It must be true that great minds think alike. LaVar Arrington wrote today that the Washington Redskins are bringing a knife to a gunfight in the competition for Robert Griffin III. The Cleveland Browns have more to offer in a trade-up scenario than the Redskins do.
Arrington got his story out first, so I won't steal much of his thunder. His main points are that Cleveland's No. 4 pick is a more valuable offer to St. Louis than Washington's No. 6 picks. Arrington points out that Cleveland is in the AFC and so would RG3 if the Rams do business with the Browns.
What's more is that Cleveland has two first round picks (No. 4 and No. 22) in this year's Draft to work with, thanks to the deal they worked with Atlanta for Julio Jones last season. That's powerful. St. Louis won't use both picks. One will be traded down for more picks to help a talent-starved team.
Every scenario I think of has the Redskins offering their first round 2012 and 2013 picks. That 2013 pick is no match for Cleveland's best potential offer.
Mike Shanahan has to try for Griffin 3rd if only to keep faith with Redskins fans, but the outcome is not in his hands. Browns president Mike Holmgren has as much to say in the effort at Rams head coach Jim Fisher.
I'm not sure the Redskins faithful will be forgiving of that if Shanahan falls short.
Find Arrington's story, Robert Griffin III, Don't get too excited on washingtonpost.com.
Go take a look. We'll be here when you get back.
I get that the Browns have more to offer. But what I don't get is why they would pay such a high price for a second young QB when they already have Colt McCoy. Just because they can afford to buy the shiny new car doesn't necessarily mean that they will, or that they should. Would it not be far wiser for Cleveland to use their excellent draft positions to give their young QB someone --anyone-- to throw to? Or to replace the disappointing Peyton Hillis?
What I'm trying to say is, I hear this argument all over the 'Skinsiverse' that the Browns have more to offer. But I think people fail to examine is whether the Browns have more to gain.
McCoy has only got two seasons under his belt, but they are two poor seasons. He has a combined QB rating of 74.5 and has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns. Rex Grossman has been pretty poor in his two seasons in Washington. His combined rating is 74.4.
McCoy was drafted in the 3rd round because there were significant concerns over his ability to start in the NFL. He has done little to dismiss those concerns. More significantly he ended last year on IR due to a severe concussion. With the league taking more and more action to remove players who are concussed from the field, McCoy's problems at the end of last year might make the Browns wary of losing their starting QB to league mandated rest periods every time he looks a bit wobbly after a sack.
Could McCoy turn into a quality starter? Drew Brees did after two poor seasons. Brees only completed 11-games of his second season after getting benched in favour of Doug Flutie. Brees bounced back in style the next year. Maybe McCoy could do the same. That said, the Chargers brought in Rivers to replace Brees, with a high round draft pick. Moreover, Drew Brees was more highly rated than McCoy. Brees was taken 32nd overall, despite being much shorter than the QB archetype. McCoy was taken with 85th pick.
The chances of McCoy proving his pre-draft evaluations wrong and improving after two poor seasons are pretty slim. Yes, it could happen. However, it would be massively irresponsible of the Browns to walk away from a prime-opportunity to draft one of the most highly rated QB prospects in years, in favour of hoping that McCoy will turn into franchise calibre player.
Moreover, the McCoy pick wouldn't be wasted. QB is the most important position in the game, and having a good back-up is crucial. Just ask the Colts and the Bears. McCoy will provide the Browns with a serviceable, young back-up, on a low salary for another couple of years. That's pretty good value for a third round pick acquired in exchange of Kamerion Wimberly, who would have left them if he had been allowed to hit free agency
That is an excellent response, and exactly the answer I was looking for. Thank you for being so precise and logical!
My next question is thus: how much of McCoy's poor passer rating had to do with his lack of capable receivers? While the same can surely be posited about Rex Grossman and the Redskins, I would argue that Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney, not to mention Fred Davis, are all superior to Greg Little -- probably the most productive receiver in Cleveland.
And what is Cleveland's salary cap situation? How able are they to draw more talent from free agency than the cash-laden Skins?
I feel like the Skins are close enough to contender status that, despite the claims of many, adding a capable QB (RGIII) would be worth the steep price (afterall, many of our losses were painfully close). I'm not sure I would say the same about the Browns. We have an almost elite defense and a nearly-there offense, lacking mainly in big-play receivers and a QB -- both of which can be fixed this off season. Buying a couple o-line set pieces (Nicks from NO?), and a receiver or two (Jackson/Colston/Bowe) solves some of the bigger problems we have with money (of which we have a lot). With those holes filled, I feel like we can afford the draft-cost of a potential franchise QB. Sure, there will be more work to do next year, but we would be leagues ahead of where we are today.
The Browns I don't feel are that close. People talk about having a lot of holes to fix here in DC, but I would submit that Cleveland has even more. McCoy may not be an all-star yet, but hes certainly not an over-the-hill veteren (McNabb, Grossman, Orton). He could, as you point out, improve quite a bit. It wouldn't be inconceivable to give him another season, only this time giving him more weapons. I feel as though they don't have the luxury of "wealth" (money and draft-flexibility) that Washington has. And such an expensive trade, while possible and even desirable, as you so eloquently point out, may not fit their best interests.
Does that make sense? What are your thoughts?
With regard to cap space, I've seen estimates from ranging from $15m to $33m. So, not as much as the Redskins, but enough space to be a significant player if they want to be.
I actually don't see the Redskins being that close to being a genuine contender. Well, in the modern era, everyone is close because all teams now have significant flaws, it is the nature of the free agency era. However, I don't see us being just a QB away.
In fact, I think the Browns and the Redskins are in eerily similar positions. We both have franchise left tackles, but lack the elite QB for them to protect. Despite having that elite pass blocker our offensive lines are concerns, particularly the interiors. We both have a number of young RBs who have shown flashes of promise but are unproven over a full season. We both have young receivers who have either disappointed or been injured.
The main difference between us in the Browns is that we traded back last year. They've been trading back and acquiring draft picks for at least the last three years. In that time they've had 10-picks in the first two rounds. Not only would they have to offer less than us to land RGIII, they have more picks than us this year and more of a cushion from previous drafts.
Personally, I think you could take any reasonable strategy for improving the Redskins through free agency of the draft and it would almost certainly work just as well for the Browns.
They have a bigger need for pass rushers than us. We need more help in the secondary than they do. However, on offense, we are virtually twins, with the exception of tight end.
I do agree that McCoy would play better if he had more weapons. I think he could be a decent game manager. Someone, like Jason Campbell, who could win games and reach the play-offs behind a strong line and decent running game. However, I don't see him becoming one of the top-10 starters.
RGIII might turn out to be a bust, but with that combination of speed, intelligence, arm strength and a college completion rate that suggests he is pretty accurate as well, you have an elite prospect who could be a game changer. Someone with the sort of skill set that will allow them to carry teams beyond the talent level of the roster as a whole.
Sticking with McCoy and trading down could serve the Browns very well. It's a very sensible, long term move. That said, can any team really afford to walk away from a prime opportunity to upgrade the most important position on the field.