Robert Griffin III is the future of the Washington Redskins. He had better be. Mike Shanahan gave away the future to get him.
NFL.com reports that the Redskins swapped its 2012, 2013 and 2014 first round picks and the 2012 second round pick for the St. Louis Rams No. 2 spot in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Redskins will assuredly select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III with the pick answering the hopes and dreams of the majority of its frustrated fans who were in low-level revolt over Washington's recent performance.
The Redskins were in aggressive pursuit of free agent Peyton Manning until they learned of lack of interest on his part. Manning had his advocates among fans and even Mike Shanahan looked forward to coaching him. But Redskins lovers preferred that a younger talent lead a team with a younger roster. Griffin was tied to Washington from the earliest mock drafts tracked by DC Pro Sports Report.
The price Shanahan paid for the swap will become NFL lore, as have so many other Dan Snyder deals. By the way, with this move, I am now referring to the owner as "Mr. Snyder." Though, Snyder faded to the deep background, there is no way Mike Shanahan pulls the trigger on a deal of this magnitude without the owner's blessing...or prompting.
Reference: trade-ups for top-5 pick QBs in the last 25 years
2009: NYJ - Mark Sanchez. Jets trade pick #17 and #52, plus Abram Elam, Kenyon Coleman, and Brett Ratliff to Cleveland for the #5 pick.
2004: NYG - Eli Manning. Giants trade Philip Rivers (selected with pick #4) plus its 2004 third round pick (65th overall) and its 2005 first and fifth round pick to San Diego for Manning, drafted #1.
1998: SD - Ryan Leaf. Chargers trade pick #3 and #33 in the '98 draft and their first rounder in 1999 plus Pro Bowl KR Eric Metcalf and LB Patrick Sapp to Arizona to move up one spot (2600 draft points) to draft Leaf. It was one of the highest-risk (and worst) trades in NFL history.
1995: CAR - Kerry Collins. Panthers break the mold and trade down from the #1 pick to get their quarterback. The Bengals gave up the #5 and #36 picks (2240 draft points) to get the #1 pick (3,000) - a bargain. Too bad they spent it on Ki-Jana Carter.
1990: IND - Jeff George. The Colts moved up without sacrificing their own first-rounder from that year, but gave up Pro Bowl WR Andre Rison, Chris Hinton, plus a package of picks (roughly 1,200 draft points) to the Falcons for the #1 pick and Atlanta's fourth-round pick (3,175 draft points).
To see the Draft Chart value of these earlier deals, see this story on the This given Sunday blog.
The trade is the opening salvo in Mike Shanahan's 2012 effort to change Washington's fortune. The Redskins are way under the projected 2012 salary cap, close to $50 million by some estimates. They will be big players in the free agent market when the league year begins on March 13.
In something of a surprise, or knowing Snyder perhaps not, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Redskins are still in the hunt for Peyton Manning. Not sure about that one, but Washington now has to be very smart about free agency through 2014.
So, after going big with Donovan McNabb, Shanahan goes bigger to fix the quarterback issue he created. We all hope for better results. By the way, no one wants to hear anything about "earning" the starting job, or development, or, you know, "conditioning." You draft RG3. You start RG3.
Washington is well on the way to winning the offseason crown away from Philadelphia. Whatever you do, Redskins fans, do not use the words "Dream Team." There is still work to do and there is no such thing as instant results in football.