. You'll be glad you spent the picks. Well sure, in the abstract. It would be like saying if I bet a year's salary on "red" at the roulette wheel and it hits, that my "investment" will have "paid off."
The dumbest thing you can say is that teams desperate for a franchise quarterback, must "pay any price" to get one. Really? "Any" price? Would 5 #1 picks have been as sensible to mindless league drones like Adam Schefter? (Shocker: Shanahan's preferred source for leaks, approves the deal.)
Of course not.
So we have established then, that EVERYTHING in life, has a proper "price."
I think the Redskins have dearly overpaid, and with the worst money you can spend: draft picks.
And unlike baseball, where you can pay a surly right fielder like Jayson Werth $126 million guaranteed to hit .232 (hey, he might pick it up) the ripples of this mistake never make it out of the Lerner family financial net worth portfolio. Werth's sucking, has absolutely no long term negatives on the Nationals on field future. There is no cap, and you did not surrender any draft picks for him.
The downside to RGIII is that if he's a bust, you are ruined.
I would never, ever, ever make that bet as an NFL owner.
If Robert Griffin III turns out to be every bit as good as fellow NFC starters Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, or Cam Newton, the Redskins are STILL three quality players behind all of those teams who either used just 1 pick, or in some cases NONE to acquire those "franchise" QB's.
Because that's the price they just paid.
You never get those picks back. And you can never have enough talent.
But for an owner who just had to rip out 10,000 seats to avoid blackouts, and a Super Bowl winning coach whose "legacy" is vanishing before his eyes like the McFly family photo in "Back to the Future" you are prone to doing some really reckless and stupid things.
Or if not stupid, certainly selfish.
For Snyder, it buys him buzz, and helps move the floudering season ticket sales effort and club seats. He NEEDED this, in the worst way.
And for Shanahan, it buys him - if nothing else - time. Worst case scenario, Shanny will preach "patience" if this is a slow ramp up to excellence.
It works for them, at least.